All this month we’ve been “Remembering Sally Swift” and all her book CENTERED RIDING did for the world of riding horses and teaching people to ride. In celebration of her life and work, we are offering 15% off her books–CENTERED RIDING and CENTERED RIDING 2–and DVDs 1 and 2, through the end of March at the TSB bookstore.
We’ll begin this week with some thoughts from TSB author Peggy Cummings, whose new book CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP is due out this month.
“Sally used to visit my farm every spring and fall for eight years, 1981-1988. My family and I always looked forward to her visit because she and her little dog, Joy, were delightful guests. Four of my children rode with her, and she had a nice rapport with all six of my kids.
“When my daughter Lindsay was about seven years old, she would sit and watch Sally teach lessons, and at the end of the day, Lindsay would grab her pony and Sally would spend some time answering questions and giving Lindsay her own special ‘Sally time.’ My son Jeff was in Pony Club, and after he began riding with Sally, he did not want to ride with anyone who taught differently than she did! He was so fond of Sally that he made two little wooden carvings of Sally and Joy, and they remained above her kitchen sink until she passed.
“I first met Sally at a New England Dressage Association instructors’ workshop, where she addressed the importance of the use of the rider’s body on the horse. She also spoke about using visualizations to facilitate teaching. Just hearing her speak, I knew I needed to pursue her work.
“A few months later, I rode with Sally. She showed me how to soften my body in instead of bracing in the saddle. It was such a ‘collision of realities’ with my bracing patterns that I knew I had found an answer I had been seeking. That is, I had to stop bracing and allow movement in my body as I rode. This awareness became the keystone to the development of my own work with horses and riders’ bodies (Connected Riding and Connected Groundwork).
“I devoted eight years to working closely with Sally. One year, I took 12 clinics with her, and eventually I was privileged to be the first Centered Riding instructor to teach workshops for other instructors. I was fortunate to pay Sally a visit and meet with her over her kitchen table the year before she died. We reminisced and still had a wonderful connection, and she thanked me for carrying on her work. She will always remain as a mother to me, and of course, as one of my primary mentors.”
–Peggy Cummings, founder of Connected Riding and Connected Groundwork, and author of CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP