I’ve been playing around with the different versions of the Centered Riding half-halts by riding a working walk 20 meter square and then adding in a half-halt before and after each corner. Starting with the mildest version of a re-balancing, just exhaling and centering, for a couple of corners, then moving on to the “Center and Grow” half-halt, and then adding in either leg or shoulders down or both sequentially. I have to tell you this has been a game changer. How have I been riding this long and not really known the aids for a half-halt?
I don’t know if it’s because Jet is already relaxed, balanced, and with matching energy as per Dressage Naturally and that is why the HH’s work so well in all the different versions, but it is just amazing. Or is it because I am finally sitting up that helps? I rode him bareback yesterday inside and everything was so easy to sit and it was so instant to get an active stretch. Today, in the Dressage court, I fooled around with the half-halts on the square after some working gaits to warm up, and then did 2-1 just to see where we are. The trot work was excellent and the canter work was just ok, but I could feel myself struggling with the timing of the half-halts in the canter. Jet was very good and quiet, but not as balanced as he could be. Something to work on. Maybe with more bareback walk canter walk transitions?
Anyway, I still haven’t really reconciled the Centered Riding “Center and Grow” half-halt with the Dressage Naturally “talk about the effect you want to have not the aids to use” system. I feel like this sequence of aids makes everything so much easier. The halts are better. The transitions are crisper. The working gaits are more through. Collection is a thing now. I did a half pass at the walk to finish the ride today and added mild half-halts during the half pass. It was so good and felt so upright and I could distinctly feel the inside hind coming more under after every half-halt. Best half pass ever, like magic. Who knew?
What have you been taught about the half-halt and how has your understanding changed over time? Really curious about other riders’ experiences.