Now that it is November, and every horse in America will be suffering from some sort of back pain and raising a hoof begging for a massage session for Christmas, maybe we could follow it up with an equally, if not more, effective method of learning to ride better, and have a Two-Point December.
The two-point (jumping position) could possibly be the most important and least practiced position when it comes to riding horses. It forces you to balance on your feet, not the mouth of the horse, and strengthens your core all the way down to your heel. If you are one of those people who takes No-Stirrup November seriously, try following it up with a Two-Point December and in those total 8 weeks, you may revolutionize your riding. Forget about looking silly, or wonder what your friends might say when you are spending hours with your butt up in the air, because you will forever give yourself an edge. And I am not talking a few laps around the ring, try an hour.
If you gallop horses at the racetrack, your life depends on knowing what a good two point is, but not as many people these days start on that kind of oval.
Fox hunters also have an advantage. If more riders disciplined themselves without waiting to be told how to get better, we might be able to accomplish more things as instructors.
If two-point is intimidating, think of it in another light. Think of it has the high part of your post. You don’t need to bend over with strain awkwardly placed on your back. Number one problem people have going to the high part of the post? Keeping the heel down. Second problem? Gripping too tight with the knee. Third problem? Using the mouth for balance. That is what the mane is for. Once you get past these weaknesses, you will be amazed at how quickly your body strengthens.
You can give yourself free lessons just by spending more time in the two-point. Your horse might….. no HE WILL….. even thank you. Then maybe your trainer can do more fun stuff with you. Eventually, you will understand better when to use the two-point, and when to use a deep seat when you are on a particular horse, in a particular class, or just simply riding around.
When you conquer November with No-Stirrups, December in Two-Point, then January combine the two. Two-Point with no stirrups? I have seen it done. Recently. I believe in ride-off of the Medal Finals….just maybe watch Cooper Dean…
Here is the thing about riding. It isn’t supposed to be so easy everyone can do it. I don’t think it should be like golf, or soccer. It should be hard. Because it is hard. Equestrians all over the world are constantly trying to prove why riding is hard so making excuses for your horse’s behavior is counter productive.
“My horse scoots away when I go up to the two point…….”
Yes, I am sure he does, I would too if I were him.
Two point is the “up” part of the posting trot. So if your horse scoots away from the two-point, then something is changing from the “up” part of your post to what you think is the correct two-point position. Are you walking or trotting? Walk it out. Perfect the walking two-point, complete with changes of direction, circles, and halt transitions. Then, STAYING in the two-point, ask for the trot. What changes? You have to have enough self-discipline to be open to learning, so are you willing to do ten walk-trot transitions until your horse doesn’t scoot away from you?
Personally, I think No Stirrups November took off in popularity because it didn’t make people feel inadequate, or green in their riding, it made them feel committed. The difference with practicing in Two-Point is that there will be a general crisis in how people are perceived…..as a beginner. However, in reality, you should be considered more compassionate to your horse, and maybe even a better horseman. Horse welfare has become the top priority for this electronic age we live in, whether we like it or not. We string people up for a variety of wrongdoings in the horse world on every level of perceived abuse. So using the two-point more in your riding will not only help you become a more sophisticated rider, it will have a positive outcome for your horse when performed correctly. (ie: Use the mane, not the mouth, for balance.) Your horse will love you so much more than you could ever know. I guarantee it.
One last thing. Don’t tie your stirrups to the girth. This isn’t a good idea. This is one of those examples of common sense, at least in my eyes. This is one of the most dangerous learning techniques I have ever witnessed, and it will not necessarily benefit your riding. It could also blow your knees out. Do the two-point instead, that will change your leg and your life. Feel the burn.