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Building Balance and Connection with Half-Steps

With her ever-present smile and crowd-thrilling performances aboard the grey Swedish Warmblood D Niro, Jacqueline Brooks has become one of Canada’s best-known riders on the international dressage stage. The two-time Olympian from Edmonton, AB (now based in Newmarket, ON) has been a dressage competitor for more than 20 years, qualifying for six Canadian teams during that time. She is also a respected trainer, coach and sought-after clinician known for her careful and kind approach to horse and rider development. Jacqueline shared her thoughts with us on the importance of half-steps as a valuable, yet challenging training tool in the development of upper-level dressage horses. What exactly are half-steps? In the simplest of terms, they are a forward-moving version of what will eventually develop into piaffe. Performed at the trot, they are necessary to initiate a horse’s education for the piaffe and passage and the transition between the two. Half-steps are…

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