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
- In walk, develop a softness, making sure you haven’t got a closed hand.
- Soften the walk into a smaller step, but keeping your horse’s neck out.
- Raise your inside hand and turn the shoulders of your horse into a pirouette, using the outside leg and outside hand to turn him.
- 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.
- 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!