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Dancing with Horses: The Art of Body Language [Hardcover]

Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2001
A groundbreaking book on developing trust and harmony between horses and humans through the use of an innovative visual language.

Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

This first English-language edition of a European best seller shares Hempfling's unique horse training techniques, which are now catching the interest of North Americans. The author's approach combines his backgrounds in communications, theater, and dance with more traditional means. The result is an unusually harmonious relationship between horse and trainer, in which there is complete understanding and communication through body language. Hempfling's method has proven successful with all breeds of horses and makes the learning process fun for both horse and rider. Complemented by color photographs, this book is recommended for equine collections and for those interested in alternative approaches to horse training. Deborah Emerson, Rochester Regional Lib. Council, Fairport, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

Dominance without punishment, collection without rein pressure ‹ these apparent contradictions are explained as master horseman Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling reveals his fascinating method of horse training. He compares his work to dancing, where two beings read one another¹s body language, then move together in harmony. Advising that even the slightest movement by either horse or human conveys powerful information, the author shows how to use body language effectively in communicating with the horse. He asserts that if good communication is established, a horse will retain all of its natural grace and elegance when ridden. Hempfling¹s methods are based on conventional classical horsemanship, but they are infused with refreshing holistic and spiritual principles. All are conveyed here in an accessible text and 400 color photos, offering readers a clear understanding of his work. Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling presents clinics and demonstrations throughout Europe, where thousands have embraced his methods. Residing in the mountains of Spain, he spends his time studying and training horses.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Guide to Ground Work Jan. 11 2002
I own a challenging horse, and have tried many different systems of ground work with her - Parelli, Lyons, Centered Riding, etc. All of them had some effect, but none have really changed her exciteable nature and dominant attitude.
After using some of the exercises in Dancing With Horses, my mare has a totally different attitude. She is much more submissive, much more trusting. It is remarkable.
The book is visually beautiful. The photographs are very helpful in demonstrating the exercises, and are very pretty. The instructions in the text are clear. The horses - and the author - are very handsome, so there are aesthetic benefits as well.
The author describes a certain exercise, and says it will have a profound effect on the horse. I'm accustomed to marketing hyperbole, so I read it, but took it with a grain of salt. And what he wrote was true. Doing that one exercise made an immediate difference in my horse's attitude.
I can't say enough good things about this book. I hope you'll buy it and reap the benefits.
Happy trails.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars subtitled - Get control of your body language Nov. 9 2003
On initial browse though this book you may be put off by the very flowery language and some of the interesting but not terribly helpful info (like which peasant saddles KFH likes) but do perservere. Many if not all of the principles are the same as other 'Natural Horsemen' however the difference with this book is the effort that KFH goes to explaining and showing with precise photos HOW to use your body to communicate with your horse.
I found that it took a couple of readings to get the best out of this book and have returned to it many times since then. KFH himself states that you should not begin ANY of the exercises until you have read the book from cover to cover and then begun to read it again. I have to agree despite my initial dismissal of this (huh? he thinks I'm simple )
The layout of the book is a little difficult to follow, there are examples of Klaus' work with young feral horses interspersed with clinics that he runs (providing illustrations of the communication techniques that the book is all about) exercises to perform and 'how to ride' chapters.
However, despite all of these foibles I found this book to be very useful. The clarity and detail in both text and photos of specific exercises - such as leading, working on a lunge or liberty work makes up for its shortcomings. For the first time an author details HOW to use your body in groundwork with a horse - the use of mimcry, the positions and 'zones of dominance or subservience' when working with a horse, what signals and actions will get a horse's attention and how to specifically communication such ideas as 'stop', bring your hind end under (collection), turn or come past.
If you wish to improve your communication skills this is an excellent guide.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome... Oct. 3 2002
Ok, the content can seem very 'spiritual'...but, this is the best book I ever readed about communicating with horses...Because it helps us to see the horse like a miror of us...READ IT!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing With Horses May 10 2001
I am a former member of the USET 3-Day Team with my horse, The Gray Goose. This book is phenomenal, and is the missing link between natural horsemanship and classical dressage.. Klaus's techniques were learned from Spanish monks who kept alive the traditions of training from the Knights Templar. He emphasizes the person's responsibility in training their horses, and gives clear, consise instructions about how to achieve leadership with horses while maintaining their wonderful spirit and personality. Exercises for both horse and rider are given to achieve oneness in handling and riding, and the spiritual aspect of training is also covered. I have started my own horse over using these techniques, and the effects have been profound and dramatic. I highly recommend this book, and also his video tape of the same name.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book held me absolutely transfixed. It is the best horse instruction book that I have ever seen without doubt. I have recently become the owner of a 4 year old thoroughbred gelding who has been taken out of race training. I spent a long time playing with and getting to known this horse in his paddock before I owned him, and this book has given me superb instruction on how to continue with his development and continue to strengthen our bond day by day.
I was becoming very disillusioned with traditional horse training books, which were totally focused on pleasing the rider without any concern for the horse whatsoever. This book is wonderfully visual, very easy to read, very uncluttered and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand horses, because these methods really do work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be willing and open to new ideas!! April 30 2004
Dancing with Horses was a beautiful book and easy to implement during my training sessions, which were formally traditional. Although the wording could get a little hard for a beginner to follow... just do as he says and read the whole thing cover to cover before you start, then read it again upon starting a horse.
I have only just started using Klaus' teachings during my training of a 2 yr old Draft Horse gelding who was not only very nervous and untrusting of people, but also had no respect for fences or personal space. Obviously a very large and dangerous combination. Klaus has opened my eyes to my own errors during training. And the gelding is comming along nicely now. In retrospect I wish I had read Klaus' book before I began training a pushy Clydesdale mare using more traditional methods.She has proven to be more of a challenge than I had bargained for. However, it is interesting to see the diffrent results that have been achieved while training two diffrent horses at the same time, using two diffrent methods. Klaus' lessons are very versatile, straightforward and holistic. Every trainer has a diffrent method of training, that he learned from various other trainers. Klaus has an old world style that can be emplemented for *ANY* type or breed of horse.

Although I would like to hold my tounge regarding the marginal review given by one reader, I simply can't! Klaus doesn't state in his book that "hollow back" horses are useless and untrainable, nor does he pick on any particular breed in itself. He simply states the obvious. If your horse has a longer back, than his hieght allows,(like many english style horses have) then he'd better have VERY good muscle tone in order to avoid a "nose up, legs out" way of carrying himself.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Informative Book
Great book, full of insights regarding horses and their behaviour... and human behaviour. Something that I have looked through again and again, thank you Klaus!
Published 9 months ago by Shannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing with Horses Awesome!
This is an well written book and artistic as well, the photography is amazing. Not only is it lovely to look at but has alot of information to assist you in your work on your horse... Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2010 by Mitzy Tait-Zeller
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money
this DVD is more of a interview of Klaus showing off of what he can do but no explanations of how he does it ..I found this DVD to be boring and a waste of money...
Published on Oct. 2 2010 by joan
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Digesting
I've read this book recently and feel that I am still digesting the content. It is quite detailed (in a positive way) and Klaus is a very passionate man. Read more
Published on April 1 2009 by Cheryl L. Leavoy
5.0 out of 5 stars It sounds GREAT!
This book sounds great, and - even though I haven't bought it - I really think I'm going to get it. Getting your horse to harmonize with you is a *VERY* important issue, and it... Read more
Published on April 27 2004 by Maria Brocheechee
2.0 out of 5 stars Everything you know is wrong
In defense of the book, the author has the right attitude in natural training through a sense of patience, understanding and fun. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2003 by Mike Hawthorne
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but...
This is an awesome book, but I had a hard time applying it. Maybe those with more experience can use it more. I don't think it's for beginners.
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by Serina
5.0 out of 5 stars forcefree horsetraining
A must, a great book if you want to train your horse without using force or sharp bits or things like this. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by Susanne & her Thoroughbred
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I found this book by accident. I happen to write a book titled "Dancing with the Macaque" and wanted to know if there were books with similar title. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2003 by Edward Solon
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the equestrian!
Very clear and concise. Easy to follow and apply the principles. I highly recommend this as an edition to your horse library!
Published on Dec 4 2002 by Sandra Dunn
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