Philippe Karl obtained his national riding instructor certificate and went on to head the riding department at the Centre d´Enseignement Zootechnique in Rambouillet. After several years, he ran his own stable and competed in show jumping and eventing. In 1985 he became an Ecuyer at the Cadre Noir, where he trained and performed for 13 years. In 1998 he left the Cadre Noir and now devotes his time to writing and training instructors through his Teachers Course.
Philippe Karl is an ardent advocate for the horse. He has written books, articles, and letters refuting the validity of modern competitive riding practices that are detrimental to the horse. He has petitioned the FEI, written a book on the subject, and created a DVD contrasting the classical school with the modern school. His books: “The Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage”; “The Art of Riding: Classical Dressage to High School: Odin at Saumur”; and “Long Reining, The Saumur Method” are available in English as well as his DVD’s, “Classical Dressage, Volumes 1-4” and “Classical vs. Classique”, “Modern Equestrianism”, “Teaching a Language”, “Philippe Karl School of Légèreté Volumes 1&2” and “Philippe Karl and High Noon Parts 1&2”.
Ecole de Légèreté
The founding principle of the School of Légèreté is the absolute respect of the horse. In this concept, Légèreté (French: lightness) is not a declaration of intent of a poetic or esoteric nature, but a philosophy bringing together clear, effective and measurable equestrian concepts.
The philosophy of Légèreté excludes any use of force or coercive artificial aids (including side reins, draw reins, tightly closed nosebands etc.), but includes all types of horse and takes an interest in all equestrian disciplines. It provides an understandable and reliable training plan with clear principles, efficient methods and procedures that fully respect the nature of the horse. It thus allows any seriously motivated rider access to High School equitation, even with a perfectly ordinary horse.
The School of Légèreté takes its inspiration from the masters who have contributed to this equestrian philosophy: Xenophon, Fiaschi, La Broue, Pluvinel, La Guérinière, Dupaty de Clam, Hünersdorf, Freiherr von Sind, Baucher, Raabe, L’Hotte, Faverot de Kerbrech, Beudant, Oliveira etc. It is based on in-depth knowledge of the horse and is ready to re-analyze and improve itself with all types of progress in this respect (anatomy, physiology, locomotion, balance, psychology, and ethology).
Lastly it has the aim of getting the best from any horse and fulfilling the rider through the constant search for efficiency via the minimum use of means.