Sit in the Direction of Movement in Half Pass

Many riders lean to the outside in half pass because they use too much outside leg to push their horses sideways. Use your outside leg mainly to help bend your horse around your inside leg and secondarily to ask him to go sideways.

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

Here are 3 quick tips to help you sit in the direction of movement. Let’s say you’re tracking to the right and want to do a right half pass.

1. Think about actually “stepping down into the right iron” as you start the half pass.

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

3. Use the following exercise to help you develop some good muscle memory for using the inside leg and outside rein as the predominant aids in half pass:

  • Turn down the quarterline and leg yield over to the left with a bend (from nose to tail!) toward the wall for a couple of steps.
  • Then start the half pass to the right by stepping down into the inside iron and bringing the outside rein to the right as if you’re going to push your left fist into your horse’s left shoulder.
  • Only do the half pass for a couple of steps and then return to the leg yield with bend to the left. (So you end up doing more leg yield with bend steps than half pass steps)
  • The leg yield to the left with a bend helps you put your inside leg on and also you get to feel the horse stepping from inside leg to outside rein.

Click here for more info on dressage lateral movements.

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