Centered Riding / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 05/02/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (68) from $1.99   
  • New (16) from $15.25   
  • Used (52) from $1.99   


Widely known for her innovative teaching philosophy stressing body awareness, the value of "soft eyes," proper breathing, centering, and balance, Sally Swift has been a pioneering riding instructor for half a century. In book form for the first time, her methods enable horse and rider to achieve harmony, working together naturally, without pain.

Unlike traditional teachers, Sally Swift does not believe in forced training techniques that cause stiff bodies and tense riding. Instead, through the use of vivid, unusual, and highly creative images that transcend mechanics ("Pretend you're a spruce tree; the roots grow down from your center as the trunk grows up"), plus a thorough knowledge of human and equine anatomy, this wise and inspiring teacher enables the conscientious equestrian to reassess habitual responses, in order to ride in natural positions, break through frustrating plateaus, and achieve ever-rising goals with comfort, vitality, and precision.

Precise illustrations and photographs never before used in riding books explain anatomy and image work to give mind and body new and relaxed approaches to the inner process of riding.

Centered Riding is for those with little experience all the way up to world class.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Even the best riders know what it's like to hit a learning plateau-- a time when, no matter how hard you work, you seem to get nowhere. Such interruptions in a rider's progress often stem from a false or imprecise understanding of what he or she is trying to do, or the lack of a key image that could put things together, working in synchrony. For the rider who needs either or both of these (and who does not, from time to time?), Sally Swift's Centered Riding will prove indispensable. Wonderfully explicit in explaining and showing what should work how, Centered Riding is also wonderfully imaginative in finding just the right psychological images to help go beyond the mere mechanics. A work of truly remarkable originality and ingenuity, it cannot fail to help many riders attain their present goals, and then move ahead to set higher ones."--William Steinkraus, Chairman, U.S. Equestrian Team, Inc., Olympic Gold Medalist, Show-jumping, 1968, Mexico City

"A truly unique horsewoman, Sally Swift has tremendous compassion for and understanding of equine and human athletes. Through her own experience as a rider and from her years of helping so many riders throughout the country, she has honed and refined her techniques. The result is an exciting, accurate, and delightful text that will offer readers a new dimension to riding and the teaching of riding.

"Riders of all disciplines and at all levels will find her techniques fun and easy, and will discover themselves capable of astonishing and exhilarating breakthroughs in performance. Riding instructors will find the text to be an invaluable tool in communicating many of the concepts that lie at the heart of good riding.

"Centered Riding is a book that will be read and reread for years to come, providing timeless counsel for horsemen and -women who seek to improve and refine their riding skills and their ability to communicate these skills to others."--Tad Coffin, Olympic Individual and Team Gold Medalist, Three-Day Event, 1976, Montreal

Horse Connection
These DVDs are a must see.
Natural Horse
A horse-friendly set of videos, for riders of all ages and disciplines.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312127343
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/1985
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 137,804
  • Product dimensions: 8.27 (w) x 9.64 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Swift's groundbreaking work, "Centered Riding," has been translated into nine languages, and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
1. Introducing Centered Riding 1
2. Pretend You Are a Horse 5
3. The Four Basics 10
4. Learning and the Brain 24
5. Anatomy 32
6. Balance and Body Freedom 51
7. Walk and the Following Seat 58
8. Rising (Posting) Trot 66
9. Hands 76
10. Transitions 86
11. Sitting Trot 96
12. Circles and Turns 104
13. Half Halts and Self-Carriage 116
14. The Canter 125
15. Forces of Energy 132
16. Lengthening Stride 143
17. Lateral Work 150
18. Jumping 164
19. Suppling the Horse 178
20. Summary 181
Appendix I. Riding a Dressage Test 184
Appendix II. Instructors' Guide to Leg-Lengthening 187
Appendix III. Quick Review of Useful Images 190
Index 195
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    BEFORE you purchase or even ride a horse READ this book and enjoy the art of riding.

    If you are within the boomer age category, you learned to ride watching movie icons like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and TV icons such as The Lone Ranger, and Gun Smoke. We witnessed the horse running long distances at top speed throughout the entire show. Weekends were the time to try out our horse legs.
    Until this book, only a select group of horsemen and women really learned to sit a horse. Most of us, riding western, put up with the bouncy trot and if you rode English or took some English lessons, you learned to post. Circus acts where fascinating because the riders made everything look so effortless and yet, I was working so hard to stay on using my legs of course.

    Think American Indian. They had it right all along. They rode their horses bareback with what is called a Bosel. (A simple device designed to steer the animal and ask it to stop.)

    I took 2 lessons in February last year at Sally's Farm. It's in Guilford VT not Brattleboro. I had no idea who she was and she was not well, but she was watching as her assistant Becky began explaining to me my own anatomy. She explained what the position I was sitting in the saddle was doing to the horse beneath me. For years I thought I had a stubborn horse and I also thought it was the horse that needed MORE training to get him to do what I wanted without a fight.

    The light will go on once you understand how to use and ride with your bones. Sally's book will guide you all the way to success. She's gone now (Passed away April 2009), but if you read this book and can also grab an opportunity to experience a clinic by one of her certified trainers, DO IT. No only for yourself, for the horse. You will be ABSOLUTELY amazed at the difference this book will make. You will think you have a different new horse, when all the while, it was you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2000

    getting back on track

    Some friends and I have read 'Centered Riding'and it helped us get back to being relaxed with horses after some accidents we have had.I believe what contributed to the accidents must have been our nervousness, we had all experienced lack of confidence and fear. The whole message of the book is,relaxation and patience.Without those two factors,riding is just more difficult.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    Great examples

    Having a green horse and being semi green myself, I have totally enjoyed reading this book. I have already retread a few chapters. It has helped my seat and it also helps that my trainer believes in this book also. Recommend to all horse people...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)