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 even more.
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 she eats.
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 rider.
|Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156 fax: 301-421-9049