Horses and Humans
becoming the kind of human a horse seeks to be with
© Smail & Van Rossem, 2018


published by 

Horses and Humans Publications

Dancing with Horses: Communication, Dominance and Trust In Chapter 2 of Dancing with Horses Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling (KFH) defines the essence of riding a horse as “communication and balance”. The corollary to this is that any form of interaction with a horse other than riding will at the very least necessitate communication, if not balance as well. He then goes on to stipulate two prerequisites for such communication. To many who seek a humane form of interaction with a horse, one of these is self-evident: trust. If you are to communicate with your horse, it needs to trust you implicitly. The other prerequisite which KFH postulates is almost guaranteed to raise the hackles on the necks of the same category of humans: dominance. Continue reading... Dancing with Horses: The Shimmering Star It is easy to gate-crash Dancing with Horses, the book, by bypassing the “accompaniment” which precedes the text proper but the reader does themselves a disservice by doing so, because it is crucial to understanding the approach adopted by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling (KFH) to horse-riding in general and his elucidation of it in Dancing with Horses, in particular. This accompaniment tells the story of a noble caballero, who while lying on his deathbed at the age of 96, laments the misfortune of his impending demise with tears in his eyes. Listening to him, his nephew is puzzled, pointing out that “this time comes for every man” and that his uncle has had a “long, rich, blessed life”. The old man concurs but confesses that “it was only about a week ago that I first realised what it means to truly ride a horse”. Continue reading... On Top of the Mountain: Achieving a Magical Connection with Your Horse In the absence of a magical connection with a horse all that a human has to communicate with that horse is a technique, a method or a combination of techniques and methods. This may be enough to achieve some type of connection with that horse but that connection will not extend further than the technique employed and the horse will not give the human more than that technique elicits from it. This implies the existence of a major difference between a connection between horse and human that is merely based on a technique or method and one which is “magical”. So what is that difference? To find out the answer to this question we need to learn what such a magical connection is, and to do this we may start by referring to those humans who have shown themselves to be capable of achieving such a connection with horses. Continue reading...   Yielding to Pressure: The Reality of the Myth Yielding to pressure, also known as pressure and release: the term refers to the core approach to training advocated by the conventional equestrian establishment, including the classical tradition, and yet it is also at the heart of the “natural horsemanship” movement which has evolved as a challenging response to the former. You will hear the term bandied about by instructors in horse training facilities around the world and trotted out tritely by their students, all intent on applying this approach when training horses to do what humans require of them. The approach it denotes has been the subject of numerous books and probably as many videos, if not more, while also constituting the core premise of most well-known training methods. Yet, when we strip away the jargon and rationale, how many of us fully realise what it entails and whether it is appropriate for training our equine friends? Continue reading...