Philippe Karl's School of Légèreté


Philippe Karl, the respected rider, trainer, author and former Écuyer of the Cadre Noir, created The School of Légèreté (Lightness) in order to pass on his philosophy to committed riders and instructors. The Holistic Equitation Centre hosts these instructor training courses which are open to spectators.


Légèreté: The respectful approach that really works!

Are you looking for an alternative to the 'kick and pull' school of dressage ? Then you've come to the right place! 

Philippe Karl's mission is to help riders at all levels become the best they can be. By joining us in clinics of the School, you can learn how develop a deep relationship of trust and bring out the best of any kind of horse through schooling based on empathy, skill and understanding instead of gadgets or coercive riding. 

After leaving the French classical school at Saumur where he had been a member of the prestigious Cadre Noir for 13 years, Monsieur Karl created the School of Légèreté (pronounced: lay-zher-tay) to pass on his philosophy and lifetime of experience.

The founding principle of the School is the absolute respect of horses. The philosophy of légèreté, the French word for lightness,  offers an understandable and reliable approach to riding and training with clear principles, efficient methods and procedures that fully respect the nature of each individual horse. It does not rely on any use of force or coercive gadgets such as side reins, draw reins or tight nosebands. It does, however, work with all types of horse and in all equestrian disciplines. 

The School takes its inspiration from the masters who have contributed to this equestrian philosophy over many centuries: such as Xenophon, Fiaschi, La Broue, Pluvinel, La Guérinière, Dupaty de Clam, Hünersdorf, Freiherr von Sind, Baucher, Raabe, L’Hotte, Faverot de Kerbrech, Beudant, Oliveira and many others. Its methods are based on in-depth knowledge of the horse and its teachers are ready to re-analyse and improve themselves with all types of progress in this respect (anatomy, physiology, locomotion, balance, psychology, ethology). 

In short, légèreté doesn't just offer methods of riding and training that work for horses of all breeds and riders at all levels, it also opens the door to High School equitation for any seriously committed rider, even if you have only a very ordinary horse.


Training courses with Philippe Karl in the UK

The School of Légèreté offers an initial instructor training course which consists of 3 clinics per year over a 3½ year period. The first ever UK basic course ran from 2011 to 2014 and a new basic course with a new intake of riders began in 2014. The aim for all selected participants is to pass a set of stringent theoretical and practical exams in order to become a 'Licenced Instructor of the School of Légèreté' authorised to teach this philosophy of riding in Philippe Karl's name.

Since 2017, the clinics comprise a combination of riders from these two courses; some who have already passed their exams and are now taking their education with Monsieur Karl to a higher level, plus some who are still working towards their exams. 

These clinics are the only occasion where Philippe Karl teaches all the fundamental details of the training process that lies behind the light and elegant movement of the horses you see in his books, DVDs and demos. They are open to spectators who can attend all of the lessons and other sessions and thus follow the training and development of the selected riders and their horses.

The days of these clinics are very full, comprising daily practical dressage lessons for the selected riders plus sessions focusing on teaching practice. During more advanced lessons you can follow the riders as they get individual tuition on topics such as flying changes, canter lateral work, piaffe and passage on their journey towards High School.





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