Do you know this book?
“What Horses Reveal”.
I guess I should say, “Do you know about Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling?”
In a nutshell… He started working with horses as an adult. His experience was through dance and theater.
And what happened was that his keen perception of body, balance and body language has enabled him to communicate with horses silently – through body moves.
Anyway, he has written several books. His most popular is DANCING WITH HORSES.
If you have never heard of him, here are two videos that will give you a hint.
1) He meets this unruly stallion for the first time…
2) They become best buds.
NOT SURE ABOUT IT ALL… BUT…
I don’t generally speak about trainers in this blog because I don’t like uproars. Kinda like talking about sex or politics at dinner… I just don’t like going there when I’m not actually in the room to defend what I really meant.
So, looking at these videos, although I don’t agree with the shoeing or the patting (my horses hate to be patted), I cannot argue that he has a way’with the equines.
To be clear, what I’m writing today is not about the trainer. It is about some of the content in his newest book, WHAT HORSES REVEAL.
(I love that title. So evocative!)
WHAT HORSES REVEAL
So, I’ve read this book (and his other books) and I swear, the guy makes me feel illiterate. He writes in such a heady manner with so many esoteric and heavy statements, I have to stop and re-read many of his sentences.
What did he just say? What did I just read? I have no flipping idea what he meant by that… I feel like a half-wit…
And so I read it again and again.
He’s probably better in person… and since the books are translated into English, I’m guessing a bit is lost in the translations, as they say.
What got me was the understanding of the personality types of horses.
YEAH YEAH… HORSENALITIES…. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. – BUT NO!
So we’ve all heard about horsenalities. The Parellis are all about that.
It is the same with humans. Whenever any of us meets another human, we take cues off of their personality and respond accordingly.
I get it…
But Klaus’ ‘horsenalities’ are slightly different. They take on the physical, emotional and mental – and training capabilities and difficulties.
SO I TOOK THE BOOK INTO ROJO’S PASTURE – AND READ.
So I took the book into Rojo’s pasture, set up my little folding chair, and read it while he hung out with me.
(For me, one of my best ways to get to know a horse is to sit with them, observe, eat with them, take them on walks and hang…)
Here is a snapshot of the chapter header which tells you about the 26 basic personalities that Klaus has observed since he has been training horses.
OOOH OOOOOOOOH, I WANT MINE TO BE THE KING!!
So with trepidation, I started reading…
Now, I have 12 horses here, so I should have been able to connect some of these ‘types’ with what I have here.
And I could.
It was easy.
As I read each type of personality, added in the physical traits and the learning/training/riding abilities, I was taken aback.
OMG! This stuff works!
I wonder if humans can be classified this simply.
For example, Remi is the perfect Sceptic. Beautiful Girl is The Half Born. Bodhi is The Fat One. Wrigley is The Child. Finn is a Dandy. Sam is the Gypsy….
As I read, I started to sweat a bit because I was nervous about which category would define Rojo.
I told myself that this was ‘just a book’ and why was I getting so excited about labeling my horse when it was just a concept written by one man.
But still, I was full of anticipation.
Rojo is my next big challenge and I want he and I to be a dynamic duo – like Aladdin and I were (in my mind, anyway).
And then his description appeared – plain as day. Down to the color of his coat and bump on his forehead!
Rojo is The Sergeant.
I wanted Rojo to be one of the more regal and desirable personalities. Of course. We all want our horses to be the ambassadors of the breed.
Instead, I got the horse who will give everything to his leader. But, if you can’t lead him, forgeddaboudit.
Yup. That’s my boy.
It says, “The sergeant is very frequently of chestnut coloring (check). Many masters of the classical horsemanship were of the opinion that chestnuts are basically not meant for riding. In fact, chestnutsm as a rul, have a very headstrong temperament. They often have minds of their own…(check).
The Sergeant is a razor sharp, fiery, independent, fast, hardy, generally healthy, fairness-loving, exceptional horse, still wild in his nature and mostly fixated on one particular person (check, check and check).
… It goes on to describe the physical characteristics…
Note the profile from the nostrils to where the ears are set on: …also the characteristic eyes and the triangular shape of the head when viewed from the side.
The relatively small eyes indicate that he is not possessed of the highest level of wisdom – which is why he is not a General or a Minister – but his whole nature is marked by a ajoyful clever competence and practical common sense.
That bony protrusion above the eyes, so pronounced in this horse, indicates strength and assertiveness (check). …The Sergeant can become very unpleasant when he is with people he feels are indecisive and cannot communicate the sense of their actions without confusion (check!).
The straight line of his lower jaw also indicates a creature that senses great abilities in himself and does possess them, but is thoroughly content with a secondary or subordinate position. The nostrils are sensitive and relatively fine. The ears indicate a middling work ethic which in an otherwise hot chestnut is quite good enough (check).
As with so many chestnuts, the head is relatively short, an indication that you can do anything you like with the horse, and this type of horse will go through thick and thin with his owner (I hope so).