CARI SWANSON is a USDF Silver Medalist, FEI dressage competitor, eventing competitor through Preliminary, and a Graduate of the USDF “L” Education Program for Judge Training. Cari trains, breeds and sells horses for dressage, jumping, eventing and trail riding in addition to teaching students of all levels to ride including preparing actors for their riding scenes in film. She has worked with Jonathan Groff, Ray Stevenson, Russell Crowe, Dan Stevens, Ethan Hawke, Haley Bennett, Russell Brand, Colin Farrell, Gretchen Mol, Amy Acker, Hilary Duff among others. Cari is a member of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and an author of Whoa Means Whoa, and contributor to Animal Actors, a fascinating book about animal trainers for film.
Cari equestrian expertise is sought after by top film and television producers and directors. She worked with Academy Award winners Ang Lee on “Taking Woodstock” (2009), Akiva Goldman on “Winters Tale” and Steven Soderbergh on the TV series “The Knick”. She has provided horses for documentaries and print as well. This work in front of the camera demonstrates the high level of mastery Cari Swanson has attained in her career. A combination of talented and highly trained horses with a masterful trainer is demanded when working with inexperienced actors in front of cameras for long days of production.
Cari trains with kindness and intuition. She bases her training philosophy on classical basic training with emphasis on the rider’s seat and position. The horse’s well-being and joyful attitude are the most important criteria for training. With a positive and creative teaching style drawn from several disciplines, a unique program is designed for individuals resulting in a happy and healthy horse and rider combination.
To continue to develop her own training skills, Cari works with top level riders and trainers from around the world, including Olympic riders and trainers Lendon Gray, David and Karen O’Conner, Peter Leone, Tony Mason, Judy Richter, Hartwig Burfeind; renowned judges Lilo Fore, Linda Zang, Axel Steiner, Tom Poulin, Marianne Ludwig, Betsy Berrey, Jayne Ayers, Max Gahwyler; as well as other great horseman, including Carlos Gracidas, world class polo player, Ruben Morales from Chile, Grady Duncan from the cutting horse world and Howard Peet. Cari is always looking to learn from talented trainers in the horse world.