36 exercises to practise in 5 weeks before Steve Halfpenny comes back to Ireland!

By , May 21, 2016 1:20 pm

It was wonderful to ride at Tanja’s clinic a few weeks ago in Tipperary. It is 5 weeks until Steve Halfpenny comes over to teach for four days in Tipp in June, so I wanted to write out a mini-plan for what I want to practise between now & then.

The good news is I have a plan. The other good news is that there’s a ton of work to do so Oz & I will be very busy!! Happily though Oz will also have a lot of time to work on his beauty sleep.


1: Follow a feel in forwards, backup and turns.

2: Backup circles smoothly.

3: Walk trot and canter circles with no emotion from Oz. Start at walk and build it up.

4: If Oz moves too fast, stay in that gait and push him out a little. To be equally good on both sides.

5: If Oz gets emotional in a certain gait, stay in that gait until he calms down. I used to back off and reward the unwanted / distracted behaviour by bringing him back to walk.

6: Stop on a circle without moving the HQ out.

7: Remove slack from the lead rope and in walk & trot, to check if horse is leaning or not.


1: Be REALLY aware of every step Oz takes. I’ve been slacking off on this. If I don’t specifically ask for it, Oz gets put back where he started.

2: Be really aware that my first priority is to get Oz’s attention. If I don’t then everything gets worse. If I do Oz relaxes.

3: I am not to stand too far forward on the near side which I have a habit of doing.

4: Don’t tiptoe around Oz. Just get a bit more practical and things work out much better. A little change but a good result.


1: Have an inside bend when doing circles in the hackamore. If its missing, vibrate the inside rein a little. If Oz is distracted he slows down. This stops Oz being distracted and he doesn’t slow down.

2: Walk along a fence line, then do 90 hindquarter yield so you’re facing the fence line. Then walk the other way back down the fence line & repeat. This gets Oz off the forehand and stops hi pushing forwards.

3: Hindquarter yield at halt with no reins. This is done but I have to make sure not to forget it!

4: Hindquarters in with the tiniest of cues on both reins in walk. We started this with Tanja, so working on the polish for this. Currently one side is better than the other.

5: Walk pirouette, building on our hindquarters in.

6: Walking a circle not an egg, best done with a physical object in the centre of the circle and me focusing on every step and noticing immediately when Oz is falling in or pushing out of the circle.

7: Trotting circles and not eggs both ways

8: Immediate walk to trot transitions. The other option is slow transitions leading to a more tense walk leading to a tense trot when we get it.

9: If Oz wants to go one way, go the opposite way.

10: Shoulder in in walk and trot, nice and relaxed

11: Bucks teardrop exercise, with leg yields and some HQ in. Also I am not to lean when I change bends.

12: Leg yield like the wind is moving us over.

13: Counter bends: – Walk forwards – Leg yield out a little (moving to the left) and make sure I get this softness through the bend & body – Keep the footfall rhythm – Keep the forwards – Now while keeping the bend and the sideways, move the front feet a little more to the left so they are on a bigger circle now than the Hqs – Get a step of two and then circle to the right with the normal / existing bend – Ride a straight line – Change bend – Do it all again in the opposite direction


1: Flat back and not leaning forward. A habit I have to work on daily. When I do this Oz’s stride is longer.

2: My legs should not be tense.

3: My hips need to move as Oz moves. When I do this Oz’s stride is longer.

5: Breathing slowly & calmly.

6: Releasing faster.

7: 5 fingers on the reins

8: Only using my fingers when I ask for something, not moving my whole arm

9: Hands near pommel, so my body stays balanced and not tipped to one side

10: Bend in elbows, to prove I’m not leaning forwards

11: Feel proud of my little horse when I ride which makes me smile

12: I have a habit of tipping my body to one side when I change reins. Not necessary and I need to stop it 😀

I look forward to seeing everyone in June 🙂

Elaine & Ozzie.

One Response to “36 exercises to practise in 5 weeks before Steve Halfpenny comes back to Ireland!”

  1. mandy says:

    Love no.11 : )

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