Philippe Karl’s first priorities are respect and love for the horse. In his Ecole de Légèreté (School of Lightness), any use of force or coercive means is strictly unacceptable. This includes training aids such as draw reins and side reins, as well as tight nosebands.
Philippe Karl’s philosophy delivers a coherent and comprehensive training programme through which horses of all types and breeds can be schooled in all equestrian disciplines. He offers clear principles and efficient methods where all actions and procedures fully respect the nature of each individual horse. In short, he opens the door to high school equitation for any seriously motivated rider – even for those with “quite an ordinary horse”.
Philippe Karl was born in 1947. In 1968, he dropped out of medical school 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 and later 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, General Pierre Durand appointed him as a member of the French national riding school, the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation, in Saumur where he became an Ecuyer of the prestigious Cadre Noir. Being especially dedicated to the shows of the Cadre Noir, Philippe Karl created two historical shows – presentations on long reins in jumping and of high school dressage – and participated in the shows of the Ecuyers. He took part in all the gala shows of the Cadre Noir in France and all over Europe during the next 13 years.
In 1998, he left the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation to devote himself to the clinics he was giving in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. Since 2004, he has been especially dedicated to the training of riding teachers within his Ecole de Légèreté.