What is Academic Art of Riding?

What is it?

The name itself nowadays leads to a lot of question and misunderstandings.
Frequently asked questions are:

  • Is that a kind of riding just for people who have studied?
  • Can you pass an exam there?
  • Do I need a special horse for that, e.g. a P.R.E.?
  • Am I only allowed to ride with a curb?
  • It looks so strange when you keep this wooden stick in the air…..
  • Unforgettable is for sure: Knighthood – and what is your level there – Princess???
  • And, last but not least: What kind of clothes do I have to wear then?
Bent Branderup during summer academy 2013

The Academic Art of Riding is nothing newly invented, it is something very, very old. It is the knowledge about the art how to educate a horse and a rider in the most logical and easy way. Its guideline since thousands of years is to stay within natural boarders.

In former times, this knowledge was easily passed from generation to generation, in between master and student. After a very unsettled century and a lot of wars at the beginning of the 20th century, this chain of the traditional pass on of knowledge broke up and most was lost.

But all of you, who ever became involved with the Old Masters, for sure got into touch with the most important ones of the last 2500 years:

  • Xenophon
  • Pluvinel
  • Gueriniere
  • Newcastle
  • Steinbrecht
  • Neindorff

As  names out of more modern times you may be familiar with e.g.  Egon von Neindorff or Bent Branderup, continuing and upbuilding the long lost tradition of Academic Riding. Neindorff was one of the last riders and teachers able to pass on knowledge, and one of Bent Branderups masters. For Bent, it became a lifetime project to gather as many pieces of knowledge as possible and use them for accessing long lost exercises again. In addition, Neindorff’s idea of reviving the old Knighthood was passed on to Bent by his master, and nowadays we are in the middle of that process.

Bent Branderup again is for sure for me personally my most important teacher and master. 

Bent Branderup during summer academy 2013

As one of the licensed trainers, it is my duty to pass on knowledge to future generations and to not keep it to myself. The goal of a teacher should always be the wish to shape independent and fully responsible and mature students, who can become in very best case a teacher themselves again.

Originally the Art of Riding was taught in Academies for noblemen, like foreign languages, mathe and fencing as well. Therefore, the “Academic” within the name explains itself. Academic Art of Riding ist not elitist, not bound to special baroque clothes, special saddles, curbs or whatever. Everybody interested with each horse, not depending on age, color, breed, malpositions or whatever is welcome to deal with the Academic Art of Riding (and no, it does not have to be Spanish horse, and yes, a pony is fine, too…..).

The Art of Riding is only oblidged to your own emotions, your conscience and before all other things the responsibility for your horse. You are supposed to be the educator and teacher of your horse – or at least to become one – and keep your horse physically and mentally healthy with the help of the rider’s handkraft and knowledge. The journey is the reward – and the journey can be very long, but as well very exiting and satisfying.

To reflect one’s own abilities and ideals every day, and have enough courage to look into the mirror that my horse is giving me every day and every minute, continue the journey of horsemanship becoming art – is my personal interpretation of the art of riding.

What is a Bent Branderup® Trainer?

Bent Branderup dedicates his life to the Academic Art of Riding. Over and over again, he studies the old masters, studies his horses and pupils and is questioning his work.

The Academic Art of riding became a life-long study for Bent Branderup. His aim in life is to revive the knowledge and the spirit of the old masters. He teaches and educates people and horses in the Academic Art of Riding since many years, at his stable in Denmark and throughout Europe.

Therefore, more and more people become aware of the Academic Art of Riding. To be able to meet such a demand of interested people from all over the world, Bent Branderup developed a concept to become a Bent Branderup ® Trainer.

For this concept, Bent Branderup has chosen some members of the Knighthood who found their calling in the Academic Art of Riding, and are characterized by their passion for their work with horses. They pay a special attention to their own continuous further and advanced training, always with an eye to future developments. These are the ones who are qualified to teach and call themselves a Bent Branderup ® Trainer. Their common ambition is to spread the Academic Art of Riding all over the world, to examine their own work, and to develop themselves together with Bent Branderup and the Academic Art of Riding.

How to become a Bent Branderup® Trainer

The general requirement for a license is the active participation in the Knighthood. They are pupils of Bent Branderup since many years. They have shown their ability to train different horses and/or pupils, which makes them trustworthy and and a reliable partner in the education of horse and rider. The trainer license is valid for one year and demands from the trainer that he/she meets some special regulations. 

A Bent Branderup ® Trainer commits to have his/her own work with his/her horse checked and guided by Bent Branderup at least twice a year, and that he/she will continue to develop by improving on -or at least maintaining the – level he/she had during the previous training check. Furthermore, the Bent Branderup ® Trainer  will have the possibility to participate in update sessions for trainers in the Academic Art of Riding. Participation in at least one of these updates are required for maintaining the license. An update can be training as a week student, or participation in a special training seminar.