The half halt is the most important yet most misunderstood concept in riding. The half halt can help you put your horse on the bit but you also need it for every change of gait, balance, movement, or exercise.
A simple but vital part of training, it improves obedience and engagement of the horse which will improve the stride and collectiveness.
The aids required are to sit in a correct upright position, lighten your seat, close your lower leg on the girth and gentle squeeze the horse forward into the bridle. Begin on a 20m circle in walk, establish a forward active gait and when your horse is settled and listening to you, ask for halt at the centre line each time you cross it.
Halt for a few seconds maintaining contact, then gentle squeeze - NOT KICK - with your lower leg to proceed until the next centre point, halt again. Continue this until your horse begins to anticipate the halt, once you feel this squeeze forward.
The fluency may take some time, so be patient and disciplined in order to correctly master it. Once you are happy with this stage proceed to trot and again every time you cross the centre point ask for a downward transition using you seat, voice and legs. Again as soon as the horse anticipates this squeeze the horse forward.
The horse should remain on the bit at all times and you should feel the propulsion in going forward, maintain your correct riding position at all times as this will effect the action and also the way the message is relayed to your horse. Move on away from the circle and try the exercise in different areas of the school as this is very useful during schooling to gather your horse and also regain his concentration.
For more Flat work exercises read more
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