My Journey To Lightness with Philippe Karl Part I

Philippe Karl working with "Caspar" - a Lipizzan stallion owned by Sherry Levaaho.

February 2011
Delta, BC, Canada

This April I will take another step on my journey toward artistry in horsemanship. My partner is my Lipizzan stallion, Caspar (Favory Fantasia III-1).

My name is Sherry Leväaho, and I operate a boarding and training stable in Delta, British Columbia, Canada with my husband and trainer, Veli-Juhani Leväaho. (Our website: I have been fortunate to find a coach (who became my husband) to guide me to the world of academic horsemanship, and give me the tools to aspire to lightness. I found the horse of my dreams five years ago; I bought Caspar when I was pregnant with our first child, and started him before I became pregnant with our second. While pregnant the second time, I started playing around with circus gym, with the advice of one of Veli’s clients, Jutta Wiemers. The circus-type games have been beneficial, especially when I struggle with finding time to do everything. Caspar will be nine years old this summer, and we are growing together into a satisfying partnership.

Last summer, Veli and I learned that the French master, Philippe Karl, had agreed to conduct a Teacher’s Course of his School of Légèreté in North America, and only about six hours’ drive away! I applied, and then learned that I was one of nine applicants accepted. The course, beginning in April of 2011, consists of three four-day clinics per year, for three years, followed by examinations at the beginning of the fourth year. The course will cover the following: individual dressage training; work in hand, at the longe, and on long reins; jumping; quadrille; theory; and pedagogy.

Participants that are successful in the examinations will be awarded diplomas and the right to teach according to the School of Légèreté.

I look forward to providing updates on the course and our progress over the next three years. For more information about M. Karl, his philosophy, publications, and advocacy, visit his website at For more information about the North American Teacher’s Course, visit

~Written By Sherry Leväaho

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