Don't do it! Don't mistake the halt for a stop.
They are two entirely different maneuvers.
Avoid using the terms 'halt' and 'stop' interchangeably. They are completely distinct. The stop is as it says - a complete stop. Done. Over with, been there. Finished. Use the stop at the end of your ride, just before you get off.
The halt is far removed from the stop. It is a movement, and as such, it is just as engaged, energy-bound, and balanced as any other movement the horse can do. Think of it as a canter - without the legs moving, or the progression through space. Picture a car stopped at the red light. The engine is on and the moment of departure is at hand. Your horse should be ready and prepared to proceed to any movement you ask directly out of the halt.
Develop a rhythm, and maintain the momentum.
The halt has a rhythm similar to the rest of the movements. It also has momentum. The horse's hind legs go underneath the body and are prepared and waiting to step into the next movement at a moment's notice.
Don't break the momentum - even when you go to halt.
If you 'stop' instead of halt, the momentum is lost and the horse loses balance, strength and precision. The body becomes flat. The legs feel like they are 'stuck in the mud'. It is virtually impossible to do anything other than stagger out of the stop. The horse seems surprised if you ask for something after the stop.
Because the secret is that the halt is still a movement.
In classical dressage, the halt is considered a movement. By definition, the halt is a "suspension of progress, especially a temporary one." It is a pause, but it is just that. Keep the horse round - similar to a nice trot - and just stop the forward progression through space.
It is NOT a stop-moving-your-feet-and-throw-it-all-away feeling.
It is more of a wait-wait-wait-and-now-GO! feeling.
You NEED your legs going into the stop!
The horse should round its back and reach further underneath the body with the hind legs - all of this happens before the halt. Use your legs to lift the back before the horse halts. Keep the horse straight and half-halt into the movement. Avoid using your hands to pull on the horse's mouth. Instead, halt from your seat. THEN, halt from the hind end. The front end remains balanced and light. The back is round, the contact is consistent. The legs will stop square if the approach into the halt is energetic, forward and balanced.
Be ready to gracefully step out of the pause at a moment's notice - to walk, trot or canter.
Don't do it! Don't mistake the halt for a stop!
P.S. One last thought
The "test" for the halt: the horse is round, reaching for the bit, and SQUARE with all four legs. Then you know you did it!
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