How to ride a half pirouette with your horse

Struggling to pirouette with your horse? Event rider, Harry Meade, is here to help.

A half pirouette is where your horse turns 180 degrees and his front legs move around his hind legs. 

How to half pirouette

  1. In walk, develop a softness, making sure you haven't got a closed hand. 
  2. Soften the walk into a smaller step, but keeping your horse's neck out.
  3. Raise your inside hand and turn the shoulders of your horse into a pirouette, using the outside leg and outside hand to turn him. 
  4. Gently play the inside hand softly upwards to maintain a soft flexion in that direction and use your inside leg to keep the hind legs stepping in a consistent rhythm.
  5. Count the rhythm of the strides so that the steps are slow and consistent, the horse mustn't stop and he must definitely not have a step of rein back within the pirouette.  

Trying it for the first time 

When teaching a horse to do a pirouette for the first time I always practices 1½ pirouettes rather than ½ pirouettes; this makes it easier for the horse as they have long enough to establish a soft rhythm before riding out of it. 

Pirouettes can be made over-complicated by the rider. The best thing to do is to practice very large ones on a regular basis.

You'll soon develop the coordination of the aids and the strength through your pelvis over time, and before you know it you will find them easy!