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Mastering the Half Halt

The Half halt is a huge buzz word in the equestrian world, but what is it and why does everyone talk about it!?

The Half Halt is used from the very early stages of the horses education right up through the levels for:





• A Waiting aid

As well as many other things!

Its a way of communicating to your horse that something is coming - I often describe it as sending them a postcard that something is going to happen.

A Half Halt is a momentary pressure and release on the outside rein, it can be applied on any rein but for simplicity and clarity, it usually used on the outside rein as that is the rein in charge of the speed control.

In the pressure, which can be applied from the elbow (maintaining an elastic feel) you are pausing.

In the release you are activating, the release is as important as the pressure and if you use your leg at the same time you are using the pressure it is hard for the horse to hear your leg too.

So to tie it up into a swift movement think about using pressure/release/leg. You may have to repeat this process several times to get what you want, or manage the impulsion or speed you have. You can take as many half halts as you want but every pressure must be momentary and followed by a release for you to be able to manage the back and front of the box.

The Box Theory:

The box theory is all about connection, and managing all of the doors of the box so that the energy you are creating doesn't get wasted but recycled.

A Half Halt manages both the front and back of the box, it pauses the front of the box so that you can catch the back of the box up. If we use pressure without our leg the back door will open dropping the energy you have created.

Equally if you use your leg without pausing the front of the box you may find the of the box getting away from you and you start to loose the connection.

Counting your half halts.

Counting your half halts can be a really good way of holding you accountable to actually making sure the happen! We are all really good at thinking that we are taking plenty of half halts but are we really just taking one Half HOLD!? So by counting them you are accountable for releasing and taking the next one.

A great exercise for this is the square exercise. Ride a square in your arena and think of every corner being made up of 2 lines an entry line and and exit line, count how many half halts you take coming in and how many you take leaving the corner. The corners may come up quick so your release will need to be on point so that your leg can maintain the energy! You can find a version of this exercise in the Exercise library with a full explanation, and adaptations.

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