There are many elements to the half pass which can go wrong but the good news is that 90% of the issues can be dealt with really easily. The solution to many half pass issues is energy. It is essential that you create sufficient energy in your horse for him to flow across the arena without labouring. Fact is, it is simply not worth beginning a half pass if your horse’s gait is not energetic as you enter the movement, it will fade, become stuttery, lose bend and just be a ‘puffed up’ leg yield. It is crucial there is no loss of rhythm, tempo or impulsion throughout the movement and this can only be achieved if your horse is forward and energetic.
It is the impulsion that allows you to maintain the momentum and rhythm throughout the movement.
The problem is that the half pass cannot be improved as you execute it.
A good half pass will depend solely on how you prepare and initiate the movement.
Preparation is everything. You should initiate the movement and then cease active aids thus allowing your horse to carry you forward in the half pass. Simply maintain your position and enjoy the ride.
- Keep the bend you have created for the corner
- Half halt and ask for a little shoulder fore. You should therefore be positioning your inside leg forward at the girth to encourage the bend and maintain the impulsion. Keep the inside leg here, bringing it back will confuse the horse whilst he is in full flow.
- The inside rein asks for slight flexion and should be soft and giving (encouraged by the inside leg)
- The outside leg asks the quarters over and encourages the hind legs to step sideways. It should be used intermittently – never on, on more, and more. Use on-off, on-off
- The outside rein positions and controls the outside shoulder of the horse. It is vital that you keep a good contact with the horse’s mouth.
- Your shoulders should match those of your horse. That is slightly in the direction of the half pass, so move the inside shoulder back.
- Look over your horse’s head in the direction of travel
- It is wise to ensure you are established in Travers and Renvers before you move on to half pass.
- Never allow your horse put more weight on one shoulder than on the other.
- If your horse loses quality in the movement; lack of correct bend; quarters leading; inside shoulder falling in; loss of rhythm; stiffness – you should abandon the movement, straighten your horse and ride forward.
- If you get into difficulty, riding a shoulder-in and travers before you re-start the half pass can help establish correct bend and lateral suppleness.
- Your horse’s forehand must remain slightly in front of the quarters.
- Soft and giving inside rein is critical to success. Any issues? Check this first.
Hope this helps,