April 22, 2018

NK Lesson Wrap-Up: "Oh My Gosh, You Have a Half Halt Now!"

A while back, a barn I'd never heard of before posted that they were having NK, my other trainer, in for a two-day weekend "clinic".  Since NK never teaches on the weekends and I hadn't seen her since October (she winters in FL), I jumped alllllllll over that.

"Where am I?  And why am I tied to the trailer?"

On Saturday, we started out by essentially level-setting.  I described what we worked on over the winter, what was working (counter canter!), what wasn't working (canter-walk transitions) and what our show plans were for the year.

Then we got to work.  A few minutes in, she squealed "Oh my gosh, you have a half halt now!!!!"  From that point on, it felt like she became a different trainer.  Last year, it felt like she was teaching me to teach Connor the words, and after she realized I had a half halt on Saturday, it felt like we started putting sentences together.

No media from this, so here are some more shots from the KPG ride
Photos by Leah

We moved from there onto leg yields, where it was obvious to her that (paraphrased) I thought my legs were in contact with his body, but they really weren't.  It manifests itself in so many seemingly unrelated ways, but basically, when my right hip is rotated down (my feeling, maybe not what's actually happening) my leg is correct.  My natural inclination is to do the opposite of that and even though my leg is touching his body, it's not making contact, if that makes sense.

NO SERIOUSLY, EXACTLY THIS!  See how my right side is contracted and my right hip is pointing up?  If I think about rotating my hip down, it fixes this and we can, y'know, actually do a leg yield.

After that, we moved on to the canter-walk transitions.  After watching a couple of canter transitions, she gave me another "it's not him, it's you" talk.  Summary: "He does need to develop some strength, but he's never going to be able to do canter-walk if you don't get out of his way.  You're pitching forward and losing your position from the moment he steps into the canter, and then you're bracing through your body for the downward.  You need to relax around him and sit on that hind leg, not brace."

Compare pitched forward onto my pubic bone...

To sitting on my butt...

To...sigh, yep, intentionally posting a less-than-beautiful moment to illustrate that he's never going to weight the outside hind unless I clean my act up.  This picture makes it really obvious.

Then came day 2...


  1. You know your posts are like fortune telling for what I have coming. The little I have played with Roscoe on w-c, I already know I have the same issue. Hopefully we progress as well as you two have :)

  2. Sitting your butt in the saddle is basically the hardest thing ever. That's all I heard all weekend from my trainer, so I 100% feel your pain. C looks awesome though!

  3. That's so awesome to be able to impress her with how far you two have come to make the lesson even more informative and interesting.