The Knighthood is from origin a collective name for the organizations for the war- and school stallions trainers. The knowledge that was shared within these organisations was state secret as to create the biggest advantage on the battefield. This is one of the reasons that so much knowledge of this time is lost.
In 1997 Bent Branderup founded the Knighthood of the Academic Art of Riding to keep the art alive. The members of this new Knighthood spread the old knowledge, experiment with and keep on searching for new knowledge. The Knighthood of the Academic Art of Riding protects the European cultural inheritance combined with the modern ethical values for the interaction between horse and rider. The historical Knighthood’s level of skill of acceptance was equal to the level of piaffe, passage, pirouette plus an air above the ground. It was necessary to lower the level of skill of acceptance, so that the Knighthood could again accept Members. That is why the level is now equal to that of a working rider, a squire, creating a basic for the Art of Riding.
The knighthood is a community of passionated horse people who share its fundamental ideals and have proven a basic level of skills. It is an international academy with the main tasks of research and education, always aware of ethical aspects that concern the human-equine relationship.
The members of the knighthood carry on an old European cultural heritage, investigating in and trying to restore what got lost over the centuries, mainly relying on the old Masters Xenophon, Pluvinel, Newcastle, Guérinière, Steinbrecht, Weyrother and Holleuffer. But any old or new knowledge about the art of riding shall be seen with interest and incorporated where it is appropiate. The members see themselves as members of a brain pool where they in exchange information and help each other to develop. In this way the Knighthood of the Academic Art of Riding is always developing new skills and insights.
Fortunately, horses are no longer used in warfare. Our goal in being with horses is to spend time well.
To the members of the Knighthood riding is art of living, giving quality in life to both man and horse. We want to reach the highest possible level, without neglecting the rules of nature. We look upon dressage as an art that offers horse and human a task in their life that can be fulfilling and performed until a great age. Our goal is to build up the horse physically and mentally to become the proudest being they can become.
“The dressage is for the horse, not the horse for the dressage.”
The ideal of the Academic Rider is to ride the horse mainly from the seat, making the horse light in the front and lowering the haunches, while the horse is always long in the upperline, searching forward-down to find light contact with the rider’s soft feeling hand. When the seat of the rider melts together with the horse we get closer to the feeling of the centaur.
“Two minds must want to do what two bodies can.”