Two point trouble

One of the major things I’m working on with Candy is two-point position. Candy’s default response to it is to increase her speed. My guess is that her response is the result of a couple of factors. Two-point shifts my weight forward, and Candy must adjust her balance accordingly. Two-point may also remind her of a jockey’s position. My leg pushes against her more firmly in two-point, too.

What Candy feels like when I’m in two-point.

We worked on two-point for about half an hour on Sunday. I would get into position at the trot, and every time Candy would zoom off, I’d make a large circle, half-halt, and encourage her to slow down with my voice. I also practiced upward and downward transitions between the walk and trot as well as trotting over a few ground poles. For the most part, she listens pretty well, but I’m hoping that with time and repetition, her initial reaction won’t be dramatically changing her pace.

Have you ever dealt with a horse who interpreted two-point as “GO FAST NOW”? Are there any exercises I should be incorporating to help with this issue?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

5 thoughts on “Two point trouble”

  1. Hm that’s a tough one! For Charlie his brakes are bad enough anyway that I focus just on working on the brakes independent of practicing anything that makes slowing down even harder. Bc…. Sometimes he gets confused lol. But if you really want to practice two point maybe working on it when you first get on the horse and she’s just walking around to warm up? Vs like, when she’s further into the ride and might be anticipating a go aid? Idk.

    1. Candy’s brakes are pretty reliable (when we aren’t in a group in the open, at least, but that’s a separate issue), and we’re to the point where we can now walk/trot/canter quietly both directions in both the small indoor and large outdoor arena. That’s definitely progress! I’ll try your suggestion of working on it right at the beginning of the ride; I’m hoping it’ll become just another weird, boring thing that Silly Humans do!

  2. I’ve used it to my advantage with some OTTBs who don’t want to canter, and then incorporated sitting when I could get them moving a bit. The only other experience with this is mares getting rushing forward and not listening to half halts (or full halts) when they get moving at the canter. The solution to this was to half halt through my knees, which is an odd feeling because it basically IS gripping with your knees (as opposed to calves). After I’d acquired that “kneeling” feeling, as if my lower leg didn’t exist and my leg ended at my knees, then I could modulate speed a bit better sitting or in two point.

    Good luck! Voice aids are helpful too actually — my MIL can get her mares to half halt off her voice, so that will definitely come in handy.

  3. Perhaps putting a few raised cavaletti down? Of course she might well rush over them, but I’ve found they tend to slow a horse down. Especially if you only raise one side and leave the other on the ground, and alternate which side is raised – left high, right high, left high, etc. It backs them off a bit because it looks crazy but in reality the poles are barely raised off the ground. Or try opening your hip angle a bit – almost like you’re going to stand straight up in your stirrups. That’s the position jockeys get in to pull up, so it may signal “slow down” to her. Who knows. Keep us posted on what works, I’m curious!

  4. Maybe work on it at the walk first? But otherwise, I think you’re doing the right things. Also, maybe be really mindful of what your leg is doing in the half seat. Maybe try to sink deeper rather than gripping tighter so your leg isn’t sending her more forward?

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