- I am really happy to find other people here who are interested in Hempflings approach to horses so I am glad I found your post. I have (tried my best) to follow his teaching since many years, after I participated in a course with him in Spain - I think it was in 1996 or something like that. I have read all his books (as well as the books of many other horse trainers) and he remains my best answer to how I can develop a genuine 'friendship' with a horse. I don't own a horse right now, because after my last horse passed away several years ago I decided to step back a bit to get a broader overview in order to do it right from the beginning the next time. But I have to say that I think I had a quite nice bond with that horse - thanks to what I learned from Hempfling (he was a pure pilgrim by the way, and I was so surprised because immmediately when I saw the picture of the Pilgrim I thought that resembled him very much, and then when I read the next I nearly fell from my chair by surprise - it was so precise - like if he would have used my Bossy as a model).
But - enough about me - sorry - this thread is about Hempfling :)
I think one of the most amazing things is that he is so non-methodical and actually I think his entire effort is to make us find our own authentic self so we can open up to the horses and really sense them - to learn interpretating what they really need and want, and to be strong enough to lead them just simply because we express a natural, kind but clear self-assurance - or something of that sort. I think his thoughts on dominance are very important and very unique, because they have nothing to do with the sort of dominance you experience the other trainers I have looked into - it is more like a kind of obligation to lead and really taking on the responsibility for the well-being of our horse and because of that being the one who leads. But I also think that he yields and gives the horse freedom to do as it likes as long as it does not overstep his limits.
I think it is a very good idea to read all three books he wrote, because together they really give you quite a complete picture of what he wants to transmit to us. And then I think his videos on YouTube are exceptionally good and many of them are quite instructional if you observe them carefully (and try to abstract from the extreme beauty of both horse and man :) so you don't forget to see what he is actually doing - or perhaps rather not doing!). I think his DVD's are very beautifull, but I think they are not extremely instructional and actually if you watch all his many, many videos on YT you have seen all the most important scenes from the DVD's.
Concerning his 26 character groups - I once read an interview with him where he said that he had to write that book and to order these characteristics because he had to explain people how he looks at a horse - how he sees and senses what kind of horse is in front of him, and to make them aware that there is a difference. He also said that he of course does not personally need to order them into character groups. But it is a way to make it easier to recognize the horses and to relate to some fundamental behaviours and ways of dealing with them - that means easier for us readers. I know someone who had a couple of character analysis done by him and she said it was extremely helpful. And as for myself, I thought it was much easier to understand my Pilgrim after I read the book, but I was also lucky to have one which was easy to identify I guess, because I suppose if you have a horse with 3-4 characters in it, then it can be very challenging.
Currently I am very eagerly following the weekly collumns by KFH on his official Facebook page - they are very interesting but also rather surprising. It would be interesting to hear what others think about these thesis. He is rather bold in his statements but they make a lot of sense!