My goal is healthy horses that enjoy spending time with me. And I also want the horses to bring their personalities into our work.

My name is Raya Hauri and I am originally from Switzerland.  Besides my work as architecture historian I am passionate about horses and their training. I see myself as an apprentice, because no matter how much experience you have – fortunately, and to my endless fascination – when it comes to horses, you never stop learning.

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Since my childhood I ride gaited horses (Icelandic horses). In 2011, when I started working with my young horse Kàri and was looking for a logical and profound training system, I discovered the Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup. I uncovered a fascinating world of relaxed horses with healthy, muscular backs - and I knew that this is what I want for my horses!

Since then, I train my horses and teach my students following this path. For my personal further education I have the chance to learn from Celina Harich, Pascale Kern and Hanna Engström and I participate regularly as spectator at Bent Branderup clinics. Since 2015, I am supporting Pascale Kern with the organization of the Bent Branderup clinics in Switzerland.

Snæfinnur fr HofSstaðaseli (Icelandic horse)

My first horse I took over from a friend whose Icelandic horses I rode in my free time over many years. Snaefi is four-gaited with good ability for gaits. Nevertheless, the way I was riding him was impeding the healthy development of his back muscles, up to the point that this honest and decent horse was increasingly resistant to walking in tölt. After several useless attempts and following many well-intentioned tips from professional trainers, I decided to ride him three-gaited and begin working on the basics again. Snaefi was kind enough to make peace with me, and from time to time, he now gives me some relaxed steps of tölt once again.

Kàri vom Nordsternhof (Icelandic Horse)

In 2011, I decided to start with an untrained young horse and take charge of his education. Thus came into my life the funny foal Kàri. A big challenge is his remarkable inherent crookedness, through which I am learning a lot. His cheery and down to earth personality teaches me patience, and his, sometimes excessive, energy and good humor make working with him a real joy.


Philosophy

Only relaxed horses can learn.

Well-kept horses (living in groups with the constant possibility to move, adequate food, hoof and dental care etc.) are more relaxed, healthier, and more motivated. It depends on us whether the horse feels at ease and wants to learn with us. A tense body cannot develop muscles. The horse has to be trained in accordance with its physical and mental capabilities.

The two minds want to do what the two bodies can do.
— Bent Branderup
 

Horses are not pack animals.

Riding horses is not natural. If we do it nevertheless, we are responsible for training our horses so that they are capable of carrying us without inflicting long-term damage. Collection is the ability to bring weight to the hindquarters.

He who wants to ride his horse healthily and nobly will have no other choice than to work on the correct bending of the haunches.
— François Robichon de la Guérinière (1688-1751)
 

Dressage for the horse.

Well thought out groundwork supports the mental and physical wellbeing of the riding horse. The horse always does it right, and therefore if it does not react as desired the riders’s instructions were not precise enough. The aids will be reduced over time.

Dressage is for the horse, the horse is not for the dressage.
— Bent Branderup