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  1. #1
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    Default Help with Two Point

    Does anyone have any pointers to help this novice get her butt up from the saddle while in two point?

    The stirrups seem to be adjusted properly (bottom of the iron just slightly above my ankle bone) and I'm able to follow along with a springy knee and ankle, but my behind keeps making contact with the saddle while trotting no matter how I adjust.

    The three mental pictures I use is a) kneel like in a church pew (sink into my knees and have a long thigh), b) visualize an open parachute trailing behind me (to open my chest wide and get my shoulders back) and c) grow my spine downwards from my hips and upwards from my neck. Most of these are automatic now without thinking about it, but I get told to get up out of the saddle more. I feel like I'd have to be on my tip toes to do that, which kind of defeats the purpose of sinking into my knees/heels.

    I think this might be exacerbated when I start to canter in two point/half seat (I have balance problems with that, but let's fix one thing at a time ).

    Any words of advice to give to this newbie?



  2. #2
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    Do you have any problem with the posting trot? The two point is simply the "up" beat of the post. Practice posting and staying up for two beats instead of one... Up-up-down. Mix it up, do down down up, etc. Reminding your self all the time that every time you are in the "up" beat you are two pointing.

    I actually think it is much easier to two point in the canter because the horses motion helps hold you up.


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  3. #3
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    I'm thinking that you might not be closing your hip angle enough, especially based on your thought that if you get your butt higher in the air you would be on your tip toes. In other words, I miagine you're kind of standing in your irons to get yourself out of the saddle while keeping your upper body upright and your hip angle open, versus hinging forward at the hip and having your upper body inclined forward. If it helps, don't be afraid to grab some mane out in front of you and/or rest your hands on the side of the crest, like you would when jumping to help with feeling more stable.

    I think of two point/jumping position like a squat in the air. If you've ever done squats on the ground, its essentially the same feeling. Hands go forward, knee and hip angles close, butt goes back. And if you do the squat correctly (i.e. bend at the hip, and put your butt back), you will keep your weight in your heels (you should be able to wiggle your toes when you're down in a squat position). Try it in front of a mirror, and see if maybe that helps you get the feeling?


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post

    I think this might be exacerbated when I start to canter in two point/half seat (I have balance problems with that, but let's fix one thing at a time ).

    Any words of advice to give to this newbie?
    It could be a saddle issue, a strength issue, a stirrup length issue or it could be a combination.

    1. With the horse halted, stand up in your stirrups...like really stand. sit back down and walk forward and then stand back up. Can you stand easily at both halt and walk? Do you fall backward or forward? If you fall forward, it means your lower leg is too far back. If you fall backward, it means your lower leg is too far forward. This lack of balance is going to show up in your two point. Work on this exercise until you can trot/canter in a balanced position without falling forward or back.

    2. Try shortening your stirrups. They might be textbook length, but it still might be too long.

    3. Cantering in two point should be very, very easy....if your weight is distributed properly and you are balanced. It's effortless, really.

    4. does your saddle fit you? Many people don't realize how much an improperly saddle effects their riding. If your saddle puts you in a chair seat, two point is going to be very difficult .
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    4. does your saddle fit you? Many people don't realize how much an improperly saddle effects their riding. If your saddle puts you in a chair seat, two point is going to be very difficult .
    Ditto. Can you post a photo of you in your saddle? If you're in a chair seat it's going to be much harder than one that puts your leg naturally underneathe you.



  6. #6
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    Your saddle could be too wide, causing the cantle to duck-butt (that is a verb I invented for this thread.) . Then it would appear that you are not out of the saddle enough.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  7. #7
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    Ponyclubrocks: I do that exercise every now and again and it is a very good one for learning rhythm. I'm currently working on a more subtle post (smaller sweep of my hips, more consistent landing) but my form fails hardcore when I get tired and/or horsey doesn't want to keep a consistent speed or work off my leg.

    KateKat: The squat analogy is a good image and kept that in mind when riding today. As long as I kept my tailbone rounded and down (instead of arching it backwards lordosis like) I seemed to have more stability but was also able to "sproing" along without locking any joints.

    Bristol Bay: This could very well be it. The one I have the worst problem with (and get "yelled" at most) is when I ride the drafty mare with her saddle. The saddle fits her and it does fit me (and it's a comfy Cadillac to ride in), but when placed next to another saddle that fits me and fits the other horse I flip back and forth between, it has a heck of a lot deeper scoop between pommel and cantle and has more of a knee/thigh block built in. The deeper seat might just prevent ample butt clearance. The shallower saddle I can get up out of more readily.

    gypsymare & RugBug: No photos yet unfortunately (going to try to get some video of a ride at some point). If I get behind the motion, I do have a tendency to revert to a chair seat for a stride or two, but can get my legs back where they need to be fairly quickly. My coach worked with me for a solid two months to get my legs where they need to be and build up some muscle memory, so I'm fairly sure I'd get "yelled" at if I was reverting to my old ways under her watch.

    RugBug: I can stand up in the saddle like that and keep my balance (without having to grab mane, or at most just press a finger into the withers if need be) and can do it at both the walk and trot without losing my balance as much anymore -- I can get about 1/2 the arena at the walk without having to sit and about 1/3 at a trot (longer distance once I've had a chance to warm up). Oddly, if I'm going to lose my balance, I tip forward while doing that more than falling back. The saddle(s) fit me, but one is built vastly different than the other. Cantering is the gait I've done the least work with, so it took a bit to fix my full seat position, but since that's coming along swimmingly, I assume cantering some poles is in my near future. I've done a tiny bit of two point cantering but I had a hard time getting my legs under me (again, tipping forward).



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    Does anyone have any pointers to help this novice get her butt up from the saddle while in two point?

    The stirrups seem to be adjusted properly (bottom of the iron just slightly above my ankle bone) and I'm able to follow along with a springy knee and ankle, but my behind keeps making contact with the saddle while trotting no matter how I adjust.
    Properly adjusted stirrups should be just BELOW the ankle bone. Your stirrups are too short. Too short of stirrups will put you in a "chair seat" and your legs too far forward. This is why you are falling back into the saddle. Stirrups would only hit above the ankle bone when jumping larger obstacles at a much faster pace (think 4' and above or Intermediate and above eventing).

    I have had trainers shorten our stirrups as an exercise to help strengthen us and improve balance. Event riders often gallop racehorses as practice and strength training. The shorter stirrup for galloping will help to strengthen your core, but it is not functional for novice riders or jumping under 4' (at that level riders have the core and leg strength for the shorter stirrup required).

    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    It could be a saddle issue, a strength issue, a stirrup length issue or it could be a combination.

    1. With the horse halted, stand up in your stirrups...like really stand. sit back down and walk forward and then stand back up. Can you stand easily at both halt and walk? Do you fall backward or forward? If you fall forward, it means your lower leg is too far back. If you fall backward, it means your lower leg is too far forward. This lack of balance is going to show up in your two point. Work on this exercise until you can trot/canter in a balanced position without falling forward or back.

    2. Try shortening your stirrups. They might be textbook length, but it still might be too long.

    3. Cantering in two point should be very, very easy....if your weight is distributed properly and you are balanced. It's effortless, really.

    4. does your saddle fit you? Many people don't realize how much an improperly saddle effects their riding. If your saddle puts you in a chair seat, two point is going to be very difficult .
    This is a good list of advice for you OP. Except I would experiment with a longer stirrup length as opposed to shorter. Definitely check saddle fit. Aside from the saddle fitting you, if it doesn't fit the horse it could also cause you to constantly hit the cantle if the saddle is bouncing. You would have difficulty sitting the trot too if this was the case.



    A picture would be helpful if you can provide that for us! Good luck!
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
    inside of a man.

    -Sir Winston Churchill



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhillsmanhattan View Post
    Properly adjusted stirrups should be just BELOW the ankle bone. Your stirrups are too short. Too short of stirrups will put you in a "chair seat" and your legs too far forward. This is why you are falling back into the saddle.
    It's not so much that I'm falling back into the saddle as in I wasn't able to hold the two point at all so I'd have to sit -- I did that A LOT before my coach fixed my leg. It's more of a case of doing a two point and floating above the seat (which honestly, is easier to me than posting, especially if I have a consistent pace going), but getting bumped in the butt every couple of strides. Maybe I'm being too bouncy in the knees/ankles?

    We did work a lot with stirrup height when I first started with this coach to try and find what worked -- longer stirrups actually promote a worse chair seat in me (must be the Western background coming through).



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    It's not so much that I'm falling back into the saddle as in I wasn't able to hold the two point at all so I'd have to sit -- I did that A LOT before my coach fixed my leg. It's more of a case of doing a two point and floating above the seat (which honestly, is easier to me than posting, especially if I have a consistent pace going), but getting bumped in the butt every couple of strides. Maybe I'm being too bouncy in the knees/ankles?

    We did work a lot with stirrup height when I first started with this coach to try and find what worked -- longer stirrups actually promote a worse chair seat in me (must be the Western background coming through).
    Ah! That makes a lot more sense.

    Do you ever feel you are tight in your hips? I have previously had issues with tight hip flexors and I used to have trouble with my hip angle and seat. I believe a previous poster suggested that you may not have the right hip angle, and tightness in the hips could translate to difficulty adjusting this angle between various positions.

    I would also emphasize core. You may need to develop a stronger lower abdominal. If you are only bumping the saddle occasionally it may be as simple as getting stronger.

    It sounds like you have a good coach.

    Sorry if that isn't helpful!
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
    inside of a man.

    -Sir Winston Churchill



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponyclubrocks View Post
    Do you have any problem with the posting trot? The two point is simply the "up" beat of the post. .
    Pardon me hijacking this thread, am I doing my two point wrong? My body is in an entirely different position when I two point. More like jumping position with a much smaller hip angle. Can someone shed some light?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhillsmanhattan View Post
    Ah! That makes a lot more sense.

    Do you ever feel you are tight in your hips? I have previously had issues with tight hip flexors and I used to have trouble with my hip angle and seat. I believe a previous poster suggested that you may not have the right hip angle, and tightness in the hips could translate to difficulty adjusting this angle between various positions.

    I would also emphasize core. You may need to develop a stronger lower abdominal. If you are only bumping the saddle occasionally it may be as simple as getting stronger.

    It sounds like you have a good coach.

    Sorry if that isn't helpful!
    Yes, I definitely have a problem with my hips, especially since I'm a day job desk jockey. This has loosened up/relaxed a lot once I learned how I'm supposed to sit in a saddle -- I wondered why I had such horrible hip pain after every ride until I was shown the right way. Nothing like wasting four years with a crappy, ineffective position!

    I think I have fairly good leg strength, or at least have been building it up, but you're probably right about weak abdominals. It would help to protect my lower back too.

    I love this coach! I wish I had met her six years ago when I started riding, but I suppose I wouldn't appreciate her as much if I had nothing to compare to.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    Pardon me hijacking this thread, am I doing my two point wrong? My body is in an entirely different position when I two point. More like jumping position with a much smaller hip angle. Can someone shed some light?
    I'm not visualizing it either, if that makes you feel any better. The squatting analogy from KateKat is what I think of as a two point, at least at the trot -- I can see the angles changing at the canter. Posting is more upright, swing of the hips, visualizing your belly button as a ping pong ball shooter with the "up" being the firing of the ball between the horse's ears, etc.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    Yes, I definitely have a problem with my hips, especially since I'm a day job desk jockey. This has loosened up/relaxed a lot once I learned how I'm supposed to sit in a saddle -- I wondered why I had such horrible hip pain after every ride until I was shown the right way. Nothing like wasting four years with a crappy, ineffective position!

    I think I have fairly good leg strength, or at least have been building it up, but you're probably right about weak abdominals. It would help to protect my lower back too.

    I love this coach! I wish I had met her six years ago when I started riding, but I suppose I wouldn't appreciate her as much if I had nothing to compare to.
    I would do even more work to stretch those hips! (I feel like I sound like Richard Simmons ). This is just me speculating but...I would think not being fluid and loose in your hip joint in two-point would affect your balance just as it does when sitting. My seat used to "pop" because I was too tight in my hips and didn't follow my horse through my seat. Perhaps you need to think about being loose and "springy" in your hips as you do with your knee and ankle joints. The occasional bump of the saddle may be because you are not following the up and down motion of the trot with your seat, even while you are keeping your seat out of the saddle. A rider with a good seat at the sitting trot and canter (the canter, I find, is more of an indicator if you don't truly have a good seat) should be able to simply close their hip angle and lift their seat out of the saddle but maintain that same depth in their leg and softness in all of their joints. Or more often it is done vice versa; two-point allows you to deepen your leg and soften your joints and you then sink into your seat. I liked the squatting analogy someone already mentioned when in two-point. That is what I was always told it should feel like. And if you think about it, during a squat you push your booty out and can feel it stretch your hip flexors (or at least I, a person with tight hip flexors, really can!). So it would make sense one would think...Again, this is just me brainstorming and typing away so I may be wrong. Hopefully someone else will chime in that is more insightful!

    Having bad coaches (or horses!) always makes you appreciate the good ones! Glad you found a good fit.
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    inside of a man.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    I'm not visualizing it either, if that makes you feel any better. The squatting analogy from KateKat is what I think of as a two point, at least at the trot -- I can see the angles changing at the canter. Posting is more upright, swing of the hips, visualizing your belly button as a ping pong ball shooter with the "up" being the firing of the ball between the horse's ears, etc.
    That's how I feel like and looks like at the trot too.
    I'm still working on my balance, but my telling point is that springy feeling, I'm getting there to feel it all the time, but. Till have lots of rooms for improvement



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponyclubrocks View Post
    Do you have any problem with the posting trot? The two point is simply the "up" beat of the post. Practice posting and staying up for two beats instead of one... Up-up-down. Mix it up, do down down up, etc. Reminding your self all the time that every time you are in the "up" beat you are two pointing.

    I actually think it is much easier to two point in the canter because the horses motion helps hold you up.
    This method really works. Also grab mane with both hands for balance, once your right muscles develop you won't need too, but do it for now to get the correct position.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BITSA View Post
    This method really works. Also grab mane with both hands for balance, once your right muscles develop you won't need too, but do it for now to get the correct position.
    I think I'm a bit confused because when I am practicing 2 point trotting, my arms are sorta just right above the horse neck, I don't post like that. Should I not be doing that at my 2 point?



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    I think I'm a bit confused because when I am practicing 2 point trotting, my arms are sorta just right above the horse neck, I don't post like that. Should I not be doing that at my 2 point?
    I'm thinking they mean the up-up down (or mixing up the posting rhythym) is what really works to build muscle/strength? And then grabbing mane when in two point. Or at least I hope thats what they meant because I do NOT post in the same position as two point either. If I did that I would be yelled at.


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  19. #19
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    Try getting up in 2-point without stirrups. This should be your position with stirrups as well. It's really easy to over do it (both in standing too high and leaning too far forward) when you have your stirrups to rely on.

    As a side note, I definitely do not position myself in 2-pt in the same position as the "up" of posting either. But I would draw a parallel between the "up" of the post and a soft 3-pt or half seat position.

    Another comment, do you think that the saddle *shouldn't* touch your butt while up in 2-point? Because that shouldn't be the goal. It's a fluid position, which means that your butt is hovering above the saddle and will touch it regularly while trotting. My trainer as a kid used to yell at us all of the time for trying to "prop" ourselves out of the saddle so far every time he'd have us get up into 2-pt during the flat part of our lessons. He used to explain it much like woodhillsmanhattan: "two-point allows you to deepen your leg and soften your joints and you then sink into your seat." It's really more about stretching DOWN into your lower thigh and upper calf contact and allowing that contact to support your seat and body than it is about thinking UP. The hardest part about it is that you have to have enough strength to do it correctly, and that's really hard. Especially since it's often used to build the strength it takes to do it in the first place.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaqueroToro View Post
    I'm not visualizing it either, if that makes you feel any better. The squatting analogy from KateKat is what I think of as a two point, at least at the trot -- I can see the angles changing at the canter. Posting is more upright, swing of the hips, visualizing your belly button as a ping pong ball shooter with the "up" being the firing of the ball between the horse's ears, etc.
    nah...your posting is what is off. You don't move your hips like that when you post. You are probably doing WAY too much...and were taught that initially to get the feel I guess. I actually used to teach beginners how to post by FIRST teaching two point. Once they could hold a two point then we started posting.


    Just let the horse push you up to what would be a two point and then control back down.

    There isn't much of a difference between the two.

    ETA: You are more up right in a dressage saddle posting than in jump saddle because with longer stirrups...your hip angle stays more open. But really...a two point and the up point of posting should be close to the same.
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