Valuing the Horse's Halt

 A picture can tell us so much. This horse was new to the handler, was catagorized as a very "experienced and confident" animal. We had the opportunity to assess him at a clinic. 

 I captured this picture during a "calm"- or not scary looking to the human- moment. This is a great example of a horse completely mentally disconnected from any of his physical actions. 

Have you ever associated the direction of your horse's feet with the direction of his thoughts? How often have you checked in to notice the position of all four feet when at a halt? Have you ever recognizable your horse's weight is and which leg all of his balance is coming from before asking for movement? Have you assessed the horse's inability to mentally connect physically where his feet and body are to find a soft feeling coming into and when leaving the halt with minimal aids verses a contained feeling through strong aids? 

 I see the halt as an opportunity for the horse to mentally check-in with the human, process what has been asked of him, let down any emotions, and get prepared for what will be asked next. It is also feedback to the human as to what the horse needs support in addressing/letting go of to better prepare and be mentally available and physically soft for the next moment. Each one influences the quality of the next.  

Most folks present it as what I call, "an interruption of the horse's forward movement." It feels like a battle, the horse is busy, contained and tight. 

Therefore the halt loses value as a way to support the horse and give the human time to think through scenarios.

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Posted by Alternative Horsemanship Remote Horse Coach on Monday, October 26, 2020