Susan E. Harris, international clinician, riding teacher, equestrian author, and artist from Cortland, New York, passed away on March 8, 2021. She taught all seats and styles of riding, and trained, showed, and prepared horses and riders for competition in many equestrian disciplines, including hunters, jumpers, dressage, equitation, eventing, western pleasure and performance, saddle seat, and the pleasure and versatility breeds. Susan directed 5-H Acres School of Horsemanship, a nationally accredited riding instructor school, for 10 years, taught college equine studies and physical education equitation courses, and was active in training and establishing certification standards for American riding instructors for decades, beginning in the 1970s. In 2004 she was honored as a Master Instructor by the American Riding Instructor Association.

A Senior Centered Riding Instructor and Clinician, Susan apprenticed with Sally Swift, the founder of Centered Riding®. She taught clinics in Centered Riding and in Horse Gaits, Balance, and Movement for instructors, trainers, judges, and riders of all levels and riding interests. Susan’s demonstrations, “Anatomy in Motion™: The Visible Horse”, in which she painted the bones and muscles on a live horse, and “Anatomy in Motion: The Visible Rider™” were popular attractions at equine expos and clinics across North America and around the world, including Equine Affaire, Equitana Australia,  American Quarter Horse Congress, the George Morris Horsemastership Clinic in Wellington, Florida, and others.

Susan Harris was the author and illustrator of popular horse books, including Horsemanship in Pictures; Horse Gaits, Balance, and Movement; Grooming to Win; the three U.S. Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship; and the USPC Guides to Longeing, Bandaging, and Conformation. She wrote a regular column in EQUUS Magazine, “Commonsense Horsemanship with Susan Harris,” for years. With Peggy Brown, she produced two videos: Anatomy in Motion™ I: The Visible Horse and Anatomy in Motion II: The Visible Rider™. Susan designed the art for the Breyer Anatomy in Motion model horse and illustrated many popular horse books.

Susan’s study of equine and human anatomy and movement as an artist as well as an instructor, rider and trainer, gave her a unique perspective on how horses and riders balance and move together. Susan’s knowledge of horse gaits and movement and wide experience in various breeds and disciplines enabled her to help all kinds of riders and horses improve their balance, comfort, movement, and performance. Her friendly and positive teaching style and visual approach helped to make learning clear, understandable, and enjoyable for English and Western riders of all ages and levels, from 4-H, Pony Club, and pleasure riders, to instructors, trainers, and competitors.

By Susan Harris

Anatomy in Motion 1: The Visible Horse

Anatomy in Motion 2: The Visible Rider 

Dressage Movements Revealed: Biomechanical Concepts and Bodywork—Using the Masterson Method (DVD)