Resources for Légèreté


Philippe Karl’s website: A good place to find other schools, information for rider applications, lists of certified instructors, and information about M. Karl and Légèreté.

Légèreté USA: US non-profit dedicated to the preservation of equestrian art in the French tradition.

Facebook Groups

PKUSA: a facebook group to promote the US Schools of Légèreté

You Tube Videos

Trailer for “Classical Dressage Volume 1: School of Aids


Trailer for “Modern Equestrianism

Trailer for “Teaching a Language

From the “Ecole de Légèreté” DVDs

Trailer for “Philippe Karl and High Noon”



The Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage – In this book, Philippe Karl, one of the most outspoken critics of the modern dressage world, reveals some disturbing facts about the physical, anatomical and mental effects through official dressage guidelines as issued by the German Horse Society on horses.

By comparing these with philosophies of masters of classical riding such as La Gueriniere and Baucher, he shows possible solutions to the challenging situation of modern competitive dressage.

This book explores key problems of modern dressage: physical aspects, straightness, balance, exercises. It describes the effects of modern dressage, breeding and business. It suggests a classical alternative: the philosophy of ‘ Légèreté.

Long Reining, The Saumur Method – This classic book demonstrates the French method of training a horse in long reins and how it is possible to attain as high a standard of schooling from the ground as that reached under saddle.

The Art of Riding: Classical Dressage to High School: Odin at Saumur – French riding master Philippe Karl writes about training horses from a very personal perspective, documenting the training and development of the Lusitano stallion, Odin, according to traditional French classical principles, from young horse all the way up to high school. Through this case study, he teaches readers the requirements of balance, including collection and conformation; the philosophy of Academic Equitation, including the language of the aids—seat, hands, legs; exercises for lateral flexibility, including work on one and two tracks. He also covers work at the canter—counter-canter, flying lead changes, tempi changes; collection—piaffe, passage, pesade; and canter pirouettes—preparation and development.


Classical Dressage, Volume 1 Phillippe Karl’s philosophy for his training methods are based on understanding the physical & mental conditions of the horse, the ease of the aids, the horse’s movement. Phillippe’s introduction to training covers: lunging, basics, easy in hand, aids, under the rider, and lateral work.

Classical Dressage, Volume 2 In the second part of this schooling series, Philippe Karl presents additional gymnastic exercises. He introduces the double bridle as an important aid for advanced gymnastic exercises. Also covered: the canter, combined lateral work, show jumping, and flying canter changes.

Classical Dressage, Volume 3 In this third step of training, Philippe Karl uses the gymnastic exercises as previously demonstrated, to improve collection. He covers: pirouettes, piaffe, Spanish walk, and passage.

Classical Dressage, Volume 4 Shows the progress and development achieved by Sampaio (6 year old Oldenburger Stallion) and Quiela 7 year old Luisitano Stallion) who were featured in the first 3 Volumes of Classical Dressage. In this DVD Philippe Karl presents his ‘Ecole de Légèrete’ organization chart. His training philosophy is inspired by the most accomplished masters (la Gueriniere, Baucher, Beudant, L’Hotte etc) and founded on an absolute respect of the horse. Basic knowledge of anatomy, motion, balance and psychology enables the rider to get the best from any horse without using force or constraint systems (side reins, running reins etc). These films will open new horizons in the dressage world by demonstrating how misjudged and misunderstood the most brilliant ancient masters are at present.

Classical vs. Classique This DVD brings a heated discussion from both Philippe Karl ( School of Legerete) and Christoph Hess ( head of training of the German National equestrian Federation FN) that is mediated by Claudia Sanders ( Dressur Studien Verlag). The common exposure of the horse training using rollkur in the warm up arenas of the Big Tour shows and the filter down effect to the amateur and beginner rider are criticized and defended, the language of the ‘scale’ of the German Federation and the French School are dissembled. Both ‘masters’ then go on to present a demonstration using their own riders. Interestingly Philippe picks a rider with less experience, seat and a very ordinary horse while Christoph presents a Grand Prix rider on a very trained warmblood. As each presents their lessons it is clear where the differences lie. The next set presents a horse/rider combination and each ‘master’ seeks to help the riders correct training issues utilizing their own methods and beliefs. Once again both ‘masters’ comment on the progress made and make fair criticisms on both sides. Philippe participates in the riding, Christoph does not.

In all this is a very valuable ‘heads up’ to the dressage community and brings this long held issue front and center once again, and while for this rider both ‘masters’ make valuable points, the overall outcome is one of more questions. Highly recommended.

Modern Equestrianism A DVD titled, “Modern Equestrianism” is a candid interview with Philippe Karl who describes what he sees in the modern world of competition dressage and questions whether the classical art and beauty of true and correct dressage has been forgotten.

This DVD includes never before seen footage of Philippe Karl riding his famous stallions from the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France, Verdi and Odin.

Teaching a Language is a two disc DVD of an evening demonstration with five horses and riders. Titled, “Teaching a Language” Philippe Karl shows how to train any horse in the classical principles of dressage. Humorous, insightful and full of his logical and common sense approach of working with horses, not against. Learn how to correctly balance your horse to enable him to travel in lightness and self -carriage.

Part one- Communication, balance and impulsion

Part two- Neck extension in motion

School of Legerete volumes 1 & 2 Philippe Karl, master of equitation and advocate of “légèreté“ (lightness) is a world-renowned rider, trainer, and classical instructor. In his clinics he sensitively teaches the basics of classic equitation. This DVD series allows you to watch Philippe Karl work with his pupils, all of whom are licensed and future instructors of his School of Légèreté. He teaches average riders on a variety of horses—from appealing cart horses to eager Haflingers to noble equine competitors. Karl expressively adapts his teaching to the individual training standard of each horse-and-rider combination. Part 1 shows the basic work of the School of Légèreté:- Flexions in-hand- Warm-up, putting the horse in hand and development of neck extension in walk, trot and canter- Training on two tracks in walk and trot Part 2 shows the advanced work of the School of Légèreté:- Combined lateral movements in walk and trot- Lateral movements in canter- Preparation of flying changes- Development of Spanish walk, piaffe and passage- Summary of a complete training session Because of the array of teaching situations and the diversity of different horse-and-rider combinations, every rider, regardless of ability or experience, can easily understand these DVDs and find valuable solutions for their riding.

Philippe Karl and High Noon Part 1&2 Chronicles High Noon’s training with Philippe Karl, from the basics through piaffer.

Theory Lecture- Collection: Dreams and Reality In this filmed theory lecture, the French riding master Philippe Karl examines one of the key elements of horse training: collection. Starting from the official concept of collection, he analyses the exact locomotion of the horse in the light of latest scientific findings and points out widespread mistakes and fallacies.