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In principle, the half pass is travers ridden on a diagonal line. It gymnastisizes the horse’s latitudinal axis and develops suppleness of the shoulders and hip joints. It furthermore improves the horse’s ability to carry more weight on the haunches as well as collection. Depending on the required line, dressage tests may ask for a half pass from one long side to the other, from the long side to the centerline – with or without a change of rein – or a zigzag. In a test, they are ridden in the collected trot or collected canter. Some of the most common mistakes are the loss of rhythm or impulsion, lack of cadence, little longitudinal bend, haunches leading, a head tilt, the horse moving on the forehand, or the rider not sitting with a correct weight distribution. In this module, we will show you step-by-step how we develop this movement, continually improve it, and excite our horses about this exercise to ultimately achieve half passes that are playful, dance-like, and performed with impulsion.
The exercises and training tips covered in the videos are available as downloadable PDFs; or you can save them on your smartphone to have them handy at the barn. The reflections for each video will help you analyze your own training, determine areas of focus, and give you an opportunity to jot down notes and questions to ask Jessica and Benjamin at the next online coaching session.