Centered Riding's Sally Swift Dies

Centered Riding founder Sarah "Sally" Swift, of Brattleboro, Vt., whose imaginative approach to equitation and rider biomechanics revolutionized the teaching of riding, died April 2. April 20, 2009, would have been her 96th birthday.

As a child, Swift was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. Sessions with therapist Mabel Ellsworth Todd helped overcome the condition by teaching Swift how to use imagery and other mind-body techniques to access and move her muscles. Later, Swift, a lifelong equestrian, would apply Todd's teachings, the Alexander technique, and other methods in developing the "left-brained" principles that she called Centered Riding.

In 1985, Swift set down those principles in the seminal book Centered Riding, which was followed in 2002 by Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration. Centered Riding Inc., the organization that certifies Centered Riding instructors worldwide, carries on Swift's mission to promote harmony between horse and rider.

For her groundbreaking work and methods, the U.S. Dressage Federation inducted Swift into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame in 2006. Swift was the 2008 recipient of the annual Equine Industry Vision Award, presented by Pfizer Animal Health and American Horse Publications. Read more about Swift and the award.  

About the Author

Jennifer O. Bryant

Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation's magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site,

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