Looking beyond

The eyes are a critical element in determining failure or success. It may seem obvious, but it is thanks to the signals picked up by the eyes that the rider analyses the situation and gives orders to his own body and to the horse. The big difference lies between the eyes being focused on something specific and an overall view.

Focusing on something specific is like looking through a tube: the eyes stare at a single spot and do not see the rest. More generally, when a rider stares at a specific point, he changes his balance so as to lead the horse in that direction.

An overall look, on the other hand, widens the field of view. When jumping a track, this allows you to gather all possible information about the course, approaching the jumps, landing and then the next jump.

By looking down while approaching a jump, the rider encourages the horse to make a mistake. Even when training at home, one must always practice looking around, possibly at something different and pleasant, like a tree, a bird or a dog lying next to the arena.

In doing so, the “control tower” always remains vigilant. Our role is to be present: being present here and now allows one to foresee what comes next, thanks above all to where we are looking.

Michel Robert for Team WOW