It is not a style of riding, but a way of teaching riding without the pain, frustration, and confusion so many people feel when being taught the traditional way.
Her book, titled Centered Riding, has become one of the biggest selling equestrian books world-wide, and an organisation of the same name has been formed to promote and teach Centered Riding.
Level 1 instructor Sam Atkins, of Christchurch, has found that no other riding course caters "to everyone."
"Basically, anyone can benefit from it."
Atkins had a long history with traditional riding methods until turning to Centered Riding. She had trained with Reiner Klimke dressage student Hans Jurgen Meyer in Germany, and with Jenny Lorriston-Clarke in England.
She completed New Zealand's first CR course in 1989. After turning to Centered Riding, she found she could apply parts of what she had learned traditionally and combine it with CR, to produce a beautiful picture - "horse happy and enjoying it."
Centered Riding helps riders:
In humans, instinctive behaviour is to grab, and in horses instinctive behaviour is to flee. If riders develop an awareness of their body and the muscles involved in various tasks, they can learn to inhibit their old ineffective responses.
Good training is about teaching horses to think and be aware instead of going immediately to the flee response.