Steve Halfpenny London 2017 – Bend, softness and relaxation

By , June 19, 2017 2:03 pm

Here are a short version of my notes from Steve Halfpenny’s excellent June 2017 London clinic. Any mistakes are 100% me. Huge thanks to Steve & Irena, and the wonderful organising by Kas Fitzpatrick. If you would like to attend Steve’s June clinics in Ireland, please email me asap:


– When circling on the ground you need the inside hind to step under and for bend throughout the body.
– Circle and change rein on the groundwork, without stepping back, as a preparation for short serpentines and liberty work. the human needs to keep walking in a circle and then push horse into the bend on the other rein, do not pull at all.
– Get horses used to drones
– Get Matilda backed
– Matilda to do shoulder out along fence in walk and trot, move the hind quarters over and backup
– Move, something falls off, stop.
– Get used to plastic bags and bicycles
– In hand work with a short-ish rein, walk with bend and leg yield out
– Rope thrown over her head


– Ask the inside hind to step under by using your inside hip. Keep a consistent circle shape. When you’re riding if your horse steps under properly they will also reach with their inside fore
– Ask the horse to relax his neck by lengthening the reins and having your hands a little lower to encourage relaxation and a slightly lower head position
– Do 1 handed shoulder in
– Do a 4 track shoulder in on a circle, then backup facing the circle, then turn the other direction and go around the circle again
– Trot, shoulder out, move the hind and then backup
– In trot, sitting when outside front leg is coming to the ground. When I rise, twist my pelvis a little to encourage inside hind to step under in trot
– Same bend both directions
– Push the shoulders a little left to get a bend to the right
– Circle, keep this bend, then do a circle the other way with a counter arc. This will show up any push in your horse.
– Your horse is never to take the slack out of the reins.
– Lots of energy? Trot small circles and move the hind.
– Walk to canter
– On a circle, if you ask the inside hind to step under, the bend gets a lot easier.


Do your horse have the same bend both ways?
In groundwork are you positioned in the same place on both sides?
How does that feel?
Did you notice what his shoulder did?
Was the inside hind stepping under?
Was that what you wanted?
is your horse relaxed?
Are you breathing?
Is your horse breathing?
Was that a circle or an egg?
Are your horses ears level?
Can you do less?
Are you looking where you want to go?
Ask for the inside hind
Is your horse leaning?
Does your horse have the same bend both directions?
is your horse connected with you every single step?


– It’s really important to me that my horse never puts weight in my reins
– It’s all feel
– if you ask for lateral work and the feet slow down, your horse wasn’t really soft in the bend
– My seat bone on the left means left bend. My seat bone on the right means right bend.
– When your horse is emotionally with you his ears are level
– If a horses ears aren’t straight the horse isn’t balanced
– Are you rewarding the physical or the mental?
– Collection comes from the inside hind stepping under
– Be accountable for every second with your horse
– If your horse is anticipating he is taking over
– Create a place of peace for your horse in every gait

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