Positive ambition, a certain curiosity, being open to new insights and keen on knowing things in detail, hard-working, diligent and permanently concerned with the well-being of the horse – this is what led Sonja Weber to achieve what she can now with good conscience teach others. She stands for a thorough, demanding, refined and solid kind of horsemanship.
more than 20 years’ experience in
the service of horse, rider and trainer
Sonja Weber has schooled horses, riders, and trainers in the tradition of ‘Légèreté’ near Frankfurt/Main, Germany, for more than 20 years. From the basics up to Haute École work, keeping the horse healthy represents the key concern of her training.
Her clients include several trainers, for she combines professional and didactic competence in a way that makes her an outstanding teacher of other instructors. The learning material she provides in the form of her books and especially her films is beyond compare.
She herself worked with riding instructors such as Marc de Broissia, Philippe Karl, Anna-Katrin Müller and Manuel Jorge de Oliveira among others.
She holds a diploma in biology with a specialisation in equine behaviour. She works as an author and filmmaker, and she also gives lectures, which comprise for instance the question how to keep horses healthy through suitable training.
Besides, she holds a Master of Arts in Coaching, Supervision and Organisational Development, which qualifies her to offer horse-based coaching.
My career as a rider
My journey to the tradition
As a child I began riding on ponies, and in my adolescence, I enjoyed endurance riding on Arabian horses. However, I soon realised that all horses need a solid foundation in dressage, and I began to look for suitable training systems. Early in the 1990s, I became acquainted with the Franco-Iberian school during several stays in Portugal.
Meeting riding instructors devoted to the French tradition of “Légèreté” was a revelation. I spent a year with renowned French riding master Marc de Broissia and Anja Beran, his partner at the time. Several other sojourns there, accompanied by Anna Katrin Müller (from the school of Schultheis/Lörke), were to follow.
In the years 2001 to 2007 I regularly attended clinics with Philippe Karl and completed the pilot version of his 3-year instructors’ training course; becoming a member of his “École de Légèreté”, however, was not an option.
As I became friends with Portuguese riding master and breeder Manuel Jorge de Oliveira, I had the opportunity to attend clinics with him and ride his horses in Portugal.
This profoundly influenced my idea of the perfection and beauty of classical dressage. I worked with him up until the year 2016.
From 1997 to 2007, I attended clinics with Jean-Claude Racinet (a representative of Légèreté in France and the US), Brigadier Kurt Albrecht (director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna), Siegfried Peilicke (riding master of the Schultheis/Lörke school – national dressage coach for young riders FRG) and Nuno Andrade (school of Luis Valenca, Portugal).
All the while, I closely collaborated with my instructor Anna Katrin Müller, who supported me in putting the ideas of all my trainers into practice. In 2018, she inspired me with her ever-growing knowledge and the ideas of Frenchman Jean Luc Cornille (US), whose project “Science of Motion” explores the implications of biomechanics and scientific insights for the training of horses.
My work as a professional riding instructor goes hand in hand with the publication of films, books, lectures, and articles in magazines such as “Cavallo”, “Dressur Studien”, “Equus”, “Feine Hilfen”, “Levade”, “Pegasus”, “Piaffe” and “ReitKultur”.
“It’s not the talent of the horse or the difficulty of an exercise that show the quality of riding. Good horsemanship means respecting the nature of the horse and developing its movements under saddle to perfection.” Sonja Weber
Teachers and ideals
Lusitano Finito, 8 years old
Marc de Broissia
Working with Marc de Broissia decisively shaped my idea of “légèreté” and provided the basis for my future work. His way of schooling horses with great precision, concentration and his step by minute step approach opened up a hitherto unknown horizon of feeling and knowledge.
Working on the horse’s asymmetries, relaxation and impulsion was new to me, creating a superior kind of balance I had not known thus far. This does not only refer to the horizontal balance between forehand and hindquarters but also to the horse’s lateral balance.
With Philippe Karl, I came to know another important riding master of the French tradition of “légèreté”. He is one of the true thinkers in the world of horses. His concept is extraordinarily rational, transparent, systematic, and of course characterised by practical and theoretical competence of the highest order.
He enabled me to get an even deeper insight into the theoretical background of many phenomena familiar to me from my practical work. His method complemented my work ideally, without producing any serious contradictions.
Lusitano Marialva, 25 years old
Lusitano Magusto, 5 years old
Jean-Claude Racinet and Brigadier Kurt Albrecht
I had the great fortune to have experienced the Frenchman Jean-Claude Racinet and the Viennese Brigadier Kurt Albrecht in various courses in Germany. Both were already of an advanced age and complemented each other perfectly in their meticulous work.
Racinet showed me extremely effective exercises and manual techniques that resembled physiotherapeutic treatment during riding training.
Albrecht, the long-time director of the Vienna Riding School, placed extreme importance on the fineness of the aids: he had the horses ridden with one hand to check the contact and tuned to the seat in engagement, so that continuous driving with the thigh into a firm hand became impossible.
Anna Katrin Müller
Anna Katrin Müller worked with Siegfried Peilicke among others, which makes her a representative of the old German school of Schultheiss/Lörke. At the same time, she successfully competed up to the highest level, without ever losing touch with what is essential about the art of riding.
She is always open to innovations beneficial to horses and riders alike and accompanied me to most of my teachers. She closely collaborated with me in putting the principles of the French riding masters and others into practice and contributed her own knowledge and skills to our work.
We’re still in touch, exchanging our experiences, and she supports my work with her continuously expanding horizon of knowledge, particularly concerning the rotations of the horse’s spine.
What I really admire about Sonja Weber is her untiring concern with the principles of classical riding. She is open to many different approaches, carefully selecting what she considers most appropriate. In this way, she can find the best possible, most constructive solution to a very broad array of problems facing both horses and riders. Her curiosity and critical spirit have let her arrive at the highest level. Congratulations!