Centered Riding by Sally Swift helped me become both a better rider and a better instructor. Her tapes and book were part of our curriculum when I was in the equine school at Martin Community College and I have had a copy of the book in my personal library ever since. It is one of the most important how-to books written on equitation. It is both informative and easy to understand and put into practice.
Sally Swift had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. She was taught by a physical therapist to use imagery and other mind-body techniques to access and move her muscles. She used what she learned about her body also as an equestrian. Then she passed her knowledge on to us.
Sally Swift wrote her groundbreaking book, Centered Riding, in 1985. In the book she teaches us four basics of riding: using the eyes, correct use of breathing, finding your center, and the building blocks or balance. Her text and illustrations combine to give the reader a clear understanding of how those elements lead to the rider making the horse happier and a better performer because the rider knows and understands their own body better.
She Wrote a SequelA sequel came out in 2002 Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration. Centered In addition to her videos and books her teachings continue to reach riding instructors who are trained and certified by Centered Riding, Inc. Her mission to promote harmony between horse and rider will be continued through the organization and instructors internationally.
The U.S. Dressage Federation inducted Swift into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2006. Swift was also the recipient of the annual Equine Industry Vision Award, presented by Pfizer Animal Health and American Horse Publications in 2008.
Centered Riding founder, teacher, and author Sarah "Sally" Swift, of Brattleboro, Vt. died April 2, 2009. She was born in 1913 and began riding when she was only eight years old. Her legacy lives on as her writings continue to inspire riders.