Lesson Wrap-Up: Half Halt Upward

My lesson on Thursday went a long way toward making me feel like less of a failure.  We spent the whole lesson focusing on me, specifically on my hands.

PC: My mom
"You have a tendency to half halt by taking backwards, which makes him curl his nose under while pushing harder with his chest, which makes him unbalanced.  Also your reins are too long, and you're both comfortable being in this situation, so you're not helping each other."

This is pretty much what the judge said.  Rider needs to help not hinder horse's balance.

She had me half halt by lifting upward, with open elbows.  It was definitely an exaggeration to get me to give up a bad habit.  I also couldn't do this with short reins or else my elbow closed instead of opened when I went to use the reins, so I had to keep my reins short.

Connor responded pretty quickly.   He softened, his throatlatch opened, and he stopped pulling with his chest so much.  After a while, he even stood up straight and came on my aids, so that my aids could be quieter.

Time to fix the foundation, and I think my hands are a big part of that.

10 comments:

  1. Focusing on improving the half halt sounds like a good plan. I was able to watch most of my husband's first lesson with Jennifer Kaiser and she explained half halts to him almost right away - which I thought was fabulous.

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    1. That is fantastic! And I still get so happy every time I think about Paul taking a riding lesson. You really won the husband lottery!

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  2. Sounds like exactly what you needed! I feel like my hands are also constantly doing the wrong thing, I'm curious to see how you develop these new skills as you move forward.

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    1. I hope I really do develop them and not fix them, move onto something else, forget the fix and have to rediscover it again two years later!

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  3. This is EXACTLY the problem i have with Paddy. If I use my hands, he just expects me to balance him. I've trained him really, really well to do this and it's taken me a year of riding another horse to even think about getting over the habit. And it's SO HARD too... they just play along with the pulling contest, happy as clams... ARGH! Hugs. It sucks.

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    1. I know. I keep thinking of you and Paddy. I hope we can find the fix.

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  4. Haha.

    That was a sad laugh.

    Because I keep wanting to believe that things get easier instead of harder.

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    1. Don't think about that. Think about the mad dash multi-hour roundtrip journey I'm making today in order to try a Devoucoux Makila on Connor that I found on eBay. THAT is what you need to be thinking about.

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  5. Oh mad dash saddle adventures sound fun! But really glad you're tackling some challenging stuff - I've been re-learning a lot about my hands lately...

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  6. Super helpful! My half halts tend to shut Tony down, and push him on his forehand. No bueno. I'll have to try the upward approach :)

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