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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003


    Okaaaay - learn something every day! Here is a poll - who else did not know what a psoa was? I've taken all sorts of classes and never been told that.

    I actually think my walk/halt transitions are not bad because I practice them a lot, on trails as well, up hill, down hills, aiming to do the most miniscule aids.

    It is interesting, tho, to have a discussion on this one aid. I remember in Practical Horseman years ago there was a column where a question like this was asked of three big name trainers. All three would give quite different answers, to get the same result.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug. 29, 2012
    San Diego, CA


    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    I'd have to watch to be sure, because there's a few possible causes.
    1. you're taking with your hands and the horse is evading
    2. the horse is trying to use their neck as a balancing device
    3. horse is initiating the halt by trying to stop the body before bringing the legs under
    I think it may be a little bit of all 3, but mostly 1 and 2. Horse was being used in a lesson program with a lot of beginners, so we're still working on getting some of the beginner reactions out. It's not all him, though, I definitely have a hand(s) in the head coming up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Okaaaay - learn something every day! Here is a poll - who else did not know what a psoa was? I've taken all sorts of classes and never been told that.
    I had no idea what a psoa was, either!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2004
    Outside Hamilton, ON, CA


    I didn't know what your psoas was either, but Petstorejunkie's post was exceptionally informative. My halts are quite good and knowing about the use of your I run through a halt in my mind's eye, I see I am using it properly and that would probably explain why my halts are good.

    I have a new appreciation for planking (I will continue to incorporate it into my workouts) and I will use the hip flexor stretch more often to elongate my Psoas as well.

    Cindy Geres

    Home of Foxwind SL (Cdn Trakehner and Cdn Sport Horse Approved)

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Triangle Area, NC


    I'm glad it's been helpful
    (btw, there's an s in psoas ;-) )

    I'll say the more control you gain over your psoas, the more invisible of a rider you'll be. I do a lot of awareness work with my psoas. I can flex each one independently because I practice a LOT!
    Here's a couple more things to help you get introduced to your psoas.
    get one of those plastic lawn chairs and sit with your seatbones pointing straight down on the very edge of the seat. place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, and sit tall with a flat back and square relaxed shoulders.
    here's the tasks:
    1. without tipping your pelvis, or leaning forward, or clenching your bum cheeks, get the back legs of the chair to lift off the ground. to an onlooker it should look like magic because you perceivably don't move (It's your psoas tipping the chair)
    2. a bigger challenge, see if you can get the right hind leg of the chair only to lift, then settle, and try for the left. (this would be you working one side of the psoas independently of the other)

    If you sit at a desk for a living, most likely your psoas has shrunk and needs some stretching out. you want a long but strong and agile psoas in riding.
    go get yourself 2 tennis balls.
    first, to locate where these tennis balls need to go, find your hip bones, and then work inward toward your belly button about 2". that's the spot to place the balls.
    lie on your stomach on carpet or a yoga mat.
    start in cobra position with the balls placed in the appropriate place. Try to relax your torso
    next, lower your upper body slowly, remembering to relax
    still don't feel like those tennis balls are hot pokers? Try grabbing your ankle one at a time behind your back while on your stomach like a modified bow pose.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2001
    Dry Ridge, KY USA


    I know about psoas, because my myofacial release therapist is always complaining about how tight they are. My QL's are tight, too, because they work in oppostion to the psoas. (They are located on either side of your back.) He says that he takes a day of rest before he has to work on me. He tells me that I need to stretch them more before getting on my horse. I always forget to do the stretches.

    To halt, I sit tall, squeeze my thighs and stop allowing with my arms.

    Practice walk, halt, walk transitions, where you take a couple of steps of walk, then halt, repeat. If your horse is not listening to your aides, then use your voice commands to help him figure out what you want in conjunction with the aide.
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2009


    One thing to ad:
    if your reins are too long (even a little), then you can destroy a halt before you begin it. The reins being too long will cause you to have to pull your arms back towards your torso to use the reins. Once you are pulling, the halt will not be a forward movement, and you will fall backwards into the horse's (now hollow) back. The only way a halt will be achieved at this point is by more pulling...only a poor halt will be the result.

    Before you halt, shorten your reins to the point that your hands are IN FRONT of the withers. Do not pull, and keep following. The horse should not perceive a difference in the following, so you have to be very relaxed in the arm. THEN do petstorejunkie's recipe for halt. Engage psoas, close thighs (with out doing it to the degree that it pops you out of the saddle), stop following....DO NOT lean back, even a little!

    A good halt is very hard! There is a reason why all tests start and end with them! Don't worry about square or head position until the basic aids are established for both of you. If you do, you will cause more tension around the idea of halting.
    Good luck

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