Centered Riding is a method of riding and riding instruction that is based on the idea of having the rider seated in the most effective position. It combines elements of martial arts, yoga, and T'ai chi ch'uan with knowledge of horsemanship to create a system where the rider is centered and balanced in the saddle. Originally developed by the late Sally Swift, since her death, Centered Riding has been trademarked by a non-profit educational organization that promotes awareness and teaches the principles of Centered Riding internationally. The widespread acceptance of the method marked a significant shift in horsemanship from rote, military-style instruction to a more psychological approach.
The basic components of the centered riding system are "soft eyes", breathing, balance or building blocks, and centering. Soft Eyes is a concept used in many sports in order to relax the athlete and expand their peripheral vision. Swift recommended that riders relax their visual acuity and direct more attention to the tactile interaction between horse and rider. This action alone tends to relax the rider and soften their cues. Breathing techniques are used in all sports. Breathing from your diaphragm relaxes the rider and makes them more athletically capable. For example some athletes add breathing exercises to their daily training routine. Balance or building blocks uses ideas from martial arts and tai chi in order to sit the rider deeper in the saddle which makes them more effective and able to move with their horse.
Centering is a process also done in T'ai chi ch'uan that helps the rider to find their center of balance. This allows the rider to remain centered no matter how the horse moves underneath them.
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... Centered riding was created by Sally Swift (1913 - 2 April 2009) ... and was later instrumental in her development of Centered Riding ... Swift then studied the Alexander Technique and applied it to riding ...
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