Ride With Your Mind coach Karin Major explains what to do and what not to do when asking for a half-halt.

Half-halt may not be the same for every person in every situation. Basically, it’s a means of bringing a horse back into balance, and how to achieve this depends on how and why the horse and rider are out of balance in the first place.

Often this phrase is heard when the instructor is seeing the pace is too fast to achieve a good transition or movement, so the horse’s balance is too forward.

There are many ways in which a rider may be out of balance.

Within the Ride With Your Mind network we don’t ‘teach half-halt’. Instead we organise the rider to organise their horse.

When your horse rebalances himself (a half-halt), we draw your attention to the fact that this has happened and what you may have changed to achieve it.

You can practice these techniques both on the ground and in the saddle to get a feel for correct position and strengthen your core.


  • Lean forwards or backwards from the vertical position
  • Hollow or round your back
  • Grow tall, breathing into upper chest
  • Push down in the stirrups, lifting up your seat bones
  • Pull back on the reins
  • Take your thighs off and go ‘bum heavy’


  • Stay on the vertical — shoulders, hips, ankles all aligned
  • Keep front and back of body the same length
  • Keep your ribs down, breathing into your lower belly
  • Keep your feet light, seat bones down
  • Passive resist — a short hold/resist
  • Keep your thighs on the saddle, supporting your bodyweight.

Read more of Karin’s advice in the Ask the Experts pages in our latest issue.

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