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Centered Riding® Instructor Levels - What They Mean

Centered Riding Instructor Levels refer primarily to the amount of experience an instructor has in teaching Centered Riding techniques. A Level I instructor may be very experienced within their discipline but may be new to using Centered Riding techniques in their teaching. Centered Riding is not limited to any specific discipline, and we have instructors from most riding disciplines. For a full description of requirements for each Level and their responsibilities and privileges see the relevant section of Centered Riding Policies and Procedures.

Centered Riding Instructor Level I

A Level I CR Instructor is a safe, competent riding teacher who can teach the CR Basics and apply those techniques to his/her discipline at the level at which s/he teaches. S/he is able to teach the CR Basics and other basic CR concepts in groundwork and mounted lessons, and can do basic CR bodywork. S/he can assess a new student and introduce Centered Riding concepts, including body awareness, following seat, balance and harmony between horse and rider, and apply these to teaching in his/her discipline. S/he demonstrates Centered Riding principles in her own riding, body awareness and use of self, and continues to learn and make new discoveries. A Level I CR Instructor may be of any discipline, and may teach at any level. S/he must demonstrate riding skills and knowledge to a standard appropriate to the level at which s/he teaches. Riding and teaching may be done in the instructor’s primary discipline. (For specific standards, please see CR Certification Standards.)

Centered Riding Instructor Level II

A Level II instructor is a more advanced and experienced CR instructor. S/he is capable of applying CR concepts to more experienced CR students and/or more advanced riders. S/he has further experience, growth and education in Centered Riding, teaching and bodywork including an introduction to Alexander Technique and Tai Chi since these are part of the foundation of CR. S/he is more experienced in applying CR to his/her own riding and teaching within his/her discipline. As a professional instructor, s/he has acquired credentials attesting to formal instruction and competence in riding, training and teaching, preferably including some form of instructor certification. In this context, “professional” does not require a Level II to be a nationally licensed riding instructor or employed as a full time instructor, but one who has the knowledge, experience and standards to present themselves as a professional in their discipline.  S/he can address horse and rider problems in teaching, including applying CR work to the classical training of the horse in that discipline. A Level II may teach any level and any discipline, but is expected to ride and teach to a minimum standard (please see CR Certification Standards for specific standards.)

Centered Riding Instructor Level III

A Level III CR Clinician is an experienced CR Instructor who has advanced and grown in both Centered Riding work and in his/her primary discipline. S/he is qualified to teach CR Open Clinics, CR lessons applied to advanced work, and give CR Lectures, Workshops and Demonstrations, mounted and/or un-mounted. S/he can teach groups of any level, teach experienced and educated riders, and can use CR techniques to advance the training of horses and riders including addressing training issues. S/he has respect for, and familiarity with, other disciplines, and can teach CR Basics and concepts to riders of different disciplines. S/he has further experience and study in bodywork including some Alexander Technique. S/he has knowledge of basic biomechanics of the horse and rider and how these are developed through classical training. S/he has extensive experience in teaching and is a good communicator addressing individuals and groups in a clear and organized presentation with respect to different learning styles. S/he presents her/himself in a professional manner, dresses appropriately for a CR clinician, and represents Centered Riding well among other horsemen. 

Centered Riding Instructor Level IV Apprentice

The Level IV Apprentice is in the process of becoming qualified as a Level IV Instructor, advanced clinician and teacher of teachers; with the responsibility of teaching and upgrading Centered Riding instructors, developing CR teaching methods & curriculum, and carrying on the work of Sally Swift, thus sharing her gift. S/he will have many of the attributes of a Level IV Clinician and will develop these further during the Apprenticeship process.  S/he must have extensive experience in the mind-body connection, including experience in Alexander Technique and basic Tai Chi (any style) or Qigong (Chi-Gong) and at least one other modality of body work.  A Level IV Apprentice is expected to continue to develop in his/her primary discipline, and have experience (including riding) in more than one discipline. S/he is a responsible & caring horseman, committed to the well-being of the horse. There is no time restriction to completing a Level IV Apprenticeship but the Level IV Apprentice must remain current (pay instructor dues and update) and must assist a Level IV at a minimum of 2 clinics per year to maintain Apprenticeship.  

Centered Riding Level IV Clinician

A Level IV Clinician has a high level of knowledge and experience which includes teaching and training in Centered Riding, bodywork, and horsemanship, and is qualified to teach and develop Centered Riding Instructors. S/he has further developed as a rider and teacher in his/her primary discipline and has a working knowledge of other disciplines. S/he has extensive experience as a CR Clinician and through the apprenticeship process has pursued further study in bodywork. A Level IV is knowledgeable in the classical principles of horsemanship including equine anatomy and biomechanics, the Training Scale/classical training, its application to the training and development of the horse and can apply Centered Riding principles to this training in his/her primary discipline and in other disciplines. S/he keeps abreast of current issues in horsemanship, including competition standards e.g. what the judges are looking for etc.   A Level IV has studied teaching, including learning styles, teaching methods and communication skills, and can work effectively and positively with individuals or groups of various ages and levels, including advanced and educated riders and instructors. She knows clinic organization and works effectively and professionally with the public, clinic organizers, clinic participants, instructors and other professionals. S/he sets a professional example as a Centered Riding clinician, horseman, and teacher of teachers. A Level IV has a thorough knowledge of Centered Riding (including Centered Riding and Centered Riding II books), CR Basics, concepts and exercises. S/he has apprenticed with at least 4 (preferably more) Level IVs, with a minimum of 40 clinic days, including at least two CR Instructor Courses and two separate Instructor Update Clinics. S/he is familiar with the current CR Policies and Procedures and with current CR curriculum and clinic reporting requirements for CR Instructor Courses and Update Clinics, and standards for writing LORs for upgrades. S/he keeps updated on current CR standards and practices, including discussions and voting via the Level IV email group.

Senior Centered Riding Instructor

A Senior Centered Riding Instructor is one who has served as an apprentice to with Sally Swift. This designation applies for life.


If a Senior Centered Riding Instructor no longer pays dues-or has not updated in accordance with Centered Riding’s Policies and Procedures, they become “Senior Centered Riding Instructor, Emeritus”. Senior Centered Riding Instructors with Emeritus status may only advertise that they have been awarded Emeritus status and may not:  1. Continue to advertise that they teach Centered Riding (including “using Centered Riding techniques or concepts”) 2. Continue to use the CR Logo.

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