Two Point, Half Seat and Light Seat Explained

This Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) video will help to explain terminology in riding over fences that we hear quite often – two point, half seat and light seat.

Two Point, Half Seat and Light Seat

The differences in some of the seat positions and types of seats in our English riding can cause some confusion. The video above is a great explanation about the points of contact and purpose behind each seat position.

When riding over fences, the horse needs to be able to use his body in the most athletic way to deal with fences and terrain. The rider assists the horse by taking the two point seat position, and the half seat or light seat position. These are very effective natural aids, and there are often situations where you’ll need to use them.

This video clip shows just what these seat positions mean:

Two Point: The rider has two points of contact with the horse – two knees. The rider leans just forward out of the saddle, freeing up the horse to negotiate jumps and water. The rider’s weight drops down into the heels. (Think of the “up” position of the rising trot.)

(Note, this is opposed to the “full seat” position, where the rider has three points of contact with the horse: each knee, and the bottom. In the full seat, the rider’s upper body is fairly vertical, sitting deep in the saddle.)

Half Seat or Light Seat: Basically, your seat is half out of the saddle, where your clothes or bottom may touch the saddle, yet your seat bones are not in the saddle or only lightly touch the saddle. So – you are half-sitting or lightly sitting on the horse’s back. This term is often used in the hunter-jumper world. These two terms (half seat and light seat) can be used interchangeably. The video explains how to properly achieve the seats necessary for riding in any English saddle and much more.

Expert: Teresa Kackert

Bio: Please visit the Certified Horsemanship Association at for more educational manuals, DVDs, posters and articles that will help you with your horsemanship.