The Two Point and Forward Seat

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The Two Point and Forward Seat

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  • When jumping upper body angulation
  • Why horses jump better in fwd seat

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    12-30-2011, 11:49 PM
Green Broke
The Two Point and Forward Seat

Could someone please post some info on it for me?
I'd like to learn it on the flat before I go over a couple cross-rails this Spring.

Photo's of "do's and don't"s would be really helpful. Thanks :)

Also, what is a forward seat? Is it a good thing, or not? I've been told that I have one at times while riding western.
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    12-31-2011, 12:23 AM
You'll get lots of opinions I'm sure.

Instead of that, I'll suggest you order this book for starters:
    12-31-2011, 03:23 AM
Well one thing I can say about 2-point is you need your physical seat to be over the saddle and your legs underneath you. You simply bend at the hips and try not to get balance from the reins.

As for forward seat.. still learning about that myself.
    12-31-2011, 07:53 AM
If possible, I'd try to find someone to teach you - even if it is just 2 lessons with a trainer. I've tried learning it from books - and the recommended one above is a very good book - but my trying to apply the book's text without someone to help messed me up much more than it helped. Pictures and books cannot tell you "Too much hollowing in your lower back!" or "Your legs are going forward when you move!"

Even ONE lesson for an hour with someone who knows what they are doing will help you much more than advice on the Internet, pictures or books. It also helps to have a horse who knows how to be ridden forward, so the horse can teach you the right feel. I tried to teach myself from books on a horse that had never been ridden that style, and it didn't go well...
Skyseternalangel likes this.
    12-31-2011, 08:00 AM
Originally Posted by QHriderKE    
...Also, what is a forward seat? Is it a good thing, or not? I've been told that I have one at times while riding western.
A forward seat is a very good thing if you plan on jumping. It is perfectly acceptable as a way of doing all riding. In essence - from reading - it involves moving your center of gravity forward to be close or on the horse's center of gravity - which shifts with motion.

It isn't western riding. The western saddle is designed to have the weight carried further back, and to be ridden with relaxed legs and back. That is probably better - IMHO - for doing sharp turns at speed, or long days in the saddle for someone who doesn't ride daily.
    12-31-2011, 08:38 AM
Forward seat is just the correct position for riding in a hunt seat saddle. Alternately, you could ride in a western/stock seat position, or in a classical seat position as in a dressage saddle. Forward seat position is relatively new to the world of English riding, introduced by Frederico Caprilli around the turn of the last century. The Wikipedia article offers a description of the pre-Caprilli jumping seat and the differences between the two. Federico Caprilli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forward seat includes comparatively short stirrups, a more compressed knee, the seat in contact (usually fairly light contact, as compared to Classical/dressage seat or western) with the saddle on the flat, and a straight and relaxed back - perhaps inclined very slightly forward. The concept behind adopting this seat is to maximize the horse's freedom of movement without compromising rider security, especially in the context of jumping. The two point position is part of the forward seat concept, practically adopted when the horse jumps. In two point, the rider's hip joint closes and the seat comes out of contact with the saddle as the rider matches the horse's movement through the air.

Riding in the forward seat (i.e., shortened stirrups, more angle to knee, slightly forward inclination, etc.) in a western saddle isn't a bad thing necessarily, depending on the context. Many contesters and game riders I know ride with a position much more akin to a jumper than a WP rider - forward seat better facilitates the horse's freedom of movement around a barrel as well. I also see endurance riders or more hardcore trail riders with a more forward seat position, again to maximize freedom of movement, or to allow the horse to more safely and comfortably take a jump or other obstacle on the trail - from the forward seat, it is a simple matter for the rider to come into 2-point as the horse's movement requires. A lot of people that switch back and forth between tack have a slightly forward seat in western, or a slightly back-on-the-pockets position in English. I'm a major example of that, especially the former.

However, if you're planning on entering the world of WP or Stock Seat equitation classes, you'll need to adopt a more standard western seat. A Stock Seat Eq judge will rightly dock points if your position is more like that of a jumper. Most western disciplines entail the western saddle and positions for practical reasons as well, as the jumpers do with their own gear and position.

Hope that was helpful to you! As bsms said, a couple of lessons if you're confused can do wonders - it can be tricky to really understand and apply things like position changes just from reading the mechanics. Sometimes you just need someone on the ground to help you fine-tune things. The Jumping subforum I'm sure also has some great info on 2-point position, getting it, and finding/fixing faults in it.

Good luck!!
bsms likes this.
    12-31-2011, 10:12 AM
This picture was shamelessly pulled from the Internet, and the saddle is Australian. However, the Australian-style saddles I own ride a lot like a western saddle, and this is what I would call using a forward seat in a stock saddle...kind of a cross between the two. I like it when riding faster, but folks tell me I'm wrong.

In honesty, my horses don't seem to mind. If anything, they seem happier if I ride a bit forward at faster speeds, and more to the rear during sharp turns. I'm still trying to figure out what makes most sense for us.

I know that isn't a very helpful answer, but it is honest at least.
    12-31-2011, 11:02 AM
The main difference between a fwd seat and a two point position is that your seat bones are still in the saddle in a fwd seat, while on a two point they are not.

Here's a textbook demonstration of the two point as well as some outstanding jumping. His use of a fwd seat is very subtle and amounts to just some upper body angulation when he actually sits in the saddle to rebalance the horse before jumping. Notice also how he's not all over the horse's neck over the jumps:

Skyseternalangel likes this.
    12-31-2011, 11:17 AM
Beautiful riding... I wish I had that two-point balance :P
    12-31-2011, 11:41 AM
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Beautiful riding...
No kidding. Watching him ride is pretty motivational.

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