News and Events
Open Day Switzerland 2023
Get to know the Ecole de Légèreté in all its diversity
On Sunday, 25 June, the French riding master Philippe Karl, his international Master Teacher Team and his Swiss trainers of the Ecole de Légèreté (EdL) invite you to get to know the training concept of this unique school. Under the motto "From the Young Horse to the High School", visitors were shown how even averagely gifted horses can be trained up to the higher lectio-ns in a manner appropriate to the species, without coercive means and contradictions.
Philippe Karl already fascinated the spectators with his riding skills in the Cadre Noir presentations years ago. In the solo of the show, he and his Lusitano stallion "Odin" showed what real "Légèreté" looks like in all lectio-ns of the high school, up to the levade. In his quest to find a natural and horse-friendly training method without coercive means, he analysed a large part of the working methods of the old riding masters. From these, the Frenchman, now 76 years old, selected the most sensible methods and supplemented them with scientific findings of the present day.
The result of his studies is a riding method that focuses on respect for the horse as a being. In 2004 he founded his own school, the Ecole de Légèreté (EdL), and began to train riding instructors according to his concept. The most important EdL pillars are the establishment of communication that never uses contradictory aids as well as balance, mental relaxation paired with many exercises for gymnastics. The riding aids used are first explained to the horse and are thus always clearly understandable for the four-legged partner.
APPEL presents the Ecole de Légèreté live at EQUITANA, the world's largest horse fair!
Experience the Ecole de Légèreté at EQUITANA in Essen, Germany, from March 9 to 15, 2023. A special highlight this year is the participation of Philippe Karl on all days of the fair.
Look forward to exciting and educational demonstrations in the instructor rings and in the big show hall with the licensed teachers led by Philippe Karl and Master Teachers Sabine Mosen and Bea Borelle.
Meet teachers of the Ecole de Légèreté and learn more about our School at the APPEL booth in Hall 6/E24. We are looking forward to nice and interesting conversations! At the booth, you will also find exclusive APPEL and Ecole de Légèreté promotional products, books by Philippe Karl, and Simply Légèreté branded horse training products from Reitsport Hellwig.
See you at EQUITANA!
PS: Are you an APPEL member? Get your exclusive membership gift at the APPEL booth.
Equitana 2023 in Essen. GERMANY
Ethical rules & guidelines
Due to current occasions, Philippe Karl and the Master Teacher team would like to underline once
again the following paragraphs of the Ethical Rules and Guidelines that apply to licensed and
prospective riding instructors of the Ecole de Légèreté:
Licensed or Trainee Teachers of the EdL should constantly keep in mind that they are ambassadors
representing the ECOLE DE LEGERETE.
The ECOLE DE LEGERETE considers horse riding as an Art and not as a sport. Consequently, riding
competitions is not an aim of the EdL. If a Licensed or Trainee Teacher chooses to compete, they
must do so in full compliance with these Ethical Rules and without any compromise on the
Philosophy of the EdL.
Guidelines: § concerning «Self-promotion»
Performing in any public showcase is permitted provided that the discipline, the preparation of the horse and the presentation of the horse are in accordance with the ethical and technical principles of the ECOLE DE LEGERETE. Participation in horse fairs requires prior approval of the Master Teacher in charge.
At public presentations, it is desirable to ride without a noseband or possibly with a single
noseband that is loose enough for the horse to easily mobilise the jaw.
(Horse shows are a very public forum and often tempt riders to behave in a less principled manner.
EdL Teachers are expected to maintain the highest degree of respect for their horses. The best choice
may be not to participate at all.)
Guidelines: § concerning «Publications / Social media»
Published images and texts have a strong influence on how the ECOLE DE LEGERETE is perceived
from the outside. Therefore, only contributions that promote a positive image of the EdL and/or
convey an educational content in line with the principles of the EdL should be published. Pictures
should be selected with care.
Licensed Teachers and Trainee Teachers must follow the basic principles in order to make appropriate decisions when managing and/or developing publications on social media.
Back at last: APPEL presents the Ecole de Légèreté live at EQUITANA, the world’s largest horse fair!
Experience the Ecole de Légèreté at EQUITANA in Essen, Germany, from 7 to 13 April 2022. Look forward to exciting and educational daily demonstrations and presentations by the School’s Licensed and Trainee Teachers under the direction of Master Teacher Sabine Mosen.
Meet riding teachers from the School and learn more about the Ecole de Légèreté at the APPEL booth in Hall 6/E24. Let’s get back to talking in person after this long, pandemic-related break from the live action. We look forward to seeing you at our booth. There, you will also find the exclusive APPEL and Ecole de Légèreté promotional products, books and videos by Philippe Karl as well as horse-friendly training products of the Simply Légèreté brand by Reitsport Hellwig.
We would like to share this great event with many interested people and friends of the Ecole de Légèreté around the world. Thanks to the continuous expansion of our digital platform, we are launching our new YouTube channel APPEL-Ecole de Légèreté at EQUITANA. Watch our performances and contributions worldwide in the livestream on YouTube. Also follow us on our social media channels to not miss any of our regular posts and updates.
Be part of it, join us!
P.S.: Are you an APPEL member? Get your exclusive membership package on site at our booth!
Open Day Switzerland 2022
Under the slogan "From young horses to high school", the Ecole de Légèreté Switzerland invites everyone to get to know its training concept in one day on Sunday, July 31st. Interested visitors will be shown how every horse can be trained in a species-appropriate way without coercive means and contradictions. With appropriate training of horse and rider, higher lessons are achievable even for an averagely talented horse.
At the public EdL Day on 31 July at the Farmersplace seminar centre in Kleindöttingen, the entire training path will be shown and explained step by step with commented, practical presentations. The full-day programme includes lunge work, flexion exercises, handwork, ridden basic lessons with side gaits, jumping, a demo riding lesson and the development of the higher lessons. Philippe Karl will answer questions from the audience in a theory session. The Swiss team will be reinforced by the two Master Teachers Melanie Bulmahn (Germany) and Bea Borelle, Philippe Karl's wife.
The EdL Day does not only want to contribute to a better understanding of the horse. It also offers the opportunity to get to know the Swiss EdL trainers from all regions. In a second round of discussions and questions, the exchange of ideas will not be forgotten. Because another concern of the "School of Lightness" is that every riding student always knows about the "www": the what, how and why.
Ecole de Légèreté goes online!
Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the major events in 2021 where you would have been able to watch the work of the Ecole de Légèreté have been cancelled. To enable you to benefit from its teachings nonetheless, the Ecole de Légèreté is enhancing its digital presence, for instance with Philippe Karl holding lectures at online events of wehorse, or with online teacher training courses to replace the ones that cannot be held in person in Australia, Canada and the USA.
If you missed Philippe Karl's last lecture on 4 February 2021 organised by wehorse, you can view it here: Une soirée avec Philippe Karl – an evening with Philippe Karl (in English).
While waiting for the corona pandemic to ease and allow events and courses to be held live again, you may want to take a look at Philippe Karl's DVDs, books and articles on the page Publications or at further Online Events and Digital Media of the Ecole de Légèreté.
When corona restrictions ease, we hope to be able to see you at one of the training courses of the school, which are listed on the page Find a Course. (See also Courses and Clinics below.)
Whether online or in person – we’re looking forward to meeting you!
Courses & Clinics
The word is spreading! The Ecole de Légèreté (School of Lightness), founded by French riding master Philippe Karl in 2004, has been expanding every since. Teacher training courses are currently being held in nine countries all over the world – in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA.
Spectators are welcome to all the courses and clinics of the Ecole de Légèreté. So if you’re curious about this riding philosophy, whose central principle is the absolute respect of the horse, come and see for yourself what it looks like in practice!
What awaits you are horses of any type and breed, ridden in lightness without use of strong aids or coercive means, be it tightly closed nosebands or abasing training methods such as hyperflexion. As you will see, with the right methods, even “perfectly ordinary” horses can reach the level of high school.
You will find a list of all the teacher training courses of the Ecole de Légèreté on the page Find a Course. For information on conditions for spectators, see the page Spectators. If you’d like to learn how to teach this riding philosophy yourself, you will find the relevant information on the page Become a Teacher.
Open Day Germany - canceled!
Dear Friends of the Ecole de Légèreté,
Our hopes for a sufficient easing of the coronavirus situation by September 2020 have unfortunately not been fulfilled. With a heavy heart, we have therefore decided to cancel the presentation "Eine Reise in die Welt der Légèreté" in Aachen in Germany, including the "International Meeting of the Ecole de Légèreté". As long as the strict distance regulations and restrictions are in force, we cannot expect people to come to Aachen. Your health and well-being, as well as that of our entire team, must be our top priority.
There will be no alternative date in 2021 for the time being, as nobody knows how the situation will develop. Of course we will refund the ticket costs. All ticket buyers will be informed. Please be patient – the refund will be made until 15 September 2020.
We would be very pleased if you would waive the refund and thus help us to cover the costs already incurred to organise the event. In this case, please send us an email promptly (until 12 August 2020) to email@example.com.
Meanwhile, we will continue to be committed to a strong upswing of the Ecole de Légèreté in the coming time, and we look forward to welcoming you to the numerous teacher training courses and smaller events of the school.
Stay healthy – we thank you for your support and understanding in these difficult times!
More information: www.reitkunst-edl-event.com
Open Day Switzerland 2019
On 2 June 2019, the Swiss Ecole de Légèreté teams joined forces to present the school to the public for the second time at a dedicated event. The around 230 places in the FarmersPlace seminar centre in Kleindöttingen were sold out within days, as fans and newcomers scrambled to witness the presentations and – as the highlight of the day – the solo show of Philippe Karl and his Hanoverian gelding High Noon.
The commented presentations covered the complete training programme of the school, from lungeing and flexions through jumping to high school lessons. In his theory lecture on “The role of the forehand”, Philippe Karl explained in depth how, contrary to the tenets of the official doctrine, it is the forehand rather than the hindquarters that plays the decisive role in the riding and training of the horse. Philippe Karl and High Noon then impressively demonstrated to what riding in Légèreté can lead, in their exclusive show combining jumping and high school lessons.
“The whole day was very instructive and informative”, said one spectator with shining eyes. “During the show of Philippe Karl with High Noon, I had goose bumps. For me, this example of harmony and lightness was simply moving, impressive, unforgettable – and very motivating.”
From 9 to 17 March 2019, APPEL – the sponsors’ association of the school – presented the Ecole de Légèreté at one of the world’s biggest horse fairs, EQUITANA in Essen, Germany. The programme included theory lectures and practical demonstrations by twelve riders from Germany, Sweden and Belgium with their horses of different breeds.
At Standpunkt.Pferd, Master instructor Sabine Mosen and Philippe Karl answered questions of the audience about the riding philosophy and training in Légèreté. In the tribune ring and other riding rings, licensed teachers of the school gave insights into the riding philosophy of the Ecole de Légèreté under the direction of Sabine Mosen, Bea Borelle and Philippe Karl. Unfortunately, Philippe Karl was prevented from riding his Hanoverian High Noon for health reasons. Five licensed teachers of the school took up the challenge in his stead and presented the work of the Ecole de Légèreté in the big show arena under the enthousiastic applause of the audience. At the APPEL booth, visitors were able to learn more about the Ecole de Légèreté, meet Philippe Karl in person, buy his books and DVDs and have them signed.
The positive feedback of the visitors – including an impressive number of young riders – was very encouraging, as it showed that the efforts made by all the participants to present a classical alternative to the official riding was really appreciated.
In October 2018, the Italian members of the Ecole de Légèreté presented the school at one of the world’s largest horse fairs, Fieracavalli in Verona. The fair, which celebrated its 120th anniversary this year, attracted an estimated 160 000 visitors from 63 countries.
At the booth of GIEL – Gruppo Italiano Ecole de Légèreté – and the sponsor’s association APPEL, teachers and trainee teachers of the Ecole de Légèreté answered numerous questions from the many curious visitors who approached to watch the new videos of Philippe Karl, which were constantly transmitted on a big screen. Twice a day, on the outside arena in front of the fair entrance, two junior students demonstrated the principles of the Ecole de Légèreté with their horses under the guidance of a teacher of the school. The presentations attracted a large audience, whose interest and many questions made the demonstrations even more successful.
GIEL has been participating in the Fieracavalli fair for several years now, and the ever growing, sympathising audience that comes to watch the presentations proves that the effort is well worth it.
Open Day Germany 2018
Lightness, joy and elegance paired with top performance: 300 spectators experienced the art of riding at its best on 22 September 2018 at the first German Open Day of the Ecole de Légèreté in Alsfeld.
18 riders demonstrated the training path of Légèreté from lungeing to high school. The highlight of the day was the show of Philippe Karl and his Hanoverian High Noon. Cheers accompanied the brilliant presentation of the gelding. Seemingly without touching the ground, he danced through the arena, showed passages and piaffes, canter pirouettes, extended trot – in between jumping over flags held level by helpers. Once again, Philippe Karl proved that he not only talks about fine riding and respect for the nature of the horse, but lives those principles with all his heart.
Philippe Karl thanked all the students of the Ecole de Légèreté for their commitment. As he emphasised, “the Légèreté is the easiest way for the horse, but the most demanding for the rider”. Of course, these thanks extend to all the teachers and riders of the Ecole de Légèreté around the world!
High Noon's training with Philippe Karl is documented in a three-part DVD series, the third part of which was released on the occasion of this event.
Philippe Karl and his Ecole de Légèreté captivated the audience at the HansePferd 2018 horse fair in Hamburg, Germany, in April.
At the booth of the Ecole de Légèreté and its sponsors’ association APPEL, many visitors caught up on the work of the school. In his lecture on “How to put my horse in hand”, Philippe Karl presented his view of a respectful and friendly approach to this controversial topic. The two master instructors Bea Borelle and Sabine Mosen demonstrated his philosophy in practice in exemplary lessons.
In the big show arena, the presentation of Christiane Horstmann, Katja Lauer and Barbara Stübenrath from Germany, Lisa-Tana Ericson from Sweden and Carole Lothon from France with her horses of various breeds – ranging from Noriker and Connemara to Lusitano, Lipizzaner and Westphalian – demonstrated impressively that in the Ecole de Légèreté, every horse can arrive at exercises such as piaffe, passage and school walk. As the final highlight, Philippe Karl and his Hanoverian High Noon performed an exclusive solo show combining high school dressage and jumping.
Philippe Karl & High Noon
at HansePferd 2018
With their exclusive solo show combining high school dressage and jumping, Philippe Karl and his Hanoverian High Noon moved the audience of HansePferd 2018 to tears. Passage and piaffe, extended trot and half-pass, two-tempi flying changes on a circle, flying changes a tempi almost casually performed on a straight line, then a jump over a flag held level by a helper, followed by a feather-light canter, then again a jump over a combination of three flags. As a farewell, a noble school walk. No one was left unimpressed.
High Noon came to Philippe Karl at age five, an extremely difficult, sensitive and easily excitable horse. At HansePferd, the 13-year-old gelding was able to demonstrate his full potential. “It is my task as a rider to develop the nobility of the horse”, Philippe Karl said after the show, summarising in one sentence the actual meaning of any effort towards what one would call the “true art of riding”.
The performance in Hamburg features on the third DVD of Philippe Karl and High Noon, which was released in fall 2018.
Open Day Switzerland 2018
On 3 June 2018, the Swiss Ecole de Légèreté team – supported by master instructor Bea Borelle and some of her students – presented the school to the public for the first time at a dedicated event. More than 250 spectators found their way to the FarmersPlace seminar centre in Kleindöttingen. A great success for little Switzerland!
The team presented the entire training programme of the school in commented presentations: lungeing and ground work, flexions and ridden work ranging from basic training to high school lessons. Under the motto “The tenets of balance”, Bea Borelle’s theory lecture and the demo jumping and dressage lessons vividly demonstrated the possibilities the rider has to influence the balance of the horse and use it to his advantage without employing any force or coercive means.
“It is very impressive to see what can be achieved by taking into account the biomechanical and typical characteristics of the horse,” said one of the many newcomers to the Ecole de Légèreté. “I especially noticed by the relaxed faces of the horses – it’s just great to see that performance does not have to be at the expense of the horses.”
The Mane Event 2018 - Canada
In April 2018, the Ecole de Légèreté and its sponsors’ association APPEL were present for the first time at the Mane Event Horse Expo in Red Deer, Canada.
Master instructor Melanie Bulmahn held two lectures explaining the riding philosophy of Légèreté and its methodology and training practices, the biomechanics of the ridden horse and myths and misconceptions about collection and engagement. At the APPEL booth, trainee teachers from the basic training course in Innisfail, Alberta, acted as ambassadors informing the public about Légèreté. Both the lectures and the booth attracted a large number of people, and visitors were excited to learn that Ecole de Légèreté courses are offered in Canada.
The Innisfail team is eager to prepare a larger exhibit for next year’s Mane Event, including a demonstration with a horse. “The word is out there,” said organiser Trish Twedell, “and I expect that we will see some increase in numbers and some growth.”