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Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling - True Horsemanship?

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    06-30-2011, 10:00 AM
  #21
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annnie31    
I think that people like Stacey Westfall and Clinton Anderson are not unlike him. He may say he doesnt want to be associated with natural horsemanship but his methods are not unlike theres (subtle cues) with legs, hands, objects, (such as the lunge whip and the lunge line). I like what he does, just can't see the difference if that makes sense. Also yes he wrote a book after 2 years of horses which is wonderful but does anyone truly know all there is to know about the psychi of horses after 2 years? I know after 2 years I sure wouldnt have wanted to attempt anything like that so cudos to him for that. After 30 years I am still on a quest to find out more. Im going to look for videos of him with other horses to see If I can see a difference but to date I don't see a difference.
Annie that's fair enough, but there is a huge difference. I have tried to explain the basis of CA's methods in a post (PP and CA) in the NH sub section. Those methods work on a basis of control by training via repetition using negative reinforcement. The lunge whip never touches the horse. That can't be said about CA's stick.

In terms of the 2 years that's a very valid point. I don't nor does he confess to know everything. It is just a different way. However it is interesting that sometimes not having prior experience is better. You are not subject to the status quo. Acceptance that things are done a certain way. This is why children are often better at seeing things and building relationships with horses than adults.

I have had to work with horses to shake off my blocks, but with dogs (which I worked with heavily for many years) I never had to 'learn' anything. That doesn't mean I didnt learn, I learned continually. However I just always knew what a dog was really asking. Why it did things, and how to get a large group to follow without leads or punishment.

The horrible thing is, im not as good now as I was then. I was asked to work with some difficult dogs in Australia in April that had had all sorts of trainers on them. Yes I got 'results' instantly which impressed the owners, but I knew in my heart that I had not gotten the real link that I am used to getting. Not having worked with dogs for a while perhaps its just practice, or perhaps i've lost the how.
     
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    06-30-2011, 10:06 AM
  #22
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiilaa    
Blame the riders and trainers, not the inanimate piece of metal?
True, and I have nothing against bits if used correctly. Unfortunately we seem to have forgotten how, or maybe made a conscious choice not to. Humans are by nature generally lazy I would suggest. Always looking for the easy way out.

Incidentally just responding to the comments about not being able to teach others. I understand that his methods are difficult to teach via a book. My post is about his horesemanship not his ability to pass it on. A horseman and a trainer/teacher are two different beasts.

Coming back to the dogs situation, I can tell people, I can show them what to do, but they can't necessarily do it. That's because its about feel, timing and presence. The dog reads the strength and the determination, the absoluteness inside you. No amount of shouting or stamping will replicate that.

This is no different. Much of what is required to do this type of work is mental. Its an attitude and a state. You cannot teach it by a book or break it down into steps alone. However in fairness he can and does teach it on his farm. That way he can observe the student and show them what they need to learn. Often that is their own body awareness more than technique as ultimately this is what the horse is reacting to.
     
    06-30-2011, 10:11 AM
  #23
Trained
Lol chiilaa.

One other hole in the argument is the collection bit. A horse cannot, physically, just magically "collect". Saying this is like saying you can make me into a ballerina in half an hour, it ain't happening.
When horses are moving in collection they are using over 80% of their muscle mass, this requires strength of those muscles, respiratory and pulmonary fitness and conditioned tendons, ligaments and bones. Development of the fitness and strength required for true collection is what takes years and can become uncomfortable for the horse. The end result of actually putting in the work is a far cry from the leg flinging, chin tucking, out behind, impure gaited thing these horses are doing. Regardless of breed it is incorrect and actually damaging to the horses body.
Same thing would happen were someone to pretend ballet every day without proper conditioning. They would break down very quickly, even of the work were only for minutes a day. (which is another thing I don't understand, it takes 15 minutes for a warm up and these horses are flinging legs and rearing in that time? This guy is asking for soundness issues and I can only imagine the discarded horses sitting in his pasture.)
Life is NOT an exhibition and correct training and its principles have been laid out for centuries for a reason. Some people just fail to see the reason and are backed off by the work required and blame it on perceived 'abuse' which is not evident in correct methods. Again, "blame the riders and trainers, not the inanimate piece of metal."
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    06-30-2011, 10:13 AM
  #24
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
I am sure he is an excellent rider,beyond a standard I may never reach myself, though unfortunately there is no video there to watch.

I would still look at a photo like that and see a lot of rein contact however. The study we are discussing in this thread is how to prepare a horse to perform such haute ecole exercises on a 'loose rein'.

Admittedly I am only seeing one photo. One snapshot in time.
     
    06-30-2011, 10:20 AM
  #25
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
Lol chiilaa.

One other hole in the argument is the collection bit. A horse cannot, physically, just magically "collect". Saying this is like saying you can make me into a ballerina in half an hour, it ain't happening.
When horses are moving in collection they are using over 80% of their muscle mass, this requires strength of those muscles, respiratory and pulmonary fitness and conditioned tendons, ligaments and bones. Development of the fitness and strength required for true collection is what takes years and can become uncomfortable for the horse. The end result of actually putting in the work is a far cry from the leg flinging, chin tucking, out behind, impure gaited thing these horses are doing. Regardless of breed it is incorrect and actually damaging to the horses body.
Same thing would happen were someone to pretend ballet every day without proper conditioning. They would break down very quickly, even of the work were only for minutes a day. (which is another thing I don't understand, it takes 15 minutes for a warm up and these horses are flinging legs and rearing in that time? This guy is asking for soundness issues and I can only imagine the discarded horses sitting in his pasture.)
Life is NOT an exhibition and correct training and its principles have been laid out for centuries for a reason. Some people just fail to see the reason and are backed off by the work required and blame it on perceived 'abuse' which is not evident in correct methods. Again, "blame the riders and trainers, not the inanimate piece of metal."
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Anebel

I agree with your sentiment. It used to take 9-12 years to achieve the highest levels of dressage. Now pro's are pushing for 6 years when the back has only just set. That is the problem. It is the illusion of collection and hence the hdeous mess fo Rollkur. Traditionally a horse was schooled from the ground first. Now much of it is done from their back.

Even great masters within the sport are asking for a return to the old values. To see and end to Rollkur. To see a return to ground work, and a broadening of the horses experience as many are losing balance because of their specialisation, having not normal ridden foundation.

Firstly this does not happen overnight. His latest book has a run of pictures of one of his horses development over 15 years. Secondly the difference is the demand. In dressage horses are demanded to perform a series of movements as we want them, when we want them. That does indeed create different stresses. Time and again I see horses who cannot collect without the bit. It has become a 5th leg, a crutch. Their muscles are not strong enough without it and they fall over themselves.

However what we are working with here is what a horse offers. We are asking the horse to express itself, just as they would in the field.
     
    06-30-2011, 10:48 AM
  #26
Trained
Oh k so you work the horse for 5 minutes a day and where in there is there any fitness training or muscle building?

And you people always bring up rolkur. You do realize 'classical' dressage invented rolkur right? And that its been around far longer than a.v.g. Right?

Have you every been to a dressage training barn? Or your just quoting hearsay on the methods largely used by the dressage population? No groundwork? Ha I would love for you to tell that to my coach just to hear her correct you. And what's this mumbo jumbo about over specialization? The number one thing PREACHED by FEI riders is variety in the work. You know the dressage stallion Briar? He was schooled almost exclusively in the fields and forests around natural obstacles.

And about the timeframe of a dressage horse. As has been demonstrated by your lovely videos, the horses now are bred for the sport, especially those at the top. It is boring for them to drag along through the levels and so they learn more quickly and conditioning and strength is always what is being schooled, not the movements. Previously the movements were really schooled to maintain them. Now for me a typical training ride on my marginally gifted dressage horse consists of conditioning and strengthening through transitions and correct schooling. I rarely do the pirouettes, the tempis, or the true extended gaits at home as these are tricks, and performing them does not make him a dressage horse.

What the horse in the video shows are tricks and based on what I've read and your descriptions and arguments that is about the amount of understanding that goes into the training of these horses as well.

Eta when my horse wants to express himself in the field, he has a field with good footing in which to do so. "natural" piaffe, passage, levade, etc performed in the field are rarely correct and again, mere exhibition tricks when schooled in that fashion.
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    06-30-2011, 11:16 AM
  #27
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
Oh k so you work the horse for 5 minutes a day and where in there is there any fitness training or muscle building?

And you people always bring up rolkur. You do realize 'classical' dressage invented rolkur right? And that its been around far longer than a.v.g. Right?

Have you every been to a dressage training barn? Or your just quoting hearsay on the methods largely used by the dressage population? No groundwork? Ha I would love for you to tell that to my coach just to hear her correct you. And what's this mumbo jumbo about over specialization? The number one thing PREACHED by FEI riders is variety in the work. You know the dressage stallion Briar? He was schooled almost exclusively in the fields and forests around natural obstacles.

And about the timeframe of a dressage horse. As has been demonstrated by your lovely videos, the horses now are bred for the sport, especially those at the top. It is boring for them to drag along through the levels and so they learn more quickly and conditioning and strength is always what is being schooled, not the movements. Previously the movements were really schooled to maintain them. Now for me a typical training ride on my marginally gifted dressage horse consists of conditioning and strengthening through transitions and correct schooling. I rarely do the pirouettes, the tempis, or the true extended gaits at home as these are tricks, and performing them does not make him a dressage horse.

What the horse in the video shows are tricks and based on what I've read and your descriptions and arguments that is about the amount of understanding that goes into the training of these horses as well.

Eta when my horse wants to express himself in the field, he has a field with good footing in which to do so. "natural" piaffe, passage, levade, etc performed in the field are rarely correct and again, mere exhibition tricks when schooled in that fashion.
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Anebel

I am inviting discussion, not insults. I am not sure what you mean by 'you people' but please leave your prejudices or battles at the door.

You know nothing about me, nor I you. I however am willing not to make assumptions about you. I base my beliefs and opinions on what I have observed and experienced as do you. I do not claim my 'way' or methods are either the most correct, or the only way. I remain open minded and accept that I do not know what I do not know.I have exposed myself to observation or function of every form of horse handling and schooling I have been privelaged to have an opportunity to experience. From Iceland, through the US to Peru and Argentina.

Yes I spent two years on a 'dressage' yard in the Uk and have visited several others in the UK and Dubai. They were very pretty with expensive horseboxes and impeccable driveways. I do not know what you or your trainer do or don't do, nor do I surmise so there is no need to be defensive. However I know what I have observed on these yards, and that is also from a perspective of bodywork also.

These are horses that are ready to kill their riders. That require two handlers and a chifney to lead to the arena. Horses that literally fall over if asked to circle without some sort of support.

Your experience may be different and if so I am pleased that it is,but I can only base my views on what I have seen.

As for strength and fitness, that depends upon your school of thought. Much like in humans we can have the bodybuilding school, and the aerobic training. As an alternative we have yoga and similar. Both have different types of strength and different levels of balance, endurance and flexibility. Passive vs active, slow twitch, fast twitch etc.

When I taught Aikido I also trained in Arts such as Pentjak Silat and Escrima. When boxing weight training helped me, with the Malasian arts it made me less effective.

Incidentally we are focussing on the dressage style movements but that is not the core. The control of the horse is, and as I mentioned above this is so lacking in the general sporting community as I have experienced it. KFH is a man who can read a horse and interact with it immediately, without fear or intimidation, no matter the breed in a way that I have not seen demonstrated by many others as yet. That I cannot take away from him. There may (will) be others, but I have not yet met them.
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    06-30-2011, 11:19 AM
  #28
Banned
Anebel, I too find it amusing that one would think dressage people do no ground work.

When I have boarded at a multi-use barn it is the dressage people who are always in the way, doing their ground work.
     
    06-30-2011, 11:19 AM
  #29
Weanling
I have the book Dancing With Horses, I picked it up in the Used Book section of Greenhawk. I found it to be very insightful, and I loved watching him work with horses.

While I've never believed in completely ditching my own working way with horses for someone else's, I can say that there are some good pieces to take away from his work that can be aplied to the "average person" ... although I agree with the above post that stated he has some very natural God-given talent that is not the easiest to teach to others.

A couple things that really stood out for me about his training techniques were the importance of the loose lines and how every horse has a natural distance that they are comfortable in that you can work with, and the way he gets the horse to follow his movements in step with him.

I worked with a QHx mare who was deathly afraid of llamas... she wanted nothing to do with them. I had just finished doing some more in depth research into Hempfling's techniques and figured I'd try his method to get her past the llama pen in a calm collected manner. So we worked on a lunge line so that she had plenty of space and I would walk by the pen, with her literally in the opposite ditch from me. But she kept step. We walked back in forth, and each time we passed she would come closer to me, and relax just a little bit more (I can't say the same for the llama, who insisted on making an arse of himself by standing at the fence and threatening the both of us with a well-aimed loogie).

Eventually she dropped her head and walked beside me like spitting llamas were an everyday occurance. And what I really found interesting was when I looked at the photos a friend took of the eventful training session, she was in perfect step with me. Exactly how Hempfling suggested a horse should be when they are at peace with your leadership.

Beginning of our session:


Midway through:


End of the session:


The culprit!:
     
    06-30-2011, 11:28 AM
  #30
Trained
There are others. At any dressage barn that is training correctly. I'm sorry you experienced (for a whopping 2 years) a bad trainer but had you kept training and gotten to the point where coaching from the worlds top riders is viable you would see that there is a path and a correct way and dressage is not abuse. I only wish the same for this guy.

And when I say dressage barn I don't mean a place where people ride dressage, I mean a place where dressage is a way of life and a commitment. The top dressage horses I know are far from rank and are very normal. My Rmt always remarks how even my horse is and rarely adjusts anything. Dressage is for the horse and the goal is always and has always been a happy, healthy athlete.


It is a huge pet peeve of mine for people who have not experienced dressage to go and talk about it like they know its all evil and harsh. Hence the prickly demeanor. I have no issues if this guy want to go rope waggling at his horses, but do not call it collection or dressage or better than dressage. It's exhibition tricks, that's all.
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