Anonymous asked in PetsHorses · 1 month ago

Trouble finding my balance in two-point at the walk, and legs come off horse's sides at the posting trot?

For what it's worth, I ride hunter/jumper. These are my main two problems with riding that I can't seem to fix, no matter how hard I try. 

I have been working on increasing my fitness, which has produced better results, but the issues are still there. I would love to ride more than one day per week, but unfortunately cannot for several reasons; I do not own or lease and cannot currently afford to, I live over an hour away from my barn (and live in an area with no other options), and I have a busy work schedule. 

I've ridden my entire life, but most of that has been trail riding. I had 2.5 years of H/J lessons 12.5-15 years ago, then started back up 3 years ago. 

When I warm up for my lesson, I am asked to two-point at the walk. If I gently rest my hands on the horse's neck, I am fine, but if not, I have a tendency to fall forward or backwards after a couple of seconds, no matter how hard I try to keep my leg underneath me where it is supposed to be. I feel like I catch myself trying to grip at the knee in order to balance. 

At the posting trot, my leg comes up off of the horse's side every time I rise. I can somewhat quiet it once I'm aware of it, but feel as if I'm almost pinching at the knee there, too.

These issues are beyond frustrating!

Has anyone else struggled with these things, and what helped? Thank you!

2 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    If you are correctly balanced over your heels/feet in two point, it won't take this much work!  Two point is not a "thrown forward" position; it is a position balanced over the horse's center of gravity.

    I suggest standing in what you think of as two point with your rear end pushed out backward.  Your center of gravity will then be over your feet, as it should be, so you won't fall forward.

    You can practice this easily at home.  Get a couple of books (or whatever) and place them a horse width apart.  Then put your toes on them as if they were stirrups, so your heels can be down.  Assume the two point position - but find the point where your weight is perfectly balanced over your feet and you are steady.  For most people, their cener of gravity in 2 point is too far forward, so they topple forward.  To fix this, stop leaning forward and do more of a squat position with your rear behind your heels.

    If your leg is toppling you forward or back, it is not properly under you.  To fix this, stand straight up in the stirrups, allowing your leg to be loose enough from the horse's side so your feet can find their proper place under you for good balance.  Then slowly sit down WITHOUT ALLOWING YOUR LOWER LEG OR FOOT TO MOVE.  This is the correct position.  Do this several times while watching in a mirror so you know your foot hasn't moved and you are correct.  Then do it at that walk.  Then at the trot.  In time, this will be automatic and your riding will become much easier and more enjoyable.

    You should not be pinching with your knees or clinging with your legs to achieve any of these positions, any more than you do when you are standing on the ground.  Done correctly, with a properly fitted saddle, it should not be necessary.

    Posting is much the same problem.  If your leg is moving around, then your leg is out of position.  This is not fixed by strength or gripping; it is fixed by a correct, relaxed leg with your weight properly balanced over your foot.  The exercise above should help this as well.  Just add posting while standing on the books.  You don't have to deal with steering a moving horse or dealing with fear of hauling on his mouth or falling off or gripping his sides or whatever, so it's  far easier to concentrate on the important issue:  balancing your center of gravity over your feet.

    I would also make sure your saddle fits you correctly.  If it is too large or too small or not fitted to the horse, it will be far harder to get and keep your leg correctly positioned.

    Good Luck.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Some unmounted exercises where you sit straddle legged on a chair and practice "rising" in two point might help you a little bit. You need a straight backed chair that's on a level floor (it can be at your home, it doesn't need to be at the barn) and then you need to sit so that you're straddling the chair and your legs are in roughly the same positions they'd be in if you were mounted. And then you can practice keeping your heels down and work on pushing yourself up from the chair into two point, holding that position for 10 or 15 seconds (at first- you can do it longer as you become stronger and more able to keep yourself upright) and then sitting back down, just like you would if you were going up into two point or rising the trot. Do multiple repetitions of this for 5 or 10 minutes daily, and increase the amount of time that you spend in the "up" position as you're able to tolerate it. A bar stool that has long legs is also a good tool to use for these exercises, because you're more likely to be able to allow your legs to dangle without touching the floor.

    As for the posting issue, the best way to solve that problem is to work without stirrups. If you can get your trainer to put you on the longe line, so much the better. When you work without stirrups, posting becomes something that you must do from your upper leg, not the lower one, and from your back and hips. The only way to do it without stirrups is to keep your legs in the right place and not let them move around. Using mental imagery might help too- you can imagine yourself riding with a pair of 50 pound lead weights attached to your heels, and that you're having to drag them as your horse moves. Or whatever other image works. Whatever it is, just thinking that way will help remind you to keep your legs underneath you and your heels down.

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