Halting the Horse
To stop, or halt, the horse, you stop following the hore with your seat and
you set your hands. This means that you set your hands in one spot and
apply steady, even pressure on the bit with both reins, but without pulling
back. Simultaneously, gently close your legs on the horse while stiffening
your back a little.
What to do if...the horse won't stop.
So far I've given you the textbook version of the halt. It's the way a halt
should be done, and it's the way you should first try to halt. But you musy
also maintain control of your horse, so if the textbook version doesn't work,
pull back on the reins. Tell the horse to stop - not verbally but with
progressive severity of your aids.
What to do if...the horse backs up when you ask her to stop.
If you don't release the pressure on the bit after you stop, Sprite will start
backing up. In fact, that's how she's trained to back up. Move your hands
forward just an inch or two to release the pressure on the bit and apply
slight pressure with both your legs, just enough to tell her not to back up.
It takes practice and finesse to achieve just the right pressure with your
hands and legs. Whatever you do, don't panic and pull back on the reins
As soon as the horse stops, release any pressure on the reins. That's the
horse's reward for stopping. Once the horse halts, relax. Look around and
smell the roses. Practice walking several strides, then stop for several
seconds, walk again, and stop again.
|Aids to the Halt
- Sit down(or stop following the horse with your seat).
- Set your hands (you do not give to your horse with the reins).
- Gently close your calves on the horse.
- Stiffen your back.
Sprite is a small, stocky, sturdy, cute horse. If she were any shorter, she'd
be a pony. In the winter, her coat gets very long and she looks like a woolly
mammoth. She's sassy in the field, and you can tell she was hot stuff in her
younger years. Now that she's getting a little older, she has to watch what
Sprite's also the motherly type. She babysits horses that don't like to stay
alone in the barn or pasture. She stands nice and still when a new student
mounts, although she might move if you jab her with a knee or toe. A terrific
trail horse, Sprite proudly leads where other horses fear to venture. Being
calm and trustworthy makes her a good confidence builder for the beginning
|Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156 fax: 301-421-9049
Boost your confidence
Build your skills
Enhance your lessons
Put Mike Smith's
40 years of
experience work for
You'll love it!