3 Tips to Keep You From Leaning to the Outside in Half Passes

I think the main reason riders lean to the outside in half pass is that they use too much outside leg to push their horses sideways. So here are 3 quick tips to help you sit in the direction of movement.

1. Pretend there’s a seam running down the middle of your saddle from pommel to cantle. Then visualize yourself moving your outside seatbone onto that center seam so you don’t get left behind.

2. Think about actually taking a "step down into the inside iron" as you start the half pass.

3. Remember that the predominant aids in half pass need to be inside leg and outside rein…not outside leg pushing sideways and inside hand cranking the neck around to fake a bend.

One of my favorite exercises to insure that the rider has some good muscle memory for using the inside leg and outside rein in half pass is to:

- Turn down the quarterline and leg yield with a bend (from nose to tail!) toward the wall for a couple of steps.

- Then start the half pass by stepping down into the inside iron and using the outside rein in the direction you want to go.

- Only do the half pass for a couple of steps and then return to the leg yield with bend. (So you end up doing more leg yield with bend steps than half pass steps).

-The leg yield with bend helps you put your inside leg on and also you get to feel the horse stepping from inside leg to outside rein.

A Happy Horse

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Comment by SUSIE-SOLOMON-MABE on January 29, 2010 at 9:59pm
and as for the word drive - allow me to state I mean the horse moves forward,, at a walk or a trot or a canter, and has his haunches under him, sending him , forward, just so there are no mistakes over my use of one word here or there.......:)
Comment by SUSIE-SOLOMON-MABE on January 29, 2010 at 9:48pm
I love shoulder in and start with this in all warm up work and leg yields with the horse fairly straight- not bent in the opposite direction ever. Even in the beginning the shoulder into the corner and then up the 1/4 line, and driving forward, ever forward, and over will start the work for the half pass- and the horses love this new adventure.
Comment by marthaG on January 29, 2010 at 9:17pm
That is so interesting. My view is that when the horse is actively moving in front of the leg, the outside leg and inside leg merely suggest the angle of the direction of movement. I always ask for a few strides of shoulder in to confirm that the horse is in balance, is correctly passing the movement through the bit, and then poof it seems easy. If someone is sitting on the outside, it is less, in my opinion a matter of the rider working his outside leg too much, as a matter of the horse not being prepared for the forward and graceful forward movement that the half pass should represent. So, if my horse looses amplitude and balance during the half pass, and I find that I am no longer equally weighted on my seat bone, then a red flag goes up and I immediately sense that my horse has lost the proper rotation, which I reestablish in the shoulder in or a circle. I cannot speak to the situation in the show ring, I do not show. Unfortunately, what I witness in the show ring way too often, and with top riders showing top young horses in the lower levels for "practice" is a leg yield that is rewarded as a shoulder in. When the shoulder in is real, and creating balance and a true demonstration of a horse passing the movement through the shoulders, and in front of the leg. there will be no effort in the half pass, and no falling off to the outside by the rider who has been displaced by the improper rotation of the horses vertebral column. Does that make any sense to anyone? Unfortunately, I sense this is the big problem with schooling for the shows...

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