We are two people, a man and a woman in our early fifties who are lovers, spouses, partners and business associates to each other and who have been a variety of these for close to three decades. Horses have been prominent in their presence amongst us during this time and in our separate lives before then. For most of that time we treated them as many horse owners do: we gave them the best possible care we knew to provide and could afford, and we used them to our own ends – mainly dressage and trail riding – with little regard to their demands of us. Where we differed from most other people, is that, when our horses joined us, they did so for life. They became part of the family: ourselves and our animals (horses, dogs and cats but no kids).

By some standards we would have been judged to be enthusiasts. We even travelled the world to attend the World Equestrian Games and the equine events at the Olympic Games. Then in 2007 we discovered Parelli only to abandon his methods soon after when came across Nevzorov and Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. Here was a different way of relating to horses, one which demanded leadership (or dominance – not to be confused with domination – as Hempfling calls it) and trust rather than punishment and reward or predatory mind games. Initially Vicki was intrigued by Nevzorov while Andrew instinctively felt drawn to Hempfling. Both of us got lost.

You can visit the websites, read the books and watch the DVDs but still miss the point. Change could not come from the horses. After all, they know how to be horses, how to walk, trot and canter, and how to collect themselves. We, however – like most people with horses – had forgotten how to be humans. While not as harsh as some, we have had our moments of treating horses in regrettable ways, ways in which we could not even bare to treat a dog. The lesson Hempfling was – and is -asking us to learn as a prerequisite for being the type of creatures whom horses trust and seek for leadership, was to rediscover our humanity, to become authentic human beings again, to learn to live each day as a new beginning, to rediscover the magic of childhood, to become aware of our bodies and to learn the art of dancing with horses.

Clearly, this was going to take some dedication and commitment. In 2010 Vicki attended Compact Schooling I and II, and Pure Practical Performance (PPP) with Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling at his Akedah International centre on the island of Lyö in southern Denmark. She returned with promises of new beginnings and Andrew promptly enrolled with Akedah for a 2011 course that had yet to be announced.

The announcement came in the final quarter of 2010, when Klaus invited 12 people to join him for a year in an ‘island-mountain education’ programme starting in 2011. We had reached a point in our lives where we had concluded that we required a drastic change from our everyday routine. Yet the thought of closing down a successful business in Australia to isolate ourselves from society in a home to be shared with 10 other people of varying ages and nationalities on a small, remote island on the other side of the world in order to attend a ridiculously expensive educational programme run by an unusual man of roughly the same age who has been touted by some as the greatest horseman alive and brushed off by others as a narcissistic pretender, was sheer madness. The realisation that we were seriously considering it seemed to confirm its onset.

At the end of November 2010 we hosted a Hempfling body awareness weekend which was largely a reunion of many who had attended Klaus’ compact schooling courses earlier in the year. By the end of that weekend, as the last car drove out, we had made our decision. We had descended into insanity by all rational standards.

We will be relinquishing the daily grind for a year to undergo what we believe will be a life-changing experience. Acutely conscious of this, we have decided to devote ourselves exclusively to this experience to the point where we refuse to plan a future that is to follow it. Any future will be born of that experience.

This blog has been set up to record our reflections on and in relation to this experience both in the lead-up to it and during the experience itself. In particular, we will be seeking:

  • to keep our family, friends and anyone else who is interested up-to-date with our progress;
  • to learn how to become the kind of human that a horse can trust and look to for leadership without the aid of force or mind games;
  • by doing this to become conscious human beings who are not ruled by regrets or fears;
  • to learn whether we are capable of doing this.

Vicki and I will be posting our own reflections independently of each other but will do so through the same blog. We welcome all feedback and will try and respond to all questions that are presented to us.

In the meantime here is one of the most powerful parts of the DVD, Dancing with Horses, which Klaus has released as a YouTube clip. Rediscover the human!

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