About 10 years ago – maybe more, I decided to take my horsemanship down a different path. My interests aren’t the same of many and that is okay. But it does make it hard to find a direction and steps to achieve my goal as becoming a working student under someone like Klaus Hempfling is not going to happen.
One of the exercises I have been experimenting with is inspired by some of Klaus Hempfling. Because of some posts I received on my YouTube account, I feel it necessary whenever I post something about Hempfling to clarify that I am not trained or endorsed by him – my only inspiration is through his books and videos. I don’t sell/market myself as a Hempfling trainer or take money so get off my back about it…
Now, okay, that I’ve got that off my chest…
From reading Dancing again and trying to deconstruct elements of what Hempfling does, I realized that I needed to be moving slower and become more focused.
The first time I tried this was with Z in the roundpen. I used my long cotton rope attached to the halter and started by facing her keeping a distance of about 3-5 feet away. The first part of the encounter was for her to initiate movement which I would follow with my hand. We spent the first 10 minutes with me following her – not behind her, but in front, mirroring her direction.
If she moved to the left, then I moved to the right. If she approached me, I backed away to keep an equal distance. If she stopped and didn’t move, I stood still.
What became interesting was Z’s responses. She could tell something was happening – that our interaction was unique. As the minutes passed she became more and more interested in what I was doing and our interaction became even smoother and quicker.
About 10 minutes into it when she was clearly very interested, I started initiating movement and asked her to follow me. When I moved the hand holding the rope to the right, I was looking for her head to bend to the left. When I took a step backward, I wanted her to approach me.
This is all hard to write about because it was truly a “feeling” – when I described to hubby, who was watching, how exciting it was, he really couldn’t see what was going on. While in the trenches it was the most intense, training experience I’ve had with a horse for years.
It took a lot of concentration and actually was quite exhausting for such short work.