Avilion School of Classical Dressage

Experience the Art




In the Tradition of the Masters









From Xenophon in the age of classical  antiquity…

    …to Pluvinel, Écuyer to King Louis XIII of France and  precursor of  the School of Versailles…

   …La Guérinière, the “father of modern dressage,”  whose teachings

remain today in the Spanish Riding School of Vienna…

   …Nestier, Grand Écuyer to King Louis XV of France in the 18th Century Age of Enlightenment...

   Marialva, the 18th century Portuguese master whose traditions live on in today’s Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Spain…

   ...and finally, “Le Mestre,” Portugal's  Nuno Oliveira, acknowledged as the greatest classical master of the 20th century.…


"Gentleness....Is it worthwhile?

Yes, it is worthwhile

 to 'put on bedroom slippers'

and to try to ride all horses,

 without exception, using the reins

 and the legs with the utmost gentleness

 and the least effort."

                                                              Nuno Oliveira, 1976






Lightness and

Grace in











Video at right: Training passage-piaffe transitions with one hand.

Stephanie Millham riding, Nuno Oliveira instructing.





"Let us beware of upsetting

 the young horse.

 Their gracefulness is like the scent

 of a flower which, once lost,

 never returns."

                                                         Antoine de Pluvinel, circa 1620




To Create

Our Brightest








Preserving and passing on the lofty ideals of true classical horsemanship requires more than lip service. It takes knowledge of the best training methods of the old masters coupled with vast experience, patience, self-discipline and genuine love.


To be enjoyable and beneficial for horse and rider, classical riding and also today's modern sport of competitive dressage both demand strict adherence to nature's laws of biomechanics. At Avilion we take very seriously our commitment to the welfare of each horse and rider entrusted to our tuition. This focus on the unique needs of each partnership creates happy, relaxed, sound athletes at all levels.


Avilion's director, Stephanie Millham,  has been teaching classical equitation since retiring from competition at the Grand Prix level in 1983. Like her mentors, she has a particular fondness for the baroque breeds as shown by her PRE mare (top right and bottom left photos).



About the Images

Top Left: Artwork of Stephanie Millham on a Pure Spanish stallion, Passage in 18th century costume, by Gayle Lerche.

 Bottom right: Stephanie and her Grand Prix horse Merlyn's Rain dance through piaffe-passage transitions in an Impressionistic vignette.

 Photos copyright Baroque Equestrian Arts