There’s a new video of Hempfling working an 11 year old stallion:
The cutest thing on this video is at 2:04 with the sheep. SOOOO CUTE! following with their tails waving like the horse. The sheep are SCENE STEALERS!
Some of my thoughts….
Since I’m stuck in the boondocks of the U.S., the likelihood that I will meet Klaus is very low. Also, even if I met him, my track record on being disillusioned by trainers seems to be high so I’m not sure if I would WANT to meet him, if that makes sense, and would rather believe in my own interpetations of what he is doing.
Anything I write about what I see is just that my interpetation as I don’t have the money or proximity to state conclusively that this is what Klaus thinks or how he does things.
I know that geldings and mares are not as expressive as stallions, and for video or slideshows it wouldn’t show off as well, however, I would really like to see Klaus work with some “average” horses – trained, not a problem, but who we want to bring out more from. It would be very helpful to me to see this even if it wasn’t as showy.
One thing of note in this video is how loose and slack (Dorrance calls this “float” in the rope) that Klaus keeps the line between him and the stallion. Even when the stallion plays and expresses himself, Klaus doesn’t tighten and pull him back down but allows it, though there is a safe distance kept between them.
IMO this is where Klaus – who acknowledges herd dominance and how it plays into the character of the horse and our relationship with the horse – differs greatly from the natural horsemanship trainers in this country. He doesn’t seem interested in controlling the horse and assuming leadership through a dominance principle; rather he allows the horse to keep what independence he can, while being a presence in the horses’ life, first as a parallel leader that through the horses’ respect, gains ascendancy over the horses’ desires.
This is a rather subtle difference so I do not know if I explained it well enough. If not, ask me on this entry and I will discuss further.
From reading his books or seeing the videos, a horse person may get a warm fuzzy, romantic feeling and think his work stems from those spiritual emotions – when in reality, from watching his dvds, listening to his talks, and reading about him, he seems far more practical and realistic about the horses’ role in our life. While admiring the horse, he doesn’t sugar coat it.
I wonder if some visitors to his workshops might not be a bit surprised, especially when I look back on the clinics that I’ve attended and how participants were too often self-delusioned about what their problems where and how they needed to fix themselves before they worked on their horse (who wasn’t “broke” at all to begin with).
It also makes me think back to a message board on horses that I once managed, where another person was very negative about the dvd’s and his books. They didn’t “get it.” This person, while educated and doing great things with her horse, also did not get or like Bill Dorrance’s True Horsemanship through Feel – with the first, she felt the dvd’s were too artsy and Klaus’ book too negative to the dressage world; and with Dorrance she didn’t like his slow, autobiographical “talky” writing style.
Which goes to show that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. It’s important for us each to find a mentor that speaks to us personally – for me Klaus is that mentor even if it is through media materials such as books, dvd’s and videos.