Sunday, March 20, 2011

Demi arret: Technique for elevating the neck

In the video below, Katherine Haddad works with a student on elevating the neck. Lendon Gray and Felicitas Von Neumman-Cosel also talk about this technique for elevating the neck. I've heard it called a demi arret. I'm sure it needs to be done in conjunction with other aids to encourage an honest connection and forward movement.  The rider's gentle correction can be seen on the 36th-37th second of the video...

Well, crap, the video now seems to be private. I'll leave it at the bottom in case it "comes back" but here are some substitutes:

  •  an interesting article on the rider's hands....
  • Sylvia Stoessel clinic describes a demi arret: "The demi-arrĂȘt, explains Sylvia, "Is to lighten a horse or to lift up the head with a vibrating, lifting hand, quickly dropping and returning to a soft and neutral contact, so you're explaining to the horse what you want to have.""
  • Video of Phillipe Karl doing a demi-arret -- much more "gross" than Haddad's in the original video 
  • Phillipe Karl article on the demi-arret: "no, this is not French for a half parade, or half halt. Its purpose is to mobilize the mouth, and to raise the head to achieve a lighter contact. It also changes the balance of the horse and opens the angle of the poll. It is achieved by turning the fingers to face upward and then lifting the hands so that the bit acts on the lips and the corners of the mouth."


  1. I can't watch the video but get a message that it is private.

  2. Ah well, I can't get the article either.

    I am presuming this is a half halt action done mostly by the hands. Only enough pressure is used to get the horse to respond correctly, followed by an immediate release. You have to be quick and precise, if it's what I think it is.

  3. OK, now I am confused. I have been riding in France for almost 3 years and I thought I had finally understood the translation of the half halt as being a "demi arret" (this is the literal translation so it makes sense). This said, there is another term that floats around which is "parade". So now, I am wondering - maybe a demi arret isn't the same thing as a half halt? The way my instructor explained a demi arret is indeed a half halt. I am wondering if English speakers are not finding another meaning to it. I am going to run this by him...I had asked what the difference was between a parade and a demi arret and he said parade was just a fancy way of saying demi arret. This said, when I see this,I wonder if they have not made half halt into parade? And now demi arret means this?? Confusion....

  4. Hi Paris Pony,

    You could be right. I had never heard of the term until I saw it in ultimatedressage referring to another technique, this lifting technique. It could easily be that it's being misinterpreted here, or I'm misinterpreting. Let us know what you learn!!!

  5. It sounds similar to the same hand action we saddlebred riders use to get the horse's head and neck to rise up. You are "pushing" the horse up into the bridle and wiggling and releasing the bit. Done properly the head and neck rise into place. The horses butt also comes under him and he goes better with more action.

  6. Just watched the Phillipe Karl video and that looks what saddlebred trainers do with young horses to get their head's up to get more action from the horse. The horses head isn't suppose to bob around in saddleseat.

  7. Both Phillipe Karl articles are very interesting. I like his philosophy very much and it is aligned with my current teacher and my own philosophy.

    My horse has a very strong hind-end and loves to push along the ground. After a little while owning him, it became clear that the "forward, driving approach" was not going to benefit my horse's balance or ride-ability. I had to relearn many things in dressage, but the beauty of it was that old concepts developed new meaning and became easier as my horse learned to stop pushing like a maniac and carry himself. Since my re-education, I have ridden a mount or two who was trained as I originally was. I had to hold the horse up and control his every step or he fell apart. The animal was also very resentful of the contact and initially would not stretch and would immediately rise off the bit if the parameters were let down. On top of this disappointment, the horse was used to spurs and I had barely the leg strength to keep him "together". I cannot believe that I used to ride horses by driving them into my hands and then weight-training to be able to keep them there. I know what Karl means by the fifth leg and I am so glad to have left that concept behind!

  8. yes, "demi-arret" literally translates to "half stop" so it's very possible the two are the same.

  9. Ok, I asked abou this briefly last night but didnt get a chance to go into details.
    Indeed, this lifting technique is a "demi arret" but I think my instructor is thinking that any rebalancing aid is a demi arret. I do remember reading an article on "parade" in French which sounded very much like a half halt. At first I thought it was just the same thing. Now I am thinking that parade must be what we call "half halt" and demi arret is this other technique. I guess they both are rebalancing aids but not quite the same. I checked on this site which tries to translate between GER/FR and English
    Indeed demi parade and demi arret are thought to be slightly different...I am continuing my investigation..

  10. I've attended several PK clinics as an observer in the audience, and spoken with him. He in my view is a Baucherist through and through, HOWEVER he would never admit is and one of his pupils has confirmed this poit to me. His School of Legerete employs many Baucherist Techniques, but because it would be Financial and "Political Suicide" to admit to being a Baucherist it is down played. He actually does things when he is riding which he does not speak about or write about. This can be seen if one watches carefully how he rides Oudin. Personally I wish he had the courage to admit that Baucher's second manner is the ultimate way to train and ride a horse. To NOT act on the tongue however is fanciful, but done delicately (not within most peoples capabilities) is what makes the difference between a good and a Great Rider. Which is why he is a Great rider.


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