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
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,
Antoine de Pluvinel, circa 1620
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