April 2010

I talked to Brad and Denero is doing great….He did 14 one tempi changes in a row on Fri..Whoohoo! Now we will see if I can do that also. Cann’t wait to go out and get my own lessons and see my boy. One more week and I will be on my way!


Had a great ride on Krizzy…down the road and through the woods…she was fantastic!

Denero is settled into his new home…he may not want to come home to Minnesota next month.  I miss him already…will be seeing him in two weeks when I go back for my own training.


What fun….we are lucky to have Brad back this Thursday the 15th. He will be doing lessons here starting at 2:45.   Brian, Mariah, Cassie, Ashley, Amanda, Stacy and Gen are all taking a lesson with him.   I will be on my way to Brads farm in MI with Denero for a month of training for ourselves.      

 Potluck dinner…let me know asap what you would like to bring….I am counting on you riders etc. to help him feel welcome and taken care of.  Rachael from SS will bring him down and return him to Brainerd.

We have 7 rides scheduled.   If you would like to ride on Friday there are lessons available at SS Equine Center in Brainerd. (formerly Fourwinds)

What a fun weekend….big improvements in both horse and riders….

Thank you…you all worked so hard, it was a pleasure to teach you!  Well done!

Note the corrected dates for the summer camps…

They should be….    June 7-10…June 14-17…..July 5-8….July 19-22….Aug 16-19

Sorry for the mix up….

Passing along one way of describing the mystical Half Halt.

 The half halt is both complex and simple. How does that saying go? It’s simple, but it’s not easy!! I think that really applies to the half halt. When you get it right, it’s so simple, you wonder why you don’t get it right 90% of the time! However, it does get more consistent and your success ratio improves, the more you practice it, and the more clear you are with your expectations and your aids. Ultimately, a slight breath out and a touch of the leg/s should be enough to get the horse to shift his balance back to the hind end and step under with the hind leg which is essentially a half halt.

Here’s, how to be clear with your aids: First, the half halt requires three things: active hind legs, bending and step under of the hind legs, and enough brakes that the front end doesn’t just run off when you apply the aids that help the hind legs. However, the brakes can’t really be in the reins. (Read the recent article in the USDF magazine where an expert reining horse rider talks about the importance of not using the reins for brakes.) Anyway, here are the steps I teach to help students attain a good half halt:

1. your calves/whip activates the hind legs to make them quick and get them to step forward. If you primarily focus on the inside leg, it will help you “think sideways” which will help you remember to use your leg! This also pushes the horse into the outside rein, a key goal for a dressage rider. (A turn on the forehand can reinforce this aid if the horse blows you off.)

2. Your seat (that is, your upper body and abdominal core strength that prevents rocking motion of your shoulders and gives the horse the stability and balance) asks the horse to bend the hind legs. This may require a slight or even a large tucking under of your fanny. When the horse is light to the aids, this is completely imperceptible. But for some, and often in the beginning, it may seem extreme. However, if your back is arching, like most women/girls love to do, you’ll never get a good half halt. The horse can’t just get active with the hind legs, or place them further under the body if you arch your back. His body mirrors yours.

3. The inside rein can be used to support the action of the inside leg. This is the last aid, not the first, and should be use if the horse blows off the half halt from seat and legs alone. Then, and only then, should the inside rein support their action. However, often both reins and both legs may be needed if the horse is avoiding the action of the aids by throwing the hindquarters to the outside.

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