A Horses Tribute to Sally Swift By Peggy Brown
The horses of the world would like to come forth to honor our dear departed friend Sally Swift. A strong New England horsewoman, Sally lived a good life and ran a long, strong race. Her Centered Riding teaching technique has been a breakthrough worldwide, improving the lives of horses and their humans. Sally showed riders and trainers how to put their attention on themselves, before they put all of their attention on riding and training their horses.
We horses have worked for centuries for mankind. Some of us run fast, jump high, pull heavy loads, thrill the show ring crowds, herd cattle, follow the hounds, cover miles of trails, softly carry special riders, bravely patrol busy streets, and quietly listen to our humans' hearts and dreams. Sometimes however, our riders and trainers fail to understand our cautious and alert nature, our extreme sensitivity, our strength and speed, and our great primeval concern over maintaining our balance. There are some humans who have only seen us as beasts of burden, or as pieces of sports equipment, and think only of taming us, using us, or training us to do their bidding.
Sally Swift, through Centered Riding, understood us and helped people learn to "speak horse" to us through the balanced use of their bodies, their breathing and their centers. Sally showed riders how their minds affected their bodies and how their minds and their bodies affected the horse's body. What had so often been unclear to us horses, and sometimes even frightened us, became easy to understand as our riders began to realize that often their bodies would actually tell us the exact opposite of what their brains, their spurs and their hands expected us to do. We horses clearly understand Centered Riders.
Sally was a gifted and generous teacher who skillfully guided riders and trainers around the world in an approach to teaching and working with horses in a humane, compassionate way, while at the same time incorporating the age old classical techniques that made the lives and training of horses better. Sally's hands, voice and her clear intent calmed, balanced and empowered horses and humans alike.
Sally Swift leaves this world a better place with the legacy of her books, teaching and exercises, and with a network of over 700 teachers of Centered Riding worldwide who offer the riders of the world techniques for working to balance and educate themselves in order to communicate and work with their horses. Thank you, Sally, from the horses of the world for making our riders and our lives better. You are a treasure and you ran an incredible race for us.
By Peggy Brown
Level IV Clinician, © 2009