anxious at halt - help please! (long sorry)


New Member
Jul 19, 2007
My horse is back in work after being turned away for 3 months because of a sore back. I rebacked him once his back was better and he was understandably anxious about being sat on again, he did nothing, but was visibly shaking the first time someone leant across him. We are now at the stage of hacking and schooling in walk and trot, and getting his confidence back. The only real problem thats causing me worry is when I ask him to halt in the school. He will stand for a few seconds, then try to walk on, if not allowed to he can start to paw the ground, and it feels like he lightens on the forehand too, as if he's going to go up. Now he is a good boy, seriously good, it doesnt generally enter his head to play up, but when his back was sore he actually went vertical with me, and did a few bounces on his front legs previous to that. I am very anxious that he does not go up again, and basically want to know if anybody can advise me how I can get him to relax in halt and accept the restriction of not being able to go forward when he wants to. Im so nervous about him rearing (frightened the bejezus out of me when he went vertical :() and maybe am not being as firm with him as I should be. Please help! Thanks x


New Member
Sep 28, 2005
I think I would try to halt him, and ask him to walk on immediately. Over and over again, every time, sayinig well done, and petting him. Always try to move him on before he moves, so he gets his reward for the halt. Hopefully then you can push to extend the halt from a position of building on success, rather than the current position which feels more like waiting for failure form his point of view.

Next, I'd establish a convenient position to dismount - say, by a mounting block, or near a fence, or whatever, and always get off there. Then, when working him under saddle, whenever he does something truly great, whatever it is, ride straight over to the dismount spot and dismount, continuing ot praise him all the time. Finish the ride there. This establishes the fact that if he really tries for you, he gets rewarded ... and also, that the dismount spot is a happy place. From there, you can start to extend the stand before dismount - because it's already a happy place.

I end most rides, by standing still, doing nothing, for a few minutes. Yours might only be a few seconds at first - but once you've got 'standing still here' fixed as a happy, rewarding place, you can start to build on it.


Trying to escape reality
Apr 26, 2005
Alberta, Canada
I agree with most of what Kate said. Don't try to maintain the halt too much.
Also, make sure that you halt is being asked by through your seat, and not just the reins. Be very soft with your hands and praise him immediately when he stop for a couple of seconds. Sometimes, for horses that get nervous about it, its easier to work on them when they are tired - so there's less energy to get nervous with

laura jeanne

Active Member
Jan 7, 2004
Visit site
"I am very anxious that he does not go up again, "

Maybe he is picking up on your anxiety. I used to ride a school horse that would never stand still. I think I got advice on here to totally relax, which I started doing, and he was much better - would stand during the lesson when the RI was talking to us instead of me having to walk her in circles while the others in the class stood there. This is just a thought and may not be the case for you.


New Member
Sep 28, 2005
Good point there Stormy - but's what's this about 'most' darnit ? Am I losning my touch ? Joseph doesn't get antsy with the actual standing still part, but he did go through a stage of being very bracy during the transition, so I temporarily abandoned all aids for halt (cos I wasn't sure which of htem was making him tense) and went back to a simple verbal command for a while so we could break the tensing habit. Now we're iphasing out the verbal command and it's going well. You might want to try that too if he's getting tense before the actual halt.

Sexy Sietske

New Member
Aug 18, 2006
Just get on and let him walk his anxiousness off. Have long reins and no leg, let him r e l a a a x. . .

If you just sit there and do nothing he may well stop by himself, and when he does reward him and let him walk off on his own accord, if he doesnt then just ask him to step forward. After doing this a couple of times he may well realise that your not going to kill him sat up there, he kinda needs to realise that your the same on his back than your are on the ground and by just being there and stroking him will gain his confidence with a rider.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
maverick.the.paint Trailering my anxious horse Transport and Travelling 3
L Moving day tomorrow. Anxious! Cafe 14
Rubic Anxious horse Training of the Horse and Rider 39
sjp1 Tobes is having Shoes Off tomorrow - am now anxious!! Cafe 14
squidsin Move has made me anxious! Confidence Club 9
KarinUS Super Anxious -Minnie leaving (again) today Cafe 15
KarinUS Anxious about sending her offsite Training of the Horse and Rider 4
juliecwuk Anxious horse - trailer loading Training of the Horse and Rider 41
KP nut Feeling stressed and anxious.... Cafe 8
annareeves0 Anxious dogs Cats, Dogs and other Animals 2
Aimee-x Supplements for nervous/anxious horse Metabolic 8
YASMiN___X0 How to deal with a horse that gets VERY anxious when seperated? Training of the Horse and Rider 7
S Magnesium for nervouse/anxious horse Money Saving Ideas, Tips and Remedies 11
dilaika anxious about the canter.. Training of the Horse and Rider 6
R Stessed/anxious horse Training of the Horse and Rider 9
Lucy_Angel Anxious Horse.. Advice pls! *LONG* General 3
BlueWicked anxious/clingy horses - strategies General 6
Imp Anxious Mum (stupid) Older Riders 7
L Anxious Competing 3
Retty Anxious mum! Horse Care 8
Native Lover Horse bodies considering calling Halt to horse events ( Horse and Hound) Competing 0
Y The dark art of the half halt First Timers 6
Jessey How do you cue a halt? Training of the Horse and Rider 8
Rubic Oh no! My life has come to a halt because.... Cafe 10
Wally The half halt? Training of the Horse and Rider 17
Roxy's Mum Half halt anybody? Training of the Horse and Rider 15
beakysian Teach me transitions from halt Training of the Horse and Rider 4
M Halt to trot........How?? Training of the Horse and Rider 6
Murphley Moo Horses who do not want to halt! Training of the Horse and Rider 7
EnduranceAli Improving halt Other Disciplines 5
B Teaching a horse to halt square Competing 3
xRobyn Downward transitions & halt Training of the Horse and Rider 4
H help with halt please Training of the Horse and Rider 1
Lucyad Improving walk, free walk on a long rein, and halt Competing 1
mudmonster working on a halt Other Disciplines 2
M Halt problems, update...any clearer?? Training of the Horse and Rider 5
M Problems with halt!!!! Training of the Horse and Rider 6
P Transitions and Halt Training of the Horse and Rider 8
joey_olop Riding a please :o Training of the Horse and Rider 5
CL66 How do you train a horse to square halt.... Training of the Horse and Rider 2
D What is the correct way to half halt? Training of the Horse and Rider 1
Twigletz7 Unable to achieve a 'soft halt' Training of the Horse and Rider 4
J Canter HALT Training of the Horse and Rider 4
gail_rose Nose poking in halt - help please!! Training of the Horse and Rider 13
M Teaching halt to trot....clean slate! Training of the Horse and Rider 4
Mistertron Canter to Halt First Timers 6
C Square Halt? Competing 7
redhead123 Square halt? General 10
Mistertron Halt to Canter First Timers 6
wondergirl How do you half halt? General 7

Similar threads