The half pass is one of the most beautiful movements in dressage. Love how it travels forward and sideways at the same time. In the half pass the horse is shaped as in traverse. But it has a seed of should
er in imbedded in it. That’s how I prefer to think about it at least. For me both these elements has to work together and I love starting half pass from the shoulder in. Coming from #academicartofriding it’s natural for me to start with this in walk. It’s such a great gymnastic tool and helps so much with our horses coordination skills.
I do half pass from several positions. Here with lovely Whisper we do it from the long reining position where my position represents the outside hind leg. Here we have tack on but I will go through how I start this movement, which is from liberty, making sure that all the components mentioned below work before I put tack on. '
What position you work from will change the components some but for me I almost always start working in front of the horse. Where I walk backwards facing the horse. This gives me great overview of the horse.
Here we have the components I mostly use. One could probably change the cavesson target for some shoulder influence very easily. For me the cavesson target is an important tool for other dressage movements so I prefer to use that though.
This is us during the later part of the build up phase, starting to put our components together after first teaching them separately. Note that this is not the end position I prefer for this behaviour, but a really good position to start help the horse get the direction of the movement.
I consider the liberty walk to be the foundation here. This is my start, as well as my exit. If things turn out to be too much: return to liberty walk.
Following a nose target comes next. Here we use the cavesson target and Frodi has a well established search for the hand. This is important. Im looking for the same soft elastic two way contact as I do in riding.
I would put hind end target last here. Why?
Because I often see riders struggle with getting hind end influence AND bend at the same time so I prefer high fluency on the nose target. My verbal cues is used to start and stop and sometimes to change the frame with asking for more energy or a transition to the trot. But here in the build up phase, this is rare in my training. I want the horse to have fluency in the movement and coordination before changing things up to much even if theres a lot of variety to this anyway. My own position here is used to assist the bend and to make the direction of the hand target clearer. Later on in our training I will move more in front of Frodi to match our shoulders.
And finally Najagg. Me trying to help shoulder placement with the useage of tha mat. Najagg has a very nice understanding of the mat and will seek the mat out if it's in the environment (and we activated it). So with this in mind I try to focus on the shoulder placement and gradually add the tactile cue, in this case the outside rein.