How to Ride the Half Pass
Updated: Jan 29
Ready to make the leap to from Second to Third level this next show season? Congrats! It's big step! Um... hello - flying changes! But that's another post...
Another big "new thing" we have to show in the Third level tests is the half pass. Do a little Google-ing and you'll find many explanations and diagrams of how to ride this movement... and to be honest, most of those descriptions confuse the heck out of me. Yes, when I was first learning to ride half passes, I felt so lost in the arena! How do I keep my horse correctly aligned? How do I keep my body correctly aligned? How much forward? How much sideways? Aw f---, where the heck am I even going?
For my little brain, I learned a way to make this movement oh-so-simple... Remember your travers/haunches in from 2nd level? The half pass is just Travers on a diagonal line!
Really - that's it. If you successfully showed at 2nd level (and if you're ready to think about 3rd level, yes, you and your horse had better be able to execute those 2nd level movements!), then you know how to ride a haunches in/travers.
And guess what? If you can ride haunches in, you can ride a half pass!
How to ride the half pass, with correct alignment every single time-
Look at the letter you want to go to.
Line that letter up between your horse's ears.
Ride haunches in on that line.
BOOM - you have a correctly aligned half pass!
Try this exercise:
Start by tracking left. Ride a ten meter circle left in the corner at H.
As you finish the circle, prepare to ride across the diagonal, as if you were going to change rein.
Line up F in between your horse's ears, just like you would if you were going to ride straight across the diagonal.
As you finish your circle and head across the diagonal, move your outside (right) leg back to take your horse's haunches to the inside.
Ride haunches in across the diagonal line between H and F. Pretend you have an imaginary rail line across that diagonal. Ride your haunches in just like you would if you were going straight in a 2nd level test.
Ride haunches in all the way to the rail at F. Once you hit the rail, put your new (right) inside leg on and pull the bit apart with your hands (especially your left hand - new outside rein).
Ride forward to both reins into the corner going the new direction. Finish with a ten meter circle in the corner of the new direction.
That's your half pass! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!