2pointober, and Lower Legs Behaving Badly

After looking at all of the pictures of my Lower Leg Behaving Badly last weekend:


it just so happened that Denny Emerson posted something the very next day that made me think.  He said in order to improve you lower leg, you need to:

1. Shorten your stirrups. And I mean SHORTEN them.
2. Place your LOWER LEG, by your ankle bone/Achilles tendon ON the horse, just behind the girth, and leave it there, with your knee "soft" and your heels DOWN.
3. Let your upper body come forward as a "byproduct" of your hips coming back-----Don`t push on the stirrup and bring your crotch forward----let the horse come UP to you, not you go DOWN at the horse.

I've head 1 and 2 a million times, but 3 tickled my brain a little bit.  It sounds just like what I teach and learn in CrossFit with the air squat.  Hips go back first, weight in your heels...


 And your weight is in your heels.

One other thing I've been working on in CrossFit lately is lengthening the back of my leg in my setup for the snatch so that my weight is more in my heels and my shins are more vertical rather than my knees being in front of my toes.  (Promise this all both horse and twopointober related, so bear with me a little longer!)

Snatch: barbell goes from the ground to over your head in one motion.

Where else do your shins need to be vertical, your hamstrings long, your weight in your heels and your hips back first?

Denny Emerson, the world's loudest advocate of a strong lower leg.

...in two point and the galloping position.  And what is always horribly sore on me after an Olympic lifting class?  My supremely tight hamstrings, a gift of years of running.  I am doing a bad air squat on the horse, with my knee in front of my toe, my weight on my forefoot, and my body mass tipped forward.


Penny Oaks, May 3, 2014

So I knew when I got home that two point and galloping with my butt out of the saddle were going to be something I needed to work on all winter.  I haven't done a lot of it, to be honest.  Haven't done a lot of jumping, haven't done a lot of eventing, haven't been asked to be out of the saddle for long periods of time before.  Even on the XC course I sit sometimes - bad, I know.  Unsuprising, my baseline for L Williams and Hillary's contest wasn't great:


I did it over terrain, too, out on the trails during my birthday hack (happy birthday to me!).  Because we're eventers, and that's where I most need to be out of the saddle:

Best birthday party ever.






A cold front came through, and he went from sleek to fuzzy overnight.  He always looks more like a pony and less like a little horse when he' s fuzzy.

They repainted the barn a few weeks ago. 

So basically, 2pointober happened at the best time ever, and it's time to get to work!

32 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday!!!

    Ugh snatches. I love the visual of tying crossfit into horseback riding, that might help me at crossfit. After years of playing volleyball and badminton I naturally want to have a wider base and keep all my weight on the balls of my feet so the stance and the weight in the heels thing is hard for me to get used to. Maybe if I try to think about it like weighting my heels on a horse it will work better for me.

    Still though, ugh snatches. ;-)

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    1. Snatches took me years to get right, because it's all body control and not strength. I have always found that a whole lot of Crossfit applies to riding and vice versa. The power position for the Olympic lifts especially exactly mimics the "shoulder hip heel in line" of riding. When you get to the bottom of either sport, it's all about balance through your center of gravity and correct movement.

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    2. And thanks!!! :) It was a good birthday.

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  2. Happy birthday, looks like a great way to have spent it! I really wanna do this 2 pointober thing, damn gale force winds!!

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    1. Thanks! That weather sounds terrible!

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  3. Guessing Mr. Emerson's list was primarily referring to jumping / xc position, but I'm struck by how it applies to dressage too - especially #3 - leaving room for the horses' back to come up. Love me some Denny Emerson.

    Can I just say that following your and Connor's progress as a team, your blog posts which are unfailingly positive and happy - is so inspiring. Happy, happy birthday to you Jen! :D

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    1. Thank you! I try to write about the good as well as the bad, but bad is pretty relative when you own a horse. If he's sound and happy, I don't have a lot to be negative about.

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  4. Happy happy!

    Starting crossfit here too, feeling a difference already.

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad to hear that. I've been doing CrossFit for almost four years now and love it. So much of it applies to and benefits riding.

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  5. Happy Birthday!!! Looks like a fab hack and some great 2point points :)

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    1. Thanks! We all need all the help we can get, right?

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  6. Rogue lower leg. Peter Atkins was the game changer for my position. Then there was that time Lee Ann tied my stirrup to my girth!

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    1. Lol I can picture that happening! That's funny. Rogue indeed.

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  7. When I first started doing personal training and I did a squat for the first time I was like "holy shit.. this is a 2pt"

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    1. Yeeeeeep. That and the "power position" in the Olympic lifts translate so hard to riding.

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  8. Happy Birthday!! And a word that helps Michael with correct 2 point is thinking "crouch" over the saddle. Thinking hips back instead of going "up" into position. :)

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  9. Hmm, going to try shortening my stirrups on Stampede. I have much more of a lower leg problem with him, but I also keep my stirrups longer on him than I do on P. I do think my other issue is my tendency to use my heel to get a response when Stampede ignores my first request. Keeps me from having a steady leg. The pony gets very angry and refuses to move forward with any spurs I've tried though and I hate to go around using a crop on him a billion times a ride.

    And happy birthday!

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    1. I think you're on to something, let me know how the stirrup shortening goes. I used to think I needed to use my calf muscle, the back of it, so I turned my legs like a duck to give any aid. No bueno!

      Thanks!

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  10. No more pretty red crosses on the doors?

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    1. There are no doors on that side. It's always been white. They didn't change anything, just repainted what was there.

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  11. happy birthday!! thanks for sharing all those insights on keeping the lower leg solid. it's a constant struggle for me lol - but i'm also pretty excited about 2pointober :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you found them helpful. Yeah, we should all look different after 2pointober!

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  12. Happy birthday! And yeah, that lower leg is such a struggle for me too. I always think about sticking my leg out in front of me over the fence... only way i can get the damn thing to behave. Good luck with 2point practice!

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    1. Thanks for the tip - I'll give that a try.

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  13. I read that same post by Denny and thought the same thing - I never heard anyone talk about hips coming back at it completely makes sense. I would be all over crossfit if I only had time! (Stupid commute)

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    1. CrossFit is awesome! Live somewhere less populous like me. :)

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  14. Happy birthday!! Sounds like lots of fun. :-)

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  15. I just wrote my own version of this post, except your baseline was WAY better. My two point is super sucky, and I have been doing it wrong for years... so time to fix!

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  16. Happy birthday! I read your post right before going out to see Gav. Shortened my stirrup a hole and really thought about squats and weight in my heels. Really helpful! Thanks for the visual!

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  17. I much prefer my stirrups short. I have been having a hard time adjusting to my stirrups being looooong for dressage, and its been a year or so since I put them down!

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