Feed on

Horse and HumanFor the past two to three weeks I have been corresponding with someone who has been involved in ongoing discussions on Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s official Facebook page. Although the precise nature of these discussions varies, the debate can essentially be reduced to the question of what is required of an individual to become the type of human a horse seeks to be with. It is the very question that led Vicki and myself to leave Australia in order to spend a year studying with Hempfling, one which has closely defined my own self-development since that option failed to materialise, and one which continues to inspire my posts on this blog, whose very by-line is becoming the kind of human a horse seeks to be with. So how do you start to become this type of human and what does the process entail?


One of Hempfling’s answers

Since last year Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling has been maintaining a Facebook page which had attracted 378,000 likes (not quite members or a community, as Hempfling consistently states in his advertising materials but impressive nevertheless) by the time of writing. Whether some or many of those likes are bogus or not (see for example the BBC reports on fraudulent likes here, here and here) is entirely irrelevant. What is clear is that through his Facebook page Hempfling is playing a magnificent role in helping people take the step towards a way of being with horses which is as potentially beneficial to the human as it is to the horse.

Hempfling’s new school

So how does Hempfling answer the question as to how to become the type of human a horse seeks to be with on his Facebook page or through his other communications, such as his books, articles and videos? One of Hempfling’s most consistent answers to this question was provided again in his response to one of the comment posters on his Facebook page. In this particular case he likened the person who has not yet become the type of human a horse seeks to be with to an individual at the controls of a plane who has not yet learned to fly it. In the same way that a person needs to learn how to be a pilot before he flies a plane, so too should a human ‘Learn what you must learn before you are personally together with a horse, because you will actually be confronted with pretty much all the conceivable eventualities over time’. And how and where should you learn this? The answer which Hempfling provides is this:

Come to my school, and indeed for the longest possible time period if you really want to learn it – I don’t know any better one and if you like my results, then confide in me. Now I’m advertising? Maybe so – but everything else would be hypocrisy! Too expensive? Think about what you in reality save and think about this: I give you in days or months, what I have spent a lifetime collecting, because all ‘instruction books’ about the authentic being with horses are literally and in the true sense of the words burnt on the pyres of history.


The problems with this answer

There are a number of problems with this answer and the first has to do with the huge discrepancy between the dream which Hempfling presents, on the one hand, and what he actually offers and has managed to provide to date, on the other. The dream which Hempfling presents is epitomised in the video which he uses more than any other to market himself: that of himself and the Lipizzaner stallion, Ferdinand dancing at liberty, which by the time of writing had garnered an impressive 1,821,466 views. What Hempfling offers though are courses (largely without horses) which will not even come close to providing you with the qualities and tools that you will require if you are to achieve that dream (for more details see my post entitled Hempfling: Failure and Success http://horsesandhumans.com/blog/2013/01/24/hempfling-failure-and-success/). More importantly, by his own admission Hempfling has failed to pass on the ability to achieve that dream to any other human in more than 20-odd years of teaching including a recent ‘one-year’ course (which lasted for 10 months and had a dropout rate of 20%).

Selling the dream

There is another problem with this answer and it is this: it suggests that a person cannot or should not learn to be the kind of human a horse seeks to be with in the presence of a horse. Presumably, one must first spend a good deal of time learning and developing one’s skills in a simulator like a trainee pilot, before one dares to go to one’s horse. But as one of the participants in the debate on Hemplfing’s Facebook page asks, ‘How do we know when we are ready?’ The answer to this question is easy: your horse will show you. Put another way, although you can work on your self-development in the absence of a horse, ultimately you can only learn to become the kind of human a horse seeks to be with in its presence. After all, it is your horse who will teach you, if you are open to what it tries to show you.

The horse as teacher


Revisiting the dream

At this point we may want to revisit the dream which Hempfling sells in his Ferdinand video commercial (the video is actually used as paid advertising on YouTube and has been for quite some time). The interaction that we see in the video is truly charming but we would do well to bear in mind that it is the product of extensive training and not just the relationship between horse and human. Hempfling had extensive sessions of training with Ferdinand on and off over a number of years before that video was filmed, and prior to that the horse had received conventional classical training with a bit in its mouth. It is also worth noting that Ferdinand is not Hempfling’s horse.


The Hempfling Facebook page commentator with whom I have been corresponding is not so much inspired by Hempfling’s dance with Ferdinand as by his relationship with his own horse, Janosch, the little chestnut gelding who features so prominently in Dancing with Horses (the book and the video). This too is my inspiration. I would much rather have a relationship with a horse of my own which is as close as that between Hempfling and Janosch than the trained capability of dancing with a Ferdinand who belongs to someone else. It is clear that Janosch seeks the company and leadership of his human as part of a lasting relationship. So does Hempfling have any other answers to help us attain a similar relationship with our own horses?

Hempfling and Janosch: a relationship of trust and understanding


Another of Hempfling’s answers

There is another of Hempfling’s answers to the question as to how to become the kind of human a horse seeks to be with which is absolutely spot on, and which reflects his true strength and largely explains his success in developing a relationship with those horses he allows us to see him with. This answer lies in developing spiritual and body awareness, so as to learn to be authentically yourself in the moment and to use your body effectively in the process. The underlying premise is that by being in the moment with your horse you will both be interacting with each other as authentic, sentient beings in the absence of all of the emotional and cognitive baggage that humans are wont to drag around with them, and that by using your body effectively, you will be able to communicate with your horse in a manner that engenders trust and understanding (that is, effective communication).

The spiritual aspect is not to be confused with religion, beliefs or mythology, although, like many other factors, these phenomena may have a bearing on one’s spiritual development. Rather in this context ‘spiritual development’ refers to the evolution of consciousness within the individual, where being fully conscious refers to the state of full awareness of one’s being in the here and now, to the exclusion of the clutter of thought and emotion to which we humans almost constantly yield. To the extent that such consciousness also involves an awareness of one’s physical being, it also covers body awareness. While body awareness extends beyond the spiritual, the development of both forms of awareness – spiritual and physical can go hand in hand through active meditation, such as the type practised by Hempfling through his body awareness exercises, archery and even – or perhaps especially – interaction with a horse.


In concrete terms

Of course, all of this is terribly abstract and, as such, frustratingly inaccessible, or so it seems. So let us reach for a concrete example as exhibited by someone who has shown himself to be extremely capable of moving into fully focused, intent-driven, coordinated awareness at the drop of a hat: Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. Soon after the idea of this post first came to me while corresponding with the Hempfling’s Facebook page commentator mentioned above, the man himself posted a video on YouTube, which features the very concrete awareness of which I speak.

Fully focused, intent-driven, coordinated awareness at the drop of a hat

If you closely examine Hempfling in this brief video, you will notice the gracefully controlled energy of the human which is so typical of intent when it is packaged in highly focused, coordinated motion. Hempfling is entirely there in the very moment of being as it unfolds through his movement. This is consciousness: the full awareness of being. There is room for nothing else. And it is precisely and only in this state that the human is authentically who he is. The ability to be in this way is the flame that we are seeking to light, for it is precisely that which enables Hempfling to dance with Ferdinand in the open and which ultimately, if we extend it beyond our interaction with horses into our everyday life, can help us to live a happier and more fulfilling life. As Eckhart Tolle puts it:

When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of ‘feeling-realisation’ is enlightenment.

(The Power of Now, p. 13)


So where do I start?

Quite frankly, I have only a vague idea of where you should start. In fact, you are the only one who knows exactly where you do. You start precisely where you are, and the nature of your situation is something which you know better than anyone else. All it takes really is a desire to start: a commitment. This is the first step and perhaps both the easiest and the toughest to take. It is easy because you have the desire but it is tough, because it requires a bit of self-discipline. From there on in it is simply a matter of looking around you for practical ways of living that commitment.

The art of being: practised by horses

I hear you groan. That is where the rub is, isn’t it? What exactly are those practical ways. Should you attend a lengthy Hempfling course or courses (the short courses will only allow you to sniff at the possibilities), assuming you can afford his over-inflated prices or are willing to sell your car or indebt yourself to your family (or whatever) to make the kind of sacrifice that a committed disciple will readily undertake for his acknowledged master? And if you do, will you really be the first to come away with the expertise and composure that will enable you to dance with your horse the way Hempfling does with Ferdinand and no one else ever has? Or is there another way?


Another way

Vicki attended three courses with Hempfling in Denmark, had a great time doing so and learned a fair amount that has helped her on her journey. I, on the other hand, may be one of the most motivated students of Hempfling who has never attended any of his courses. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to learn from numerous people who have spent time studying or working with Hempfling, including former students, assistants and his most senior body awareness coach at the time.

This has helped me acquire enough knowledge and experience to help me look for and find another way. As I have gone about this, I have recorded some of my experiences in this blog. While participating in the debate on Hempfling’s Facebook page my correspondent had their attention drawn by someone else to this blog and started to read it. I am aware that trawling this blog for clues as to how I found another way requires a good deal of reading. My correspondent is undaunted. It is my hope that others will also find clues to another way in these pages. I would not presume to dictate another way for you to travel. Only you can do that. What I can do, is simply share some of my experiences with you as I have done in this blog but perhaps I can make it easier by condensing them into fewer pages and sharing them with you in a more readily digestible form. This I hope to do over the next few months. Let us see how we go.


Horse and human just having fun together



35 Responses to “Horses, Humans, Hempfling and How to Get Started”

  1. Marielle says:

    What a great video, “The art of being”! Very recognizable as well when you travel with ponies or horses; you start to take over their rhythm.

    I visited your blog because I was interested to read something about the One Year Schooling from Hempfling (not to attend it myself by the way). You went another direction as I’ve read. I saw some subjects that I’m interested in so I’d like to visit your blog more often now and then ( I’m not spending much time behind the computer in my free time).

    There is one thing I am a bit wondering about: why are you still writing such lenghty articles about the mistakes of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling? I’ve read his books and was lucky to get a free ticket to one of his demonstrations. I still find some ideas in his books that inspire me, but at the same time have the idea that he becomes a bit more guru- like than I like. But still, I think there’s a lot one could learn from him.

    Bent Branderup, the Danish horse trainer, said somewhere that you have to look what you can use for you and your horse at that moment en leave behind what’s not usefull. So if you çan’t use Hempflings ideas or lessons anymore (at this moment, because you’re upset about the way he sometimes treats people): leave it where it is and find something else.

    I would like to read more about what you’ve found elsewhere.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Marielle

      Yes, The Art of Being is a great video, isn’t it?

      There is a lesson in there for us humans and the person who articulates it most effectively for me is Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. It is one of the things that drew me to his approach towards horses and humans. Essentially, the human needs to become someone whom the horse seeks to be with. A prerequisite for this is the body and spiritual awareness which Hempfling espouses and exemplifies, even today. As I have stated in this post, I can use Hempfling’s ideas and lessons in relation to this, and actually do.

      So why would I want to leave that behind?

      I am not upset about the way Hempfling treats other people. Whether he does so or not, is simply the way it is. I simply refer to the man as I see him and leave the judgment as to whether it is good or bad up to others.

      And why am I still concerned with Hempfling? For many reasons, the main ones being that he has had a major impact on my development (because and in spite of his actions), he continues to inspire me in many respects, and he still clearly helps people take the first step or steps towards becoming the kind of person a horse seeks to be with.

      Yes, there have been some negative aspects from my perspective. Yet, if I were to insist that all my teachers be perfect, there would be no one to learn from. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

      Be well!

  2. Hi Marielle,

    A wise reaction and nail on the head!

    Andrew needs to stop moaning, unplug his computer for a few weeks and start only working with his horse, just himself and his horse. This will positively clean his head and he will notice that the more time he spends working with his horse, the better the result will be. This is according my own experience. Only then he will be able to make an interesting video of these results and show that to his readers.
    To full satisfaction and learning for all of us.
    Have a nice day !

    • Vic says:

      I have a different view of the insights into Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling that Andrew writes about. I found something unsettling with “Dancing with Horses” and stopped reading it. I started again later and still felt the same. There is something similar in “The Horse Seeks Me.”

      Having a genuine relationship with another being, human or animal, we need to be genuine ourselves. We need to bring out the essence of our soul. Repeating mechanistically what someone has told or taught us does not work. There is no “one size fits all” way to understand an individual horse.

      Our relationships should be natural and intuitive, not conscious. KFH has this, but I found his books have disturbing contradictions as well. KFH probably is unable to see this, and you might not either, but I do. Andrews is writing a balanced, mature and insightful blog which helped me understand these contradictions and I do not see any “moaning.”

      Understanding KFH is important in interpreting his book into my life and my horses. I found it easier to read his books after reading this blog; what Andrew wrote and what commentators wrote. KFH is an unusual man and Andrew encourages us to take the good that he teaches. Much of the important message in this blog could not have been conveyed without having KFH as the context. Otherwise it would have been some vague anonymous waffle.


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Rita

      Pip and I spend a couple of hours together each day, something I prefer not to miss. Why? Because she brings joy to my life and hopefully, just a little bit hopefully, I add something minutely special to hers.

      Thank you for taking time off from your horses to switch on your computer, read our blog and respond to my post.

      Be well!

  3. Heather says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Well, the universe works in mysterious and interesting ways! Re the video at the end of your blog by Ellen Ofstad – I was sent a link to a comment she had made in regard to positive reinforcement – which is here – http://barnmice.com/forum/topics/rewards-and-dopamine-what?groupUrl=bodylanguage

    This in turn led me to look up Dr. Robert Sapolsky and I came across an interesting lecture of his on depression – which I in turn sent to someone else!

    Anyway – back to your blog – yes – we all want the dream!! And as we know KFH is a master at selling it!!! I really did benefit from the body awareness exercises, the stillness, the grounded awareness. Even though I lapse into old habits – I’m so much more aware of my walking etc. – and I’m thankful I learnt that. But, as for becoming the perfect human to be with your horse – well – that is a dream – no one can be perfect, no one can live up to that expectation at every moment with their horse. Of course you should be grounded, centered, focused and in the moment – but we should not be discouraged from owning a horse if we fall short of that.

    As long as we are looking after our horses well and doing no real harm to them we are doing just fine. When I went to the first two courses of KFH – I was in awe of ‘the dream’ – but always it was like a carrot dangling in front of me – when would I be ready to be with a horse – when would Klaus teach me to ride? I think I spent time twice in front of a horse – then for just a few minutes. Over the last 3 courses I did, I did not get to go near a horse! And I then saw it was just that – a dream – with the excuses of ‘destiny’ and ‘you are not ready’ always there….

    So – where to start? Well, for me the horse journey has been like a series of stepping stones – I’ve learnt lots of good things – I met lots of great people – but I’ve also been sent down dead end paths. But my venture into clicker training/animal behaviour is proving to be very interesting. I’m going to attend a workshop next year with the focus on animal behaviour across many species. I’ve jumped to the next stone and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.

    Others have commented on why you are bringing up KFH again – I think the people who have had experience with him will understand why – he leaves such a big footprint in our lives – which can be good and destructive. It is the destructive part of the footprint that at times is hard to shake. Of course I can only say this for myself – but it took me a long time to come out from under the spell.

    But the spell is well and truly broken now!
    Looking forward to hearing where your journey takes you next.


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Heather

      It is good to see you so empowered. In part you have Hempfling to thank for that although, like so many including myself, it is not only because but also in spite of him.

      After all that has been said and done, I still believe that Hempfling is playing a major role in helping people find a new way of being with horses through his books, videos, articles, YouTube, Facebook and also indirectly through his former students and assistants, especially those who are now teaching independently of him (as opposed to being his accredited mentors). He is also helping humans realise the importance of body and spiritual awareness not only in relation to horses but also in their own lives. He has done all of this for me too and I am very grateful for that. This is the reason why I do not wish to shake off Hempfling.

      At the same time I do not feel called upon to ignore other aspects of the phenomenon that is Hempfling, which some people may condemn as negative. Hempfling is what he is and I talk about him, as I see him. Judgment I shall leave to others. To ignore the dark and only focus on the light would wrongly characterise the nature of a 24-hour day. Focusing on the one while ignoring the other would misrepresent the day and be testimony to a lingering presence of either infatuation with the light or horror of the dark. Being able to address the dark and the light with equal passion is, I believe, the mark of someone who is no longer tempted to do either. The day is what it is.

      Ducati and your herd are very fortunate to have a human such as you.

      Be well!

  4. Marielle says:

    Thank you, Rita.

    unplugging the computers sounds great, I’m never available during the holiday or some weekends. On the other hand you can get a lot of interesting information about horses online!

    I always have to think about a girl who used to ride for a short time on one of my ponies. Her friend came by to ride on the pony and told me the girl wouldn’t come, because she rather liked to work on her facebook page. This page was filled with pictures and things about ponies! So instead of riding on a nice sunny afternoon to the river, she sat behind the computer writing and chatting about ponies.
    (by the way I’m not at home at the moment and am waiting for a lunch. Else I would say: what am I doing myself behind this computer on this sunny afternoon?)

    I hope you didn’t mind my comment, Andrew.
    Have a nice day as well, Rita!


  5. Hello Andrew,
    I always read your blog but don’t comment very often….maybe it’s time again!
    I must say my three months with KFH and other students was interesting and I can see when you and others have been at the brunt of his anger (for want of a better word) how difficult it would be to let go.( I was one of the fortunate ones that didn’t cop it personally, but a little in a roundabout way). I believe that holding on to all of this holds us back so much….not letting go!
    I have been around horses sice I was 5years old, done the Pony Club thing ,Showing in many diciplines over many years was always kind to my horses but maybe a little harsh at times,( Ego got in the way). It wasn’t until I was in my 50’s that I got it !, that my beautiful mare hated Dressage, but just loved going out on bush rides, so that is what we did, she was a changed horse, my attitude had changed as well. That along with a few very spiritual horse moments changed everything.
    I looked and followed many “Horse Trainers” and methods, I have always found something that I like and works for me and my horses with all of them, so I use a little of “this and that ” from each of them, including voice commands (I think you commented on that when you met my horses Andrew)
    So even with KFH it is the same, I hang on to just the “good bits” and use them.
    In my opinion there is not a Horse Guru on this earth that can implant the exact same feelings and thoughts to anyone else, (unless they start cloning .. :-)”Heaven Forbid” who would want that.!…..They are human …and we all make mistakes and always will ………. We are all different. (So how can we do exactly the same as another being?)
    These are the ramblings of just my opinions and I don’t expect everyone to think the same……….This all works for me.
    My beautiful horses are happy and they still are teaching me..and I thank them for this.I do the best that I can for them every day…..and I love it.
    Maybe it’s a good thing I only reply spasmodically. 🙂
    Hugs to all Andrew,

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Peggy

      It is always good to hear from you.

      As I have said elsewhere on this page to Heather and Marielle. Hempfling is an inspiration to me in many respects and has been for many years. I choose not to let that go.

      I am tempted to repeat my reply to Heather. If you were to read it, perhaps it will explain a little of why I do what I do in relation to Hempfling.

      Hugs to you and yours too, Peggy. I look forward to seeing you later this year.

      Be well!

  6. alexia says:

    Let it go already Andrew! – stop the vendetta that only holds you in the past.
    I appreciate your links to other horse people but not the anti-Klaus diatribe. He has thought and felt very deeply and philosophically about horse and the way to be with them and provokes people to do the same in themselves. No-one can impart or do the path for you but they can uncompromisingly promote self-enquiry and rigorous Self-Integrity/Honesty

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Alexia

      Your accusation is harsh and unfounded.

      As I mentioned in my reply to Heather elsewhere on this page, there are two aspects to a 24-hour day: the light and the dark. I mention both if I wish to describe such a 24-hour day. My approach to Hempfling is much the same. Where we differ perhaps is that, while we can both see the light and the dark of the day, this is not true of our perception of the man.

      If I tally up all that I personally have lost to Hempfling and gained from him, then I must confess that I am left with nothing but gains. My appreciation of those gains is expressed not only in this post (perhaps you overlooked that?) but throughout this blog. I choose to speak about Hempfling in much the same way I might address both the light and the dark when describing a day: as I see it. What I see though is also coloured by the actions and stories of former students and assistants to which you are not privy, and to many of whom I seek to act as a friend.

      You effectively accuse me of only writing about the dark. If there was no dark but only light, others might accuse me of indulging in the slavish adoration that is so typical of the member of a sect. You have seen the dark in my writings but not the light. May I invite you to have another look and perhaps this time see if you can also find the light.

      Be well!

      • alexia says:

        Sorry Andrew , my comment was harsh! It would be nice to speak with you in person about all this and have a proper dialogue! I do hear you are trying to be fair and that you are privy to a lot more than I know. Criticism in this very public space of any kind can be very damning and hurtful. Judgement either positive or negative is still judgement of one by another and probably not useful to oneself foremost….and now I’ve gone and done it to you. I like your reply to Heather and I understand how for those who have had personal dealings with KFH it must be so therapeutically useful to process the relationship together.

        • alexia says:

          picture for a thousand words…

          • Andrew says:

            Dear Alexia

            Love the pic.

            We will be in New Zealand in October. Perhaps there is a field there. I shall send you more info in a private email.

            Be well!

  7. Ruth says:

    I found your web site after I bought two horse books. Klaus Hempfling’s “The horse seeks me” and Imke Spilker’s “Empowered Horses.” I read about half of Spilker’s book and was so excited about what I was learning. So much to take in! I felt I needed to let that information digest and settle but I was excited about this wonderful journey I had embarked upon. I had to learn more! I opened Hempfling’s book with eager anticipation, hoping he would help fill in the bits I needed to develop a complete picture of this new-to-me approach to horsemanship.

    I did not find what I was looking for.

    In my opinion, the two authors put forth very similar information. But, I felt differently about the presentation. It mostly made sense when I read Spilker’s version. With Hempfling, I kept getting frustrated because it seemed he would offer a promise to teach in one paragraph and then never properly fulfill that promise in subsequent paragraphs.

    It seemed he kept writing about his body language in the photos, never fully explaining the horse’s body language in the same photo. I wondered if the promise on the cover “The path to an understanding of equine body language,” should have read “The path to understanding Klaus’s body language.” Useful in working with horses, just not what I was looking for. (Perhaps if I finished the last half of Hempfling’s book I would find this promise is fulfilled in later chapters and I am too hasty in my judgements.)

    Meanwhile, I went online to do some research about both authors. I wondered if there were videos of either at work, especially Hempfling. I was hoping the videos he seems to reference in the book–without, as far as I could see, an explanation of where exactly to find them–would provide the elusive answers to the questions that kept coming to me as I read about his techniques.

    I found your blog in reference to Hempfling. Quite an eye opener. Hmmm. Not honoring a commitment to another person? This didn’t sound like the teacher for me.

    Then I found Spilker’s web site. Of particular interest was her answer to the question, “How can I find a trainer to help me learn your approach?” First my paraphrase, “Do you have a horse?” and then a quote from her web site: “If you are able to accept your horse as your Master Teacher you will have the best of all possible advisors at your side.”

    To me, your story about having the cost of the 1-year training increased after you uprooted your life vs. “look to your horse” explains everything. Like others who have commented, I wonder why you are even thinking of Hempfling today. But, I understand that you made a huge commitment to change your life based upon a belief you were heading down the right road only to discover the bridge had washed out. Of course it’s hard to change direction!

    As I see it, our entire life journey, horses or not, is to discover who we are deep inside. Horses offer one path to get there. As I go down this road, I am going to follow Imke Spilker’s advice. I’m going to accept my horse as my Master Teacher.

    I will honor my horse to the best of my ability given where I am today. I will do my best to understand what he wants me to know about him, me and our relationship. What else can I do besides start where I am? What greater gift can I offer than trying to listen and to respond honestly, fairly and with as much truth as I can offer to him? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

    • Dear Ruth – I would love to share a few lines from a reaction I received to my wish to understand my unexplainable ‘fear’ to start riding my 6-year old gelding Marcello – I thought it had eveything to do with my age and that I was being very cautious – however, it is about my interpretation of this animal and his expression of freedom that apparently scares me – and knowing that when he feels my uncertainty/insecurity he will pick up on that energy and will wish me to know that if I cannot be the leader he will have to lead – my ‘fear’ there is to let go of ‘control’ – impatience also plays a small role here apparently – ‘freedom’ and ‘impatience’ donot work together …

      You wrote the following:::
      @@I will honor my horse to the best of my ability given where I am today.@@


      …..that’s right – they will always look for the leader, you know – mmmmm – so and for you to express your freedom, Young One – for you have always been controlled as well – who would you be when you would be that free spirit, Young One – so you see all you are doing is learning from eachother, but you have a fear of your own freedom – if you let go of all that you knew you to be then you would not be in control you think – you could not understand you – you could not manipulate you – you could not guide you around the ring – yet you wish to be the freedom of a horse on an open range that is gallopping without a care in the world – you would wish that expression for you – you would like to be upon them as they ride through the valley – but for you to express yourself in that way
      too much of this you would have to let go – yet you are expecting the same from the horse – you feel the freedom, the agility, the beauty – that knowing – and what you will attempt to do is to rein them in so to speak – to contain that energy – your way is not to contain it, Young One – your way is to use it – to use it for your ability – and so you are learning to work with him – you are learning how to coordinate eachother – you do not wish to control – you said if he feels controlled you will be in trouble – so why keep going – you are there to be a part of his freedom – ask him to teach you his freedom – in order to do so I wish to be a part of your world – in order to do that I must show you a part of what I must do – and so you work collaborately together – that is what you do – he sets you free – he takes you out of your controlled world …………….



    • Andrew says:

      Dear Ruth

      The horse as teacher? Amen!

      Where the difficulty lies as I see it – and I can only talk on the basis of my own experience – is not whether a human can accept the horse as teacher but how the human can become a sensitive student and friend to the horse (who is simultaneously the horse’s carer and overall decision-maker and in that sense has leadership demanded of them by the horse). Put another way, how can I become the kind of human a horse seeks to be with?

      There are humans who seem to know instinctively what is required of them in order to be a sensitive student and friend to the horse. Spilker is one of them. Michael Bevilacqua is another. Some would argue that Hempfling is too.

      Most of us humans seem to have problems knowing this though. One only has to look at how the vast majority of humans interact with horses to see how true this is. Perhaps it is because such knowledge demands such a fundamental shift of paradigm. No longer can the horse simply be a creature we do things to. We need to learn how to approach them on their level, how to communicate with them, how to build mutual trust with them, and how to understand each other.

      Most of us do not know where to start. Humans like Spilker, Bevilacqua, Hempfling, Mark Rashid, Linda Kohanov and others can help us do just that. Yes, the horse is ultimately the sole teacher when interacting with a human but learning can only occur when the latter is capable of precisely that.

      Spilker appears to have shown you where to start in your relationship with your horse. Without her, how long might it have taken you to know? Or are you thankful that this is a question which is entirely irrelevant now?

      Be well!

  8. Dear Andrew,

    Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling had a dream – yes, that dream came true – for hím…….
    The dream must have filled him with such awe, with such inspiration and wonder that he wished to share it with other humans – horse reflected his deeper Self – his beauty, his agility – when being with the horse there is no doubt – because then the horse would know and he would be on the ground – so why did he allow himself the wisdom of the animal – for they are most wise – most wise – more wise than most people you could say – why does he allow himself to be himself there and then when he is with the human he separates from that knowing..

    Perhaps he does not trust himself sufficiently…??

    It is a duality that many beings live through – the content of how it manifests is different – but he is different to many others – because many others don’t allow aspects of themself to be known at all – they know there is something different but they can’t place it – he you see – here – and have a connection with the horse – he has a connection to an animal that feels and knows emotion before the human does – so he must be in a space of readiness – of completeness – of freedom when he wishes to ride – when he wishes to communicate with that animal – so there is a knowing of him that he allows as soon as he sees them – in fact before – otherwise they would know anyway – but then he meets the human – they only have 2 legs and a different shaped head – and then he starts thinking in a different way and his energy starts to shift and therefore he communicates in that way where there is that doubt – and so the journey will be to understand why – briefly – and then to return to his wholeness so that he can get his point across more effectively – so that he can feel his connection and that they understand it as well – because it is so important for all of humanity to know……..


    The above is part of a private session I had a couple of weeks ago with DZAR – a group of energies – I have changed the text so it reads as if it is about KFH – I feel a similarity – it could in a sense be about any human who is involved with horses the way the group of humans reading this blog is ………

    Of course, the session continues with many more enlightening remarks and comments by DZAR – answers to my questions……

    In my personal view this journey we are travelling can very well be travelled TOGETHER with the horse – this space of completeness – this space of readiness freedom and wholeness can be experienced WITH the horse – and as DZAR says “for they are most wise – most wise – more wise than most people you could say”………


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Geerteke

      If that were indeed the experience of every horse whose destiny has taken it into the presence of Hempfling, yours would indeed be a convincing approach. I do fear though that the emperor’s clothes have now become invisible.

      Be well!

  9. Gary Whinn says:

    I am a new contributor to this blog but I have read every word of it from Day 1 up to the present day in an effort to find clues about how to progress with my own horses – and I thereby identify myself as Andrew’s correspondent. There is a great deal I would like to say in response to this latest blog but regrettably I currently find myself very short of time. I don’t know how long the Reply window remains open but hopefully it will be long enough for me to post my comments on the subject of the blog “How to Get Started” at a later date. However, I did wish to say something briefly in the meantime in case my window of opportunity is not as long as I need!
    Andrew has been very generous with his time in offering advice in response to my private e-mails seeking advice about horse/human relationships and I understand why he would wish to continue this theme in the public domain of this blog. I have benefitted myself from the open nature of the discussions here and most of all from Andrew’s honest portrayal of his own life with horses. So I guess he felt it was a good theme to continue here. It would have been very difficult indeed for Andrew to reply to my enquiries without mention of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling since it was my own interest in Hempfling that led in a wonderfully circuitous route to my discovery of this blog – one of the true benefits of the internet age. Many thanks to the person who directed me here.
    It was not my intention to inadvertently awaken demons from the past (that being a description of the bad memories associated with the Hempfling saga rather than a description of Hempfling himself I hasten to add!) but having recently read the older posts from the blog I can understand completely how this might happen. Whilst reading the past history I had to keep reminding myself that these posts were written in real time, this dreadful situation was unfolding upon Andrew and Vicki right there and then and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how deeply that would have affected me if I had been in that situation.
    However hard we try to empathise with the emotions of others we cannot even begin to feel the true depth of hurt that the other is experiencing. Perhaps the scars from that time have not totally healed but nevertheless with respect to Andrew’s willingness to bare his life for all who may benefit from reading about it (all of us) I think we can certainly cut the man some slack and perhaps not be so quick to be judgmental in response to what might be seen by some as an “old record playing”. Regular contributors know the history but what if I had not read the entire blog but only the current answer to my question? Andrew’s cautionary comments about Hempfling would then be highly relevant to me, particularly if I was about to spend a small fortune whilst under the “guru spell” – be it with Hempfling or indeed any other horse trainer. I admire much about Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling’s way with horses but it is not a bad thing to have a sober reminder that he is only human with many of the human weaknesses of ego by which we are all plagued in different ways. Well, that’s more than I intended! Hope I haven’t overstayed my welcome – I’ll confine my comments to the subject of the blog next time as this has certainly been more about people than horses!

    • Cyndi says:

      Very well said, Gary! I’m not necessarily “taking sides” when it comes to reading all the comments, but I certainly understand what you are saying, as a lot of what you said hit close to home for me for various reasons.

      Andrew, keep writing “in the moment”!! I find it refreshing that I am not alone in my struggles. Your posts are so heartfelt, honest and well-written that I can feel what you are feeling many times.

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Gary

      In many respects you have put it better than I could myself. Thank you.

      Incidentally, overall there are no scars, just balanced appreciation.

      Be well!

    • alexia says:


  10. Nanda de Jong says:

    Dear Andrew and readers,

    We, Nanda and Karina, would like to reply to your post and give you a short insight in our experience of the one-year-schooling and of Klaus, as a teacher and as a person.

    For us, the aim is to become authentic beings and find our own purpose in life. For some this could mean to be the best coach, teacher or manager, for others it could mean to be with horses in their authentic way, or just to be the best mother.

    This is what Klaus offers, tools and true insights in yourself, but you have to be open to receive this. From there on, it has to be your work and your path to follow. Klaus has given us exactly that. He is a great teacher and coach and is that person that he is showing with the horses.

    After 11 months (10 months last year and 1 month in March), we are finishing this summer with 6 more weeks, the one-year-schooling. Some of us are doing parts of the remaining course with family. We are following our paths…

    Best regards

    • Heather says:

      Nanda and Karina – Nice to hear from you and great you are going so well!!!

      Also – Gary – well said. It is hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To me – saying he should ‘move on’ is not constructive. Like any difficult experience – parts of it come up in ‘lumps’ – like grieving – for instance – if they were grieving over a child – would you say ‘time to move on’ .

      I know the effort and expense Vicki and Andrew went to to move themselves to Europe with their horse and dog. I have witnessed their whole journey. I’m sure there are so many positives for them to be living in Europe – but of course there are also negatives.

      I think Andrew is trying to warn others that it may not be as it seems. For example – perhaps a photo can be attached of my horse Ducati – it was recommended by the guru that this horse be shot, he can barely move – and has no purpose on earth. I had him thoroughly checked by vets/farrier when I came home and he has a perfectly clean bill of health – he is an absolute delight.

      As I said before I found many positives in the courses and many negatives. But to tell me my horse had no purpose on this earth and should be shot is a deal breaker.


      My horse, Ducati

      Ducati and me hanging out together
      Ducati and me hanging out together

      • Cyndi says:

        Ducati is gorgeous!! I am so glad that you did your research, and that you can see that your horses are being wonderfully taken care of by you. I, too, in the past, had felt like I was a “failure” as a horse owner because I don’t have her on my own property, etc.. Even my barn owner told me I should just sell my mare and get a “well broke” horse to ride! My mare is the sweetest, gentlest horse you’ll ever find, and she is very sensitive (a bit skittish at times). I was more concerned with finding out how to bring out the best in my mare (confidence), and how to be a better person for her, while others were just concerned that I wasn’t riding. I am so glad I stuck with it (and did a lot of research!!). The two of us now have a cranial/sacral therapist who works on both of us, I’ve done some alternative health programs with her, I’ve been working on how to be with her, and we’ve moved to a different barn. We are surrounded by positive people and that has had a big impact.

        I am sorry to hear about the comment that Klaus made about Ducati. Usually, when I see people showing others what they can do with a horse, they often use aggressive, “wild-eyed”, “fire-breathing” stallions. The change is usually dramatic, and I applaud their way with horses. But what of soft-eyed horses like Ducati and my mare? Many trainers give advice on how to calm down an aggressive horse, but what about being with quiet horses? That is the journey I am on. She is teaching me well 🙂

        • Heather says:

          Cyndi – I’ve only just seen your response. Thankyou – yes he is a wonderful horse! It is wonderful you have continued the work with your mare. Riding is only a small part of horse ownership – I’m glad you are now with more positive people!


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Nanda and Karina

      What a pleasant surprise to read your comment.

      It is also great to hear that you will after all have an opportunity to finish the one-year course this summer. Clearly the course has turned out to be very different from how it was originally described in the advertising materials. And if this is to your advantage in your overall self-development, then it must be welcomed.

      I would like to invite both of you to share your experiences of the one year school with us by publishing your separate stories on our blog. I am sure that our readers would be keen to know what you have been through and what you have learned. All I ask is that you also let us have some pictures and/or videos to illustrate your stories, and that you be prepared to answer any questions from those who take the time to read your stories.

      If you would like to do this, please send me a private email at blogAThorsesandhumans.com (just replace ‘AT’ with ‘@’). I look forward to hearing from both of you. It has been such a long time.

      Be well and take care!

  11. Gary Whinn says:

    Hi Heather,
    Ducati is a beautiful boy! He has soft, kind eyes and you are blessed to have each other. I can’t comment on KFH’s view of him without feeling angry and it is just too nice a day today to get all worked up with anger. Seeing the two of you together brought pleasure to my day and I’ll roll with that, thank you.
    Kind Regards

    • Heather says:

      Thanks Gary!

      He’s such a character! I had the vet here yesterday to tend to my other horse Saadi – who had an eye infection. I told him to watch his gear as Ducati had a knack of taking it to draw attention to himself. He thought it was all safe inside the stable and somehow when our backs were turned Ducati managed to get his notepaper and had it in his mouth!

      Once again today Peggy and I were tending to Saadi’s eye, thought everything was safe – and then suddenly Ducati had the box of tissues and was pulling them out – then managed to chew up a pack of cotton buds! While annoying it made us laugh!

      He’s one smart horse and loves people and is always willing to learn… glad seeing the photos brought pleasure to your day! While we get on well, it’s friend Peggy, who had commented on the blog here, that he adores! He has taught us many many things about life!


  12. @@But to tell me my horse had no purpose on this earth and should be shot is a deal breaker @@

    Dear Heather – I fully agree with Gary – Ducatie has a wonderfully soft eye – perhaps that is what he is trying to tell humanity – that softness is what is needed – perhaps that is what KFH didn’t wish to see – he did see Ducati’s purposelessness – but perhaps that is what Ducati’s purpose IS – to teach humanity that having no purpose is also having a purpose – it is humanity’s duality that we often would love to be without purpose but that conditions inside and outside ourselves force us to have a purpose…..

    So – I wish you a sense of forgiveness to anybody who has ‘judged’ Ducati having no purpose – it is just a lack of knowing – in this situation luckily there were vets and farriers to at least paint a clear picture of his physical state of being that didn’t justify ending his life – if you can find it in your heart to forgive KFH for his statement do also forgive yourself – just in case any hard feelings do pop up and get in your way..

    I do not wish to be intrusive – if you feel that way please forgive me …
    Take care

    • Heather says:

      Hi there Geerteke,

      It is not that I haven’t forgiven – in fact a comment was made that all my horses were in poor condition – and that this is what happens with the ‘part time’ horse owner. I was determined to research everything I could – and I must say, became quite obsessive – to ensure that my horses were not in poor condition – I was both offended and horrified to think that perhaps they were indeed in poor condition. So I thank KFH for sending me on that journey – even if I was slightly obsessed with it!

      I certainly didn’t mean to incite anger – I was just being blunt about what was said and why my views on KFH changed over time. This story – and there is more to this story! – is only one incident – several other things happened which ‘broke the spell’.

      But as I said earlier – indeed I had positive experiences and much learning and I thank him for that.