I’m using Klaus Hempflings ideals in his book What Horses Reveal. However, I don’t purpote to be an expert in this and it is a writing experiment for me. If KFH wants to chime in, he’s welcome anytime 😛
Julian at White Horse Pilgrim shares his adventures with his DraftXWarmblood, Brena, at his blog. I’ve taken the liberty of lifting photos from his blog (I believe with his permission) to examine her in detail, using the ideas presented in the book What Horses Reveal by Klaus Hempfling.
When Julian first posted about the possibility of buying Brena, I replied with a decided yes. The photos he posted showed a physically robust horse, capable of carrying a person the many distances that Julian’s soul craves. I felt she had mass and security, with a complacent, not easily ruffled nature with a build that promised more athleticism and “go” then perhaps Doru (now retired).
In the original, buying photos she was slimmer through the hindquarters but I think that was due to the move and perhaps poor conditioning immediately prior (Julian can correct me but I think she was out of work for a month before her arrival?).
Now that promised strength is even more evident in her body in these photos. Yet, her stifle to hock seems more slender then you would expect for a horse of this size. The back legs may be prone to injury if she was off from work for a long time, and then brought back too suddenly.
I also wonder if her back isn’t just a tad on the long side? I don’t think it would cause issue as long the saddle is well fitted and if coming back to work, the work was gradually increased in length and intensity. Sore backs generally incur from poor saddle fit and riders who push the horse far too quickly in their training something I don’t think Brena needs to fear from Julian.
In the next two photos you can also see the well developed chest which promises stamina and strength. Narrow chested horse are usually an uncomfortable ride as well as more frail and injury prone.
In almost all of Brena’s photos her ears are turned outward and sideways. In some photos they seem shorter then others. The short ears seem to be more in winter photos so I think the bulk of her hair may hide some of the slender shape of her ears. Overall, I think these rather floppy ears show a easy-to-get along with nature that isn’t easily rattled or emotionally sensitive to her environment (as say compared to The Victor). This is a good thing for a trail horse!
While the ears are front forward in this next photo, they again are widely spaced. The ear tips are not close together or curving towards each other. This generally indicates a placid, easy-going nature that is the opposite of high strung or nervous.
As she comes towards us, we are again impressed with an image of strength, stability, and self-confidence. This is a grounded horse who knows who she is. She is a horse you would trust to take you many miles and through the worst. You would trust your child on her.
The side profile shot below is what really gave me a clue into Brena and why I typed her predominately as The Modest One (p. 110). Hempflling calls this a geometric face – imagine drawing a large circle for the jaw and a smaller one for the muzzle – just like you did in drawing class.
The Modest One is of robust good health, good natured, simple and uncomplicated. He has many more qualities then would initially appear to be the case, is of average to high intelligence, and is willing to learn and attentive. Horses of this type are quiet, grounded, good mothers and lead mares. Their physical abilities are quite limted (KFH means as this relates to the High School of Dressage) but, within their limits, they are agile, nimble, powerful and of a good carrying constitution.
The nose is almost straight (KFH states that this group always has straight noses but I’ll get to that in our next post), and overall interplay of eye, jaw, nose, mouth are well put together. The eye is a bit on the smaller side and does not sit on the front of the face as found in some of KFH’s other types.
The muzzle area is large, KFH uses the word coarse and fleshy, but he is using it (if I may be so bold to write) as opposite the words slender or delicate.
This equine type is simple but, is inwardly much richer then it appears on the surface…A horse of this type is very frequently underestimated in riding circles… A modest primal being is very aware of himself, including his abilities and strengths; he is absolutely ready to assert his self interests and when necessary to attend to them with power and energy.
Any horse can rebel, but it’s interesting that Julian found Brena to be a willing companion, until one day she bucked him off. I believe he wrote that he felt that it was due to unrecognized pain later treated. Yet, read what Hempfling says about this type of horse …
…this horse will always pose problems because his basic disposition does not permit him to immediately let it be known when something is wrong. The inexperienced person is then perplexed when suddenly ‘nothing works anymore’ even though up until that point everything seemed to be going so well.
According to Hempfling, this is a horse type prone to inward depression. No insult to Brena’s former owners, they were running a busy riding business, but I had the feeling from reading Julians’ posts that Brena arrived somewhat withdrawn from human involvement. You often see the same thing in lesson horses who do it to protect themselves emotionally from people/riders who constantly change.
If this horse becomes discontented in human hands he will first withdraw into himself but the moment will come when an outbreak of forceful aggression can ensue. At that point, these horses become unexpectedly dangerous.
It seems evident to me in reading Julians’ journal that Brena’s personality has blossomed and she has emerged from behind her barriers, becoming more interactive and playful, and seeking his presence in her life.
Now in the next two photos, you see a frontal view of Brena. Suddenly a different picture emerges of this horse. The face becomes very long and slender, the forehead not as broad as you might expect. The nostrils are slender and long. What does this sudden appearance change mean? Is it the same horse…?
Of course it is! But whenever I suddenly see a “different horse”, I immediately jump to the conclusion that this is a combination of two of KFH’s types. That I will address in the next blog post…
Hempflings’ Video Montage of types: the Modest One at 3:19
Important Disclaimer!! Use of quoted material from Klaus Hempflings’ book What Horses Reveal is based upon fair copyright use. The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations…
I am not a KFH student and my comments etc… upon the work is to be taken as my sole responsibility. For further clarification you need to seek out Hempfling himself through his website, books, videos or clinics.