I was in the tub last night, reading my dressage Today, like I sometimes do, and the article was on the half halt.  I had to chuckle.  I don't know of any other sport that has one element in it that no one can agree on, like the half halt.  It's with the seat, it's with the hand, drive, hold, inside, outside...

What I find most chuckle-inducing is that the best in the world can't tell you what they do, what it is.  They just do it.  It's one of those things that is best done by feel.  It's done in the moment that it's needed, in the way that it's needed and you move on with a more balanced engaged horse.  Personally, I am very lucky, I don't consciously do it.  Gifted as a rider I am not, I just happen to have some feel.  My trainer doesn't dwell on trying to tell me what I should be doing, she doesn't need to.  We end up with more like 'supple', 'balance' and 'more through'.  Terribly precise, no?

Because I happen to have a great trainer, she can also manage to explain it to her riders.  She has one who is not blessed with any feel whatsoever, so far as I can tell.  So, she has meticulously explained precisely what to do when she tells her to half halt, so, that's what she does.  She will talk to me about the 'half halt', I smile and nod. 

The particular article that caused the chuckling had the usual drive, resist, drive sequence which I dislike immensely.  Humans are terrible at having the same definition of words, so 'drive' usually means that people do weird things with their seat and legs.  Resist is usually hauling on the horse, followed again by contortions.  it's a wonder that horses put up with us at all!

If you are blessed with feel, congratulations.  Be patient with anyone who doesn't.  If you don't, it's okay, it's possible to learn to do what you should do, and you can be a lovely talented rider.  But please, don't read too many articles on it...

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