Saturday, August 7, 2010

Best Book for Riders

Sally Swift - Centered Riding

Centered Riding (A Trafalgar Square Farm Book)

"Sally Swift’s book Centered Riding, now a classic, was published in 1985 and celebrated its twentieth year in print in 2005. It's been translated into fifteen languages (in 2008, Korean became the fifteenth language) and has sold over 800,000 copies worldwide. In 1986, Sally produced two videos Centered Riding: Tape 1 and Centered Riding: Tape 2, which are readily available now in both VHS and DVD formats. A second book, Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration was published in 2002 and is following in its predecessor's footsteps with nine foreign language editions and 100,000 copies sold worldwide. The books and videos are available in many tack shops or can be ordered by contacting the Centered Riding Office." Taken from the Centered Riding Website

It's by far one of the best books EVER written to help the aspiring, seasoned and curious horse person. The reason I find this book so helpful is that it is written and illustrated in a way that gives you a clear picture of what proper riding technique should look and feel like.

Have you ever been riding and caught a glance of yourself in a mirror or looked at a picture a friend took at a show? You may find that what you THINK you are doing while in the saddle is very different from reality.

I'll give you a rather embarrassing example:

What this felt like was, forward & graceful. What's happening is my horse is loosing momentum and rhythm...and I'm trying to get him to move forward by lifting up my heel to cue him and leaning forward.

Um, no leaning forward doesn't make your horse go forward! Don't watch those cowboy movies and see men and women spurring their horses on with a "hee-ah" leaning forward and flapping their elbows around like a chicken, and think that's the way to ride. This just puts more weight on your horse's front end and makes it hard for them to shift weight back onto those huge hinder muscles. Sit up folks! Sit up! (I will also take my own advice.)

What would Sally Swift Say?

Sally would have told me to sit up tall like a tree. My heels are the roots of the tree and I want them to lengthen and sink them deep in the ground.

My hands are holding to birds. I don't want to turn my thumbs in or the bird's heads will clunk together. I want to gently hold them upright...without letting them fly away.

Sally would have told me to breath and use gentle vision....see everything around me and stop staring at my horses ears. After-all they're not going anywhere.

To find out more about Centered Riding you can visit their website at


No comments:

Post a Comment