Riding Two Point or Half Seat
 By Winniefield Park   •   5th Jul 2016   •   1,808 views   •   0 comments

Whether you call it half-seat, two point or anything else, keeping your seat out of the saddle as you ride can be tricky. Especially after youíve worked hard to learn to keep your seat in the saddle! For simplicityís sake, Iíll call it two point from here on. And, whether you ride English or western, it will be a useful skill to learn.

Riding two point is simply holding yourself up, without putting your seat in the saddle seat. Your legs will be in contact with the saddle, with a bit more weight than usual in the stirrups. Your body will lean forward slightly. Youíll stay firm, but flexible, so that you donít bounce and youíll stay centered and in balance with your horse.

How Two Point is Used
Two point is used when riding over rough ground so you donít bounce on your horseís back, over jumps, at the brisk trot when riding in a western saddle, while riding over low cavalletti, as a riding exercise to stretch and strengthen your legs, and when riding up hills.

How to Start
Like many riding skills, itís best to work with a coach on this. Working on a lunge line allows you to forget about what your hands are doing, so you can concentrate on the rest of your body, and not worry about jabbing inadvertently on your horseís mouth. For security, your coach may tell you to grasp either the front of the saddle, or a neck strap if you lose your balance. You might start by standing in the stirrups at the standstill, but you will get a better idea of how it all comes together at the walk, and then eventually at faster gates.

You donít want to stand straight up though. Rather youíll bend forward from the waist, with your legs in normal riding position. Your legs only aid in helping you stay out of the saddle. Your core muscles do lots of work to keep you in position and your thigh muscles donít actually grip, but stay strong to help hold you up. Let your weight drop down into your heels, so your legs donít stiffen. Youíll want to rise just slightly ahead of center and stay in balance with your horse. Keep looking up and forward.

Common Pitfalls
Common mistakes in riding two point are hunching, gripping the reins for balance, pinching with the knees, letting your legs swing backwards or forwards, gripping with the calves of your legs and ramming your heels down. As you practice the skill, and develop flexibility and muscle, it will be easier to hold your position. Your hands will have to move independently of your body when riding two point, so you donít pull on the reins. Be sure to give and take with the reins in response to how your horse is moving its head.

Tips for Success
If you downhill ski, do martial arts or many other sports, youíll probably find that two point position is familiar. With your knees bent, your feet shoulder width apart, your core strong and your head up, you can easily keep your balance. This is the same stance youíll have in the saddle. You can do some dryland practice before you get in the saddle. Eventually, you will be able to ride two point at all gaits, and over every type of terrain.

Hey riders, what are your tips for riding two point?
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