Lost and then Found: The Half-Halt

So my first lesson back was awesome. My mount was a beautiful 6 year old bay mare by Fidertanz who was an amateur’s dream. She was the perfect size for me but big moving and as comfortable as could be. She was easy to sit and had quite the “go” button. So you can imagine “half-halt” was used quite often, I can still hear it ringing in my ears…

Now I’m sure I’m not alone in this but I never truly understood the half halt. My approach has always been try a bunch of things and one of them will work… I hope.

Sit deep, sit tall, sit heavy, close your hand, squeeze your hand, etc are all ways it has been explained to me but none have really hit the “aha” moment.

Instead they have simply left me wondering if the half-halt is a mythical creature that everyone wants to believe exists but doesn’t (like a unicorn). And then you go online to get help through self-training, which of course is the best way to learn anything (… NOT), and you read gibberish like WikiHow.

With photos like this:

Wiki Half Halt 01

WikiHow: How to Half Halt in English apparel and a Western saddle

and this

Wiki Half Halt 02

WikiHow: How to Half Halt… I think?

Lucky for me it turns out Feder, who was also awarded the Oldenburg Verband Premium Status, was put on earth to teach me the half-halt. And it’s simpler than I thought. Assume you are in a perfect sitting trot position. Relaxed, straight line through your shoulders, hip and heels. Now as you’re trotting around, close your fist like there is a stone in it that is about to fall and tighten your core muscles as if you are trying to prevent yourself from falling backwards. For us amateurs your torso will likely move forward an inch, raising your sternum and you will feel like you’re sitting taller. Immediately relax back into you’re your sitting trot. And voila, you’ve just half-halted!

So this wonderful ride led me to say that I have no idea why Feder isn’t sold… turns out she was being vetted that week. Alas she has a 2 year old… who is growing into a lovely colt!

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