THE EASIEST way to teach a horse the half pass is to begin with a circle back, and half pass. This allows the the horse to start at a shorter line then center line to long side, or as later on, long side to long side. In the circle back the most important aid is the riders inside leg, which makes sure the horse goes forward, and is responsible for correct bend.
Going into the half pass the riders outside aids interrupts the circle, making it step sideways, and lead the horse back on the bent line to the wall from which we started. We make sure the neck is not bent more then the whole body, as too dramatic neck bend hinders elasticity, fluency and freedom of the horses’ legs. As in all lateral work, except the shoulder in, the riders weight should be shifted into the direction of the movement, and the inside leg well pressed down. To start a half pass from the wall or center line you start in a shoulder-in (putting the horse’s forehand on the line of travel or pointing the shoulders to the letter where you want to arrive), then putting your weight to the inside and bringing the horse over with your weight and the outside leg. (Starting from a circle gives you that shoulder in for free).
When riding the half pass at competition the judes normally looks at:
1. Willingness. That it seems the horse is happy and confident to displace his haunches and comes with a little ‘jump’ of enthusiasm into the half pass. Hopefully your judge prioritise willingness to perfect angle with resistance and lack of quality.
2. Consistency of angle. That the angle of the bend and point of travel doesn’t change.
3. Rider’s position. This is a good move to show the judge you’re making it easy for your horse to to the job. Weither you help your horse or are in his way in the half pass it will likely have an impact on the rider-effectiveness score in the Collective Marks.
4. Preparation. That the rider clearly prepare and start with the shoulder in. Not falling sideways the second the horse is on center line.l
5. Accuracy. That the combination start and end at the correct spots. Ending early does not give extra credits unfortunatly! The point is that the rider has control of the lateral movement as well as the forward impulsion and cadence.
6. The very important Cadence and submission to the bend. The well-executed half pass has lateral reach, elevation of the shoulders as well as a correct cadence and uphill balance.
Ah, I LOVE this move!