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PasoLargo 09-16-2013 06:45 PM

I keep falling forward while on 2-point!
Hi everyone! I just joined today and I am so happy to have found this fount of knowledge! I just started riding again about 4 months ago after 22 years off the saddle. I grew up riding paso fino horses in Puerto Rico, and I have now ventured into the beautiful world of English riding.

Needless to say it's been quite eye opening to learn about posting diagonals, walking without looking like my lesson horse is half asleep, keeping contact with the bit, sitting trots (woooo bouncy!), cantering on a correct lead and of course, 2-point position. Ya mean I don't just get up on my stirrups and stick my butt out :shock:?

I've been doing yoga and stability ball exercises to help build core strength and balance, and it has helped. But I keep falling forward after going over cavaletti. The first 2 poles I'm ok, but on the 3rd one I just become a total mess and fall forward, having to grab the horse's neck for balance.

It was ok while I was going over them at trot. I was able to keep mostly upright. But last week I tried it while cantering. I went over the first 2 poles beautifully then the last one I ended up falling out of my stirrups and hanging onto the side of my lesson OTTB like I was Spiderwoman climbing a building. Thankfully I righted myself back up so I didn't end up eating dirt. It was a spectacular save that got me props with the girls at the barn, but I'm not trying to be a stunt rider here lol!

I'm thinking next lesson I'm going to shorten my stirrups a notch to make keeping my heel down easier and hopefully that'll help. Any advice that you all may have for this newbie will be most appreciated. Also, if anyone knows of exercises I can do off horse to strengthen my legs to keep them wrapped around the horse. My instructor tells me to do it (MORE LEG!), I think I'm doing it, but I can feel my feet flopping in the wind and know it ain't happening. Plus I'm trying to keep my shoulders back and eyes up and trying not to fall forward and... gaahhh!!

Thank you :-)

tinyliny 09-16-2013 07:56 PM

I don't think I could do any better. I find hunt seat harder than anything.
It is true that a person needs to be strong to do those two points, but strong should not mean rigid. sometimes when you have things where you are pivoting off your knee (falling forward), it's usually because the knee is just locked. you need it to be strong, and your lower leg and all, but it doesn't FREEZE. it still may need to "open and close" some to absorb movement (like a shock absorber in a car), so that the movement doesn't transer to the upper body and end up flinging you out of the saddle.

I take that back. it's really the hip that opens and closes to absorb the motion. But, my comment is that you are likely too rigid in your body; thinking so much "strong" that you end up tight and frozen.

tlkng1 09-16-2013 08:14 PM

It sounds like what is happening is that your leg is moving back which is going to shift you forward. Two-point is all leg strength. What the instructor is trying to get across is that you need to keep your leg in the proper position, essentially the iron in line with the girth as a starting point, with heels down, and maintain that in the two-point. This puts your leg under you and helps with the balance in the saddle.

What is probably happening is that you hit the first pole/cavaletti in proper position. Over the second pole/cavaletti you start to slide your leg back and by the time you hit the third, you are completely off balance and hence the fall. Picture yourself pushing the horse away with your hands and rocking back with your hips. This will re-center you over the saddle and help your balance.

Lots and lots and LOTS of proper two-point at the trot will help that leg strength and help you maintain the proper leg position. At the lower heights you don't really need to shorten your irons a hole...that comes into play more over higher jumps. As long as the iron is at the same level as your ankle bone, the length is fine. You want to keep your heel down by sinking your weight into your heel, not by pressing hard against the iron and jamming your heel down. The reasoning here is that when you land form a jump, you absorb the landing in your knee and heel. If you press against the iron and forcefully jam your heel down, you lose the elasticity in the foot and heel you need to absorb the landing. It will also tense the knee.

PasoLargo 09-17-2013 05:07 PM

Yep, you are both right. Thinking about it, I do tense up overthinking everything I should be doing. I still have the old habit of squeezing with my knees instead of with my lower leg. And looking at the pics my husband took, my legs are waaaaayyyy behind the girth and I look like I'm perched up on the stirrups.
I've been watching videos and noting how the leg stays straight, almost always perpendicular to the ground, with the toe under the knee. I'll keep working on my position on the trot and advance to the canter when I know I can stay balanced.
Thank you so much for your help, ladies!

jaydee 09-17-2013 06:11 PM

When you ride in 2 point you shouldn't be gripping with your legs at all - you will need to use your leg to steer the horse so they need to be 'neutral' and only lying alongside the horses body
The strength for the exercise comes from the thighs and core so any exercises you can do to strengthen their is going to help
Allow you heels to sink down but don't force them down rigidly and although you're going to rise up from your knees you shouldn't be gripping like a vice with them either
To start with grab a section of mane in front of the saddle and use that to balance yourself
When you are actually jumping you shouldn't still be in 2 point but should have sat down for a few strides to be pushing your horse over the jump at which point you will then go back into the forward position - but not so far that you're ejecting yourself up his neck and over his ears

tlkng1 09-17-2013 07:41 PM

Jaydee question..maybe it was thee way your post was worded...:). You said, "when you are actually jumping you shouldn't still be in two point." I can agree that approaching a jump the rider shouldn't be in a two-point position but the two point IS the position over the jump. The other standing rule of thumb is to maintain the two point one stride upon landing.

Now, for beginning riders learning to jump, many instructors have them get into two-point a few strides early to get the position. Once they are more comfortable that stops and instructors have them approaching the jump in proper three point form (standard hunter style seat).

As Jaydee also pointed out, you don't need to launch yourself up the horse's neck. The horse can jump fine on their don't need to add to the motion :). Your hip angle may close slightly but you don't need to fold in is simply a closing of the hip angle..allowing the horse's neck to come to you rather than you going down to reach the horse's neck. Again, picture yourself pushing the horse away with your hands. I had the same issue...helping the horse to jump and folding way too far over the smallest fences. Picturing pushing away with my hands (a great kudos to my instructor for that one), really helped me.

jaydee 09-18-2013 08:54 AM

I probably didn't word it very well did I !!! I could edit but wont - what I meant to say was when you are jumping - as in competing in a ring or in a school situation you wont be in 2 point as you approach the fence but sitting down to push on, as you ask the horse to lift off you go back to that 2 point position and remain in it for a stride after the fence.
I don't really like the idea of asking riders to stay in 2 point on the immediate approach as I think it encourages riders to then push too far forwards - hence this lying up the horses neck too much that seems to be getting more and more common - and then seems to result in riders sitting back too soon to try to correct themselves as they come down

PasoLargo 09-18-2013 07:11 PM

My instructor is having me stay on 2-point over all 3 cavaletti, which wasn't too hard on walk or trot, but in the canter by the last rail I was on the horse's neck holding on for dear life lol. My legs kept slipping back.

That makes sense to think of pushing the horse away with my hands. I can visualize it and I'll def keep that in mind during my lesson on Saturday.

Thank you so much for the tips! I'll post about how it went after my lesson :)

jaydee 09-19-2013 09:09 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I found these slow motion pics of top UK showjumper Ben Maher - thought they were really good as they give a pretty clear view of how the seat position changes on approach - in the air and then coming back down
Good luck with the lesson

updownrider 09-19-2013 03:11 PM

You won't see too many show jumping riders that maintain a two point throughout a whole course but there are some hunter riders that do. John French is one that does, and in a beautiful style.

I'm using this video even if it is old because it is a derby and the horse John is riding, Rumba, must make some tight turns. Also, because Rumba is beautiful.

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