Beginner 2 point / jump help
Hi - Beginner adult here again, seeking some advice concerning recurring frustrations I have in 2 point, very beginning jump exercise work.
Sometimes my lesson horse - who I ride 3 times per week, just gets in a "mood" ad it's like he's being obstinate. Sometimes the trainer says "He's testing you," but I also wonder if I'm doing something wrong.
In 2 point, there are times when I transition from posting to 2 point and he just wants to stop after a few trots. I'm told to use crop, that he just wants to be lazy. He'll respond but get sassy (sometimes turn his head). I have pretty strong legs, so when I'm told to use more leg, I get frustrated. I know my horse can sense this. I'm told my horse does need "a lot of leg." Don't get me wrong, I love this horse ... most of the time he's great .. (I love him all the time).
When I trot 2 point over a ground pole, when I get over the pole a few steps, again he wants to stop.
I can canter him well. Third difficulty is triggering the canter from 2 point when I go over the pole. I've watched others, and it seems effortless .. with me it is a HUGE hurdle.
I know as a newbie, my guy is likely confused as I try and get everything coordinated. I prefer using the crop as minimally as possible, because of the sassiness, and sometimes sharp/abrupt response it gets (abrubt increase in speed).
I know I need to get better reading the horse's mood, and adjusting myself to him .. It's a challenge though while learning mechanics.
I constantly ask in my lessons -- "Is it me or him?"
Basic questions - 1) Is it common to have a horse want to slow down in 2 point? I am doing 2 point correctly.
2) Is it common for a horse to want to stop after a jump? I THINK it's prompted by my body signally "relief and rest" once I'm over it. I need to work on this
3) How can I give more positive signals to "keep it going" when going ove the pole, esp if I need to do a turn right after going over?
Loving the challenge -- just want to be doing things right and not frustrating my horse, and me :D
I ride a horse that is a lot like this right now. Your guy is probably testing you school horses do this a lot because they have so many different riders riding them he wants to know where you stand.
When you going into 2-Point do your legs come off the horse? If so then he might have just lost incentive to go forward. If you do keep your leg on him in 2-point then keep the same amount of leg on when you sit down from it maybe even add another nudge.
It is not good it have a horse that stops after the jump. You really need to keep you leg on him pushing him forward before the jump during the jump and after the jump.
What kind of crop are you using? Is is a batting crop(really short) or Dressage Whip (Really long)? If you are using a longer crop you can instead of really using it by hitting try just tapping behind your leg let him know you have and will use it when needed. If he gets sassy from hitting it on his back half try tapping the shoulder, it might work.
When going over the pole talk to him like as you go up to it say "trot, trot, trot" in beat with his strides, and keep your leg on pressing or kicking or alternating both. Clucking/clicking a lot might keep him going forward.
Hope it helps! If you have any questions about what I said just ask and I will try and clarify.
Heels down! :D
Lesson horses usually know their jobs. They also know what they can and can't get away with when it comes to different riders. I would ask around to see if this horse does this to other riders. If he doesn't then yes, it is you that is not correcting the problem; if he does do this to other riders, find out how many and how often he does it. I don't believe that any beginner should be using a crop on a horse. You should rely on your aids.
Also, I know it may be hard to do, but if you can get a video of you going over your trot poles it would be most helpful in helping figure out what is going on.
As Live2Ride mentioned, try to pay attention to your legs and what they do when up in your two point. You legs should not lose contact with the horse.
It's hard when you aren't the sole rider of the horse, and never able to consistently work on little problems.
When we take our two point position we are actually removing our biggest natural aid - the seat. Rising/posting is a natural rythym with the horse, and in itself encourages the horse to keep trotting. Going from that, to no seat pushing (and coupled with him being a school horse) he may just literally think you want him to slow down, then by using the crop he gets a bit snippy because he felt he already gave you what you wanted, and isn't sure what you're after. Try trotting around normally on a circle, and when your ready go into two point. When you feel him start to slow, jump straight back into rising trot, when he has a good rythym, two point again, etc etc... eventually he should realise that he will only be pushed forward again, and its just a whole heap easier to keep going that it is to try and stop but then get kicked up again. i say eventually because you may very well be the only one who will try to correct this consistently, so he'll get away with it with other people.
A tip to keeping your leg on, turn your toe out as far as possible and don't let your knee grip the saddle. This immediately steadies your leg, and places your inner calf against his side. Also, a quick side note, make sure you aren't balancing your two point with your hands against his mouth, effectively asking him to stop!
Thsnkd Jacqua! I really like the suggestion of returning to posting just briefly to keep him going.
Sounds to me like the horse is one of two things. Lazy or confused. It's up to you to figure out which it is and fix it. If he's lazy kick his little butt - I find SO many people are trained to use the crop by whacking the horse's shoulder or rump, but IMO, that makes little sense - I use the crop and whack right behind my heel. This is also why I prefer a dressage whip to a crop, I don't need to mess with my reins or anything, I just flick my wrist and the whip flicks right behind my heel. The reason being that I want the horse to listen to my legs, not something hitting his butt or shoulder - So I put a sharper pressure where my leg cue is.
But he could be confused, he may not understand how to balance himself at the trot with you in 2-point. Or he may think you're falling, or aren't balanced yourself. Are you holding yourself up with your reins? If you've shortened your reins too much to go into 2-point you could be unintentionally jabbing him in the mouth. You could also be taking your leg off when you go up into position.
Whoops I just read through all that was said, I have to completely agree with everything so far :) Looks like you've got lots of tools to help you now :D
I use the crop hat my heels .. It's supposed to reinforce the leg .. that's what I've been taught anyways
Your seat and thighs and lower leg are your propulsion. When you go into 2-point, you lose the seat and thighs as propulsion. You only have your calves left. I've seen a lot of people - experienced as well as beginners - who pinch with their knees in the 2-point. Then they've lost the lower leg as propulsion as well. Next time you do 2-point (even if you're at a stand-still), relax your lower leg, let your weight drop into your heel, and turn your toes a little bit out (toes should not be pointing straight ahead in 2-point). Feel, really feel, whether your lower leg is pressed against the saddle and horse, or if you have a death-grip with your knees, leaving your lower-leg flappin' in the breeze.
This reminds me of a game I use for my students - I read it in a book called 'ride a buck' you put a dollar bill (or you can use anything, a glove or something) between your calf and the saddle and see who looses theirs first!! It really helps remind you to keep your legs on! I use this under thighs too for people who have trouble with bouncing around at the sitting trot or canter - so they can see when they lost their seat visually, not just by feel. :D
Also if he is a lesson horse, he may feel your balance isn't all that good in 2 point. Generally with beginners, they loose their balance and they either a) fall off - and the horse stops, or b) ask the horse to slow down or stop so they can get their balance back.
Your leg can also come off in two point as your balance changes. If you have no problems getting your horse moving when sitting in the saddle, I would say it is one of those two things.
Are you able to use a neck strap? I have one on my horse, when I jump him just incase my balance isn't 100%. I would rather grab that then his mouth. I find it helps me secure my position a bit better when in two point, should I need it. I started riding late 2010 when I was 23. I have only had decent instructors for 12 months and I still class myself as a beginner... just maybe a little further along than you. :)
It does get easier, so keep at it and don't get too discouraged. If you need to, use your whip to back up your legs. Ask the horse once, if you get no response then ask again a little firmer, if there is still no response then ask again and tap with the whip. You wont need it after a while as your horse will know what you are asking (and your two point will have improved :) ) Good Luck!!
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