The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 10:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
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Location: Estonia
Hi!
I'm thinking of going to K.F Hempfling's seminar in September to Denmark. Has any of you attended his seminar before? It is a lot of money and far away from Estonia, so I must think ten times before I book it. In his website (http://www.hempfling.com/) it can be seen that his this year's course consists of seven seminars and I was thinking that art of lunging might be something practical and useful to me (I definitely do not have so much money to attend all five - we Estonians are not exactly wealthy ones :lol:). I have never attended any workshop or seminars, but Hempfling's books and videos have touched me so much that I would like to see him working. And I would like to see Denmark more - visited it once and what a beautiful country it is :wink:. Can anyone who is more familiar with Hempfling's work and seminars help me on this issue?

Anneli


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 3:39 pm 
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Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
I would love to go to, but I think it is very expensive. I know that my body-control is not good enough for what he wants to do, I have planned to work on myself and then when I feel I'm ready I'll go to some of his seminars, I do think it would be wonderful to talk to him and see him at work!
If you can I think it's great to go!


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 6:54 pm 
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Ooooh! I'm sooo jealous! We hardly ever get such "good stuff" here in Darkest Africa! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:49 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:28 am
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I would love to go, too. Barbara, I would think he would work with limitations. I would think, he would have too. I would email him and find out, just explain your limits and see if he can work with you.

I know when I talk to people and show them, some are capable and some aren't and I do have to modify it. It's no big deal and the horses still respond to the difference. It's quite interesting.

April

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:10 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Estonia
I was preparing myself for Hempfling's seminar and reading his books. The question that came in my mind was about the healing that Hempfling is talking about in his book "What Horses Reveal". He says that it happens shortly after he meets horse and this "have a patience and your horse becomes to trust you" is a very wrong approach.
I actually couldn't understand it, because as far as I have red from this forum - everyone is taking lot of time to get to know their horse and show the horse that horse can trust his human. So I would love to start discussion about this subject - can relationship and trust happen between a human and a horse suddenly or do we need time and patience for building it?

My own example is Pepper. When she came to me she didn't let anyone to touch all over her body and head. She became nervous and wanted to bite every time someone touched her belly or flanks or withers or wherever over her body. Now, the area of her head has still remained delicate, but I can touch her all over her body and my little brother spends lot of time hugging this ex-dressage-competition-horse :wink:. That needed time. Or is Pepper still not healed?? :roll:

Would love to here your opinion about the subject.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:40 am 
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Oh, that´s interesting! Can you elaborate a bit more what he wrote in that part of the book? Didn´t he like the time factor or the attention some people give to building trust and developing a relationship?

I also have some problems with the latter. This ever so careful patience and focus on the relationship... I prefer just doing things together with my horses. Activity, challenges, fun, exploring, gathering cherries or just having an afternoon nap together on the pasture. Actually I almost never have the relationship im mind when I am together with my horses. It´s not one of my goals to have a good relationship. That just happens anyway when we do things that we both/all three like and when we all behave in a way that lets the other one benefit from the interaction and when we love each other.

And trust... some months ago I started a topic here about the concept of trust, because I was asking myself what that really was, but as I was writing it down I realized that it became much too philosophical and that I couldn´t express my thoughts as clearly as I would wish to, so I deleted the topic again after ten minutes or so. :lol:

About the time factor: I think that many people overemphasize the quantity aspect in the development of relationships at the cost of the quality aspect. We tend to think about the relationship becoming deeper, the trust growing, the insecurity and confusion decreasing. But what about the change in quality? Maybe more important or at least equally important to all this becoming more/less is the other aspect: becoming different. Do I really have one relationship with my horses that gets better over time or do I have many relationships, changing over time and situations? Is it more/less worthy what we have together now than what we had five years ago or what we will have in five years? Or is it just different?

This differentiation might seem to be overtheorizing at first glance, but for me it has a very practical consequence: how much do I have to crave for development or achievement of more, more, more or can I just take it easy and live in the moment, knowing that tomorrow will bring new aspects, but that today is as much worthy as any other day that is yet to come.

Just some random thoughts by someoe who is supposed to work on that sunny Sunday. :)

By the way, if you really want to know what Hempfling himself meant by that: he and his correspondent have offered us to ask him questions and put his answers to our forum: akedah@mail.dk


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Can you elaborate a bit more what he wrote in that part of the book? Didn´t he like the time factor or the attention some people give to building trust and developing a relationship?

He says in his book: "I know without doubt that if I cannot establish a clear contact to a horse in a few minutes the he will not come around even after days, months, or years - no matter what I do." His idea is that when he meets a horse first time, healing takes place in few minutes and after that his relationship with a horse is so clear and full of trust that horse always follows him and he can do with the horse whatever he wants (but a saddle blanket on horse's head, saddle him up) and horse stays with him. He also says that this healing process is necessary to almost every horse in the world - they are no matter how well treated all hurt.

I am quite confused with his teaching, cause as far as I know, I haven't seen a human who can approach a strange horse and do whatever he wants with that horse (I do not mean bad things, but only scary things for a horse, for instance putting a plastic bag on his body). As far as I know, you start a relationship with your horse, he becomes to know you better and understands that your intentions are always good and only after that he realizes that if you, his human, are not afraid of that plastic bag, then he, your horse, shouldn't been either. But maybe I am all wrong and maybe I am "she who does not perceive that which is essential after 30 pages will not perceive it after 300" (quotation from Hempfling's book).

Quote:
By the way, if you really want to know what Hempfling himself meant by that: he and his correspondent have offered us to ask him questions and put his answers to our forum: akedah@mail.dk

I will put all my questions down and ask them directly from him in seminar. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:25 pm 
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Okay, now I understand. ;)

I can´t comment on that, because I don´t know Hempfling´s methods well enough to know what exactly he is doing. In my opinion, several of thoses people who make a horse save to handle/accept scary objects/carry a rider within seconds only tell you half of the story. They speak about building trust and I am sure that this is a big part of what is going on, even if it was only because the horse learned about the consequences of his behaviour. But another part is that most of them are extremely effective in using pressure/release, physical as well as mental.

Take Monty Roberts as an example. In his first book he wrote a lot about how join-up was a wonderful tool for building trust between him and the horse and that after some minutes of being chased away the horses let him do anything, because they trusted him completely. Hm, my interpretation of what is going on in a join-up session is a bit different. ;)

(Although I also believe that there is more going on than just showing the animal that he has no choice - several years ago I have tried a version of it with cows on an open pasture and in slow-motion walk, so they had every choice to escape and still it worked.)

I would love to see those immediate-trust-building trainers working with a horse at liberty on a big pasture and then see if they can still put plasic bags on a scared horse´s head after some minutes. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:01 pm 
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Quote:
He says that it happens shortly after he meets horse and this "have a patience and your horse becomes to trust you" is a very wrong approach.
I actually couldn't understand it, because as far as I have red from this forum - everyone is taking lot of time to get to know their horse and show the horse that horse can trust his human. So I would love to start discussion about this subject - can relationship and trust happen between a human and a horse suddenly or do we need time and patience for building it?


What you have to understand is that Hempfling is a master of body language. Body language IS the language of the horse. If one comes to learn what each nuance in our stance, our focus, the tilt of the head, the placement of the arms and shoulders, all means to the horse in general (and we can speak generally as most horses read the signals similarly) then we have a clearer and more immediate path to their trust. The reason is that trust is built upon understanding. Once a horse can understand us, they can trust our actions if we are consistent. Consitency comes from practicing until it is second nature.

I'm a long way from this. I hope to get better.

But the point is, for Klaus himself, I have no doubt that it can happen in seconds or minutes. His method of getting the horse's attention is a key, because if the horse is focused on him, he will see sooner that Klaus speaks the truth with his body language. His body emotes (is that the right word?) what his mind is thinking.

This isn't as easy for so many of us mere mortals :lol: because we do not have the self control to completely drop energy from our bodies as a pressure release signal. Klaus DOES work with pressure/release, but he does so with such incredible subtleness that most people can't see it...but for the horse, that relies on subtle body language for communication, it is clear as a bell. And very quickly Klaus can win the trust of a horse.

Personally, I do not equate this initial trust with a deep bond that must be developed over time, because I really think that proof of consistency in our intention OVER TIME is needed for more diffucult horses. Even for Klaus.

So again, for all of us that are more ordinary in our journey...those of us still learning by trial, error, success and observation (those of us who don't have Klaus next door to help us learn directly) then time is essential for us to figure out HOW to win the trust, and then even more time to build the deeper bond.

So for those who are willing to take the time to learn what is right for a particular horse, then taking a long time to build the relationship is the RIGHT thing to do. So in that regard I disagree with Klaus (or the translation of what he said) that it needs only to take a few minutes.

It only needs a few minutes for HIM...but for us, we naturally need more time.

I have been told that my success with Tam (who didn't have any emotional issues at all, other than being a naturally sensitive horse) is due to the fact that I took all the time that he needed to accept the pressure of training...and even if we only use a clicker and treats, there is always some pressure present (for instance, when asking for more enrgy in a try). And in fact, I've come to realize that the clicker and the treats allows me to condition Tam to accept and trust even awkward or wrong body language from me. This takes time. Lots of it.

So do not take everything he says as gospel. He is often speaking of himself, and I'm sure, wishing that everyone else knew what he knows. But we don't. At least not yet. And it's right to question even someone like Klaus because if one could speak directly to him, over a nice tea on a long, warm evening, that one could get him to come to the conclusion that not everyone will fit into his idea of perfection, and that many are "close enough" and will simply need more time to get the success with a horse.

All in all, kindness and patience will always help one make up for any lack of knowledge in body language...it has helped ME tremendously!

If Klaus , in his seminars, teaches people directly how to learn to use their body language, then he is teaching a very valuable art. I would attend one of his clinics (or possibly many!) if I could.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Estonia
Thank you, Karen, these were very wise and beautiful thoughts.

I never take anyones words as a pure true. I am a lawyer, I can't do that. :lol: I have been reading a lot about horse-human relationship (although a lawyer I am a relationship person) and after lots of books from different authors Hempfling is a person whose teaching is closest to my heart. But it doesn't mean I follow his teaching eyes closed. :wink: I actually don't like follow anyones teaching when I am with my horses, just follow them, but I find it necessary to read and understand different approaches (or at least read, sometimes, although whole book is written by a person it is still hard to understand his approach).

Hempfling's body language is something I admire a lot and that is why I attend his seminar (although it is awfully expensive and I have to take plain there, which is expensive too). I will write about it here as soon as the seminar is over.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Proloog wrote:
He says in his book: "I know without doubt that if I cannot establish a clear contact to a horse in a few minutes the he will not come around even after days, months, or years - no matter what I do." His idea is that when he meets a horse first time, healing takes place in few minutes and after that his relationship with a horse is so clear and full of trust that horse always follows him and he can do with the horse whatever he wants (but a saddle blanket on horse's head, saddle him up) and horse stays with him. He also says that this healing process is necessary to almost every horse in the world - they are no matter how well treated all hurt.



When Hempfling talked about that first contact I always took it to mean each time we renew our acquaintance with our horses. I thought I had read in one of his books about how this healing process can take a long time for those who are new to the idea, and he suggested they keep on trying. I looked through his books yesterday but could not find any mention of this. I used his method along with a very similar method I learned, on my stallion Gouch who has PTSD. It took 9 months but the healing took place and it is hard to describe the difference it has made.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
It took 9 months but the healing took place and it is hard to describe the difference it has made.

But how did you realize then that healing has taken place?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Proloog wrote:
But how did you realize then that healing has taken place?


I did a Progressive partnership course and learned about herding, mimicking and also mental intent. This is very similar to what Hempfling uses in the picadero during the first encounter. I had been working with this for perhaps several weeks and one day Gouch and his friend Sher Khan were out in the field together. Something spooked the horses and Gouch began to gallop round and round the field like he was crazy. He began to charge at Sher Khan who is well able to defend himself and was handling the situation. However Sher Khan is recovering from a serious leg injury and as I did not wish to see either horse hurt my sister and I managed to separate them.

Once on the arena Gouch continued to gallop round and round almost like he was possessed. I began to use the herding technique, usually this was done at walk, little by little he started to listen to me. Eventually he slowed to a trot and then walk, I went and stood in the middle of the arena. Very slowly Gouch approached me and stopped outside my space, as I looked at him I could see the question on his face, may I enter your space. I spoke to him gently and beckoned him in, he came to me and placed his head against my chest. He gave a big sigh and I could feel all the anger and pain that he had held in his body for so long evaporate. Before this Gouch had built a wall around himself and you could not communicate with him afterwards he was open and had a softness and gentleness.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:38 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:09 pm
Posts: 107
Location: Voorthuizen, Netherlands
ET wrote:
I did a Progressive partnership course and learned about herding, mimicking and also mental intent.


Impressive! Do you want to tell where you did this course and who is it from?
I'm very interested in what you've learned there.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:53 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:31 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Estonia
Quote:
Before this Gouch had built a wall around himself and you could not communicate with him afterwards he was open and had a softness and gentleness.


Now I understand. Wonderful :D. But what do you think - can this healing process happen slowly too or should there always be some sudden and huge turning point? Sometimes it can be seen how a horse opens himself to you piece by piece when the time goes by. Does that mean that he has not healed yet?

Anneli


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