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, l'Ecole Nationale d´Equitation, in Saumur where he became an écuyer 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 – and participated in the shows of the écuyers.  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 l'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 instructors within his School of Légèreté (French for Lightness), which now offers instructor training courses in more than 10 countries.


The School of Légèreté: instructor training courses

The School of Légèreté offers a three and a half year basic training course for riding teachers. It consists of three four-day clinics per year. The course prepares candidates (who will already be at least part-time instructors) for the four-stage exam which they must pass in order to be awarded a licence. Only instructors who hold this licence are authorised to teach the philosophy of Légèreté in Philippe Karl's name. 

Training courses are currently running in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Italy, France, Australia, Canada and the USA.

The course consists of lessons in:

  • individual dressage training
  • work in hand and on the lunge
  • jumping
  • quadrille
  • theory
  • pedagogical training


Instructor training: advanced clinics

Licenced teachers of the School of Légèreté can improve their knowledge beyond the three-year basic training course by participating in advanced training clinics. 

The programme of advanced clinics includes the further training of the teachers in dressage, work in hand, lungeing, jumping and giving lessons, both to their own students and to unknown guest riders.



All clinics of the School of Légèreté are open to spectators who can follow all of the lessons as well as participate in theory and Q&A sessions. 


Guest Riders

You can profit from Philippe Karl's wealth of experience by participating with your horse as an 'unknown' rider in one of the practice lessons given by the students of the course. Afterwards, Philippe Karl will comment on the lesson and make any necessary corrections.

If you are interested in being a guest rider, please contact the clinic organiser.


Open clinics & private lessons

Due to the ever increasing demand for lessons, Philippe Karl now only teaches riders who are either already licenced teachers of the School of Légèreté or who are students of the School actively in training for this qualification.

Riders of any standard, with any type of horse, can arrange to have lessons according to Philippe Karl's philosophy:

  • by participating in an open clinic taught by a licenced teacher of the School
  • or by contacting their nearest licenced teacher to arrange private lessons.

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For info on future clinics and events 


Next UK Clinic

Our next UK clinic will be

Tue 28th to Thu 30th April 2020

At The Unicorn Trust, Stow-on-the-Wold

Further Information is available here

New Rider Applications

Applications are being accepted from instructors who would like to join a future course.

Further information here.