The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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 Post subject: 4: School Halt + Video
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:41 am 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 7:51 pm
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School Halt

The School Halt teaches the horse to collect by shifting his weight to the hindlegs. Because of that it's a good preparation for both the piaffe and the levade. In classical dressage it's trained in hand with bridle and whip, but it can easily be done without as horses are really good at mimicking human body language - and in fact the leaning back is nothing more than the first millisecond of backing up. :yes:
So if you can ask your horse to back up and can stop the motion by a reward the second he thinks about leaning backwards/leans back before stepping back, you're at the start of the School Halt.

Video of Romy and Pia training the School Halt at liberty (there are four more videos showing previous stages! :) )


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
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Location: Dresden, Germany
Thanks for giving the School Halt its own sticky, Miriam. :)

For me and my horses, backing up has indeed been an important first step to give them the idea of shifting their weight back. However, this resulted in them leaning back as far as they could, but it did not inspire them to bend their hindlegs. To get that ingredient, we used rearing: I asked for a rear but then already interrupted my cue and rewarded when they were only just initiating the rear without actually doing it.

Descriptions and videos of different people's daily progress in working on this exercise can be found in the Exercise diary of the School Halt.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
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Location: Vienna, Austria
Thanks Romy for linking to the exercise diary - there's so much valuable information there...

I can contribute some videos of Lily and Anna:
Putting weight on the hindlegs

And Mucki and me:
Bending the haunches
Microshaping for School Halt (using wind, rain & mud as environmental cues)

I have noticed a significant difference in the School Halt from the left to the right side when I train with Mucki. When I'm on his left, he has only barely begun to take up weight with his hindlegs, whereas on the other side he usually fully engages his haunches.
I was trying to figure out what that could mean, but I am not even so sure which leg is taking more weight, when I am on his left side? It should be his outside leg that's carrying the most of the weight, shouldn't it? so probably his right hind would be the weaker one?

BTW: great to hear from you again, Miriam! :hug:


The horse owes us nothing.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
hmmm, interesting, Volker. video of this side to side discrepancy?

I know from watching myself - I don't always match my body position/action from left to right. For example in circle work (longeing - like)- I tend to be much more forward (relative to the middle of the horse) going to the right. I also turn my body in different ways - I tend to face the horse more from his right side... So I would suggest reviewing your cues, doing them slow motion away from the horse - just imagine him there. You may be able to figure out the difference by moving your imaginary horse from your right to your left :)

Unless, of course, your School Halts involve bend or flexion? - that could affect the horse...

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