Oh how my thighs ache, and my repaired knee complains. While posting trot seems fairly painless now, it’s that dratted two-point position that really sorts the men from the boys in the Ouch Department, which is how I refer to my knee now. Following a fairly extensive operation a little over two months ago, I’m now back riding after some rehab and physical therapy got me over the hump.

But holy moly. When I watch lower level riders jump their green horses, I am fighting to scream, “two-point!” at them. Because I grew up with this being screamed at me. Get your bum out of that saddle or get a curry comb taped to your seat – you found your two-point pretty quickly.

Strengthening your core helps you not use your hands for balance. Photo by Emily Krupski.

Strengthening your core helps you not use your hands for balance. Photo by Emily Krupski.

Two-point done correctly for ALL seats should develop a rider’s balance over their feet. It should strengthen your leg, quiet your lower leg and heel, burn those quads, and make your whole insides complain, especially if you’re not fit.

Right now after nearly four months out of the tack, I can still hold a good two-point (without letting my seat touch back on the seat of the saddle at the downbeat of the canter stride) about twice around my field. That’s a little over 2 minutes. Then I have to allow my seat to lower a little more, for one more minute, then the knee is done.

I remember a time when I could hold a two-point forever. I have hunted for hours basically in a two-point or light half seat and two-point. But you lose those muscles fast when you don’t use them.

I know that “No-Stirrup November” is a thing. And that does make you stronger and better balanced – but it’s also going to put your butt in the saddle, too. I would prefer, that especially if you are a young rider or green rider, that you consider this “Two-Point Year” and not just one exercise for one month.

Sitting too soon means your core didn't hold you long enough to release your horses' mouth. More two-point! Photo by Emily Krupski.

Sitting too soon means your core didn’t hold you long enough over the jump to release your horses’ mouth. More two-point! Photo by Emily Krupski.

Make two-point a part of your daily riding especially if you want to jump. You will strengthen your position to the point that your horse will finally be able to use himself over the jumps, and you might be able to let go of his mouth. That’s all he’s looking for. Help him out.

I am looking forward to the day when I can two-point around my field for at least 15 minutes straight without pain. THEN, I will drag out my jumps, and start back over fences. But until I’m strong enough, it’s just going to be flat work; my horse deserves me strong and safe and that’s how it’s going to go this fall.

How about you? Wear a watch and time yourself. How long can you hold a proper two-point? With your leg in contact, knee bent, heels down; hands light and in contact; shoulders up and back straight, with proper angle at the hip to keep your seat from touching the saddle at all. (Think of sitting on that currycomb!) Hold it, hold it….that’s it! Now stay there! Practice every day til you can hold it for a very long time!

To keep my competitive spirit up and keep me working hard, I’m going to enter a dressage schooling show or two this fall as soon as the knee seems strong enough to be working equally with my other leg. I will check my progress and see what the judge thinks! I’ll let you know how it goes.