Did you know that there’s a Knighthood in Europe called “The Knighthood of the Academic Art of Riding”? Bent Branderup established the Knighthood. He’s a man who spent many years learning from great horse riding masters throughout Europe, such as Nuno Oliviera in Portugal and Egon von Neindorft in Germany. As far and wide as Bent traveled, he investigated and studied equine history and horseback riding in particular.
In the Academic Art of Riding, horses are trained with gymnastic exercises, slowly and progressively. Starting with ground work and lunging. With this method, all the aids for communication are introduced to the horse before the horse is even ridden. In this way, the horse also develops it’s body and mind in preparation for a rider. Each horse is trained according to its own unique set of abilities, regardless of the breed or size of the horse.
In the Academic Art of Riding, the trainers use dressage for the horse and not the horse for dressage. The gymnastic movements serve as exercises to benefit the longevity and well-being of the horse, and all the movements are in agreement with natural movements. Over time, horses that are suited to the work are developed, collected and schooled to do the ‘Haute Ecole’ or Highschool movements such as the levade and Croupade. All ridden work is done with one hand.
The Knighthood have done phenomenal work in preserving and developing this “art of riding” over the years . . . an art which was almost lost to the modern world. The Academic Art of Riding has grown in popularity over the last decade and several branches of trainers are located throughout Europe, educating horses and riders to continue the tradition. Some of these trainers even travel abroad to offer clinics as interest in the art form spreads.