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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Centered Riding (A Trafalgar Square Farm Book) Hardcover – January 15, 1985

4.7 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

About the Author

Sally Swift lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. Born in 1913, she has been riding since she was eight years old.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Trafalgar Square Farm Book
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (January 15, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312127340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312127343
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm getting back into riding after 30 years of an occasional trail ride, overweight and out of shape. My first few sessions were not so great, so the stable owner who is a centered riding certified instructor, gave me a few lessons on a longe line and bareback pad. What a difference! By studying the basics in Chapter 2, and focusing on how my body moves with the horse, I've become balanced and confident after just 3 hours of lessons. I'm not normally a fan of programs that use imaging to achieve results, but Ms. Swift appears to have hit on a method that puts me back in the saddle so both the horse and I are comfortable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read book after book hoping to improve my riding. Some were too basic (Riding Essentials and Riding (by Decker) are great for beginners), others too obscure. Since my first time studying this book, my riding has improved immensely and the horses have been grateful! Visualization is so much easier than running thru a laundry list of cues. When I find my calves flailing at the canter, I just think of rooting like a tree and they become still. Examples like this abound, and my instructor has been very impressed as well. A great buy, and possibly the only book you need if your goal is just great daily riding, not to compete.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read many of the reviews of "Centered Riding" and I would argue that it is a useful addition to any person's personal riding program if they want to achieve a better seat and better movement from their horses. I do not think that it is an adequate guide for learning how to ride or formulating a complete program, but it is not meant to be. Rather, it is a great addition to other resources including more detailed "how-to" books such as Jane Savoie's "Cross Training" series and one's own trainer. "Centered Riding" bridges the gap between the left-brain learning process, focused on a list of cues and movements, and the right-brain learning process, which provides the muscle memory and relaxation necessary for truly harmonious and graceful riding. I've found the book useful, but as some people have a more difficult time with visualization and much of the work must be personalized, it is best to read the book and find a trainer that can help you refine your seat and riding skills. It is immensely helpful to have someone tell you when something is "right" as part of becoming truly balanced may involve retraining your muscles, which is, at first, often uncomfortable. I have found centered riding has been a great tool to deepen my seat, relax tension, and become more aware of the horse's movement, which has drastically improved the movement of the horse in a short time and allowed me (a very type-A stressed person) to learn to relax and find a greater grace and joy in riding. I highly recommend everyone to check this concept out through the book, videos, or better yet, a trainer- it can make a big difference for a novice and refine those who are more advanced.
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Format: Hardcover
As an adult just starting to ride, this book helped me to visualize how to balance and explained some useful riding techniques. It also made me aware of how a rider's body really affects her horse! Though sometimes difficult to do the exercises during a formal lesson, these techniques can be practiced and referred back to as I progress. Great pictures and instructor recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Sally Swift encourages you to visualize your riding by thinking of cartoons that range from legs looking like fire hoses to hands caressing birds. These pictures really help one's riding.

I love this book, but its even better if you get the accompanying video and hear Sally's voice. A rider with back problems she overcame them by learning how to center and balance.

This is a fine book for gaining a really solid seat. It covers the basics of English riding - walk, trot, canter, jumping - but also describes how to do half-halts, circles, turns, leg yielding and more advanced dressage movements.

The book is a classic reference and if you only buy one riding book this might be it. It leads you from head knowledge to the feel of riding.
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By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am 17 and training my own unbalanenced horse. By reading this book and learning to center my OWN riding, I was able to help him to become more balanced. I now have a better position and something to visualize when I am riding if I feel myself becoming uncentered. This book was extremely helpfull with my entire way of sitting. Many of her ideas can be transfered into other aspects of life too, dancing is one such example. I have found that all of her techniques too be helpfull in jumping as well as dressage. Dakota is now happier when I get on, and keeps his attention on me for a longer period of time
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Format: Hardcover
My instructor recommended this book a few years ago and it has changed the way I ride and how I look at riding. I come from a hunter/jumper background but I think the ideas could apply to all types of riding. The hot horses go softer with these techniques and the quiet horses become more responsive. This book helps bring the rider's mind into the sport through exercises and diagrams that show new perspectives. Her second book is also excellent. This is one of my favorite books on riding, especially since I also practice yoga and martial arts.
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