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Horsing Around

Anaïs and Pip

Anaïs and Pip

There are times when you may horse around with friends just for the fun of it and you may have a good time. Then there are times when you may embark on a course of interaction with another creature motivated by the noblest of intentions, yet with hindsight you may feel that you only ended up horsing around. Alternatively, you may not have such hindsight and simply end up horsing around without knowing it.

The free online Oxford Dictionary defines ‘horse around’ as ‘fool about’ as in if you are fooling about with someone, you are horsing around with him. Presumably, the phrase has its origins in the tendency of some horses to frolic, charge around and play with each other. In conventional human terms they are ‘having fun’. A New Age interpretation might have them ‘celebrating being’. So what are we humans doing with our horses when we interact with them?


Horsing around with Pip

As you might expect, I spent much of April bonding with and caring for my new horse, Pip. The first thing I did after just spending a bit of time with her was trim her hooves. She had last been trimmed by a farrier about 10 days before. Pip’s right forehoof was the worst. She had separation running down the outer wall and the bars, left to grow unchecked, had folded over and started growing into the sole. All of the heels and walls had been left far too long, with the result that her soles were flaky because they had been underutilised and the frogs were relatively underdeveloped. Fortunately, compensation may be found in the fact that she has strong hooves despite that neglect.

Connecting with Pip

Connecting with Pip

In addition to trimming her hooves, I also had to find rugs for Pip. Trying to obtain neck and body combination rugs from Dutch shops has proved to be very difficult, as the Dutch normally suffice with body rugs and leave the neck uncovered. This left me trying to order foreign (usually British) rugs through Dutch shops. To date all have claimed the ability to supply but have been unable to deliver. It looks as though I may have to order directly from the UK.

By far the most challenging aspect I had expected was the need for me to be the type of human in whom Pip sees both a trustworthy friend and a reliable leader. And initially it was, as she made it very clear that I was ‘not enough’. It took about 10 days before she was totally at rest with me in the manège. It took a little over three weeks before she allowed me to approach her while grazing in the paddock with the rest of her little herd without walking away. And it took about three and a half weeks before she approached me of her own accord in the same situation. Although Pip seeks and appears to enjoy contact with me now, there are still moments when she feels insecure and experiences anxiety. This still occurs initially when I take her for walks on her own or after all of the horses except her and Anaïs are taken into the stable halfway through the day, although I suspect that the agitation which she experiences in the latter situation may partly be due to the increase in flying insects as the weather becomes warmer. Pip has such a thin coat that she is very sensitive to any flying creature that settles on her.

Trying to find my way towards a form of interaction with Pip which would prove to be both enjoyable and beneficial to her has also posed a challenge. On the whole I am allowing myself to be guided by my instincts in terms of both the ideas I cobble together for each session and the extent to which I depart from them as the immediate circumstances dictate. Until Pip joined our family, her interaction with her human during the preceding year had been confined to grooming, being ridden on a bit in the form of outrides a number of times a week, a non-stop, one-hour dressage lesson once a week, and free jumping every now and then. Ground work was only something which Vicki introduced her to several months beforehand. Consequently, I am aware that Pip’s muscle condition has diminished somewhat since my decision to eliminate riding until we establish our relationship on the ground and she is able to carry herself in collection. Yet I am not overly concerned by this, as I am reminded of Pignon’s remark in Galloping to Freedom to the effect that one of the first things that he and Delgado often have to do after acquiring a conventionally trained horse is to allow the short muscles that have been developed to diminish before they can help the horse to start building the long muscles that are conducive to calm, collected work.

As I focus on developing a form of interaction with Pip which is both pleasant and conducive to her overall wellbeing, I find myself drawing on an array of increasingly varied activities, albeit with a certain amount of concentrated repetition in areas in which I believe it is necessary for the same purpose. In the past month these activities have included walk, trot and halt in hand, limited cavalletti work, games, lungeing at liberty and on a lead rope, free jumping, grooming, stretching and suppling exercises, hanging out together in the paddock and numerous walks together with Vicki and Anaïs or on our own. And on the odd occasion we even just horse around together, although she is not entirely sure about this. For some reason or another Pip used to act as though she constantly needed to move when with a human. In extreme cases she used to break into a fast trot or canter and go on autopilot usually, I suspect, because she felt so pressurised. I experienced this once with her during the first ten days, when I also asked too much while doing cavalletti work with her. Since then I have not. Helping her to calm down was a challenge. Letting go to stand still with me and just be, was obviously a new experience for Pip, as she found it difficult to do nothing but breathe, relax and enjoy the moment when with a human. Increasingly now, she allows me to share those moments with her and their magic is moving.

Here my focus is primarily on connecting and communicating with Pip, as opposed to doing any training with her. I am experimenting with various techniques, such as the use of the wand to support the inside hindleg. After viewing this video I have some idea of what is working and what is not. Perhaps you do too. If so, your suggestions are welcome.

As I approach the end of my first month with Pip, I feel that we have begun to connect and communicate with each other. Although still frequently insecure, she clearly trusts me and has accepted me as a friend and a leader. Yet I am acutely aware that we still have a long way to go. You cannot break down the effects of 15 years of conventional training in a month. To compound it, I have no experience of helping a horse to learn how to carry itself in balance. I feel as though I am making it up as I go by trying out various techniques and activities culled from a variety of sources and allowing Pip to let me know which ones are working and which ones we need to ditch. Still, as my first month with Pip draws to a close, I have the feeling that we are closer to her allowing me to ride her than I would have imagined possible. I have received the leather device that I ordered which will convert her bridle into a bitless affair. Pip will never be forced to have a bit in her mouth again, as far as I am concerned. In fact she will never be forced to do anything again. I shall ask, I shall plead but ultimately I shall be guided by her. And this extends to all aspects of our interaction together, especially to the extent that she finds it possible to relax with me and even at moments to allow us to just horse around together.


Spiritual interaction or just horsing around?

A special friend in South Africa and reader of this blog has recently sent me an email asking me what I think and feel when I view Hempfling’s latest YouTube video, as she is utterly mystified by it. Entitled Hempfling and THE BLACK STALLION and published through Hempfling’s KFHInt channel on 22 April 2012, it shows him interacting with Habanero, a stallion belonging to his senior body awareness coach, Jo Ross. While Hempfling moves a TaiChi-type pole in what are presumably supposed to be meaningful ways, the black stallion prances around him in playful abandon, literally horsing around, albeit not with the human closest to him.

A similar but somewhat longer video entitled Hempfling – Into The Wild; Horse And Man and utilising a fair amount of the same footage was published through Hempfling’s nature2promotion YouTube channel on 18 April 2012. Both videos rely for their audio content entirely on New Age music and both celebrate New Age themes allied to nature and the symbolism of the horse. In addition, both claim that the black horse, ‘Habenero is a stallion in the one-year schooling’. What neither tells you is that the ‘one-year schooling’ was suspended for three months at the beginning of April after just seven months. Whether it will resume or not remains to be seen.

Both videos also display a text claiming that ‘Klaus achieves the [sic] intensive contact with the [sic] horses by seeking their authentic nature and living with them truly in accordance with their spirit’. Presumably, this also includes putting metal on their hooves and keeping them in stables as he reportedly (by numerous sources) insists on in his courses.

Yet there are also important differences between the two videos. The longer video focuses more on nature and the potential for discovering it within you. In it Hempfling also proclaims what I readily acknowledge to be his greatest strength in helping humans find a new way of being with horses. Towards the end this video displays the following statement:

For Klaus the [sic] being with horses begins long before the first encounter with them. He says one should not view the horses and the world through the narrow window of personal intellectual perception but through an ever expanding consciousness. ‘It is less being with horses that I teach, than the celebration of the path toward them.’

And what is this greatest strength that I refer to? It is not Hempfling’s teachings during his compact schooling or one-year schooling courses or even what he explains and depicts in his books and videos but rather the example he provides through a number of his YouTube videos and his book, The Horse Seeks Me, of the kind of human you can become in whom a horse will recognise a trustworthy friend and leader.

The shorter video takes a different tack. It ends with the black stallion at rest and grazing peacefully besides Hempfling and then following him when he walks away. The message is clear. The horse who has been horsing around for most of the video seeks Hempfling and comes to rest through him. The video itself ends with an invitation to watch a ‘continuation of this work’ in the form of a video entitled When the Horse Seeks Us, whose audio content also relies entirely on New Age musci. What follows if you choose to accept this invitation is not a continuation of that work but rather a rehash of a video featuring the Lippizaner stallion Ferdinand, which was supposedly first published on 8 April 2012 and which claims in the text below the video that this was ‘after 15 weeks of training’. How is this possible? It was in May 2011 (almost immediately after it had been published) that I first saw the initial release of this video  on YouTube, which made the same claim, yet Hempfling had already been working with Ferdinand during his Pure Practical Performance demonstration on the island of Lyø, which Vicki attended, in September 2010 and that was not the first time. 15 weeks?!??!

This is not to downgrade the video featuring Ferdinand. In its own right it is one of the most beautiful displays of interaction between horse and human that I have ever seen. However, it should be borne in mind that this video is actively promoted on YouTube. This is to say that it is an advertised video which is displayed at the top of the list of videos returned after certain types of searches. The user, in this case Hempfling, pays YouTube to advertise the video. And there is a sound reason for this. The video is in turn an advertisement for Hempfling’s compact schooling and one-year schooling courses (EUR 6300.00 and EUR 96000.00 respectively), and his books and videos. In itself there is nothing wrong about this. But why, you may ask, does such a beautiful video, which is so heavily promoted on the largest video forum on the internet, contain such a blatantly dubious claim and why does it have to be introduced by an equally dubious one?

Which brings us back to the video that has so mystified my South African friend. What is it about? What is its message? What should we be getting? Anything? Or is it just a case of horsing around? Perhaps you have some ideas. If you do, please feel free to share them with the rest of us. And while you are at it, why not ask the same questions about the following video?

13 Responses to “Horsing Around”

  1. Norbert says:

    … at first sight it seems obvious what people want of Klaus F. Hempfling … but what does Klaus F. Hempfling want of his followers/students (apart from their money) … ? That is the question to be answered in these articles …


    • Andrew says:

      Dear Norbet

      Methinks that is a question which is best answered not here but by anyone contemplating a sojourn in Hempfling’s Akedah School.

      Be well!

      • Norbert says:

        That´s fine with me. I didn´t expect you to discuss the matter here in detail. I wanted to give you a hint, that´s all.

  2. Dear Norbert, could it be that KFH wants ‘unconditional trust’ from his followers/students??
    Like the horses that become mesmerised when KFH interacts with him.
    The human ego might be the grand obstacle that prevents that from happening in the end. On both sides.

  3. Dear Andrew,

    I have chosen not to respond to KFH’s clips as you suggest. I had already watched them as a have a subsciption to KFH’s channel. The only big question mark that appeared when watching Habanero was that I wonder how Jo Ross is going to continue once she has returned to Autralia and Habanero will have to do without KFH’s influence. I have a feeling there. It is for Ms Ross to find out.

    I would like to respond to your clip with Pip though. I like you calling your stick your ‘wand’. Like the ‘magic wand’. Hocus pocus pilatus pas, ik wou dat Pip helemaal okay was. That would be wonderful if that could be the case, wouldn’t it. Give me a wand like that,please
    I am joking a bit Andrew.
    Pip looks content. Feels happy. Your hips are swinging like hers. Nice!!

    Be well,

    I watched the clip on this now sunny sunday almost afternoon. It is 12.41 hrs
    The music is well chosen. My ear sticks to it like glue.
    The chestnut Arab with its head high. It looks like a proud atttitude. At the same time when a horse carries its head in that position the adrenaline flows through the animal’s body like a quick flowing river. On another occasion the horse follows KFH with its head really low. At that moment there is relaxation.
    If the clip has commercial purposes or is supposed to impress it will definitely do so more with a horse carrying its head high.
    Now — previously I have looked at the horse’s energy and ‘commented’ about that as far as I am given space and time by my Guides to do so.
    At this moment I am taking the liberty to take a look at KFH’s energy field. After all if you expose yourself in such a way there is always the possibility of course that someone somewhere some place will take a look at YOU, KFH, as well.

    However I am not a person who uses it’s ability to prove something. Either positively or negatively. My sole interest is the wellbeing of human and animal (HUMANIMAL HOLISTIC COACHING) and their interaction. The cross species bond(ing).
    I will write down below some keywords that might be interesting.
    – grounding
    – emotional turbulence
    – aura layers
    – beliefs

    I have the feeling that KFH (in the clip) could be better, more sufficiently grounded. Why ísn’t he grounded? That is a good question. It could be because he prefers to stay in the ‘other world’ rather than in ‘ this, present, world’. Could that then also be the reason why he finds it diffIcult to deal with the humans that inhabIt ‘ this, present world’. Because he really can’t be bothered with their pettiness; with their feelings (perhaps subconsciously) of jealousy. However, reality is that KFH also lives in this, present world’. He has chosen to be born in this world. He might not have liked it once he was being born. He might have had huge question marks as to why he had made that decision at the time, when still being a bubble of pure energy. A soul floating around busy trying to find womb that could and would give him the opportunity to find a body to house his soul. And give him the opportunity to increase his awareness by experiencing all the situations he was going to meet.
    Or perhaps serve as the eye opener for many people. And the horse apeared to be THE animal that was going to support him on his mission.

    The fact that he perhaps has difficulty with being or getting grounded will cause in the end disharmony. CHAOS. The chaos he is talking about all the time. Perhaps he is talking about his own inner chaos without realising.

    Emotional turbulence creates chaos and chaos creates emotional turbulence.
    Emotional turbulence can be the root cause of chaotic internal and external communication

    The most outside layer of his aura field seems the most out of balance. Please note that this statement can refer to the way KFH experienced his inner feelings during the shooting of the clip. However, it can just as well be his inner feeling right at this moment when I am writing this down. Of course I could check; I have decided not to check. Why? I don’t know. It is just a feeling.
    The most outside layer of the aura is the layer that contains so-called spiritual information. At least the way I ‘look at the aura layers’. Someone else might have a different way of looking at the aura layers. Or might not look at layers at all, but at the aura as a whole. Whichever way is okay.
    There seems a ‘disturbance’ on the outside of his aura. This ‘disturbance’ seems to have a spiritual cause. The disturbance or chaos can have effect on his physical wellbeing. Not meaning that he has fallen ill. Of course that can be the case. But it could also cause a feeling of (physical) discomfort. Its origin coming from within. Very, very deep within. Far beyond the existence of sub atoms. Looking at it from the other side one could say far far away. Way beyond the galaxy.
    KFH seems to find it hard to talk about these subjects.
    He sometimes longs for a person to talk to. At the same time he is ‘hard on himself’. He has to solve this ‘problem’ himself. After all has he not done that all his life. Solve his own ‘problems’. And the horses have helped him. And they still are supporting him. Is that perhaps the reason why he prefers working with stallions. At least that is the impression a bystander gets. The stallion needs HIM. They act as his ‘therapist’.
    Perhaps that is also why he is so dedicated to them. KFH loves all horses, big and small, male and female and in between. But he likes the stallions most. I think.

    There are a number of beliefs, I have the feeling, that play an important part in KFH’s life.
    – I am not good enough. He doesn’t have this belief all the time, but he has his moments of inner doubt. Which is good. It puts everything again in persective and brings back one’s ego to normal proportions.
    – Am I worth it.
    – Finding it difficult to be who he is. He needs the horses to prove who he is.
    – Experiencing reluctancy to be open and vulnerable. Which is understandable after having been criticized so much in the past.

    Of course, one can argue that KFH knows by now. He is an adult human being. And I am sure he does. However, at the same time he still is human. And I am convinced he is a loving human. Having lost most of the knowledge or wisdom of the soul. Or not really lost as the wisdom is still there. But perhaps covered by layers of illusions. And some of these layers of illusions are nice and beautifully shiny as long as they haven’t start showing cracks. Which at some point they will. By their own or by force from the outside.
    Having found a place to live on a small island.
    Are we not all in search of who we really are. And perhaps we also have found a companion in the horse. The horse that will lead us a long way. Perhaps all the way. The horse that will carry us when we get to tired.
    Although I am not at all religious I remember the story of the (wo)man that walked along the beach. The sea coming and going with the tides. The (wo)man feeling kind of desperate. Calling out to God. Blaming Him for not being there when most needed.
    And God asking the (wo)man “Have you seen the imprints of the two feet”. The (wo)man says “Yes, where are you?”And God replies “I am here by your side. That is me carrying you”.
    Like God perhaps the HORSE

  5. Cont

    is meant to carry us. In a litteral AND figurative manner.
    And perhaps that is why KFH is involved in the road that is being travelled more than getting people learn his ways of ‘training/connecting magically’.

    Today is a Sunday. Perhaps that’s why the above flowed out of my fingers onto the keyboard onto the screen into the blog.

    Love & Light

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Geerteke

      For someone who was not planning to comment on any of KFH’s videos, you have done a remarkable job on The Zen Horse, although I must confess that it seemed to me to be more about the human than the horse. Still, you have managed to come up with all of that from a clip lasting but a few minutes. I am in awe.

      Would you hazard a comment on The Black Stallion? That is the one which has so intrigued my South African friend.

      Be well!

  6. Dear Andrew,
    Would I hazard a comment on THE BLACK STALLION, you ask. Do you think it will be a hazardous undertaking? Well, I have decided to be a bit more daring. Life is short after all. And it can be very inspiring to get out of one’s comfort zone. By doing so one enlarges one’s comfort zone. Don’t you think?

    I would very much like to hear from you though what is so mystifying to your South African friend. Perhaps she/he has asked you a number of questions. Would it be okay with you to pass these questions on to me. It would make it a bit easier for me. You would otherwise get a similar story about the man’s and the horse’s energy. Which I did in fact do superficially getting the feeling that the horse is happy some moments and unhappy other moments. Perhaps leaning to a feeling of despair in his unhappy moments. I did not go into detail so I can’t tell you (yet) what triggers the feeling of despair.

    So again. Perhaps if it is okay with you I would like to get more detail on the reason behind being mystified. And what do you think and feel!!?
    Be well,

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Geerteke

      Naturally I cannot quote from private correspondence but essentially my friend felt mystified by The Black Stallion clip, because she is not sure what to think of it and does not quite get its message. She fails to see what the message is and what Hempfling is doing with the stick. In addition, the text of the other version of this video is also vague.

      Perhaps you can help all of us understand it, as you seem to be quite gifted in this respect.

      What I think and feel about the video could be coloured too emphatically by my exceedingly negative experience of the human, so I think it best to decline to answer that question in the interests of those of our readers who have not had a similar experience and who are simply trying to understand his videos.

      Hope you understand.

      Be well!

      • Dear Andrew,
        I have chosen to respond in a different manner than you would probably expect. Of course in a second instance I shall respond to the clip as you have asked me to and try and find the message your friend and perhaps also you yourself are unable to detect
        If there is any message.
        Perhaps there is no message at all. But we shall see.

        However at first, I feel honoured to be able to respond in a different manner as I have a strong feeling and perhaps the reason being that I find it sad that your, though very understable, ‘exceedingly negative experience of the human’ may obstruct your views with regard to really picking up things that could be of help to you increasing your personal awareness.
        Please also be convinced that although I may sound ‘blunt’ here and there I do not mean to be blunt. It is just that my English vocabulary is restricted.

        I invite you to give me feedback.
        Or if you prefer to leave it and not comment at all. That is also perfect.
        The choice is yours.
        I can imagine that you and Vicky had different ideas when starting this blog. It was meant to communicate with the world and let the world know about your experiences on Lyoe during the one-year schooling period with KFH. Well, at least that is my impression. If I am wrong I apologize.
        What I am trying to get clear is that sometimes a plan is being born and then after a while, short or long, starts to evolve into something completely different.
        Perhaps in a way that really draws your attention and triggers a feeling of happiness and expectation. Perhaps in a way that makes one’s stomach turn.
        Again I love feedback.

        In this case I have decided to consult the so-called AKASHA CHRONICLES. The AKASHA CHRONICLES can be seen as a library. A cosmic library where Past, Present and Future are being stored. The AKASHA CHRONICLES can be consulted by those who have (developed) the ability to interpret the somewhat oracle-like texts that are presented.

        As an introduction I shall say the following.
        During your conversations with KFH you mirrored a part to KFH respresenting a part that he is afraid of dealing with. He still finds difficult to lovingly accept.
        KFH on his part mirrored an aspect of your personality that you still have difficulty with looking at in a very loving way.
        Both of you have entered the horse world in order to have at least some creature that wears no mask to mirror you. Knowing that the animal will not have any ulterior motive.
        Of course you can then ask “But what about the financial side of all this that started it all?” You are dead right. What about that. How about that.
        Please accept that something has to work as THE TRIGGER.
        And perhaps money was or still is an important subject in both your lives. And perhaps money is by both of you not yet altogether looked at as a flow of energy. Perhaps there are beliefs and illusions that cloud your vision.
        But there again.You are not alone in this.There are millions of people running into something that might cloud their visions once in a while. And that is okay. It makes life worthwhile living if one has made the choice to look at life that way.


        And that is exactly what I am right now. I am completely unattached to the outcome. Please be and remain convinced that I am not trying to teach you anything. You yourself are your greatest teacher.

        So I am putting the following question to the AKASHA CHRONICLES.

        What is the situation regarding Andrew’s ‘exceedingly negative experience with the human KFH’?

        Two answers/reactions present themselves.



        This is interesting, Andrew, as I am convinced that you did not start this whole undertaking with dubious motives. You were genuine and you still are. Or at least you try to be. But something has gone ‘wrong’. And you were faced with a tremendous challenge. Can you look at it that way? That is the question.
        It can also mean that the group on Lyoe has a ‘snobbish’ tendency. Although those involved might not agree at all.
        I have the feeling that in due course another explanation to this answer/reaction will start surfacing.


        The uniqueness, the differing, the non-conformistic refers to KFH. At the same time it refers to you. It was a very unique, non-conformistic decision to leave behind your life in Australia. To embark on a journey you had no idea of where it would and could lead you.
        KFH is as unique as you are. As different as you are. As non-conformistic as you are. Or to put it the other way around.
        You are as unique, as different and as non-conformistic as KFH is
        The question there is “did you both recognize that?”. Perhaps subconsciously you did. And, MAN, did it frighten/scare both of you.

        Then after the ‘exceedingly negative experience’ you had with KFH you can join the club that has had similar experiences. The question there is if you then would stimulate further development as you would stay hooked to a negative flow of energy. Negative energy doesn’t flow. Or if it does it flows veeeeeery slowly, it will stop flowing now and then and will start to stink in the end.

        OR you can chose to join the club that represents the common interest of stimulating inner freedom. I am convinced that is KFH’s goal as well.
        However, has he found HIS inner freedom yet. I take the liberty to say “no”. He is on his way. And he still has a long way to go. He still has a lot of chaos to unravel as I mentioned in my previous response. But that doesn’t mean he has to be judged.
        If we decide to judge someone it tells us more something about ourselves.
        Of course we don’t have to agree or accept someone’s actions. But that doesn’t mean we have to judge the person.


        We all are longing for ‘inner freedom’. Any exceedingly negative experience makes it impossible for inner freedom to exist. If we chose to give that negative experience power.
        I am so grateful to you,Andrew, for bringing the book Empowered Horses by Imke Spilker to my attention.
        On page 53 Imke Spilker has written the following.
        Actually I have passed it on to all the Carolyn Resnick students I met during the Beyond the Waterhole Rituals clinic in December 2011. They all love it and resonate with it.

        Our inner attitude is a decisive factor in our relationship with horses. Do we give them inner space instead of assaulting them with demands? Do we make room in our hearts for them? Or do we use them to satisfy our hunger for freedom as we concernedly live out our dreams on their backs? He who wants to create space for horses despite his own constant human presence needs to first have freedom within himself. Freedom for horses begins in us. Instead of blocking their way, making them yield, driving and stopping them, instead of wanting to constantly and in every conceivable way manipulate them, we must open a ‘feeling’ place within ourselves for them. The airier and more boundless this inner space is the more joyful and winged the horses become in our presence UNQUOTE

        You have Imke’s book, Andrew. So be a good boy (:D, joke) and look it up on page 53 and read the rest of this paragraph. It is so precious.

        OK I shall leave it at this.
        It has become quite some story already.