How to ride the half pass

The half-pass is a very challenging movement for both horse and rider as the horse must bend in the body AND move sideways.  At first, half passes feel awkward and confusing, so here are a few tips to help break things down.

Pre-requisites for half-passes:

  1. Shoulder-in
  2. 10 meter circle
  3. Haunches-in

You must be able to ride these 3 movements before attempting to ride a half-pass, and whenever you are having trouble with a half-pass, go back to these exercises.

The aids for a half pass are:

  • Inside leg at the girth for bend in the body
  • Outside leg behind the girth for bend and to bring the outside hind leg over
  • Sitting on the inside seat bone
  • Outside rein to bring the shoulder over
  • Inside rein for flexion and to keep the more looking in the direction of travel

Be sure to make a conscious effort to stay sitting on the inside seat bone as centrifugal force will want to put you out over the outside seat bone. It is also really important to keep your horse looking where they are going.  Pick a letter and be sure to keep that letter between your horses’ ears for the half pass.

The easiest way to set up a half pass is to turn across the diagonal.  Once you have established your diagonal line, keep your horses’ head and shoulders on the line and ride haunches-in!

This works like magic and really helps to simplify the half pass for both the horse and the rider!

Be sure to watch the video for some awesome drone footage of half pass and for another great exercise that you can use to improve your half passes!


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