If your horse can take a few steps sideways to do a full-pass you are ready to start teaching it to do a half-pass. Half-passes teach obedience that is useful both on trail and in the show ring. It’s best to work in a fenced ring or an arena as this provides straight lines to guide you.
Time Required: Varies
- At a walk, start out in one corner and walk to centerline and turn down the center, keeping a straight line.
- Now aim for a point, perhaps the middle of the long side of the arena, but instead of turning your horse and walking in a straight line you are going to ask it to do a half-pass.
- The cue for the half-pass is similar to the full-pass. To do a half pass to the right begin the cue by pulling the right rein slightly sideways, opening up the space between the horse’s neck and rein, and with the left hand laying the left rein against the neck almost as if you are neck reining.
- Almost at the same time, apply leg aid behind the cinch or girth on the left side, but also apply slight pressure with the right leg so the horse is pushed forward. The aid on the left side should be substantially stronger than the right so your legs push your horse to the right and forward.
- To cue the horse to do a half-pass to the left, reverse the aids.
- Only ask for a few steps at a time. Two or three accurate and obedient steps are more productive than half-passing across the whole arena with your horse unbalanced and resistant. Aiming for a particular point along the outside track is a way for you to maintain accuracy so you cue your horse for a consistent degree of angulation. The degree of the angle is not as important as the accuracy you ride with. In the beginning, ride the half-pass in shallow, rather than steep angles.
- As your horse becomes more balanced and responsive ask for more and more sideways steps. You eventually will be able to half-pass across the full diagonal of the arena. As you and your horse gain confidence and skill, you will be able to trot/jog the half-pass.
- Practice the half-pass every so often when riding in the ring or on the trail. This reinforces the lessons and you can be assured your horse will obedient when you need him to be.
- Be happy with small successes.
- Even after the horse has learned its lesson, review every so often.
- Teach the side pass first.
What You Need
- Horse, saddled and bridled
- Safe working area such as a ring or arena.
- Optional: Clicker and treats
- Lots of time and patience.
- Boots or Safety Stirrups