Feed on

luckLast month Vicki and I attended the first two days of a three-day horse and human clinic given in the Netherlands by Noora Ehnqvist, a young Finnish horsewoman and former student of and assistant to Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, who has taken what she has learned from the master who dances with horses and others to create her own unique approach towards helping people become the kind of human whom a horse seeks to be with. It was an experience which made a huge impression on me and which has since helped me to take my relationship with my mare, Pip, to the next level, not due to any new insight that I may have gained into horses but because it helped me to put familiar theory into everyday practice.


The ideas

The course, which was hosted by Marijke de Jong of classical riding straightness training fame, with whom Noora Ehnqvist has teamed up to learn from each other and help others on the journey with horses, was open to everyone on the first day and about 70 people (of whom only two were male) availed themselves of the opportunity to attend. Noora spent the morning introducing us to the ideas behind her approach, which she stressed was not a theory, philosophy or method but was simply based on universal wisdom.

Essentially, what we humans should be seeking to achieve with or without horses is presence: being accompanied by the awareness of being in the very moment of being. To achieve this, according to Noora, we need to relearn how to be when we move and when we are motionless, to become centred or grounded. This refers to the ability to direct your presence from your core, finding joy, softness and inner peace coupled with spirit, energy and clarity. This entails that we humans need to find within ourselves the ability to be empathetic and empowering in our dealings with others, including our horses. ‘For horses pressure is an enormous thing,’ says Noora. ‘Horses do not have a voice to express pain!’ We need to move away from bossing our horses around to finding within them a willing partner.


Practice: horses

Putting these ideas into practice occurred in two main ways during the clinic. First, there were sessions involving humans and horses selected from amongst the advanced students of Marijke de Jong and her assistant, Claudia Wolters. A number of these students are in turn straightness training instructors, so the lessons which they learned during the Noora Ehnqvist clinic have the potential to reach others who were not fortunate enough to attend it.

Noora Ehnqvist interacting with a friend

On the first day we watched two humans interact with their horses under Noora’s guidance. First there was Lucie and her seven-year-old Andaluician stallion, Senillius. Born in Spain and sold to Germany and then the Netherlands, this young horse was quiet and dull with low energy levels. The stallion was not helped much by his owner, as she seemed to move mechanically with her horse. Noora took over and showed us how to move from the core, to reinvigorate the horse through softness coupled with joyful energy and clarity. Senillius lit up and began to move with greater vigour. The session ended on a high for him and for his owner.

Judith and her two-and-a-half-year-old Dutch pony, Angel, were next. Angel was clearly nervous and anxious first with her owner and then with Noora. Alone with Angel in the picadero (a relatively small, square exercise area), Noora deliberately avoided seeking contact with the pony, as she calmly walked around aware of what both she and Angel were doing. Bit by bit the pony began to seek contact, coming in towards Noora, moving away and then coming in even closer until horse and human were walking calmly together. Judith then took over, holding Angel on a long lead. Unfortunately, she was too busy and her unrestrained movements caused her horse to respond accordingly. The calm disappeared. Noora pointed this out to Judith and showed her how to move and use the lead to find a calm, willing partner in her pony. With Noora’s guidance and encouragement Judith started moving with greater presence and Angel responded. By the end of the session horse and human were calmly working and walking together. Everyone was impressed.


Practice: body awareness

The second way in which Noora Ehnqvist’s ideas were put into practice took the form of body awareness exercises interspersed between the main sessions. Noora demonstrated the difference between unaware movement and motion guided by awareness and directed from the core starting from the basics: how you stand, how you walk and how you run. There are mindless, tiring ways of standing, walking and running. Most people employ them. There is also a conscious way of doing the same thing, one involving an awareness of ourselves and our surroundings, consciously directing our movement from our core.

A former Noora Ehnqvist clinic hosted by Marijke de Jong

Noora also introduced other body awareness exercises but more as a demonstration of the possibilities than as a training session, because the group was too large to permit much more. Neither did the weather help, as the skies broke and the rain drove us indoors. Nevertheless, enough seemed to have been achieved to help some of the advanced students in the interaction with their horses the next day.



The rest of the Noora Ehnqvist clinic was confined to the advanced students of Marijke de Jong and Claudia Wolters but for some reason Vicki and I were invited back, giving us a total of about 35 participants on the second day. We would have liked to attend the entire clinic but we had taken on too much work to permit that. The day started off with a vivid example of what can happen, if a human lacks presence. A Belgian instructor and her eight-year-old PRE gelding, Offendido, entered the picadero. The horse was lifeless, going through the motions like a robot in response to his owner, who adopted a businesslike approach, making him move as and when she required. No amount of guidance from Noora seemed to help the human adopt a different approach. It was interesting to note that the Belgian instructor was absent from the body awareness sessions.

In the course of the day we viewed a number of humans interacting with their horses and in all but one case I noted how the connection between horse and human improved, once the human became more centred and started to move more consciously. Two of the highlights were the sessions with the two humans whom we had seen the day before. Judith returned with Angel and it was clear to everyone that the human was far more grounded and aware than she had been the day before, and the pony responded accordingly. Lucie was back as well but this time with Bombero (stable name: Beer), a seven-year-old PRE gelding born in Spain who has a health issue in his right leg causing him to walk short and to object to training. It was refreshing to see how differently Lucie was moving: not as casual as the day before but calmer, more aware and with greater clarity. Under Noora’s guidance she learned to observe her horse closely and respond to it more readily. Coupled with the close connection which she had clearly developed with her horse, this helped Lucy to bring Beer to the stage where he could cope with and actually enjoy the training. Both women had clearly been empowered through Noora Ehnqvist’s assistance.


Unfair comparisons

Vicki knows Noora Ehnqvist from the three courses she attended with Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling in 2010. By that stage Noora had spent several years learning from Hempfling on and off first as a student and later as an assistant, in which capacity she also taught body awareness to Hempfling’s students from around the world under his auspices, including Vicki. At no stage, however, was she granted accreditation as a Hempfling body awareness instructor, because she did not attend the formal, expensive courses required for that purpose.

Hempfling explaining his body awareness system. Noora Ehnqvist features in this video.

It was therefore inevitable that we would be looking for the Hempfling influences and be tempted to make unfair comparisons. According to Vicki, the Hempfling influences are definitely there but, as I see it, Noora has taken what she has learned from him and others and is using it to empower humans and through them, their horses. Unlike Hempfling, she does not get to choose which horses and humans she is going to help. This is not about people coming to watch Noora Ehnqvist in action with horses. She takes the horses and humans as they come and she helps them to help each other.


Lessons learned

If there are any lessons which I learned during the Noora Ehnqvist clinic, those that I am particularly conscious of are these. First of all, I realised that in my dealings with Pip, especially when it comes to training, I am so tempted to get it right, that I sometimes end up making her do things. At the end of the day, everyone can make a horse move in a certain way. Some of us just learn to do it with greater ease and dexterity. The challenge though is not to make my mare move but to encourage her to want to do so. Pip must be a willing partner. Anything less is unacceptable. This is something that I have been aware of in theory for some time. Putting it into practice since the clinic has been beneficial to both Pip and myself. Thank you, Noora Ehnqvist.

In the time that I spent learning Hempfling’s body awareness exercises in the past and have spent doing Tai Chi since that avenue was effectively closed to me, I have become aware of the need to learn to be, to be aware of being, and to act from my core while doing so. Of course, the challenge lies in extending this awareness beyond my Tai Chi sessions into my everyday life and, in particular, my interaction with horses. While I have been aware of this in theory, it was good to have this driven home again in practice. Thank you, Noora Ehnqvist.


Body and spiritual awareness

Reporting on the Noora Ehnqvist clinic seems to be an appropriate follow-on to my last post discussing where humans can start with horses. Ultimately, as Noora shows, we start with ourselves, which is not to suggest that we need to leave our horses and enter a wallet-blowout, three-month retreat with some or other dream-selling guru, before we are ready to face our equine friends. Rather, it is to propose that a change needs to occur within ourselves, if we are to find willing partners in our horses, a change that can occur while we interact with our horses on a regular basis.

This change can be initiated by embarking on a process of body and spiritual awareness. The two go hand-in-hand, if only because the spiritual awareness I am referring to is not some pie-in-the-sky affair but a very real consciousness of being in the very moment of being, what Eckhart Tolle calls ‘the power of now’. And this spiritual power is intimately connected with our awareness of our body and our surroundings in the moment of now. So how can you achieve this?

Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as our own deepest self, your true nature. But don’t seek to grasp it with your mind. Don’t try to understand it.

You can only know it when the mind is still. 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.

Eckhart Tolle, Practising the Power of Now, p. 8


Grounding: the position

Actually, it is pretty simple if not always easy to achieve. Let me illustrate this. There is a starting position for physical activity in a number of Asian martial arts traditions, which Hempfling has included as part of his approach to body awareness and which I first learned from Vicki following her return from the Hempfling courses that she attended in 2010, and later from Hempfling’s senior body awareness coach, Jo Ross. It is called the ground position in Hempfing-speak and is the starting point for all body awareness exercises in that it helps to ground or centre the human.

Essentially, you stand up straight, ensure that your knees are not locked, spread your legs until your feet are roughly in line with your shoulders, relax your entire upper body, and tilt your pelvis forward and up. If you do this properly, you should have the feeling that you are circling your pelvis upwards and that you are sitting on your hips and upper thighs, as it were. Should this be your first attempt, you may also feel that you are leaning too far forward. Actually, if you look at yourself sideways in the mirror, you will probably notice that your back is straighter than it has ever been and that you are not leaning backwards, as most people do when they believe that they are standing up straight. You may also notice that your posture in this position closely resembles what it would be if you were sitting astride a horse.


Grounding: the awareness

Now, while you are holding the ground position, focus on your breathing. What we are aiming for is to learn to breathe from our core, the space within your abdomen. When you inhale, you should have the feeling that you are drawing in air down to your core without undue effort or expanding your body. And when you exhale, you should have the feeling that you are drawing the air from your core as your abdomen expands slightly. If you put effort into this exhalation as you will do when performing body awareness exercises, you will find that it is a source of power and balance.

As you stand in the ground position breathing from the core, focus your attention on your head. How does it feel? How do you feel about it? Then move to your neck and do likewise. Repeat this then for the various parts of your body as you move gradually your attention down to your feet. By then you should have a close awareness of your body and your core, from which all movement will now emanate. Hold on to that awareness, as you now shift your attention to your surroundings. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Can you feel the air on your skin? Can you taste it? Focus closely on what you experience within and without you. By this stage you will have no capacity to entertain thought, as every part of you will be concentrated on the here and now. How do you feel? Alive? In body and spirit? Welcome to the power of now. You are grounded. You are, and you are aware that you are. This is it: this is being and the awareness of being … in the moment.


Grounding: going into the moment

The grounding (some prefer to call it ‘centring’) process that I describe here is a very powerful path towards banishing anxiety, self-doubt or any other thought or emotion which has the capacity to sap your strength and dissipate your power. It can also serve as an incredibly useful one or two-minute preparation interval prior to interacting with your horse. Try it just before you go to your equine friend and you will probably notice that by the time the two of you are together, there is nothing other than horse and human, and the surroundings through which the two of you are moving together, which may or may not include other humans and/or horses. You will be as in the moment as your horse.

Of course, you need not confine grounding to the times that you spend with your horse. I have found it useful to incorporate various aspects in my everyday life. You can start with little things. For instance, one of the first things I tried to do was to ensure that I was fully aware of all that I was experiencing within and without me while washing my face and brushing my teeth in the morning. It is not easy. In fact, it is astounding to consciously note how your mind insists on taking over your life, as thoughts and emotions muscle their way in. I am now trying to adopt a similar approach with other mundane activities, such as doing the washing up, clearing weeds in the garden and so forth.

It is also possible to focus on bigger picture activities. One of the first things that I focused on was to learn how to stand upright without locking my knees. You become very conscious of how you are standing if you try this. It took about a year before I started automatically standing with my knees unlocked and hence ever so slightly bent, with the result that I now have greater and more conscious control over my body and balance. What I am now working on is learning to breathe and move automatically from my core, not just when I am with my horse or doing body awareness exercises but always. This is a huge challenge but I find that I am more conscious of how I am breathing and moving with greater frequency throughout the day.


Tai Chi

One of the main problems with the body awareness regimes offered by people such as Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and Noora Ehnqvist is that you can learn how to do the exercises during their courses but everything eventually falls apart following your return home, because no instructors are readily available, nor is there any reference to consult in order to ensure that you are doing those exercises properly. In the past Hempfling accredited a number of body awareness instructors who had attended very expensive initial and refresher body awareness courses, and placed their names on his website. However, those names disappeared when he updated his website recently. Hempfling also informed his remaining one-year school students that they had qualified as body awareness mentors. However, their names have never appeared on his website. In addition, neither Hempfling nor Ehnqvist have books or videos available to serve as a reference and their courses are not readily available to the vast majority of people for one reason or another.


By way of a replacement for those body awareness exercises I have opted for Tai Chi, because of its widespread availability in the form of courses, books and/or videos. Personally, I would prefer the body awareness exercises offered by Hempfling and Ehnqvist, so this is a compromise as far as I am concerned. In particular, I have opted for Dr Yang Jwing-Ming’s Tai Chi Chuan: Classical Yang Style (available in the form of a book and accompanying DVD), because it is a ‘slow and relaxed moving meditation’ (p. 1) and arguably comes closest to the approach embodied in Hempfling’s and Ehnqvist’s body awareness exercises. It also includes Qigong and detailed explanations of breathing techniques and the history and philosophy underlying taijiquan (an alternative spelling to tai chi chuan).

An introduction to Dr Yang’s approach to Tai Chi Chuan

I have found it particularly beneficial to start the day with the Qigong warm-up exercises and the eight fundamental stances preceded by an introductory grounding, as described above. In between the various exercises and stances I return to the ground position and throughout it all I focus on my breathing and movement from my core. It is then possible to add various other Tai Chi movements as one goes. Ultimately, what it is about is nurturing a new approach to life through active meditation rather than slavishly following a particular form of Tai Chi.



Noora Ehnqvist in your country

For those of you who are interested in finding out more about Noora Ehnqvist, you can consult her website at www.sensitivehorse.com. Noora gives affordable clinics around the world and not just in her native Finland. She will be giving one in the New Forest area in England from 29 to 31 July. To obtain more information about this clinic just flick an email to this address.

In July and August Noora will also be in the Netherlands, where she will give various body awareness clinics hosted by Spiritual Integrated Education and Marijke de Jong. I would personally recommend the latter, as my experience of SIE has not been overly favourable and you will not run the risk of losing your fee (advance payment is mandatory) if you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. You can obtain more information about Noora’s August body awareness clinic hosted by Marijke de Jong here  in Dutch.

Noora will be returning to the Netherlands for a few more clinics later in the year. She will also be giving a clinic in France. At the end of the year Noora returns to Australia for her second visit. To obtain more information about Noora’s schedule visit the relevant page here. If you are interested in organising or hosting a Noora Ehnqvist clinic or simply wish to contact her, you can do so at this address.



32 Responses to “Noora Ehnqvist, and Body and Spiritual Awareness”

  1. Brilliant!!!!…. Andrew, thank you for sharing it with us.
    Hugs to All,
    (A “Short and Sweet” Reply)

  2. Dear Andrew – I agree with Peggy – brilliant !!

    I sincerely wish that SENILLIUS is not a latin version of the word SENILE – in that case it would perhaps be an idea to change the stallion’s name to one expressing a more joyful energy……….

    Take care ands be well

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Geerteke

      Glad you appreciated this post. Hopefully the owner of Senillius will take your comment to heart.

      Be well!


  4. Gary Whinn says:

    Dear Andrew,

    This blog continues with your theme of last month’s “How to Get Started” and could be called “And How to Continue”. In this regard I would like to add my own experience which includes of course being introduced to this invaluable resource for students of the world of horses. Invaluable because it is such an honest diary of real world experience and therefore resonates so strongly with anybody who is in a similar situation with their own horses and on a similar learning curve.

    The attraction to read your blog in its entirety was sparked by the immediate recognition of a like-minded seeker of truth and more specifically the truth about our relationship to our horses. If I were to recount the sequence of events which led me to your virtual doorstep this entry to your blog would be as long as the blog itself. So I will refrain from a blow by blow account in favour of a distillation of pertinent facts. My learning curve has been steep bordering on the vertical and the fantastic thing about your diary of your own journey is that it has enabled me to shortcut a huge amount of research. Believe me, my own studies have been considerable anyway up to this point and just prior to being directed to Horsesandhumans.com I had read and watched everything I could lay my hands on about Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. Upon my initial discovery of KFH I was convinced I had found a way forward in which I truly believed but unfortunately that was all to change. I do not need to spell it out as you have summarised it well in your previous blog and it can be summed up in the line you quoted that I asked of Hempfling “How do we know when we are ready?” The answer was not reassuring and was indeed quite extraordinary as it seemed to imply that if you cannot go to learn from Klaus in person then it could be a waste of time trying to learn his way from books and videos as they are no more than a preparation to the indispensable instruction by the master. It seems you can only truly learn in the presence of the man himself. For anybody interested in the original exchange it can be found here.

    With my belief in KFH now somewhat shaken a simple twist of fate brought about a whirlwind tour of a whole other world of horse/human relationship practitioners. By the courtesy of a true gentleman who came out of the blue and pointed me this way I first heard about Carolyn Resnick, Michael Bevilacqua, Imke Spilker, Stina Herberg, Sabine Birmann, Chuck Mintzlaff and a host of others including a chap called Andrew! Reading of your encounters with some of these people (both actual and virtual) was very helpful in getting an overview and some degree of comparison. I am still in the process of investigating them but with the benefit of your personal impressions of them I have been able to gravitate towards those that most strike a chord with me. It would have taken years to reach the same point if I was fishing in the internet ocean on my own and perhaps I never would have stumbled across some of these people? So your idea of a condensed version of your experiences is I think a very good idea to help people such as myself looking for answers.

    One of the pieces of advice I keep hearing over and over again is that one should forget about following horse trainers or “gurus” and that the best teacher you will ever have is your own horse. I can see now that there is a great deal of truth in that but I do think you have to go through the process of studying many of the different ideas and methods in order to truly realize this. If you acquired a horse and with no previous experience of horse ownership you relied totally on your own intuition about how to proceed I think you would be very quickly feeling lost. This was my experience. Even when you have gained some understanding of a horse I do believe it is still good to have the structure of a previously proven method just to give a focus to one’s activities and to have the confidence to know that you are heading in the right direction. For example, I watched some videos of an experienced, certified instructor of the Resnick Method going through the initial phases of bonding in the Waterhole Rituals. Had I not witnessed literally how that might look I could imagine being easily panicked into thinking that it simply wasn’t working, nothing was happening, I’m not doing it right – just feeling lost because of a simple lack of experience of what to expect and probably giving up in frustration. So I think there is a lot to be said about not trying to reinvent the wheel and instead following some of these ideas. Continuing with the Waterhole Rituals (for the simple reason that is what I am reading about at the moment) – how long would it take me to figure out any of that behaviour if left to my own devices trusting my horse to be my teacher? I would doubtless learn a lot but I could not recreate the years of research and the subsequent trial and error proving ground that Carolyn Resnick has carried out. Of course I should use her knowledge (and that of the many other trainers mentioned above) to fast-track that process.

    So, how to get started? Well thankfully there is a great deal of choice beyond Hempfling. Already I now realize that there are many different avenues I could go down and all of them have much to recommend them, including Noora Ehnqvist who seems to offer a blend of the best aspects of the methods of others delivered in her own unique way. She intrigues me and I thank you Andrew for bringing her to my attention. For myself, at the current point on my learning curve, I do feel most attracted by the Waterhole Rituals as a basic foundation to developing my relationship with my horse. I don’t feel the sense of intimidation that I felt with Hempfling of simply not knowing when I would be ready, feeling frozen into inaction for fear of getting it wrong. Learning from your experiences Andrew and yes, learning from the reactions of my horse too who seems very forgiving of my inexperience, I think this represents a new beginning that is achievable by me, a prime example of your average horse owner! I’m not blessed with oodles of natural intuition, I need a basic structure to guide me or I’ll just head out into the field and me and my horse will just look at each other thinking “OK, so now what?” Paradoxically, that is of course pretty much how the Waterhole Rituals begin but at least I KNOW that is the right thing to do and I KNOW that many have gone before me and have experienced great results. Armed with that information there is no reason that I can’t start immediately and so I will!


    • Dear Gary,
      I like your story – interesting and inspiring – and you are so good with the English language like Andrew is – I learn a lot from that too 🙂

      My involvement with horses spans 50+ years – I started as a young girl at the age of 12 – I became a dressage competition rider in my early 30s – I had many good rides in the ring with 3 different horses – was selected for the yearly championships – I achieved Grand Prix Dressage level with one of my horses – CHIO Rotterdam 1987, was one of the major events I took part in – then at one point somewhere in 1995, everything turned sour you could say …
      I stopped competing and started looking for other ways to interact with my horses ….
      In the end one gelding had to be euthanised – one mare was sold to the USA – one mare I kept and she became the mom of the 7-year old gelding, Marcello, that is still under my care at present – Marcello lost his mom when he was 6 months old due to a mysterious accident in the field ….
      In my search to find ‘other ways’ – not ‘old ways’ – I ‘stumbled’ upon Stina Herberg – she being from St. Vincent, my youngest son being born in St. Vincent was the trigger – she was giving a lecture on the Waterhole Rituals in Holland in 2010 – I discovered that the days before her lecture a workshop Introduction to the Waterhole Rituals was being held and I decided to join …..

      As coincidence does not exist this appeared to be a present from the Universe – I travelled to Klaus F Hempfling in Denmark a little later in that same year 2010 – and what could have appeared like a ‘magical connection’ to me, as it did and still does to many people who observe KFH, was not a ‘magical connection’ anymore for me …
      I was in the fortunate position that my introduction to the Waterhole Rituals made me see and understand what KFH was doing with the horses, but not explaining to the audience – it gave me a perfect opportunity to see the profoundness of the Waterhole Rituals ….
      Still it felt tremendously inspiring watching KFH ‘at work’ and the reactions by the different horses – it was also interesting observing him during his interactions with people …

      So I joined Carolyn’s online class first in 2011 and later that year I visited her in Escondido, California – a wonderfully wise lady – especially as my main interest in these philosophies (I do not have an interest in becoming anybody’s certified trainer as I am an experienced trainer/coach myself) ) is how to incorporate them in my lessons so the riders can achieve greater awareness without instantly having to drop their riding or even their wish to take part in dressage competitions – teaching a ‘new way’ …

      Via Andrew I came across the Pignon-family with the beautiful book ‘Gallop to Freedom’ and Imke Spilker’s book ‘Empowered Horses’ – and am grateful to Andrew
      for that – and for the opportunity to give a ‘voice’ to my interpretations through his blogs – thank you Andrew ..

      Self realisation through horse is similar to what Noora Ehnqvist wishes to show to the world only different – there is a lot of work to be done still in horse world – and every path is a unique one …

      Take care and looking forward to your contributions

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Gary

      Thank you for sharing so much of your own personal journey with us.

      For those of us who do not have the wherewithal (or do not know how to find it within ourselves assuming it is there) to understand and communicate with our horses when we start out with them, hearing the well-meant advice to learn from your equine friend can indeed be a bit frustrating. Without the input of those who do have the wherewithal, it can be a rather hit-and-miss affair for far too long.

      Ultimately though, it does come down to the relationship that you have with your horse and the type of human whom you wish to be for your equine friend. To the extent that every horse and human is unique, I wonder whether any one-size-fits-all method is going to help us cover the bases, even the most basic of them.

      This is not to suggest that Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals cannot play an important role in kick-starting interaction between us and our horses. I would suggest though that they way to do it is perhaps best illustrated by Stina Herberg’s approach to them. As I see it, she takes the Waterhole Rituals, deconstructs them as a method and employs their individual parts as components of her own uniquely defined approach to horses, as opposed to someone else’s method of interacting with them. The fact that she refers to herself as an accredited Resnick instructor does not change this.

      Be well!

      • Gary Whinn says:

        Hello Andrew,
        I watched the Stina Herberg videos some tome ago with a great deal of interest and enjoyment but I will have to revisit them to try to understand what you mean by deconstructing the Waterhole Rituals. I’m sure it is as plain as day in your own mind and when I watch again it may become more apparent to me. You are quite right though in saying @@This is not to suggest that Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals cannot play an important role in kick-starting interaction between us and our horses.@@ So far I have found them useful for that very reason – I just needed to get started and having something to focus on in which I had confidence as a proven way to communicate with horses has helped me a great deal. I am sure that as time goes on I will use the rituals more as a departure point into my own experiments and variations as my creativity and confidence grows. I imagine that Carolyn Resnick herself would expect her students to find their own way using her teachings as a framework together with their own personality rather than repeating the rituals mechanically in a copycat way. Thanks in particular to Geerteke for a very interesting exchange of ideas – I am glad it has been of interest to yourself and Vicki and hopefully some of the other readers of the blog. I look forward to your next instalment Andrew as I have no doubt it will help me to continue on this exciting journey with horses and bring me closer to being the type of human a horse seeks to be with.
        Kind Regards

  5. Heather says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Noora has a wonderful talent with the horses and with teaching body movement and awareness. A great read!


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Heather

      Yes, Noora Ehnqvist is indeed wonderfully talented and she has clearly developed exponentially since starting out on her own.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Be well!

  6. Gary Whinn says:

    Dear Geerteke,
    Thank you very much for your reply. Your very brief history of your life with horses is very intriguing and leaves me wanting to know so much more! Having now read all of Andrew and Vicki’s blog I have followed all the exchanges between you and all the other contributors. You have a unique way of seeing things from an unexpected angle and I have enjoyed reading your personal take on the various discussions. Your comments have raised so many questions I would like to ask you but of course with the passage of time many of those questions would now be out of context. So instead I will confine myself to the current blog. In particular I would really appreciate it if you could explain this paragraph with regard to your experience of both K F Hempfling and Carolyn Resnick……
    “……and what could have appeared like a ‘magical connection’ to me, as it did and still does to many people who observe KFH, was not a ‘magical connection’ anymore for me …
    I was in the fortunate position that my introduction to the Waterhole Rituals made me see and understand what KFH was doing with the horses, but not explaining to the audience – it gave me a perfect opportunity to see the profoundness of the Waterhole Rituals ….”
    I am interested to know what you see as the common ground between the two. The “trademark” of KFH’s way is his use of domination in the “instant connection” he achieves with some horses and with which he mesmerises his audiences. Carolyn Resnick’s way, as I understand it, is based on total freedom of choice for the horse to build a relationship of trust over a much longer period of time. Even the First Ritual of Sharing Territory would be like an eternity in the eyes of Hempfling and his audience would perhaps end up wandering off in puzzlement whilst waiting for something to happen! Forgive me, I’m only kidding but I am genuinely intrigued to know what you see KFH doing, “but not explaining to the audience,” which has become apparent to you from studying the Waterhole Rituals?
    Thank you Geerteke, I look forward as always to your “left field” insights.
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary,
      It is not about the emperor’s clothes having become invisible making human believe the true nature of the emperor has been revealed – is that not as much a fantasy as the clothes human saw the emperor wearing in the first place? It is all an illusion…..
      So in the end it is not about the emperor at all – the clothes had to be put on some body you could say – so why not the emperor’s – it is all about human’s perception, don’t you agree – the wish and need for a metaphore of the ego ..

      And as long as human decides to experience something as ‘magic’ it will continue experiencing some things as magic – there is nothing wrong with that – until the day human decides to wake up …

      And the day human decides to wake up it will find itself in a space of openess, a space of completeness and readiness – in that space human will find that the horse wishes to be spending time doing nothing with human and being together doing something with human.

      All that said I wish to get back to your question:
      “……….what you see KFH doing, “but not explaining to the audience,” which has become apparent to you from studying the Waterhole Rituals?……….”

      Quite simple really…..

      The rituals
      – ‘sharing territory’ which starts as soon as the horse enters the picadero – the ´long´ version starts by sitting in a chair for example in the field waiting for the horse to become sufficiently curious and then deciding to explore the chair with its content – KFH drops his energy at once – I am sure he monitors his breathing as well at the same time – once you know how to, you can get to this state (of ZEN as I call it) of awareness in an instant – and the horse knows – even before human does – I had this experience myself on I think it was day 2 at Carolyn´s ranch in Escondido in December 2011 – after all the introductions and personal interviews it was time for the students to meet one of Carolyn´s horses for the first time – Carolyn was standing in the centre of her picadero (I think she doesn´t call it a picadero, but I forgot what she does call it) – a dark coloured horse had been brought into the picadero – we, the students, were standing alongside the railing on the outside – a small pile of hay was put on the floor to the side, as we (all having taken part in one or more of the online courses) knew about the ´pile-of-hay-game’ which is the ´taking territoy´ ritual – I was called in as the very first student of that workshop ´to perform´- the horse was standing a couple of metres away from the pile of hay with its hindquarters directed towards the centre of the picadero – his attention was clearly totally elsewhere and he showed no intention of heading towards the pile of hay situated left from him as well – so there I was – standing – looking at the horse’s hindquarters with the instruction to move a horse away from a pile of hay – the following happened in a short space of time:

      I stood there – felt totally relaxed – had no feeling of anxiety – no feeling of expectation – no feeling of being watched – and, of course, I was being watched by Carolyn standing in the centre of the picadero and the students standing on the outside ..
      I observed my breathing ..
      I felt KFH´s energy getting into me – of course it was not KFH´s energy – I realised that only much later when analyzing what had taken place – it was my own energy, but I needed a reference apparently at that moment in time ..
      I must have been very grounded – standing there – simply waiting – probably perfectly centred with clear core stability – in a space of openess and readiness …
      The horse turned his head – looked at me – I was just there – just being – eventually his feet followed his eyes and his body followed his feet – and he walked up to me ..
      We then ‘said hello’..
      I invited him with my hand and body movement to accompany me – ‘companion walking’ and we walked side by side towards the pile of hay where I wished him to lower his head and he started munching away ..
      As that was and felt so perfectly aligned and in tune I backed off and looked at Carolyn..
      I think she thought that was OK – I cannot remember her commenting on this one..
      What I do remember is that she said I was supposed to take territory – so back I went to the horse – told him in a clear way to leave the pile of hay and again stood still observing the horse walk away..
      Then she did comment and told me I should have immediately stepped back, that way giving the horse the message that his reaction was good…
      For me it was a perfectly wonderful experience in many ways ..
      Perhaps some humans would call this magical – and that is OK – I didnot – and that is OK too

      – ‘saying hello’ which starts as soon as the horse has physically touched KFH and vice versa – even if it is very briefly…
      – ´taking territory´ which starts as soon as the horse (a stallion for example paying more attention to a mare on the other side of the curtained picadero – there is even a clip where one of KFH´s students is practicing this ritual) is prevented from occupying a certain space in the picadero ..
      – ´leading from behind´ which starts as soon as KFH moves the horse forward – that can be in walk, trot and or canter – depending on how strong and therefore convincing human´s ´moving energy´ is – I watched KFH standing next to a horse – that horse was not paying sufficient attention yet to KFH – it took place at the beginning of their interaction – as said KFH was standing next to the horse level with the horse´s hip on the left side of the horse – try to picture this – KFH´s back turned towards the horse´s head – the space between the horse and KFH was if I remember correctly sufficient for another human to stand – then in one quick turn like a bolt of lightning KFH turned his body to the left – at first towards the horse and subsequently continuing his left turn he turned away from the horse – this sudden movement startled the horse enough to move it off its place (taking territory) and move it a bit forward (kind of leading from behind) – you can imagine that a very stable body is needed for a movement of that kind – and the horse decided to pay attention after that – mission accomplished you could say ..
      – ´eye contact´ which starts as soon as the horse has decided to pay attention and keep a good eye on the human – this can result in human standing in front of the horse at a certain distance – when human moves to the right horse will move to the right – when human moves to the left horse moves to the left – when this is being done in a kind of rythmic movement, to the audience it might look as if the horse starts to ´swing´ from left to right and vice versa – I have seen KFH do this when interacting with a horse – however briefly – I do not know how many people noticed it then – sometimes horse stays where it is – sometimes horse makes small forward steps when in this ´swing ritual´ – however this eye contact can also be experiencd at other moments – it takes too much space to talk about all that now – besides if human wishes to know more about the Waterhole Rituals there are always Carolyn Resnick´s on and off line courses to attend …
      – ´companion walking´ which happens as soon as horse decides, wishes and chooses to walk with human in whichever direction – it is clearly shown in various video clips ….
      – ‘liberty dancing’ which happens when all the rituals come together – spontaneously – is also clearly shown in various video clips …

      And that is what takes place when KFH ‘communicates’ with a horse – most horses do not judge him – I can imagine those horses must be getting a feeling of “aaaaahhhhhhhh he remembers” – and I am sure that when KFH is with a horse he is in a space of openess and completeness – otherwise the horse would know and KFH would be in trouble – especially if he is dealing with a stallion – occasionally he meets a horse though that does judge him – but the horse does not hang on to it for long and soon lets go – I do not know if KFH reacts similar to the horse……

      I wish to express my feeling of gratitude to Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and to Carolyn and to anybody else who has played a role in the growth of my awareness and in supporting me in realising the dept of my wisdom ..
      I thank you, Gary, for asking the question the way you did – it has given me an opportunity and a challlenge to put this into words ..
      Last but certainly not least I wish to clarify that 5 years from now my views may have shifted due to my endlessly shifting energy.

      Take care and be well,

  7. Gary Whinn says:

    Dear Geerteke,
    Thank you very much for taking so much time over your reply – it is absolutely fascinating and I would like to think long and hard about what you have said before saying too much. I have a feeling that you might find yourself being asked 101 questions about your post! They are already bubbling up in my mind faster than I can write them down and I suspect that Andrew and others are also queuing up to ask you more about your thoughts. I can see immediately that there is a great deal of truth in what you say but I can also imagine that neither Carolyn Resnick nor Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling would see it this way. That is not to say that I think you are wrong, far from it – and what you have said fills me with optimism. However, I think I need to take some time to think this through carefully so that my questions and comments make some sense. I think right now they would be overly emotional! Thank you Geerteke, thank you very much.
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary – take your time – as long as you wish – what helps me dealing with my emotions and doubts is the Circle of Three
      Awareness – being aware
      Acceptance – accepting not judging
      Compassion – being compassionate with and giving kindness to oneself

      Good or bad/wrong or right is duality human is dealing with all the time …


  8. Dear Andrew

    A thought-provoking new post. I found myself very much in agreement with Geerteke’s insightful take on the whole thing. She made the process sound refreshingly simply – almost ‘child’s play’ if I might put it that way. Well done, Geerteke!

    Thanks, as ever, for creating the beneficial dialogue


    • Thank you Ian – I like your ‘child’s play’ …
      And – yes – horses are like 5-year-olds – the challenge for human is to become a 5-year-old as well when connecting with a horse you could say – however briefly sometimes – Carolyn Resnicks talks about becoming a ‘precocious child’…
      At the same time human should NOT forget a horse is a horse is a horse is a horse .. – strong – agile – beautiful – impressive – an expression of freedom – and deadly sometimes or almost deadly – and all the near accidents that happen around horses – even involving experienced and professional horsemen and –women ..
      Carolyn Resnick talks about the safety aspect in her latest blog – she extra underlines that the Waterhole Rituals are not a safety insurance – human still requires to possess the proper skills when handling horses – sufficient, eventually spiritual, awareness when dealing with these magnificent animals …
      So perhaps it is not all that ‘outrageous’ that – like the “TAO of Pooh” – the “TAO of KFH” is what it is – and the “TAO of Carolyn Resnick” is what it is as well – unique in their own ways ….
      Warmly, Geerteke

      • Hi again G

        Yes, you contextualize ‘child’s play’ with horses. For example, most of us can walk a straight line but may fail to do so when asked to walk a tightrope. Hence, once you are aware of the consequences of things going wrong with horses, it becomes a whole new ‘ball game’. As we know, fear can become a self-fulling prophecy, especially with horses who cue into negativity very effectively. And so we recognize the need for quieting the mind and being able to stay in the moment, which KFH emphasizes in particular, it seems, or the need for your ‘proper skills.’

        So, yes, an excellent and essential point to make:-)

        Horse beams to you


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Ian

      Like you, I relish Geerteke’s input along with that of everyone else. Vicki and I have been following this debate with considerable interest and it has contributed to our own discussions at home and ultimately our own understanding.

      Fond greetings to you and yours.

      Be well!

  9. Gary Whinn says:

    OK Geerteke, here goes with my attempt to explain my thoughts on your answer to my question. As my knowledge and personal experience of both KFH and Carolyn Resnick’s WHR is far more limited than many of the contributors to this blog including yourself Geerteke then my reasoning maybe based on a somewhat incomplete understanding. However, for the sake of stimulating further debate on this subject I would like to offer my view with apologies if I have missed the blatantly obvious. By “thinking out loud” I hope I can improve my own understanding and hopefully stimulate others to explain how they see it.

    If I have understood you correctly Geerteke you are saying that Hempfling does the same as Carolyn Resnick but in a more intense and time condensed fashion? Like a super powered Waterhole Ritual in which all or at least most of the rituals are rolled into one session? I agree that parallels can be drawn between the Waterhole Rituals and the Hempfling way of working with a horse as you so clearly described but I believe there are also differences and my immediate impression is that the element of time (human clock time) and available space for the horse is the most crucial. Many of KFH’s First Encounters (admittedly not all) take place in the confined space of a picadero where the horse is in relatively close proximity to him at all times and he brings about a reaction in the horse within minutes which to my eyes immediately adds an unavoidable pressure element into the proceedings. KFH’s stated aim is to dominate the horse so this is not unreasonable. Whether the horse is disturbed by this will of course depend on its’ personality. (Before somebody points it out I know that in some video clips there is an apparent escape route for the horse into another small area outside the picadero but this is not always the case and it certainly is the case that the procedure does not happen in a wide open field.) The First WHR of Sharing Territory happens, ideally, in a wide open space with no pressure of time and total freedom of choice for the horse. Again, Geerteke I know your experience at Carolyn’s ranch was also in a school but it is significantly larger than a picadero giving plenty of room for the horse to leave the immediate vicinity of the human if it so desires. Besides which I am talking here about “in an ideal world” and as already stated that would be in a large open space – perhaps one’s own field measured in acres rather than metres. In my eyes this is a big difference between KFH and Resnick with regard to the aspect of sharing territory and it is not just one of intensity – it is fundamentally different even in its’ stated aims.

    Now one could argue that as horses “live in the moment” the human can develop the skill to do the same. Practicing grounding exercises, body awareness and spiritual development could enable that person to also “live in the moment” and hence be on the same wavelength as a horse. This should mean that for somebody who is able to do this very well as Hempfling apparently can then human “clock time” ceases to be a factor and both human and horse are able to connect through BEING NOW. I am sure that there is a huge amount of truth in this and I can believe that if everything goes according to plan then this can happen and that is what we witness in those KFH “magical encounters”. However, I personally think there is also an important element of clock time at play, the significance of which does not always get acknowledged and that is the passage of time as we generally understand it. Whilst acknowledging Eckhart Tolle’s assertion that there is no such thing as time outside of the present moment I simply mean, for the sake of illustrating my point, the passage of time as marked by the sun moving across the sky.

    I have observed even in our own small herd that whilst our horses are definitely living in the moment – all the time, every moment – certain aspects of their herd behaviour nevertheless sometimes take place over prolonged periods of time. The relationships between the horses, testing each other’s leadership, making friends, working things out between themselves all take time. What starts out as an inharmonious, constant battle between horses ends up days or even weeks later as a harmonious herd as they “gradually” become used to each other, work things out and understand one another. During those weeks they never stop living in the moment and connecting with each other in that way which we are all seeking to do with our horses. In other words if you put four horses together in a field who have never been with each other before, they don’t instantly work everything out just because they can connect in the moment. That “magical connection” which in horse terms is the perfectly normal connection does not bring about an instant resolution of herd hierarchy. It takes time and in that respect I personally think that Carolyn Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals are a far more realistic way for your average horse owner to learn to connect with horses than KFH’s way which is both difficult and extremely high risk. Why? Quoting a friend’s words here:

    “Hempfling’s approach is, as he states in his book ”What Horses Reveal” that of a “healer”. He seeks to apply his “healing strike” (page 136), which permits the “structural breakthrough” into the structure “leader/follower”. All this process is like a work of art to him: He himself has got to be able to manage this process in its innermost target course. If he misinterprets it, “inner necessity” transforms into “superficial force” right away. If the process fails and therefore doesn’t “solve” anything, there remains only the act of undue forceful invasion!”

    Hempfling puts everything at stake and this high risk strategy can fail. From what I have read in earlier parts of this blog certain horses have indeed “failed to dance with the master” (quoting Andrew)….but that is another story. Carolyn Resnick’s approach is more “human” in that it takes into account the ordinary persons’ failings in a realistic way, you should still practice all those good things that bring you into the Now but you do not have to be perfectly ready before you go in front of a horse. The importance of the “freedom of choice” for the horse lies in its possibility to leave the entire process, to say “no, that is not what I want or what I am”. Hempfling states that he is able “to see the horse” in an instant, to know its personality and its traumas immediately (not sure how true that is) but for Resnick this isn’t necessary, she is able to work with a process of revelation over a much longer period of time. The horse and human can reveal themselves to each other gradually. That may include moments or indeed many moments of connection where the human has achieved that state of groundedness and Being but the entire process can be allowed to take time just as herd dynamics take time. And what is more, every “human-respected horse-no” helps build the relationship and doesn’t ruin it!

    Anyway Geerteke, I think I have ended up at some distance from where I originally started with this train of thought. I don’t know whether I have made sense but I thank you for prompting me to think so hard!
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary.
      You have made me smile 🙂 a smile that contains feelings of sweetness – of contentment – of happiness – of “aaahhh I like this getting to a deeper level” – because that is what it is all about – in the end …

      @@If I have understood you correctly Geerteke you are saying that Hempfling does the same as Carolyn Resnick but in a more intense and time condensed fashion? Like a super powered Waterhole Ritual in which all or at least most of the rituals are rolled into one session?@@

      No, I did not mean it the way you have understood my ‘thing’ 🙂
      I meant to explain that I was in a position to translate KFH’s actions and reactions – after all he was keeping all that (the ‘whys’, the ‘hows’ and the ‘whens’) to himself – and perhaps still is when he tries and convinces his students that working with a horse will ‘happen’ at the end of the course – whichever ‘course’ that may be and whichever ‘end’ that may be ..
      In a way I can understand that he keeps ‘things’ to himself – perhaps for fear of being copied – to me it feels a bit like the dressage followers of Anky’s rollkür in the beginning and still these days – in the hands of inexperienced riders a rollkür position can be devastating for a horse – and many horses have suffered – some have sufferend a lot and still do …
      With which I do not mean to say that I am a supporter/promoter of using the rollkür – far from it – please let that be perfectly clear .. !!

      @@ …which to my eyes immediately adds an unavoidable pressure element into the proceedings@@

      I fully agree here with you – in your eyes – ‘For your eyes only..’ like the title song of a James Bond movie 🙂 – mmmmmmmm – our eyes can sometimes ‘pull our leg’ – and I am not saying that our eyes do that all the time – however, they do a lot of the time – if human could look at ‘things’ from a purely energetic point of view as well you would ‘see/look at’ some ‘things’ differently – get a different point of view ..

      @@.. In my eyes this is a big difference between KFH and Resnick with regard to the aspect of sharing territory and it is not just one of intensity – it is fundamentally different even in its’ stated aims … @@

      ‘Difference in intensity’ – yes – sometimes there is, sometimes there is not – yes there is certainly a difference in the time element – I, like you, give preference to ST in a large field – and yes that takes much longer, but that is perfectly OK for me – and for you too if I understand correctly ..

      Especially if there are more horses in the same field there is an even greater challenge – and one’s own horse has become a member of a large combined herd – it made it more complicated as the caretakers of the other horses wanted nothing to do with the leading from behind for example or companion walking – which was the situation with my gelding Marcello – it meant that focussing on leading Marcello from behind got most of the other horses moving – in walk, in trot and sometimes in canter – even if and when Marcello cantered off and took some horses with him and I kept ‘following’ him in my own pace until I was close enough again to continue with the LFB, comments were that I was ‘chasing’ the other horses and they didnot want their horse(s) to be ‘chased’ …

      Marcello having spent the first 3 years of his life in a large group of stallions before returning home gelded and all, still had this herd behaviour very alive and kicking in his system so he started forming/collecting a group of horses around him – one was an older mare (24 yrs) who resisted – she got bruised a little – her caretakers requested Marcello to be expelled from the herd – after all he was the last one that joined the herd – he had to leave ….

      So in the end Marcello got a smaller field of his own – could still have verbal and less physical contact with the herd members – his energy shifted tremendously and he has chosen to be a horse now that knows I respect his freedom – at the same time he has chosen to accept what has to be done in my world in order for him to be a part of my world – also thanks to the ‘picadero’ work, the work in his (larger than the picadero) field – thanks to what I have been able to observe and internalize in Denmark during KFH’s Pure Practical Performance-days and also thanks to studying KFH’s dvds – also thanks to what I have been told by and the support I have received from Carolyn Resnick – Marcello and I coordinate eachother – he tells me when he feels controlled – if I do not listen to what he tells me I am in trouble – I wish to be a part of his freedom – he is teaching and showing me his freedom – as a result he is teaching me my freedom – and freedom and impatience do not work together – we work collaboratively together – Marcello sets me free – he takes me out of my controlled world – and that is sometimes still a bit scary – for me – from the current sense who I am ….

      I am getting to know him – he is getting to know me – better and better every day – even at a much deeper level ….

      Like the 5-year-old in my response to Ian – even though a 5-year-old gets the time and space to discover and experience life there is also an element of finding one’s place where everything is safe for all concerned…

      @@ .. it is fundamentally different even in its’ stated aims …@@
      I don’t understand what you mean by this ..

      @@.. I don’t know whether I have made sense ..@@
      You have made perfect sense, Gary – no doubt about that – and I totally agree with what you have written – well – except for the very first part where you misinterpreted or misundertsood my explaination re the WHR 🙂 – and that is OK, it keeps the discussion alive you can say …


      After all it was not just some crazy notion of mine when, during one of our nightly conversations during our 8-day stay on Lyoe, Jasmijn and I discussed the possibility of KFH becoming our teacher I very clearly stated “Not for me – this one”……… energetically that just did not feel right …..


  10. Gary Whinn says:

    Dear Geerteke,
    You too make me smile with your idiosyncratic way of expressing yourself! It is very charming. I think we are both in agreement about the positive aspects and wisdom of both Hempfling and Resnick. However, as we both seem to have misunderstood each other in some areas this is an attempt to clarify my thoughts and my understanding of your own.

    @@…I fully agree here with you – in your eyes – ‘For your eyes only..’ like the title song of a James Bond movie – mmmmmmmm – our eyes can sometimes ‘pull our leg’ – and I am not saying that our eyes do that all the time – however, they do a lot of the time – if human could look at ‘things’ from a purely energetic point of view as well you would ‘see/look at’ some ‘things’ differently – get a different point of view ..@@

    Sometimes your politeness can sometimes make it difficult to understand exactly what you really mean to say but I read this as you saying that perhaps my eyes deceive me! Yes, I think I understand that looking at the same scenario from an energetic point of view may reveal a different perspective of what is happening in that moment. However, this line can be read in conjunction with the other line of mine which you did not understand, “it is fundamentally different even in its’ stated aims”

    To save looking back at my original post I will write it again here: “In my eyes this is a big difference between KFH and Resnick with regard to the aspect of sharing territory and it is not just one of intensity – it is fundamentally different even in its’ stated aims”. I will try to explain my understanding of the two stated aims in a different way which will hopefully clarify what I mean.

    If Sharing Territory is chosen as the first step in making a connection between the human and the horse then the circumstances whereby this happens must have a bearing on the emotional level (and/or energetic level) experienced by the horse and human.

    You began -@@ ‘sharing territory’ which starts as soon as the horse enters the picadero – the ´long´ version starts by sitting in a chair for example in the field waiting for the horse to become sufficiently curious and then deciding to explore the chair with its content..@@

    I may of course be wrong but I think the differing effects of these two scenarios could be underestimated. When KFH enters the picadero he knows that somewhere along the line, sooner rather than later, he will dominate the horse before him – in his opinion for the horse’s benefit – as that is his stated aim. However adept he is during the first encounter at “having an aim in mind but then immediately forgetting it” as he puts it, the fact remains that the fundamental basis of his connection with the horse is this requirement to dominate in order to become its’ leader. That can never be ignored. Clearly, Hempfling is highly skilled at lowering his energy, monitoring his breathing and making the horse on most but not all occasions, feel comfortable with his presence in a situation where a less skilled person might immediately put too much pressure on the horse.

    You allude to this when you continue: @@ “And that is what takes place when KFH ‘communicates’ with a horse – most horses do not judge him – I can imagine those horses must be getting a feeling of “aaaaahhhhhhhh he remembers” – and I am sure that when KFH is with a horse he is in a space of openess and completeness – otherwise the horse would know and KFH would be in trouble – especially if he is dealing with a stallion – occasionally he meets a horse though that does judge him – but the horse does not hang on to it for long and soon lets go – I do not know if KFH reacts similar to the horse……”@@

    Granted, I have personally not seen any examples of a horse that judges him but does “not hang onto it for long and soon lets go” but I unreservedly accept this as your personal experience. However, I have also heard about examples, albeit second hand within the pages of this blog, but with no reason to doubt their authenticity that there have been occasions when the intensity of the situation has had a detrimental effect on the horse and it has resisted his attempts at domination and has not capitulated.

    Carolyn Resnick’s stated aim is to allow the horse the freedom of choice and importantly, the time, to choose her as it’s leader. Whatever the dynamics that occur between Hempfling and a horse, however the energy flows between them , I think in the end Hempfling does not allow the horse that freedom of choice – the choice is simply one sided ’you must accept me as your leader,’ or this relationship is over, period. What happens to the horses that do not bend to his will I do not know because of course they do not make it into the edited video clips. That initial difference in approach is to my eyes, (there’s that phrase again!) an important and fundamental difference. That is not to say that I am not mightily impressed by Hempfling when he does his thing because I am. But on both a philosophical and practical level I much prefer that EVERY horse is given the opportunity to connect with a human by choice and if necessary, over a period of (clock) time. It wouldn’t make for an exciting demonstration or video clip but to coin a well known phrase “no horses were harmed in the making of this film.” (Of course in this respect I am referring to psychological harm.)

    Well, I don’t know if that is any clearer Geerteke and maybe I am completely wrong. But it doesn’t matter because I won’t be trying to emulate Hempfling any time soon – there is only one Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and maybe it will always be that way.
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary – have patience with me and I know you will – I have to use the dictionary here and there to get the correct explanation of what some of the words mean – however I think we are on the right track..
      Will be back soon,

  11. Gary Whinn says:

    That’s OK Geerteke – I’m sure your command of English puts my command of Dutch to shame! My lack of skill with foreign languages is legendary among my family and friends though it sometimes gives rise to some amusing moments. One time on holiday in France I practiced and practiced and practiced what I was going to say when I ordered some drinks in a bar. Full of confidence I marched in and proudly asked for two half pounds of beer! Incidentally, I have been enjoying your video of your cone game with Marcello on YouTube – I love the little commentary you have added. I look forward to hearing from you when you get chance.
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary – here I go – I wish to thank Andrew for giving space to our responses back and forth 🙂

      @@that perhaps my eyes deceive me@@

      I meant this in general, not you in particular – I am saying this because my personal experience is that sometimes a horse or an interaction between horse and human or horse and rider looks near to perfect from the outside – when then ‘checking the energy’ of the horse in the first place as I think or at least I wish human to be aware of its responsibility towards horse to guarantee its wellbeing on all levels (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) there more often than not is an energetic disbalance …

      @@he will dominate the horse before him@@

      I am not so sure about this, Gary – it may be verbally expressed this way by KFH – it may look that way from the outside – and perhaps it is the intention of KFH and by the way of many other humans in their own way …

      I am not so sure it is about domination at all – humans interacting with horses seem to have a subconscious wish to get connected with a part in them that is at that moment missing – or perhaps not really missing because it is there all right – but it is missing in human’s awareness and a lot of humans cannot get connected with it – with their true nature you could say – horse is a means for these humans to get connected – it is the form in which the humans interacting with horses seek that connection ….

      @@in his opinion for the horse’s benefit@@

      I wish to change this into ‘for horse and human’s benefit’ – I donot know if KFH is aware of this – and there perhaps is where sometimes the friction, or could it also be called incongruency, occurs when I ‘read’ the energy of any interaction between horse and human and run into disbalance here or there or here and there..

      What I am trying to get across to humans time and again is that there is much more to the interaction between horses and humans than meets the eye – whether one likes a person or not – whether one likes a horse or not – and in my feeling it has a lot to do with ego as well – how many humans are really interested in knowing about their ego – about their ego’s wishes and demands, about its commands, about its manipulations, about its grand illusions, about its good and lifesaving capabilities, about its expressions of love however perhaps not unconditional but certainly well meant …

      I must confess I find it very complicated and difficult sometimes to really get it clear and understood in words what I am trying to tell – sigh – however I trust and wish that in time this will become a reality ..

      @@But on both a philosophical and practical level I much prefer that EVERY horse is given the opportunity to connect with a human by choice and if necessary, over a period of (clock) time@@

      I fully agree with you here – but even, Gary, if a horse is given the opportunity to connect with a human by choice over a period of time, the time the horse wishes to take, still then there is room for discomfort on the horse’s side – and if one is really dedicated to making things better for the horse and especially in the connection between horse and human it is unavoidable to take a look at human as well – with that I mean take a look at the human’s ‘inside’ or its ‘body field’ so to speak – that means that a confrontation may occur – a confrontation of human with itself – that is a subject which amongst still very many humans is not open for discussion as almost every human is convinced of its own best possible intentions – well at least that is my personal experience ..

      I suddenly get the feeling that I am repeating myself – apologies for that – 🙁
      You are not wrong – far from it – you are you and that is OK – discussions that broaden and deepens one’s opinions, views, understandings and insights are always worthwhile …

      I had to smile that you talk about ‘my politeness’ – I had to transform my directness quite a bit to get my point across more effectively with horse people here in Holland …

      I am glad you enjoyed Marcello playing with the cones – he is quite a character – actually born on July 4th – your Day of Independence – he doesnot wish to be controlled and shows me when I do – especially when I am unaware of trying to control him – it helps me to stay in the moment – as I mentioned earlier on this blog ‘horse and human coordinate eachother’ so I have had to explain to him that if he wishes to be part of my world I have to show him my world – that way he gets to know me even more at a deeper level and I get to know him at a deeper level – I sometimes wish he could really talk as I am convinced he would be a very wise ‘mentor’ …

      Take care

  12. Gary Whinn says:

    Thank you very much for your reply Geerteke. Like you I am becoming conscious of the fact that we are perhaps taking up too much space with our exchange of posts so I will at least try to keep this brief. Though I guess others are free to chip in at any time!
    @@I am not so sure about this, Gary..@@ and @@ I am not so sure it is about domination at all …@@

    I refer you to “Dancing with Horses” p.29 – could his opinion be any more clearly expressed? It seems there is no room for doubt. Of course, it is not physical but rather psychological dominance. (See also p.32) In fact this whole chapter, “Communication, Dominance and Trust” is concerned with the subject.

    Of course this book was written a long time ago so maybe KFH has changed his mind in recent years? But no, his belief remains intact: in “The Horse Seeks Me” p.19 he once again reiterates “In the end , togetherness with horses is always a question of trust and dominance.” Maybe Hempfling is completely, 100% correct in this assessment, what do I know? (I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically) I can only go on what I feel and my gut instinct makes me feel that something in his assertion is missing because if it was 100% correct his way of communicating with horses would work 100% of the time. We know that is not always the case as was reportedly the case with Cody for example.

    I empathize with you totally Geerteke in your views on the human ego but we are all subject to that force to a greater or lesser extent. If we were having our discussion as two spiritually enlightened beings from beyond the influence of the need to defend our egos, as described by Eckhart Tolle, how different these posts would be. But here I am, once again defending my point of view, amply demonstrating my ego’s need to be right!

    I have had a quick look at your website http://www.neshealthforhorses.com (I will have the much more in-depth read it deserves asap) and I can see that your way of looking at things is indeed very different. The whole body-field dynamics thing looks really fascinating and clearly informs your view of things to a great extent and I am intrigued to understand it better. Now be honest Geerteke did you not feel just a tiny glow of satisfaction when you read that? That pesky ego again, creeping in almost undetected! Only kidding – I have a feeling you are far less affected than your average person, in fact, scratch that – I can tell your you are very aware of your ego and that you try very hard to keep it in check.

    For the sake of fairness do I think that Carolyn Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals are a “foolproof” way to communicate with horses? I really don’t know, but if Hempfling’s Plan A failed, as it has on occasion, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if he adopted the WHR as Plan B? Now there’s an interesting proposition! Of course it would never happen because that pesky thing ego would never allow it! Even those great human beings who profess to know so much about the detrimental power of the ego are still subject to it! It would be a great experiment though wouldn’t it? An exploration by Hempfling and Resnick of each other’s ideas from an egoless state – what joy! What power of knowledge would be gained…..aaaahh dream on Gary!

    Kindest Regards

    • Gary, if you dream hard enough and then let go for the Universe to decide dreams come true more often than not – it is (y)our ego that prevents (you) us from believing (you) we might be more ‘right’ than (you) we can imagine …:-) 🙂

      And, in fact, I do combine KFH ‘strategy’ with CR’s WHR – if I were you I would really start exploring – I am sure you will be surprised and pleasantly impressed by your own abilities.

      Be well

  13. Gary Whinn says:

    Dear Geerteke,
    Thank you very much for your wisdom and your encouragement – I look forward to being surprised and pleasantly impressed by my own abilities! I have made a start on the WHRs and although I am not there yet I can see that further down the line there will be opportunities to utilize some of Hempfling’s ways such as in the parallel between his “magical lunging” and the WHR “leading from behind” which appears to have similarities – although once again perhaps a difference in intensity. Is this one of the ways in which you combine KFH strategy with CR’s WHRs? You appear to reject Hempfling’s two fundamental pillars, as he calls them, of trust and dominance but you still utilize his strategy. I am sure I will not be the only reader of this blog who will be interested to hear specifically what you mean by “KFH strategy”. Sorry Geerteke, you are probably wondering about the wisdom of getting into such a long discussion but you’ve been contributing to this blog long enough to know that you can not leave a comment like that “hanging” without further explanation!
    Kindest Regards

    • Dear Gary – I had a strong hunch that you were a clever and creative (hu)man 🙂
      🙂 @@although once again perhaps a difference in intensity. Is this one of the ways in which you combine KFH strategy with CR’s WHRs? @@

      @@Noora spent the morning introducing us to the ideas behind her approach, which she stressed was not a theory, philosophy or method but was simply based on universal wisdom.@@ a quote from Andrew’s post
      @@You appear to reject Hempfling’s two fundamental pillars, as he calls them, of trust and dominance but you still utilize his strategy.@@ quote from your response above

      I wish not to reject or embrace anything or anybody – I wish to feel that or if something is just there – I wish to understand what is being presented and expressed no matter who presents or expresses it…
      In the world of energy all is one – all is part of wholeness – I am the other you – you are the other me ..

      A dear friend of mine wrote a small poem – I shall try to put it in English otherwise Andrew who can read Dutch very well might be willing to translate it at a later stage..

      When I was still a drop
      I was separated from the sea
      And very busy being that drop
      Now I know – I am you and me

      And I ALWAYS look at the energy – also the energy of words – sometimes human uses certain words to give a name to something – and amazingly often enough that word does not represent the energy of what human tries to get across…

      And then often unknowingly we humans pick up the vibrations or frequencies that sometimes match however often do not match the words – some humans are more sensitive than others – or perhaps I should say some humans are more aware of their sensitivity than other humans – and that is where often a miscommunication is born…

      Strategy, theory, philosophy, method – these are words that are being given to something for human to try and understand …
      Universal wisdom is also a word given to a ‘knowing’ for human to get a grip on something – and what may that something be – the truth? – a truth? ….
      To then discover that what seemed to be the or a truth has mysteriously changed in let us say 5 years time from now – at the same time realising that many many years ago wise men (funny or perhaps strange, what do you think about that, they are always men) have expressed views that these days still hold ground (I do not know if this is proper English 🙂 )

      My way of looking at the world does not always make it easy – for me – my way of looking at the horses in this world and the humans wishing to connect with these magnificent animals make it sometimes a painful experience being part of this world…

      At the same time I know my energy is shifting – still – my connection with my true nature is becoming more and more visible and feel-able (new English word 🙂 ) and I have the personal experience that Marcello’s attitude is shifting due to that – it is a wonderful experience – not magical – wonderful – when two souls reach out and touch …

      And, Dear Gary, this is my last response on this blog on this subject – if you wish do get in touch again through my mail …

      Take care and be well
      I welcome you