In Klaus Hempflings’ book, What Horses Reveal, he details his 26 character types that he gives horses. He evaulates mostly using the placement of the eyes, the shape and texture of the nostrils, the line of the front profile, the angle of the neck into the shoulders, the back, the hindquarters and the overall conformation of the horse.
From that visual assessment, he designs a training program and how he would approach the horse the first time: boldly and with close in contact, or distance contact giving time to the horse etc…
The first portion of this book is a bit too much cautionary tale, regurgitation of his work with horses given in Dancing with Horses. My preference would have been having this section (71 pages) with each horse photo clearly labeled as to the CHARACTER TYPE he discusses later (pp 72-127).
For example, what character types are Campeon 13, the Breton stallion, the Arab Case #3, Janosch, and Junque? 30 pages are written in the first section about these horses but no details as to character type given at that time.
This is a big problem with Hemplfing’s books: I think he has fantastic ideas but has an extremely poor editor and layout designer. With creative thinkers you often find they are hard to express their ideas into explanatory text. My artist brother was impossible to deal with in writing a business plan.
The narrative sometimes becomes so esoteric that you have to really keep an open mind… considering that most horse people are not open minded that is a problem for book sales. I noticed that in the U.S. this book is no longer available for instance.
Hempflings’ prose often wanders about; I find myself scratching my head wondering what the point is but know that there IS a point – I just can’t find it! The photo sequences are usually too small and in Dancing, it took me several re-reads to figure out the correct sequence since they are not done top, left to right, second row, left to right etc…
It has made me hesitate in buying his third book, The Horse Seeks Me, because of the poor translation of ideas to method. This has been commented upon in articles of those who have met Hempfling and who have attended his clinics. Having written all that, I still like Hempfling (a lot) because of his non-aggressive approach to working with horses.
Of course we wish all our horses were Kings, Ministers, Unicorns or a Pegasus, but I’ve figured for some time I was dealing with lesser mortals.ROFL! Having an average horse who has average intelligence will be a big pill for people to swallow and is another reason people and their egos will have a hard time with Hempfling! For instance, on the video comments everyone seems to have the King, the Minister, a Unicorn or a Pegasus! LOL!
The center section which gives the types, only donates 1-2 pages in analyizing 1-2 photos. It would have helped if notations had been Photoshopped onto photos with arrows and points of interest, highlighting the anatomical features Hempfling was discussing in the text. Each type should have had at least four if not six photos of differing horses to further clarify.
It was not until I read his website did I see that horses could be a combination. Since this was the actual thrust of the book, I would have preferred that half of the book’s content dealt with typing the character.
I’ve come to the conclusion that following Hempfling really means facing yourself honestly and also listening to your intuition. You can never be afraid to face the bald truth because the horse will suss those lies and self delusion right out. His books are thought provoking but slow reads which evolve into deeper meanings the longer you work with your horse.
When it comes to Z, I’ve wondered where she would fall. I think she will be a combination horse like BBoy was, but looking through and reading again and again, I think she has a healthy dose of the Skeptic (p 80) in her. I’m not picking that even though Hempfling chose the most butt-ugly Appaloosa to be the main poster horse for the Skeptic and Z is an Appaloosa.
I know because of Z’s temperment she was not going to be one of his easy, lovey-dovey types. The Skeptic: a horse who can quickly become ill natured if handled improperly, a strong character, wilful, not a beginners or childs horse, one that can become dangerous, must be shown the path by watching other horses, is in disbelief that it can be done, and one that will resort quickly to violence and without much warning.
Z is much smarter then your average Skeptic and also has more physical ability so I know she is not 100 percent Skeptic. Even so, I might be wrong about that evaluation because I find the character stuff to be very confusing. I just wish Hempfling would post a lot more evaluations and further explain it. He did post a combination of the Child and the King; and a combination of the Sergeant and the Minister you can read online.
I’m curious enough about this that I am seriously thinking of buying a Horse Profile phone conversation as my August birthday gift to myself. This is because I have my own thoughts on how I want to bring Z’s training along, and I would like an outside opinion that is not emotionally attached to it (such as a friend would be) as to how to continue to proceed with her.