In Loving Memory


Centered Riding® Inc. is deeply saddened to share news of the death of Susan E. Harris, a well-known Centered Riding instructor. After a brief illness, Susan passed away on March 8, 2021, in hospice care in Ithaca, New York. “The passing of Susan Harris is a great loss to the Centered Riding community and beyond – a loss that is made all the more painful simply because Susan was such a kind and amazing person in so many ways,” said Peggy Brown, President of the Centered Riding Board of Trustees, and a Level IV Clinician. “In 1989, when Sally Swift chose Susan as an apprentice, she certainly chose well. Susan’s dedication to Centered Riding, and to the well-being of horses and riders everywhere, was boundless. A friend and mentor to many, Susan will be deeply missed.” Susan earned widespread, deep respect as a Centered Riding teacher, mentor, volunteer, and humanitarian. She was a renowned international instructor, clinician, author and artist/illustrator. Susan played a major role in helping to develop what is now a global community of close to 1,000 Centered Riding instructors – many of whom she taught and mentored personally. Susan was selflessly dedicated to Centered Riding. As a volunteer with the organization, she served in many roles over the years. Susan also gave presentations at many Centered Riding symposia and other gatherings in North America and internationally. At the time of her passing, Susan was a Senior Centered Riding Level IV Clinician, Secretary of the Centered Riding Board of Trustees, Editor of Centered Riding News, and member of the Level IV Advisory Committee. In 2004, the American Riding Instructor Association honored Susan as a Master Instructor. In 2020, Susan was awarded a lifetime membership in Centered Riding, in recognition of her tremendous contributions to the organization. Also in 2020, Susan sponsored the first-ever Centered Riding Instructor Diversity Scholarship, for riding instructors who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Color to train and certify as Centered Riding Instructors. In 1989, Susan apprenticed with Centered Riding founder Sally Swift (1913-2009). Susan was one of Sally’s dozen or so apprentices who worked with her between 1986 and 1992. On her website, Susan described her apprenticeship as “…a wonderful learning experience and quite an adventure – I traveled to 16 clinics in four months, got to ride everything from a [highly trained] dressage horse to a mule, and missed the San Francisco earthquake by one day!” Since those early days of Centered Riding, Susan forged ahead as a tireless, compassionate and gifted Centered Riding teacher, mentor and promoter. She maintained a rigorous schedule that involved riding- and horse-focused activities in her home state of New York, and across North America and the world. Starting in 2009, the trailblazing team of Susan and Peggy Brown introduced Centered Riding to Japan, where there are now 10 Level I and Level II Centered Riding instructors actively teaching. Susan and Peggy also taught at the Icelandic National Horse School in Iceland. Susan illustrated four manuals, written by Helga Thoroddsen, for the Icelandic Agricultural College, to advance Centered Riding in Iceland. And Susan and Peggy made many other far-flung travels to teach and promote Centered Riding, including a memorable trip to the shadows of the pyramids in Giza, Egypt, and many travels to Australia. A prolific and skilled author and artist, Susan wrote and illustrated several equestrian books, including the ever-popular “Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement” and “Grooming to Win,”now classics of their genre. Susan also wrote and illustrated several United States Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship and guides to various horse-keeping skills. Susan illustrated Sally Swift’s second book, “Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration” (Trafalgar Square Press, 2002) and she wrote the book’s chapter on Centered Jumping. Other books and projects to which Susan contributed her expertise and talents include: · “Horse Brain, Human Brain” by Janet Jones, Ph.D.; · “Balancing Act” by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann; · “The Horse's Pain-Free Back and Saddle Fit Book” and “The Western Horse's Pain-Free Back and Saddle Fit Book” by Dr. Joyce Harman; · “The Dynamic Horse” by Dr. Hilary M. Clayton; · “101 Jumping Exercises for Horse & Rider” by Linda Allen; · “Getting in TTouch” by Linda Tellington-Jones; · “Cross-Training and More Cross-Training” by Jane Savoie; · “Equine Science” by Jeanne T. Griffiths; and art work and poster for the Breyer “Anatomy in Motion” model horse. Susan also worked on several DVD projects, including “Anatomy in Motion: The Visible HorseTM” and “Anatomy in Motion: The Visible RiderTM” – a collaboration with Peggy Brown, “Anatomy in Motion” co-founder. Susan was famous for her “Visible Horse” demonstrations and lectures, in which she created the “Anatomy Painted Horse.” As she painted the muscles and skeleton on a live horse, she would explain equine anatomy and function. Since 1996, and often working with Peggy Brown, who rode as “The Visible Rider” on “The Visible Horse,” Susan painted on countless light-colored or white horses and ponies at many major equine expos and clinics in North America, Europe, Australia, Iceland and Japan. Susan is survived by her mother, Nancy Harris; her sister Robin; her brothers Chuck, Jon, Steve, and Ted; and several nieces and nephews. Susan’s Centered Riding friends and colleagues mourn her passing, sharing in this sentiment: “Rest well and in peace, dear and steadfast friend.” Susan requested that in-memoriam donations go to Centered Riding, at or: Centered Riding® Inc. One Regency Drive, P.O. Box 30 Bloomfield, CT 06002 U.S.A. Phone: 860-243-9501 Email:

Website: Centered Riding Inc. is a 501 c-3 non-profit organization; donations are tax deductible in the U.S.A. Information: Contact: Peggy Brown

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