Okay, so canter is a 3 beat gait. I'm aware of the sequence of leg movements, outside hind, then diagonal pair, then front leading leg. What I'm starting to question is my timing for the half halt in the canter sequence. Not for a transition, just for rebalancing. Is the half halt to be given on the 1, 2, or 3 beat of the canter?
I was recently watching a video of my favorite rider Laura Bechtolsheimer and it appeared that she was H-Hing at a different point in the canter sequence then I am. Plus my horse will occasionally slide into a four-beat canter and now I'm pulling my hair out wondering if I'm an idiot!!! I've cliniced with several very good clinicians this year and no one mentioned anything, but I'm still wondering if I have been incorrect all this time.
Well, my horse has a big canter with lots of suspension. However it is not particularly uphill and can easily end up tilting onto the forehand. Lately I have felt like my half-halts have been blocking his hind legs from coming through. Even when I am only using my seat to perform the half-halt I feel like I am missing the optimal timing.
Dr. Hillary Clayton had an article and is stated that the second beat of canter is the optimal time to half-halt. And honestly that is not the beat I have been half-halting on. It also appeared that Laura B. was HH at canter somewhere close to the second beat. I think I've been half-halting on the first beat and then following during the 2,3 and perhaps I am blocking his hind legs.
I learned that you cannot influence a leg on the ground. If you are asking a horse to step farther under itself, you need to ask while the hind leg is off the ground, so beat 3 or the suspended moment.
Well, my horse has a big canter with lots of suspension. However it is not particularly uphill and can easily end up tilting onto the forehand.
this tells alot. (I've been immersed in a week long intensive short course and clinic with two dressage B-BNT's this past week and learned a lot.)
suspension does not equal forward energy, and horses with helluva suspension can trick their riders into thinking they are forward when they really aren't.
I'm willing to bet that you are sacrificing compression (meaning your letting out rein either through your fingers or out in front of you) in an attempt to get more forward. Hold the connection of the outside rein from bit to your back, and push forward with your trunk as through it was a solid body part (stand with your chest on a sliding barn door like you are going to open it, widen your feet like you are on your horse, push the door with your trunk (torso) without displacing your balance over your feet, and while breathing)
Thanks so much to all of you, lots to think about. And Pestorejunkie, that makes TOTAL sense. I never thought about that suspension making it feel more forward then it really is, but I do believe you have hit the nail on the head. And yes, I do let my reins slip away at canter which is one thing I worked on at those clinics. (But have not fixed yet, sad to say!)
I agree with beat 2 being about where you want to hh. Of course it's not just an instantaneous thing, and you may need to adjust as you hh, but for me I start about beat 2, and finish the hh before beat 2 comes again in general.
I have a photo example of this. Keeping in mind there is a *lot* else wrong with my riding here, I'm just trying to demonstrate the timing.... (This was about a year ago... I've improved a lot since, though obviously still have many things to work on.) I have posted these before, so some have seen it already.
Half halt was applied at beat 2, here he's just landing on beat 3. I was too restrictive with my hands it appears, as he's come BTV and hind end is trailing a bit, but my legs are closed to try to fix that and I'm about to release: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4025/...a7a062a6a0.jpg
Thank you so much! Got a much better canter today on my guy. I made myself hesitate for a brief moment from when I would do the half-halt that comes naturally to me and I did not feel as though I was blocking him, YAY! He seemed much happier in the canter too. And Pestorejunkie, I got him much more forward and WOW there is a big canter in there! I certainly did not let the reins slip during that canter for fear of losing my life, haha! Thanks for the pics netg, they are great!!