riding up to the halt

Here is a challenge to work on shortening steps and riding up to the halt. This exercise involves slowing and reducing the length of steps before the halt, which will help the horse come to a balanced halt. Instead of leaning into the halt and dropping the chest, the aim of the exercise is to encourage the horse to keep their chest lifted and their front to back balance evenly distributed.

Set up poles in the arena down each long side 8m from each short side that will provide a set of four halt-over-pole obstacles.

Ride around the arena halting over each pole.  After each pole, develop a feel of riding your horse ‘up’ through his body and pay closer attention to straightness from nose to tail until the halfway point between the poles then keeping that ‘up forward’ feeling, gradually reduce the length of each step to finish with a halt over the next pole. Slow and small steps without stopping prior to the halt will improve balance and coordination as the horse will not be using as much momentum to keep their balance.

As you build on this maybe put a trot or canter circle in at B and/or E.

Have fun and enjoy the journey.

3 Obstacle Course

Here is a challenge following on from the previous training exercise of straightness and diagonals. This exercise is a 3 obstacle course to practice navigation, preparation and transitions, straightness, turns, and halts. You will need 2 poles (halt over pole in both directions), 2 cones/posts (switch cup), and a barrel/table (jug lift). This exercise is only completing the halt of the obstacle so you do not need the props (the cup and the jug). Our configuration has the poles in the middle, but feel free to swap the obstacles in each position to mix it up (having the barrel across the diagonal would remove the requirement for a second pole).


Gait between obstacles can be walk, trot, or canter. You can spread out the course further into the arena to give yourself more room between obstacles and/or combine it with the previous challenge #4 to walk shoulder fore turns in the corners.

Start on long side towards K on the left rein.

Halt between two cones (1.2m apart).

Continue straight at your selected gait between obstacles around the arena to B and quarter turn towards X

Halt next to barrel at X (this is set up for right hand).

Continue straight at your selected gait between obstacles towards E. Turn across the diagonal and either take a straight line or make a serpentine left then right and into a half circle to line up straight towards the pole.

Halt over the pole for 5 seconds.

Continue straight at your selected gait between obstacles towards the corner.

Change the rein through a balanced turn at the corner or a serpentine (left then right) or a circle (right) around using the space you need. Repeat on the right rein coming around the corner from F. The line up to the barrel will now be on the left.