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Why should you ride in two-point seat?

Most riders will ride their horses in rising or sitting trot but riding in two-point seat (standing up in the stirrups) is seen less frequently. However, riding in two-point seat has some advantages and should definitely be considered when planning your riding sessions.

Let’s look at the effect of rising trot on the horse’s movement first

In a straight line, rising in trot has been shown to induce changes in movement symmetry of the horse – as the rider actively rises up in the stirrups, this creates a downward moment and this translates into decreased pelvic rise (reduction in horse’s push off) (1, 2, 3). The uneven movements of rising trot produces an asymmetric load on the horse’s back affecting the motion symmetry of the horse’s pelvis and lumbar spine (4).

Benefits using two-point seat in trot

Rising on the correct diagonal becomes important while working in an arena as we mostly work in some sort of a circular pattern (i.e. on the left or right rein). Circular motion induces locomotory asymmetries in horses without a rider on board and a recent study showed that rising on the correct diagonal can counteract these circle induced asymmetries and thus making the horse more symmetrical on a circle (1) – you can read more in my blog ‘Why should I rise on the correct diagonal in trot?

Summary

It seems that riding in two-point seat allows riders to absorb some of the dynamic forces acting on their bodies resulting in more stability in the saddle and reduced forces on the horses back. Therefore, riding in two-point position might be beneficial during training of young horses while their are developing their strength or for horses coming back into work after injury. Plus, from the rider’s point of view, riding in a two-point seat is great for improving lower leg stability and, consequently, balance and safety in the saddle 😉


I hope you found this blog helpful and I would love to hear from you if you have any specific horse and rider training questions. Are you looking for a horse riding instructor who offers evidence-based training for riders and horses? Get in touch to find out how I can help you succeed! I offer horse and rider training in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.


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References:

  1. Persson-Sjodin E, Hernlund E, Pfau T, Haubro Andersen P, Rhodin M. Influence of seating styles on head and pelvic vertical movement symmetry in horses ridden at trot. PLoS One. 2018;13(4).
  2. Martin P, Cheze L, Pourcelot P, Desquilbet L, Duray L, Chateau H. Effect of the rider position during rising trot on the horse’s biomechanics (back and trunk kinematics and pressure under the saddle). Journal of biomechanics. 2016;49(7):1027–1033.
  3. van Beek FE, de Cocq P, Timmerman M, Muller M. Stirrup forces during horse riding: a comparison between sitting and rising trot. Veterinary journal. 2012;193(1):193–198.
  4. Roepstorff L, Egenvall A, Rhodin M, Byström A, Johnston C, Weeren PR, et al. Kinetics and kinematics of the horse comparing left and right rising trot. Equine Veterinary Journal. 2009;41(3):292–296.
  5. Peham C, Kotschwar AB, Borkenhagen B, Kuhnke S, Molsner J, Baltacis A. A comparison of forces acting on the horse’s back and the stability of the rider’s seat in different positions at the trot. Vet J. 2010;184(1):56-9.

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