Academic Art of Riding

Why Academic Art of Riding?

Horses have been with us for thousands of years. Something exciting happens when horse and human meet on equal terms. Xenophon, one of the first to write down equestrian art, wrote about the horse’s inner glow and what a great feeling it is to have that glow brought into a collaboration. Something that riders throughout the ages have understood and taken advantage of. 


Today there is a strong comme il faut-like view of what dressage should be and look like, and this modern dressage differs from the ideals of the former schools. The history of riding was completely rewritten just a century ago and today, without its utility value, it has only its own form as a pleasure activity to rely on. This results in both positive and negative effects. We can today choose to train the horse by attaching great importance to the basic training, to take care of the mental aspect and give our horses the best possible life as possible, but not too seldom we want quick results with the help of shortcuts. The problem becomes even greater as we become dependent on external judgments as a yardstick for our education, ie the competition dressage. The Academic Art of Riding has no interest in competition, instead it is all about dressage for the horse, not the horse for the dressage.

Photo credit: Zandra Ahl Olaussen
Photo credit: Zandra Ahl OIaussen

What is Academic Art of Riding?

The Academic Art of Riding is the equestrian method that Bent Branderup recreated through studies in the history of classical equestrian art. It is a method and mindset based on getting safe, proud and biomechanically functional horses. It is about giving gymnastics exercises and consistent assistance to give the horse the opportunity to work in an optimal position for the individual, far from the environment’s requirements for a certain performance based on a generalized template.


The focus is on the horse’s ability to understand and that he is confident and happy to work, never pressed above its level. In the long run we get a sustainable horse with good conditions for a long and healthy life.


The motto “L’art pour l’art” (Art for art’s sake) states what we can focus on today in the training of our horses. And isn’t that also where it gets most interesting…

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