Now that Dino is at a new barn with lots of space and arenas to play in, I thought I’d get back to doing what I love….Liberty Training! It’s been eons since I have played with teaching Dino the Half Pass at liberty. So imagine my surprise when I asked for it and Dino gave me a few beautiful steps! Sometimes Dino makes me sooooo happy!
The Half Pass at liberty takes a ton of shaping. Notice the nice bend in his body toward the direction of travel. He leads with his shoulder and crosses over behind. I’d like to see more forward movement, but that will come. Also note that I didn’t use the arena wall or a circle to get the bend. This bend is from straight up shaping! Fun stuff (for a horse training nerd anyway!). Also for my western friends, the primary difference between a Half Pass and a leg yield is the direction of the bend. A bend INTO the direction of travel is a much more difficult gymnastic than a leg yield. Leg yields are pretty straight forward and easy to train (even at liberty). A Half Pass at liberty takes a bit more creativity!
The best part about filming this movement is that I had to change my visual aids. I normally use both arms to cue Dino for a half pass, but that wouldn’t work while holding my camera. So, I improvised trying to do everything with one hand. I held a whip so it would be more visually obvious. In hindsight, the cue looked nothing like the normal cue. Dino was probably just guessing. I only have two movements that I have trained that give commands from behind Dino, and the other cue is very different. The half pass was just a great guess from the dinosaur. It just goes to show how smart horses are. They probably fill in the blanks more often than we think!