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Philippe Karl


Philippe Karl, the author, classical trainer and highly respected former écuyer of the Cadre Noir, has become very well known in recent years as a champion of horse-friendly riding and a staunch critic of modern coercive training methods. The UK branch of his School of Légèreté instructor training course began here at The Holistic Equitation Centre in January 2011.

In 1968, at the age of 21, Monsieur Karl dropped his medical studies to dedicate himself to working with horses. From 1968 to 1971, he studied breeding, first at the Zootechnical Studies Centre (Centre d´Enseignement Zootechnique) in Rambouillet, then at the French national stud Haras National du Pin. He obtained his national riding instructor's certificate in 1971.

From 1972 to 1979, he was head of the riding department at the Centre d´Enseignement Zootechnique in Rambouillet, where he was in charge of various branches of professional training. From 1980 to 1985, he ran his own stables. During all these years, he competed regularly in eventing and show jumping.

In 1985, following the publication of an in-depth, illustrated article in which Philippe Karl described his philosophies on the synthesis of dressage and jumping in riding and training, General Pierre Durand appointed him as a member of the French national riding school, L’École Nationale d´Équitation, in Saumur, where subsequently he became an Écuyer of the prestigious Cadre Noir.

Being especially dedicated to the shows of the Cadre Noir, Monsieur Karl created two historical shows - presentations on long reins in both jumping and High School. For thirteen years, he took part in all the gala shows of the Cadre Noir in France and all over Europe.

Monsieur Karl is the author of several books and DVDs. Although originally published in the late 1990's, "The Art of Riding" was released in English for the first time only in Sept 2010, having been translated by Holistic Equitation's co-founder, Derek Clark.    


In 1998, Philippe Karl left the École Nationale d´Équitation to devote himself to the clinics he was giving in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. In 2004, he founded ’The School of Légèreté’ (The School of Lightness) in order to pass on his philosophy. Since then, he has dedicated himself to the training of riding instructors within his School which now also includes courses in the UK (at The Holistic Equitation Centre), Austria, France, Australia, Canada and the USA.

Due to his ever-increasing committments with the School of Légèreté, Philippe Karl is, unfortunately, no longer able to teach individual lessons outside of the teacher training courses. 


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