Here’s something to ponder. Nuno Oliveira was the acknowledged master of Classical Riding in the 20th Century. In EVERY photo I’ve seen of him riding he is looking down at the horse. Probably at the withers or just in front. He was able to become “one” with the horse. He once did over fifty single flying changes while he did every canter movement. That includes the half-pass and, I believe, the pirouette.

A classical rider Bill and I trained with rides looking at the horse the way Nuno did.

There’s this fabulous bull fighter, Jacques Bonnier, in France. In the videos I’ve watched where he’s schooling his horses, he looks at the same area on the horse.

Two years ago Bill and I went to Portugal for a week of lessons with a Portuguese Classical rider. He, too, always looks at the horse in front of the withers. In every lesson he told us, “Look at the horse!”

At the Animal Communication class here last Sunday one of the first things the instructor mentioned is: when you want to communicate with the horse you look at the region surrounding his heart. The area is in front of the withers, down towards his belly, forward through his shoulder and up to his neck. It’s a large area. You also are focused on communicating, much like the athlete during a spectacular performance enters into THE ZONE.

So I’m thinking that even if these riders knew nothing about today’s theories on Animal Communication and where to look to connect with the horse, they instinctively knew to go mentally into a ZONE and focus totally on the horse… looking at its heart.

I was riding Zelador the other day and noticed that we were “one”. I started to analyze what was happening with my body and realized I was in a zone and my eyes were looking just in front of the horse’s withers. Interesting…