Artificial muscles (AMs) traditionally rely on pneumatic sources of fluid power. The use of hydraulics can increase the power and force to weight and volume ratios of AM actuators. This paper develops a control-centric third-order single-input single-output (SISO) lumped-parameter dynamic model and sliding mode position controller based on Filippov's principle of equivalent dynamics for a braided hydraulic artificial muscle (HAM) actuator. The model predicts the nonlinear behavior of the HAM free contraction and captures the fluid and actuator nonlinear dynamic interactions in addition to the braid deformation. Model simulations are compared to experimental results for quasi-static pressurization, isometric pressurization, and open-loop square wave commands at 0.25, 0.5, and 1 Hz. Experiments of sine wave tracking at 0.25, 0.5, and 1 Hz and continuous square wave tracking at 0.067 Hz are conducted using a sliding mode controller (SMC) derived from the model. The SMC achieves a steady-state error of 6 μm at multiple setpoints within the actuator's 17 mm stroke. Compared to a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller, the SMC root-mean-square (RMS) error, mean error, and absolute maximum error are reduced on average by 53%, 61%, and 44%, respectively, demonstrating the benefit of model-based approaches for controlling HAMs.