About Philippe Karl

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 offers teacher training courses in more than 10 countries. Now in his 70's, Philippe Karl is progressively reducing his teaching workload but continues to ride and train his Hanoverian gelding, High Noon. They still give demonstrations at prestigious horse shows all over Europe, together with presentations by teachers of the School.

As Philippe Karl likes to say, "There is no such thing as a 'dressage' horse or a 'jumping' horse, only horses who are either well schooled or not!". The video below shows examples of high school work, opening with the rarely seen 'school walk', combined with jumping - all performed in a jumping saddle with short stirrups.