Ginny Leng was here doing a clinic and commented that this preoccupation (not speaking to Steuart directly but in generalities) with "Spot" was an American thing (I got that she was referring to hunters, not eventing exclusively) and that one should not (read big not) strive to find a perfect take off point...

Steuart's reply...
I agree that a "preoccupation" with finding a spot causes picky, choppy riding. Seeing a distance is like a blessing from the heavens. It is given to you after you've jumped enough jumps, and even then, sometimes it's not there. But I think that in order to receive this blessing you need two things. One is a rhythmic, balanced approach with a calm and open mind, and two is to have your eyes focused on the top rail. Even beginners who are years away from having a good eye for distances can practice these two things. 

Nobody should fool themselves into thinking that a single upper level event rider in the world doesn't see distances to jumps. Hunter and jumper people may think of eventers as kick and go with your eyes shut masochists, but we 
aren't. We are some of the best technical riders in the world who can do it at all rhythms and paces and in all kinds of terrain. Sometimes that takes a less polished style, but we sure as he-- know where the jump is. 

I can't remeber which British event rider it was that wrote in her book (it may even have been Ginny Leng) that she asked Bruce Davidson how he was able to see his distances from so incredibly far out. He just said that he stares at the top rail of the jump.

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