COLLECTING THE PACES
This next exercise focuses on improving your horse’s balance and engagement, which will help your horse halt square as his hind legs will be equally balanced underneath him. Riding transitions within the pace is a great way to check that your horse is listening. It also keeps his hindlegs active, which will help improve how he halts.
a) In working trot, collect the trot for three or four strides and then ride forwards again. b) Repeat this around your arena at every other marker. c) Your horse should remain responsive and light on your aids as you collect him and ride forwards.
Take it up a level
Next, you’re going to ride some collected strides up the centre line. This tests whether you can collect your horse and ride him straight. It also enables you to check that he remains engaged and off his forehand before adding in a halt transition. a) Look up and ahead to the centre line in good time. b) Ride a half-halt to balance your horse as you turn onto the centre line. c) To keep your horse straight, ride with your hands a little lower and wider. d) As you pass over X, collect your horse as if you’re going to halt. e) Maintain a collected trot for a couple of strides before riding forwards again.