Continuing ‘The Novice Test’ series of posts, the entry and halt at X is your chance to make a good impression. A good halt is an indicator that you have the basics right, so don’t squander the opportunity to make the judge sit up and take notice of you.
At the lower levels it is acceptable to ride a progressive transition from trot to halt. The judge would prefer a few steps of walk than your horse screeching to a stop.
The Novice Test has a number of different places where the halt may be asked for:
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- X – Halt Immobility Salute
- G – Halt immobility Salute
- D – Halt Immobility Salute
Followed by either –
- Leave the arena or
- Proceed in working trot
Then there’s the halt in the middle of the test:
- A Halt. Immobility for 4 seconds and proceed in medium walk
Continue reading The Novice Test. Halt, Immobility, Salute
Collecting easy points with a good square halt at x or rather ensuring that you don’t lose easy points is a priority. Your entry and halt at x is your chance to make a good impression; to get the judge sitting up and taking note that someone who can ride has just entered the arena.
At the lower levels it is ok to ride a progressive transition from trot to halt, the judge would prefer a few steps of walk than your horse screeching to a stop.
Here’s what to do … think of the halt as just that – a halt; a suspension of the movement; a temporary stop; your horse should be on the aids and waiting for his next instruction!
If you have finished the test, you will give the rein and the horse will know it is the end. If you are starting a test, you will give the instruction to continue but the horse should be primed and ready for that next instruction. He has not stopped, he has halted … temporarily.
It follows then that the halt should be ‘stepped into’ rather than allowing him to trail out behind and amble to a stop. You need to teach your horse to halt from your seat and into a steady contact.
Just as an aside … I have seen some pretty extravagant salutes. For the salute, all you do is drop your arm, try gently touching the saddle cloth to make sure your fingers are not flapping (or gesturing!) and that your arm isn’t too wide. No need to raise your arm to your head and for goodness sake do not salute with your whip in your saluting hand! The judge will be very offended.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
If you are unable to execute a square halt, it’s not down to your horse!
It requires training. Make it a habit for your horse and teach him to always stand square – even for mounting, dismounting, grooming etc. If the horse is not square, step forward, always forward – never back to correct.
Attempting Trot to Halt transitions, my little horse did not seem to be able to understand how to stand still! (there I go again blaming the horse).
“It’s all about your balance at the point you wish to halt and for every second you wish to continue halting. If your legs are too far forward or too far back, you are not in balance.
Your horse will take your cues but what you think you are asking for isn’t what you are actually asking her for, hence your horse will fidget.
You must be still in your seat and hands, not heavy. Your legs should hang down, neither forward of the girth, nor back – you must find the spot which says ‘halt’.”
I have tried this, with my horse still fidgeting, even going backwards or ambling to halt.
Then I found “THE SPOT” – the place my legs should be which says ‘halt’. WOW – stood like a rock and powered off into the trot when I asked.
So the horse understands us perfectly, we just need to become more fluent in their language.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster