By Eliza Sydnor Romm
I learned this exercise from Scott Hassler. I’ve found it very helpful for horses who are still in the learning stages of half-pass.
Ride down centerline, preparing half-pass right. When you land on the track, keep the horse positioned in the half-pass, which will now be renvers (haunches out) down the rail. Cut the corner, keeping the horse in renvers. Come onto the second quarter line, still in renvers. Once straight on the quarter line, ride half-pass right again to the rail, land in renvers and repeat. Same exercise to the left.
This helps the horse to “settle” in the positioning of half-pass, keeping the bend and keeping the haunches displaced. It allows the rider to work on improving each piece of the half-pass – more bend, more haunches, controlling the shoulders, etc, without having to straighten and start over.
Pitfalls – it is often difficult to sit into the direction of the half-pass. Take time in the renvers pieces of this exercise to make sure you’re sitting IN the direction of the bend (right for half-pass right, left for half-pass left.) Also, once you hit the quarter line in renvers, take a moment to put the horse’s shoulders IN FRONT of his haunches before riding those few half-pass steps to the rail. The half-pass after the renvers should feel easy, because riding renvers through the corners is hard! But you don’t want to make your horse lead with his haunches in the half-pass.
About the Certified Instructor
Eliza Sydnor Romm is an FEI rider and trainer based in Snow Camp, NC. She is a USDF Certified Instructor Training-Fourth Level, successful competitor through Grand Prix and popular clinician. Eliza, and her assistant trainer, Kate Tackett, work with horses and riders of all levels and specialize in starting young horses under saddle. Visit www.elizasydnordressage.com for more information, find her on FB @ElizaSydnorDressage, and subscribe to her YouTube channel for some great instructional videos!