The yard is run according classical principles.
Philippe Karl is an ex ecuyer of the Cadre Noir and an exemplary rider and horseman, well known for his outspoken rejection of rollkur and absolute assertion that horses can be trained without artificial aids if the rider knows how to achieve relaxation of the lower jaw.
He has developed a training system called Légèreté (translated as ease) which is based on his vast experience as a top rider and trainer, and his sound understanding of the horse’s psychology and biomechanics. He only teaches instructors in a 3 year format in order that all his trainers have a full understanding of how to best to work with any horse. The course culminates in a ferociously difficult 4 part exam ensuring that only those suitably qualified in riding, teaching and theory can teach in his name.
Philippe’s refreshing systematic approach to training has respect of the horse at its core, and rejects hyperflexion and any kind of coercive training techniques. (No tight nosebands, side reins, draw reins or strong bits).
Instead it focuses on the contact we have with our horses’ mouths, how to use our hands proactively to develop correct balance, rhythm, relaxation and flexibility.
Some of the key basic concepts include;
Relaxation and availability of the lower jaw through the rider’s utmost respect for the mouth.
Extension of the neck.
Straightness through bend.
Separation of leg and hand aids.
Creating the ability for horse to respond to any aid with lightness.
Flexibility and mobility in every gait.
Putting the horse in the best balance for any given movement.
We work from the ground up, using lungeing, flexions, and groundwork before starting work under saddle.
“We aim to turn our horses into happy athletes. The classical way is to provoke solutions, never to force positions” Philippe Karl.
As my Mum says, “the proof is in the pudding”. You only have to watch Philippe riding to understand the depth of his knowledge and feeling, and to listen to him to talk in very clear terms to recognise his confidence in his subject.
If anyone is interested in finding out more about Légèreté Philippe has written a book entitled “The Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage” which gives some very interesting insights into the sport.