Sylvia loch - Classical Dressage

Sylvia and D Francisco Braganca with one of his foals out at field.

(Photo - A.llegra Loch)

Classical Riding - Sylvia Loch - The Road I have  Travelled

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Master Nuno Oliveira of Portugal

Mestre Nuno Oliveira of Portugal was one of the most striking figures on horseback I ever saw in my life. I got to know him a little over several years but I would never dream of calling myself one of his students. He reserved that title for only four or five people who worked at his school, day after day, over many unbroken years. Nevertheless, he trusted me enough to be the first person to write his official biography. Only months before his tragic and sudden death, my publishers had flown me out at his invitation to work on this plan. Never dreaming that time would prove so short, we enjoyed long and illuminating conversations concerning technique but since we never completed those talks, I abandoned the book. It would have been wrong to do otherwise. Fortunately, his own books remain, a joy and an inspiration. He wrote 5 in all, the last 3 in Australia, where he died.


Brigadier Kurt Albrecht

Director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Brigadier Kurt Albrecht, Director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna has been a much valued and supportive friend. I first met him as I researched my third book, Dressage the Art of Classical Riding in which was generous enough to write the Foreword. We soon discovered that we shared the same ethos concerning the correct classical seat as he too had written extensively to explain the three point contact in his own book Principles of Dressage, a literary gem. Unfortunately, although this had been published in German in l981, the English translation came out too late to help me as the furore grew over the same concept described in The Classical Seat. (1985). If only people could have seen for themselves that it was not a Sylvia Loch idea, that it had all been said before - not just in antiquity, but by a highly qualified, modern Great Master, steeped in the classical ways - they might have paused before attacking. Kurt must have thought the Brits a very strange lot to have questioned something so fundamental, but he was much too polite to say.


Arthur Kottas Chief Rider and Colonel Alois Podhajsky

Time spent at Vienna led to three further lasting friendships. First with Chief Rider Arthur Kottas who became my instructor through the good offices of TTT in England. Second, with Johann Riegler and his wife, to whom I sent two of my working pupils.

Colonel Alois Podhajsky by kind permission of Eva PodhajskyThird, I became close to Colonel Alois Podhajsky's widow, Eva Podhajsky, an elegant and erudite woman, who too had been captivated by a man old enough to be her father. Eva's apartment at the Hofburg was filled by memorabilia and as expected, her collection of horse books was legendary. Not only did she extend generous hospitality in Vienna, but when she came to England, she stayed with my husband and me at our house in Suffolk, watching and encouraging for hours as I schooled and taught with my Lusitanos. It was more than an honour when she later endorsed my work by writing the Foreword to The Classical Rider. She took enormous trouble over this, insisting on reading every word and it is very sad that she is no longer with us.

Photo: Colonel Alois Podhajsky

by kind permission of Eva Podhajsky



Amongst the great Portuguese riders and breeders it's been my privilege to know, Fernando d'Andrade and Nuno Oliveira are sadly no longer with us. Happily Luis Valenca, David Ribeiro Telles - who was particularly close to my late husband - Philipe Gracioso, Joao Trigueiros, Teresa Schonborn of the Cadaval Stud, Dr Guilherme Borba, chef d'equipe of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and Manuel Sabino Duarte, a wonderful horseman and ex-bullfighter, are still good friends. We have shared each others' homes and we have ridden together..... with friends like those, you absorb so much - the stories, the laughs, the shared tears. Classical riding is as much about life as anything else.


Nicole Uphoff

On Tour in Newcastle with Nicole and myself flanked by my daughter Allegra (age 14) and my assistant groom Catherine.

I met the German Olympic star, Nicole Uphoff in Portugal on several occasions. The first time was at Golega when she came looking for me to autograph my book - I found this very flattering! Later, Nicole came to England and gave a demonstration and clinic for our Classical Riding Club, and a couple of years ago, she kindly wrote the Foreword to my latest book, Dressage in Lightness.

Dr Reiner Klimke

The late Dr Reiner Klimke was another German friend. We shared a platform together on two different occasions at Equitana, USA and just before his totally unexpected death he asked me to send the Classical Riding Club dressage rules. He was fascinated by the approach we were taking, particularly since he was concerned as to how world competitive dressage was evolving. It was such a tragedy for us all in the Classical Dressage world to lose him.

Dr Reiner Klimke at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Photo: Kit Houghton

Michel and Catherine Henriquet of France

Michel Henriquet and his wife Catherine of France became friends through the Portuguese connection with Nuno Oliveira. I was a guest at their beautiful home at Versailles as I researched the French section of my book Dressage, The Art of Classical Riding. Michel regularly taught officers of the Cadre Noir of Saumur at that time including Philipe Karl and was good enough to introduce me to the Commandant Durand and other dignatories. As an erudite writer, he was more than generous with his time and allowed me to quote extensively from his own books on the subject.

Photo courtesy of M. Henriquet


                                    Paul Belasik and Sylvia Loch in earnest discussion

Paul Belasik and Charles De Kunffy

From America, I count Paul Belasik and Charles De Kunffy as special friends. Not only are they highly acclaimed writers, Charles de Kunffy's The Ethics and Passions of Dressage is a masterpiece and both trainers feature in the Classical Riding Club Trainers Directory. We correspond as much as possible, when times permit with Paul having stayed at our home in the UK. Like me, he is constantly searching for the light. His book Riding Towards the Light has become a classic and we both know, that in exploring horsemanship to its depths, one always wants to learn more. The fact is one never stops.

Colonel Christian Carde

In 2008 Colonel Christian Carde former Chief Instructor to the Cadre Noir, invited me to join him as a co-Instructor for a 3 day clinic at Saumur in France.  I had a wonderful time and met all the Members of his Club, Allege-Ideal which runs on similar lines to The Classical Riding Club.  Christian teaches Classical Dressage all over the world and is a former FEI Dressage Judge as well as being a highly qualified and erudite teacher.   

I guess that is what Classical Dressage can do for you too. You will find something that fascinates you, challenges you, opens you up, turns you around, and never lets you go. Once you are on that merry-go-round with the dancing horses beckoning to you - you will want to stay on it - in balance - as they come alive for you. It really is a magic roundabout and brings so much worth to your life that you will realise that is far more than just riding correctly. It balances you as a person and represents in its way, the whole circle of life. So seize the moment and as God watches over you - for He loves horses too - enjoy the quest!

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