How to Use Half-Halts for Lunging

Maybe you’re a long-time lunger, or maybe you’re just starting out. You and your horse are starting your lunging training session and all of your equipment is correctly attached. You send your horse out onto the circle but then you wonder – how am I going to communicate with my horse?

What do you do if you want to get your horse’s attention but you’re not sure how? Half-halts can help your other lunging aids when you’re cross-training your horse.

What are half-halts?

Half-halts are an aid that is created from your arm to your horse’s nose, if you’re using a cavesson, or their mouth if you’re lunging on a bit. We frequently use half-halts in riding, either with the one rein or with both, depending on the type of signal we want to send.

We can use half-halts during lunging training, too! Half-halts are a communication tool for your horse. They can encourage your horse to slow their gait, drop their head, or collect their feet under them to lift their top-line. 

How do I use a half-halt for lunging?

  • Run the lunge line between two fingers
  • You can either turn your wrist into your body and out
  • Or, pull your wrist up and down 

To practice using half-halts, imagine you are holding a sponge in your palm. Squeeze the “sponge” in your hand and remember to let hold it gently.

When is a good time to use half-halts?

Let’s say your horse is moving in a forward trot, but they almost look like they’re running. You can use a half-halt to encourage them to slow their tempo but remain in a full trot.

You can use half-halts when you are asking your horse to change gaits, to gain connection on the lunge line, and to communicate effectively. You want to use half-halts in a similar way that you use them when you’re riding. 

Use half-halts sparingly, and be sure you’re using the same amount of pressure to communicate. If you’d like to learn more about lunging aids, we discuss half-halts and more in lesson 7 of our online masterclass.