Teach Me Tuesday: What do you see when you see a spot?

Teach Me Tuesday is a segment I have blatantly ripped off of the SprinklerBandit.  However, I am really, really, dyingly curious on this one and I needz to know!  But hear me out — I’m not some heathen jumping around without being able to see a spot at all.  What I’m interested in here are the differences in our perceptions when we see a spot.

tell me

Tell me: what is it, exactly, that you see when you “see” a spot?

I know how to feel/see that I’m going to get a good spot.  When I’m cantering down to a jump I can quite accurately count from 4 strides out to exactly when I will be jumping.  And I know whether that spot is going to be a little long, deep, or pretty perfect.  It’s much easier to “see” a perfect spot when we have a steady, quality canter, and it’s much easier to get that spot then too, obviously.  I’m also pretty adequately competent at adjusting (usually holding, at this stage of Murray’s training) Murray’s stride to get a better spot.  But I don’t see the spot so much as feel a certainty when I’m four (sometimes more, sometimes fewer) strides out that I don’t need to worry about where I’m jumping from.

jump spot 1

So coming up on the Christmas tree, I’d be thinking that I’m about to jump pretty nicely in three strides and, unless he’s tired or I fuck something up, that’s what’s going to happen.  The thing is, Murray will go whether I see the spot or not (just gotta keep those legs steady and pretend I see it), and since I ride in a really light seat and let Murray’s jump close my body angle over the fence, I don’t tend to worry about it too much.

But I know seeing your spot is much more important in other disciplines, so do any of you want to enlighten me as to what you see (or feel!) when you see a spot? Please?