Team Wrangler Tips: Proper Two-Point Position

AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Team Wrangler member Jessica Johnson explains the correct two-point position for horseback riding.

The two-point can be executed at a trot or gallop, but is most commonly seen when jumping and should always be done in proper form. Journal photo.

The two-point position, also known as the half seat, is used to help develop balance and control with your legs. This is achieved by bending forward at the hips, taking most of the weight in your ankles and heels, while keeping your back straight and your seat just off the saddle.

When jumping and hand galloping, English riders shift their seats into the two-point position. This allows a horse to open up and move forward. AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Team Wrangler member Jessica Johnson explains the proper two-point position in three basic steps. 

Learn more about showing and download AQHA's FREE e-book, Showtime: A Guide to Showing American Quarter Horses. You'll find out about the different levels of competition and what to expect at your first show. Plus, there's a great glossary that gets you up to date on showing lingo.

Two-Point Position Basics

  1. Put weight down in your heels.
  2. Keep your knees relaxed.
  3. Keep your seat over the middle of your saddle.

A correct two-point riding position requires good balance and weight distribution. Begin by sinking your weight down to your heels and focus on staying relaxed in your knees. Always keep your seat in the middle of the saddle. Getting up over the pommel of your saddle causes you to squeeze with your knees, which results in your legs falling behind you. This will cause you to lose balance and get out of rhythm with your horse.

It is important to not forget about your hands and upper body when riding in the two-point position. Keep your hands in front of the horse’s shoulders with the reins shortened. Your shoulders should be back and relaxed. It is OK to use your horse’s neck and mane to help maintain your balance when first learning, but over time your legs should become strong enough that you can properly perform the half seat in the show ring with little difficulty.

Get more information on AQHA classes and the overall showing experience with this free e-book, Showtime: A Guide to Showing American Quarter Horses. Download it now, and share it with friends!

Two-Point at a Hand Gallop

You should begin to practice the two-point position at a halt or walk and gradually increase speed until you can comfortably achieve the half seat at a hand gallop. When you are ready to practice the two-point at a hand gallop, remember to move your shoulders slightly back and stretch your upper body up.

As you ride, you should subtly move up and down with the rhythm of the horse. You don't want to stand up in your stirrups and be stiff or you will hinder your horse’s movement. Stay relaxed and keep a little bit of movement in your knees so your horse can open up and remain in a nice, soft canter. Do not allow your weight to shift over the front of your saddle. Keep your seat centered by putting weight in your heels.

Watch Team Wrangler member Jessica Johnson demonstrate these tips for riding in the two-point position below.