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Another halt question

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  • Another halt question

    I have a 17 year old TB mare that has not really been ridden in about 6 years. I have had her since she was 4, and we used to do a lot of showing in hunters and pleasure locally. I am slowly and carefully getting her back into shape, riding 2-3 days a week for now. One issue I have run into is that, being a TB, she does not like to stop. Getting into a decent, engaged halt has always been challenging to her. Perhaps because it is easier to just get strung out and halt any old way and that is her way of evading?? I dont know, but I want to fix it if I can, just because it bugs me, not that we will be showing or anything. In my youth (and ignorance) I was taught to halt you pull on the reins and say whoa. Obviously that results in the strung out, open mouthed, sort of halt that takes several strides too long. I do not want to use a harsher bit because I know that is just a bandaid. I am using a figure 8 noseband on her, and even fairly loose (I always feel bad when I tighten it) it is helping remind her to keep her mouth shut. (It is loose enough that she can sort of chew the bit but tight enough she cant really open her mouth) I have tried asking her "properly" by driving her forward into my hands and just closing my fingers on the reins, but she just gets irritated, probably because she feels like I am giving her conflicting aids. Any tips? Sorry for the novel and TIA!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

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  • #2
    Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
    I have a 17 year old TB mare that has not really been ridden in about 6 years. I have had her since she was 4, and we used to do a lot of showing in hunters and pleasure locally. I am slowly and carefully getting her back into shape, riding 2-3 days a week for now. One issue I have run into is that, being a TB, she does not like to stop. Getting into a decent, engaged halt has always been challenging to her. Perhaps because it is easier to just get strung out and halt any old way and that is her way of evading?? I dont know, but I want to fix it if I can, just because it bugs me, not that we will be showing or anything. In my youth (and ignorance) I was taught to halt you pull on the reins and say whoa. Obviously that results in the strung out, open mouthed, sort of halt that takes several strides too long. I do not want to use a harsher bit because I know that is just a bandaid. I am using a figure 8 noseband on her, and even fairly loose (I always feel bad when I tighten it) it is helping remind her to keep her mouth shut. (It is loose enough that she can sort of chew the bit but tight enough she cant really open her mouth) I have tried asking her "properly" by driving her forward into my hands and just closing my fingers on the reins, but she just gets irritated, probably because she feels like I am giving her conflicting aids. Any tips? Sorry for the novel and TIA!
    Keeping in mind that the last time I did this properly was several years ago, for a good halt, I recall:

    1. A half halt somewhere a little prior to the halt, just to say 'hey, we're gonna do something now'

    2. Close with your hands to 'contain' the forward from your leg, but also you kind of stop following with your seat - it's not just that suddenly there's no give to the reins, there's a seat aid also saying 'stop' instead of 'go'.

    You do sometimes need to keep a bit of leg on, depending on the horse, but remember to take it off once you feel you're halting. If you keep it on after you've stopped it is going to be confusing/annoying and you may actually get a back rather than a halt. (It's hard to describe what I mean by halting - you don't necessarily keep it on until the horse is actually stopped, but until the horse is committed to the nicely organized halt. It reminds me personally an awful lot of how my dad taught me to stop at lights and stop signs when driving the car - you don't just put your foot on the brake and hold it there, once you feel that the car's momentum has been significantly slowed you can ease up just slightly on the brake and you avoid that annoying 'jerk' at the end of the stop. Same sort of idea, identifying that point during the halt where you change what you're asking for.)

    (For the curious, part of why my dad taught me to stop like that when I was learning to drive is my mom has back and neck problems, and the 'jerk' could be quite uncomfortable for her. So you get the car stopped, and you get it stopped where you want it - not past the sign or anything - but smoothly.) (I actually failed my first driver's test because my stops were TOO smooth and the test guy complained I wasn't stopping. The car was at a stop. It was going 0mph. It was stopped where it was supposed to be. I did not slow down ridiculously ahead of the stop. But apparently it only counts if there's a jerk when you stop. Feh.)

    Anyway. Does that help at all?

    (I don't think teaching a horse a "whoa" stop is actually bad, btw. It isn't what you want for dressage, of course, but on the other hand - ANY horse should have a nice solid 'stop' button, even if the stop isn't tidy. Because someday you might need it, and in an emergency you're not going to care how square the halt is.)

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      It reminds me personally an awful lot of how my dad taught me to stop at lights and stop signs when driving the car - you don't just put your foot on the brake and hold it there, once you feel that the car's momentum has been significantly slowed you can ease up just slightly on the brake and you avoid that annoying 'jerk' at the end of the stop. Same sort of idea, identifying that point during the halt where you change what you're asking for.)

      (For the curious, part of why my dad taught me to stop like that when I was learning to drive is my mom has back and neck problems, and the 'jerk' could be quite uncomfortable for her. So you get the car stopped, and you get it stopped where you want it - not past the sign or anything - but smoothly.) (I actually failed my first driver's test because my stops were TOO smooth and the test guy complained I wasn't stopping. The car was at a stop. It was going 0mph. It was stopped where it was supposed to be. I did not slow down ridiculously ahead of the stop. But apparently it only counts if there's a jerk when you stop. Feh.)

      [/QUOTE]

      That is exactly the same thing my dad taught me, too!!

      Thanks, that does help
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      http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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      • #4
        Ask your mare for her hind feet to be under her, together. It will take patience and nagging, daily & for weeks & months on end. Eventually it will become habit. And continue practicing your square halts forever.
        Your aides for the halt will have to be consistent. Have someone or the ground or riding nearby tell you which hindfoot is out (not in place), do not worry about the squareness of the front feet--they will fix themselves in time.

        Start from walk to halt, or trot to halt, do not do them at the same place all the time. On circles, on 3/4 line, different place on centerline.

        Comment


        • #5
          Does she understand to give to bit pressure from the ground?

          To halt, I would first make sure your hips are following her movement at the walk. Then I would stretch up and back with your shoulders, weight to the front of the saddle, and lift your hands. Resist the urge to pull. Say whoa if needed. She should feel the change in your body (no longer following) and halt...it may take a lot of steps at first, so repeat as needed by asking her to walk 5-10 steps and then ask again until you get the halt in 2-4 steps.

          When you ask her to walk, expect a crisp transition.

          Once you get a good halt/walk/halt, then you can move to walk/trot/walk/halt/walk/trot and so on. By expecting crisp upward transitions and by not pulling down into her downwards transitions she should learn to balance herself so she is ready to do what you want next.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by CHT View Post
            Does she understand to give to bit pressure from the ground?
            She does, although it seems that when she is getting warmed up she is less responsive, once she is warmed up she gets more responsive. Thanks for the tips everyone!
            http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

            http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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            • #7
              Halting is merely a down transition. It can be the most difficult down transition, so start with the other transitions first. When you can get good canter to trot, trot to walk, and canter to walk transitions (in a good, forward, soft, leg-to-hand manner) THEN you are ready to ask for halt transitions. I always do those last because they are the hardest for most horses to understand how to do correctly, especially if they haven't mastered the others.

              Comment


              • #8
                If a horse 'gives to the bit' (flexes rather than chews) then halts will always be slow to occur, pushing against the bit, and unclosed behind/not square. Additionally the bit (if the horse is too closed) will act on the bars rather than the corners of the lips lightly. And if the hand comes first, the horse will bear against it too easily.

                For a halt to occur the horse must know something is coming. Hence alert half halts. A horse quickly learns hh/hh/transition first, then halt. At the beginning it may be more than three strides (TIMED hh), but they learn to change their balance and halt. The seat is 'stilled' for the halt/no longer following the movement. And the indications comes first from the seat/leg and meets the hand (like a ball meeting a backboard).

                Although there are horses which do not always 'closed'/square immediately, the quality of the halt reveals the state of balance. If the horse is too low/closed/short in the neck the horse will likely not be squared. When re-schooling, Part of the balance/squareness/immediacy/crispness is if the horse is (literally) up to the hand in the first place. You might even want to have the horse really up (almost a smidge of hollowed) the first couple of requests. The horse WILL then immediately do a full stop. Then refine it.

                I love tbs, have trained many of them. TBs are very smart, and that means easily learning everything very quickly. It is your imput, not her breed which is the obstacle. When a horse gets irritated by your aids, change your aids. Driving a horse into a holding hand only breeds horses which are against the hand/leaning/tenses. If you have ever tried transitions on a lunge (no hands), it is as simple as stilling the seat (pulling yourself deeper/not driving).
                I.D.E.A. yoda

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ideayoda has a great post. TB's don't usually put up with too much hand, so you need to ask for the halt from the seat. Start with walk to halt transitions done with only the stilling/holding of the seat. If your horse does not understand then apply a light, restraining hand aid until the horse stops. Praise and repeat until the horse anticipates the rein aid and stops from the stilling of the seat. TBs are smart and learn FAST so it won't take long. Then you can go to trot-walk and then trot-halt with the seat only. Eventually working up to canter-walk etc. But be SURE that you have a swinging, following seat to begin with, otherwise there will be no difference to the horse between that and the still/holding seat.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even light restraining is holding, there has to be individual timed actions (hh or demi arrets) depending upon what the balance needs. And for me stilling the seat (ceasing to follow) is not holding.
                    I.D.E.A. yoda

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great answer from Ideayoda.

                      It is a case where you must learn to ride her more from your body ( seat and legs) and less from your hands. In an ideal world you would be longed without reins on a horse that understood half halts and halts without reins.

                      TB, those that have raced, listen very well to the rider's body. Just watch jockey's bodies and arms , they have a rating rhythm and position, and a let's go rhythm and position. They also have a come back to a walk, and a stand here, rhythm and position, the later being a body that is stopped and not moving except to stay in balance. Yes they use the reins, but it is their body that does most of the talking.
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        But you need also to check that your horse has a degree of suppleness and is not just straight as a board. The horse needs to be in relative straightness to some degree. O'wise, going into the halt or any d'ward transition, the body is just plowing into itself.

                        It would also help to see if the horse knows how to respond to suppling at the poll with the reins (rider in saddle), where it draws on one and then the other. This motion frees the muscles and will add to its suppleness.

                        The horse should be in front of the leg, too, otherwise, to me, the rider is being fanciful about using the seat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          do you know how to half halt if not look here

                          as the half halt informs a horse something going to change via direct signal

                          she may be waiting for you to half halt her in to halt and if you not used to using the half halt stride in between each transtition then your just riding wtc and mightbe sending her mixed messages as in not instructing her with a direct signal of a change of gear and as she s 17yrs ld might know or might have trianed so shes anstipating what your asking hence the rush or adavsion

                          so when she comes down to halt your not asking with your seat and legs aids only asking via the hand which isnt quite correct

                          if you have an instrcutor and they woht a light they will explain what the half is and does if they cant answer your question then move to another trianer
                          as the answer is in the above a half halt stride is a stride that informs the horse something going to chnage via direct signal, this stride is used in downwards gears and upward gears as visa versa triansitions

                          look here i explain how to do the half halt stride on page one

                          http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=178116

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