We spend a crazy inordinate amount of time to get our horses to go forward. We push them and ourselves to get used to a steady active tempo without feeling like we’re running out of control. And, then we go to a show and they throw us a curve ball because the first thing you do is halt! Oh my! Anyone ever notice how hard it is to halt at the test beginning and easier at the end? In fact, eventers have taken some halts out of the entrance of their tests since its so hard to get their horses to halt. So, let’s take a few minutes every ride and incorporate some halts into your regular riding so it becomes more natural. How to do this? First, you’re going to turn down the center line at a trot and then transition to walk and halt. You will go three times turning left down the center line and then 3 times turning right down the center line or quarter line. Pay attention to which way is easier for your and your horse. The easier way will become the way you turn in a show as it will be squarer. As you get more proficient you can take out the walk strides until you trot to halt. You can also practice canter to halt transitioning through the Trot and eventually walk until you can go from canter to halt.
Pick a place to halt in your mind and about 5 strides out start giving half halts to your horse to alert them something is about to change and shorten but activate the stride by keeping the calves on the horse.
Grow tall in the saddle, inhale and draw your head up.
Rest your thighs on your saddle, and your calves on the horse’s side and close your fingers. Tighten your abs.
Sit there for 3 seconds and then move off.
Relax the muscles squeeze the calves and move off in a trot.
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