Educating the Horse to the Hand

Below is a segment of Philippe Karl’s response to the article “MAIN HAUTE, MAIN BASSE” (High hand, low hand) by Michel HENRIQUET in “CHEVAL MAGAZINE” July 2005: Let′s start with an untouched horse, that has never been constrained with any gadgets and let′s begin his training. The snaffle can act either on the tongue (low hands) or on the corner of the lips (high hands). Depending on their conformation or their temperament, horses try to avoid the hand, either by opening the poll to pull, by leaning on the bit or by inverting the neck. Not everyone can afford horses that are born already half-trained. The HIGH HAND Option The horse that pulls by opening the poll Firstly, ensure that raising both hands gently, slightly raising the corner of the lips, mobilizes the tongue and the jaw (swallowing leading to the RELAXATION of the whole forehand). Then, raise the inside hand to combine a marked lateral flexion of the neck with the yielding of the jaw (under these conditions, two fingers are enough). Anatomically incompatible with the blocking of the poll, this lateral flexion leads to an extension of the neck which brings the nose closer to the vertical (provided that the rider knows how to release). Methodically, first in hand, then ridden, at halt then walk, trot and lastly canter…. the rider successively relaxes, supples, lengthens and then rounds his horse. He lengthens the topline and is therefore able to manage the forward movement. The horse that leans on the bit Again acting on the corners of the lips, use half-halts to raise the base of the neck to...

Productions by Philippe Karl

Philippe Karl is one of the most outspoken critics of the modern dressage world. Through his various publications, he explores key problems of modern dressage: physical aspects, straightness, balance, exercises. He has also been one to describes the effects of modern dressage, breeding and business while comparing philosophies. With his various publications and productions, Philippe shares his extensive knowledge of the horse along with his hyper critical view of today’s training techniques. Movies: “Emploi des longues rênes” (“Long reining”) (written in French and German) France: École Nationale d´Équitation Germany: Vollberg Verlag “Classical Dressage”: Légèreté – The Philosophy of Ease Four DVDs produced by TV Produktion, Thomas Vogel, Germany Books:  “Long Reining” France: Éditions Belin Germany: BLV Verlag, Munich USA: Trafalgar Square Publishing “Une certaine idée du dressage” Odin à Saumur (written in French, German and Italian) France: Éditions Crépin-Leblond Germany: BLV Verlag, Munich Italy: Équilibri di TSB, Rome “Dérives du dressage moderne, Recherche d´une alternative classique” Germany: Cadmos Verlag France: Éditions...
A Brief Biography

A Brief Biography

Philippe Karl was born in 1947. In 1968, he left his medical studies 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 then at the National Stud Haras (National du Pin). He received his national riding instructor certificate in 1971. From 1972 to 1979, he is head of the riding department at the Centre d´Enseignement Zootechnique in Rambouillet. There, he was in charge of various branches of professional training. From 1980 to 1985, he ran his own stables. During all these years, he regularly competed in eventing and show jumping. In 1985, General Pierre Durand appointed him as a member of the national riding school (École Nationale d´Équitation) in Saumur, and he became an Écuyer at the Cadre Noir. Being especially dedicated to the shows of the Cadre Noir, he created two historical presentations at the long reins – both in jumping and High School – and participated in the shows of the Écuyers. For thirteen years, he took part in all the gala shows of the Cadre Noir in France and Europe. In 1998, he left the École Nationale d´Équitation to devote himself to the clinics he gives in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. After two years in Germany, he settled down with his wife Bea Borelle in the Drôme Provençale department in the south of France. Since 2004, he has been especially dedicated to the training of riding instructors at his “School of...