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Sylvia Stössel


Gerbelstrasse 9

8626 Ottikon/ZH



+41 76 565 18 22

  • Riding according to the Ecole de Légèreté

  • Lungeing

  • Work in hand

  • Theory lectures

Equestrian vita

“For me,
the concept of the Ecole de Légèreté is the most natural, fair and healthy one to educate horses.
It is easy for the horse, but quite
demanding for the rider.
My aim is to help my students
not only to learn the different techniques and
to understand
the principles,
but also to teach the feeling. Working
with horses
this way makes us
grow and is much more than just riding.
The journey is the reward.”

  • Started to ride at age 6

  • 1983–1984: Training of pace racehorses with sulky and under saddle, training of thoroughbred race horses under saddle

  • 1986–1989: Part-time running of own 10-horse stable together with riding instructor Heinz Baumgartner

  • 1989–1991: Stay in Portugal at Morgado Lusitano riding center, riding at and partly running the 50-horse Lusitano training centre. Regular lessons with João Trigueiros de Aragão (friend and one of the best students of Nuno Oliveira), Francisco Carvalho de Bessa and Nuno Palma Santos (all riders of the Portuguese Riding School)

  • Since 1991: Working as riding instructor in Switzerland and abroad

  • 1991–2012: Training with Martin Bieli, a student of circus legend Fredy Knie senior

  • 2000–today: Training according to the philosophy of Légèreté with Philippe Karl

  • 2004–2007: Stable manager and riding instructor at stable with 16 client horses

  • 2004–2007: Basic training course of the Ecole de Légèreté

  • Since 2011: Master Teacher of the Ecole de Légèreté

  • Since 2017: President of APPEL, the Association for the Promotion of the Ecole de Légèreté

How and why I came to riding in Légèreté with Philippe Karl

All my riding life I was looking for harmony with the horse. However, the conventional riding lessons with low hands and the use of a lot of power brought me to a point where I felt only desperation and almost gave up riding completely. Giving up is not really one of my character traits, though, so I kept looking. My journey took me to Portugal, where I was lucky enough to work closely with João Trigueiros de Aragão, a great riding master of our time, from whom I learned many principles of Légèreté. For several years after my return, until his retirement in 1998, I organised riding clinics with him in Switzerland.


When I rode in the first public clinic in Switzerland with Philippe Karl in 2000, I did so with many reservations, with many “ifs” and “buts”. When I saw him riding during the clinic, however, and felt the incredibly positive transformation of my horse within only three days, it was clear to me: That’s the icing on the cake – that’s the perfection of my apprenticeship with João Trigueiros – that’s what I’ve been looking for all my life. All my horses and the horses of my students have confirmed this conviction ever since.


Long live Philippe Karl and the Ecole de Légèreté!

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