Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling on Horse Training and the Freedom of the Horse
Klaus Hempfling- 2010
[HFL]: We caused quite a stir with our last interview. Some riders said that they were literally moved to tears just to read what you [Klaus Hempfling] had said, instructors who are happy to have someone put into words what they have seen and who are concerned about horses being chased. They are happy that you have spoken out. There is also a group of people which I would like to talk about today who have experienced exactly what youíre talking about, who have ended up with a horse that has gone through that process and they donít know what to do with it. This article caused a very big ripple. And that is a good thing.
[Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling]: I think itís very much covered in your magazine and [your magazine] is known for being serious and for its different kind of standpoints for discussion. I think we shouldnít be scared of it.
[HFL]: I completely agree. Talking to people, I know that they want to hear more. They have lots of questions theyíd like to address further. First of all, I think there is some confusion between working with a horse at the end of a lead line or lunge line versus chasing a horse. For example, they see pictures of you with a horse with a rope and youíre working with him. I think people need to understand the difference.
[Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling]: This is something which you have to bring into your bones through living and experiencing and thinking about words you are saying and your attitude. And so with my attitude, I donít realize that I am using a lunge. And Harmůn also doesnít realize there is a lunge.
It is not this kind of lunging that I do. It is not this kind of riding that I do. Itís just a bridge toward this absolute liberty and absolute freedom. This kind of absolute freedom is without any question. So I donít use the lunge to say ĎI want to lunge youí; I use the lunge to be rid of the lunge as quickly as possible. Itís just a bridge. Itís just a tool for a while, to gain understanding, toward the goal of complete freedom. This is the reason why Janosch in Horse Dream is running with me like a dog wherever I am. [This is so] not because Iím limiting the horse. I canít limit the horse. Itís because I never limit the horse. I only have bridges in between.
I go from putting the lunge line from the halter to the neck in two minutes, where the horse has all the power to do whatever he wants with me. But in his soul, you can see immediately that heís not going against the lunge. [This is] because the lunge is used as a symbol of freedom which is there in the next moment. Therefore, my way of lunging and riding is, in this way, difficult to compare because it is something which should, as quickly as possible, become unnecessary. As quickly as possible, I would go outside with a horse with a lunge or [with a rope] on the neck. And under the best circumstances, there would be no saddle, no rein, no rope. There is nothing. Nothing.
Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling on Lunging but not Limiting the Horse
[Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling]: The idea of negativity [such as] ďthis child canít write or canít countĒ or ďthis horse canít canterĒ, will transmit through your body language. I donít allow myself these kinds of thoughts. My attitude toward a horse is that he is complete, balanced, magnificent, and as a creature not to be surpassed. So the next level [of development] doesnít mean that itís better, but that it is different. A young tree is not better or worse than an old tree. They are different. I try to do this 100% in the beginning because if I am not like this, I have no chance. Because then I would need another kind of tool, then I would need the lunge to limit the horse, not to have a bridge to a final, complete freedom.
[HFL]: Klaus, when you work with people and you see them working with horses, are there specific things they do so that they are not sending the right message? For example, I see you working with the horses and I can see
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