Monday, January 25, 2010

Mon Dieu! Le cheval s'est presque arrêté!

In case you're like me and you don't know any French beyond "Mon dieu!", the title says, "The horse almost stopped", which was as close as the online translator could come to "half halt".

At any rate. We continued to work through the weekend on transitions through the halt, which has resulted in so much improvement. Izzy is much more responsive, both about halting and about going forward. We handled the Doom Bubble all alone on Sunday, and we rode outside in the wind and the mud today.

Here's what the title refers to: after about half an hour of warming up and doing transitions, I asked Izzy to halt, then go again before she stopped. She did it. That means, we did our first quality (and rudimentary) half halt. Obviously, I've had to rebalance her under saddle before, but this one caused a definite change in her way of going. It also confused her somewhat, poor girl.

Other than that, I also introduced backing. I've waited a long time to do this, because in my mind, a horse that rears as an evasion doesn't need any help learning to get her front end light. We have back a few steps here and there, but today I was actually asking for it. I got a variety of reactions. First, she did it. Then she completely locked up and wouldn't do anything. Then she ran backwards and wouldn't stop. We managed to work out a happy medium and just take a few balanced steps back. We're working towards an exercise I read about in which the horse halts, backs, goes forward, backs, etc. The idea is to swing the horse's weight and balance back and forth, which takes a great deal of coordination for both horse and rider.

Sounds good, right?

PS I really like my title. You may see more French in the future, but rest assured, I don't understand more than two words of it.

PPS I'm sorry if you saw this post before I edited it. I accidentally translated to Spanish! Ha. That shows you how much I know about foreign language.


  1. I am pretty sure I will spend the rest of the day laughing at your title and attempt to massage translator into a translation of "Half Halt" haha! Classic!

  2. There has to be a real French term for half halt...after all, most of dressage is in French already. *lol*

    Make sure Izzy keeps here head down when you try the reinback. If she puts it up to resist the bit, go foward at once! Rearing is a dangerous evasion and reinback can provoke it.

    But the reinback and then forward is a good exercise. Do work on reinback to trot, as you will need that in your tests.

    Super about the beginning half halts. That is going to help her learn to engage her hind end. Tons of transitions are essential to good training, and muscle development.

    You both are making great progress. It's exciting to hear of your accomplishments. *S*

  3. Hhhhmmm, that is an interesting exercise that I will have to add into Salem's repertoire.
    I took four years of French, but I clearly don't know any specific horsey terms. But, like Jean said, there is most likely some French terms fordressage terms (although, they are most likely just combinations of other French words -- they are language purists and refuse to add new words to their precious language, lol).

  4. I learn so much reading about you and Izzy!
    And bring on the French! I love it! In fact, I love France!
    Running backwards? Oh dear!


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