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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My two instructors seem to mean different things by two point. One of them seems to mean more of a standing up position with knees sort of bent and shoulders up, and the other one means what I'd call jump position (butt back, shoulders well forward). Which of these is correct?

I jumped Pony over a cross-rail yesterday and he wasn't on the best step so he took it from a ways out and jumped pretty high. I lost my stirrup. This instructor said it was because I wasn't in two-point. But I WAS in two-point, at least the two-point that the other instructor said (the more upright one). I think it would have been fine if I had been able to get him on a better step -- he wouldn't have jumped so high and the position would have been fine. I think. Although OTOH it seems like if you're in any sort of two-point, with all of your weight in the stirrups, you shouldn't be able to just lose a stirrup. Should you?

The one instructor said that two-point and jumping position are two different things, and you don't need to go into jumping position for something like this cross-rail, but the other one seems to want it. So I'm a little lost about what to do.
 

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Two-point, forward position, jumping position are pretty much all the same position to me.

All have two points in contact with the horse - your legs. If you're jumping it's a jumping position, if you're galloping or taking weight off the back, then it's a forward position (or whatever you want to call it).

It seems to depend on the discipline and country though. Some are taught to fold less at the hips than others.

Here, there's very little difference; we fold slightly at the hips - the more upright version - and aim for elbows, knees and ankles in a line, legs resting on the saddle but not gripping, weight down through your heels but not forced, balanced enough so that the hands can give over a fence. The horse pivots around your knees as it jumps.

(If you lost a stirrup then you might be gripping with your knees and calves, which will shorten your leg by drawing it up and back and out of the stirrup).

However, in some countries and disciplines, riders are taught to fold further at the hips when jumping, bringing their shoulders down very close to, or on the withers, which means their forward seat is going to appear more upright. That seems to be a cultural difference and not one that would be taught here (plus, you'd be sitting in the saddle going into the fence).

Personally, I don't think that you need to fold that far going over small cross poles, but that's just me and the way I was taught.

Perhaps you could say to them that you've noticed that they do it differently and ask them why and to explain their reasons. It might help you to make a choice about which position works best for you and Pony.

How I was taught:

 
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I can't comment on the upright vs jump position nomenclature, but weight distribution and stirrup loss I have some suggestions on.

First, I'd say that while two point is "no weight in your seat", that's not the same as "all weight in your stirrups". You should be distributing a good deal of your weight to the horse's back via your thighs in both seated and two point positions.

Second, the loss of one stirrup over the jump suggests either you shifted all your weight over to one side, thus loosing the stirrup on the opposite side, OR you were behind the motion and the horse's back came up and bopped you in the seat, this removing your weight from one or both feet.

The "first" is some wisdom I've recently received and been trying to incorporate into my own riding, the second I'm commenting from my own mistakes :) hope it's at least a little helpful!
 

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My understanding, based on reading, is the 'standing in the stirrups' view (what the US Cavalry taught) rather than folding for a jump. My guess is you lost the stirrup because your knee tightened and interrupted the flow of weight past your knee and into your stirrup. I use two point - as I understand it - almost exclusively when trotting. I hate a sitting trot (increases peak pressures on the horse's back by 25%) and don't like posting. I also like my stirrups long, so this is me doing my understanding of two point:
BTW - I'm using the reins (one hand) to cue Bandit not to cut the corner and preparing to switch to a canter when we turn. I've probably got no more than an inch between the crotch of my jeans and the saddle. But I'm "standing in the stirrups" and my rump doesn't hit the saddle and there is some flexing in my knees. The Sonoran Desert isn't a place friendly to jumping...
 

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In my opinion, your body position will reflect what the horse is doing at the time. Two point means your seat is not in contact with the saddle. You could two point standing straight up, or with a lot of bend. At the trot you won't need a lot of bend unless the horse is very rough. At the gallop or over a large jump, you might be leaning forward a lot.

If the horse jumps much higher than you think they will, it is easy to get behind the motion. That means often you will get your seat bumped with their back, and that will throw you up on landing so you lose a stirrup.

Some reasons this happens is if your leg is too far forward and not underneath your weight, which can mean if you get behind the motion you "fall" backward and land on the saddle, which means you get bumped up.

Another reason is if you don't get off the saddle high enough for the height of the jump, so you have room to clear it as the horse's back rounds coming over the jump. Getting off the saddle doesn't mean you straighten your joints, you need the stirrups to be short enough for the height of the jump to where you can still keep your joints nicely bent through knees, hips and ankles.

In this video the girl gets behind the motion in the first jump but doesn't get hit by the horse's back enough to lose her balance. The second jump is good. The third jump is the worst, and this is where you might lose your stirrup getting hit on the way down.
 

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In the video above the second jump is NOT good. The rider finds a distance too close to the fence (chips), and loses their position.

This free video of the month from equestriancoach.com is more about distances and where to look, but Bernie is staying in a two point/light seat throughout. His hip angle barely changes over the small fences but he does give enough of a release with his arms. Bernie has a perfect leg position with weight in his heels that aren’t jammed down, and always a good one to watch.

 

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In the video above the second jump is NOT good. The rider finds a distance too close to the fence (chips), and loses their position.

This free video of the month from equestriancoach.com is more about distances and where to look, but Bernie is staying in a two point/light seat throughout. His hip angle barely changes over the small fences but he does give enough of a release with his arms. Bernie has a perfect leg position with weight in his heels that aren’t jammed down, and always a good one to watch.

Very good video, however I think it is difficult to see exactly how to make your jump perfect with an expert rider because he makes everything look effortless. With the struggling rider, you can see exactly what she does wrong. In the second jump in the video I posted, no it's not a great jump, but she avoids getting banged in the butt by the saddle because of her position. This might help the OP see how getting behind the motion can cause you to lose a stirrup. We're not going to see an example of Bernie losing a stirrup or find out what caused it. He tells us how to ride perfectly, and shows us how, but it's a long road to there with many mistakes for beginners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LOL yes, the perfect videos are inspiring but the less than perfect ones are probably (OK definitely) more relevant to me. I appreciate them all and find them all useful. Out of curiosity, if I were ever able to get someone to video me, does the video really need to be at a certain angle in order for people to provide a useful critique of what I'm doing wrong?
 
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The OP asks about a correct two point. I showed her a correct two point position. My education has never been ‘here’s a bad jump/position don’t do it like this’. YMMV.

Bernie does not lose a stirrup because he has worked hard to have a good position/two point.
 

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In the video above the second jump is NOT good. The rider finds a distance too close to the fence (chips), and loses their position.

This free video of the month from equestriancoach.com is more about distances and where to look, but Bernie is staying in a two point/light seat throughout. His hip angle barely changes over the small fences but he does give enough of a release with his arms. Bernie has a perfect leg position with weight in his heels that aren’t jammed down, and always a good one to watch.

Wow, that's a great video on distances! Especially the helmet cam shots were helpful.

Looking through more of the free videos, I found this- on the history of the development of the "American Hunter-Jumper Forward Riding System", which I think will give OP some context on the differences:


If not helpful, then I at least hope you find it entertaining as I did :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That was really interesting. And some of those early picture were absolutely appalling.
 

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"You and George Morris both mention Bert de Nemethy and Vladimir Littauer as mentors. Who would you say are the modern day masters—the ones who’ll be remembered as the most influential teachers in the sport today?

I hope I’m in there somewhere. George, of course. But he’s always been. A modern day master, that’s an interesting term. Who were the masters? Who developed our sport? The forward riding system started with Federico Caprilli. It went on to Brig Gen Harry D Chamberlain in the US, Captain Vladamir S. Littauer, Gordon Wright, Bert de Nemethy, George Morris, Bill Steinkraus.
" - 6 Questions with Bernie Traurig

Littauer's book is available free online here: Common Sense Horseman Ship : Vladimir S. Littauer : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Options include downloading it as a pdf file. I was re-reading it last weekend. I liked this section:

"To all the suggestions to be found in this chapter I would like to add one more, which I have left for the last because I think it the most important and did not want it to be lost among the others: occasionally stop to consider what your horse thinks of you....

...Obviously his jumping ability had been his undoing and he had probably been forced to jump anything in sight at the age of three and had accordingly become a nervous wreck. It had taken the student all of two months to calm and stabilize him and, naturally being impatient, she was rather angry with her horse and, among other things, said to me, "he is a fool." Then her very wise instructor (Miss Harriet H. Rogers) interrupted her and said:

"He is not a fool but he thinks that all human beings are."

He gives detailed explanations of position. Old fashioned, though - but he was Bernie Traurig's coach for 4 years.

 
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