At the end of June, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann and Philippe Karl met for the first time for a long-awaited exchange. Gerd Heuschmann, a veterinarian from Warendorf, Germany, came to one of the advanced training courses for the riding instructors of the School of Légèreté founded by French riding master Philippe Karl. During a private dinner and the following day of the clinic, the two prominent critics of modern riding methods had the opportunity to explain their respective views and fathom out their similarities. With great success:
“Gerd Heuschmann is a sympathetic, open-minded and above all very courageous man, whose fight for the welfare of horses I admire very much. As a vet, he is unprejudiced and honestly interested in other riding philosophies. He is the first from the circle of the German FN to make an effort to get acquainted with the philosophy of the School of Légèreté and its practical realization, instead of judging it from a distance. I sincerely hope that we will be able to further intensify our exchange,” Philippe Karl concluded after the meeting.
Gerd Heuschmann also expressed his enthusiasm at this first exchange. Shortly before he left, he declared in front of the riders and listeners of the clinic: “In Philippe Karl, I met one of the few classical riding masters of our time. Here, I have seen horses which are truly schooled according to classical principles and ridden in a way that respects their nature. The way in which you, the students of the ‘School of Légèreté’, put this riding philosophy into practice and carry it out into the world also deserves the highest praise. I wish you every conceivable success. For we must propagate the classical riding principles again – we owe it to the horses!”
Gerd Heuschmann and Philippe Karl hope to be able to explain and demonstrate the principles of classical riding in theory and practice – from the point of view of the veterinarian and the riding master – to a larger public within a joint seminar some time in the future.
During the advanced training course at the end of June, the audience saw both licensed riding teachers of the School of Légèreté with very different horses they had schooled themselves, and three guest riders who took lessons with Philippe Karl for the first time. This combination offered an interesting insight into the philosophy of the School of Légèreté – from the very first steps within this system up to horses on a high level performing not only all lateral movements, flying changes, piaffe, Spanish walk and sometimes passage, but of course also correct neck extension. On top of this, the School of Légèreté is open for all kinds of horses: that weekend, the audience witnessed the training of two Holsteiners, two Lipizzans, two Friesians, an Arabian and one horse described as “the first of his race”.
Philippe Karl was a member of the Cadre Noir, the French elite riding school in Saumur, for 13 years. As an passionate riding teacher, he passes on his philosophy of Légèreté in clinics all over Europe. Since 2004, he has been especially dedicated to the training of riding instructors within his School of Légèreté. Philippe Karl is the author of several books and videos. In his latest book “Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage”, he severely criticises today’s dressage methods and suggests an alternative. Further information on Philippe Karl, including the dates and contacts for the advanced training courses that are open for the general public can be found on this website.
Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is a veterinarian specialized in horses and very much in demand as a lecturer. In his seminars, he vividly and intelligibly explains the biomechanical background on which the classical riding principles are based. In his book “Tug of War,” Gerd Heuschmann identifies wrong developments in today’s riding sport and explains how incorrect training methods can affect a horse’s health and well-being. Further information on Gerd Heuschmann, his work as a veterinarian and lecturer can be found at www.gerdheuschmann.com.
The English versions of the books of Gerd Heuschmann and Philippe Karl can be ordered via www.pferdia.com.