Winning basic dressage points with a good square halt and making sure you don’t lose points on basic dressage movements.
A good square halt is something that every dressage rider should aspire to, at all levels.
Instill the right discipline at home and it’s another easy mark in the bag.
The Dressage Judge is looking for a square halt, with the horse standing quietly and not tossing the head or mouthing the bit.
Initially, the horse should be schooled to halt quietly without fidgeting; the specifics of standing square can come afterwards.
Try to work on standing square with an instructor or a horsey friend, as you don’t want to be leaning down to check the feet and unbalance the horse.
Lower level Dressage
At the lower levels it is OK to ride a progressive transition from trot to halt.
The judge would rather see a few steps of walk than your horse screeching to a stop.
Ride your horse into the halt so he steps up into it, rather than trails to a stop.
Halt at X
Don’t always practice halting at the same marker, ie, ‘X’ as your horse will start to anticipate the halt.
If your horse is trailing a hindleg, quietly ask him to step forward with your corresponding leg, maintaining a holding contact with the bit to reassure that you are not asking your horse to walk on.
Make sure you only ask for one correction at a time, or you will teach your horse to fidget.
Make sure you are immobile before saluting.
When saluting, take the reins into one hand. The free hand should be lowered to your side, and you should nod the head with a wide smile.
There should be no extravagant hand gestures, or waves. Simply drop your arm.
You could try gently touching the numnah to make sure your fingers aren’t flapping, and that your arm isn’t too wide.
Always, always school your horse to stand quietly while you mount.
This simple little discipline will help you develop good square halts in the dressage arena. And, to make sure you don’t miss out on basic dressage points due to a badly executed halt.