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 every-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.
This book is for those with little experience all the way up to world class.
(hardcover, photos, illustrations, 190 pgs.)
Excerpt from the book:
Quiet, sensitive hands are important in all aspects of riding. Your arms and hands, from he shoulder joints to the tips of the fingers and through the reins, belong to the horse. He directs the movement of your hands, and the level of his head determines the level of your hands. Your back, seat, and legs control the horse’s hindquarters, and the arms and hands control the forehand. Synchronized, they direct the energy of the entire horse.
All major motion of the horse’s head will be absorbed by your shoulders and elbows. Noted dressage trainer and author Charles deKunffy says that God created riders with the wrong conformation. A rider’s forearm should be long enough to extend from the elbow to the bit so you could hook your fingers in the bit, or better yet, over the corners of the horse’s mouth. Then you’d really have a sensitive and direct feel! You can, however, be sensitive even with the use of reins. Many small and subtle indications to the horse come solely through your fingers and hands.
Good hands are profoundly dependent on a good seat, one that is soft and deep. Unless the motion of the horse is largely absorbed by your hip joints, knees, and ankles, your shoulder will jump and your head will bob. When this is the case, the rough motion will be reflected in your unsteady hands. “No seat, no hands” is a true statement!