New Klaus Hempfling Film: HorseLand – Review

Klaus F. Hempfling has made his new movie available for free – all 1.5 juicy hours of it! Have a look and then below I’ll get into my thoughts about the film…

I have read a number of Klaus’ books and I have to say my favorite one is, The Message From The Horse, where he simply writes about his personal journey with horses, and his first mentor. This book really gave me a framework to understand where he is coming from in his training/method books.

While I don’t agree or resonate with some aspects of Klaus’ approach, I think he’s a huge step up from most of the ‘natural horsemanship’ gurus and for that I’m grateful.

This is one of my favorite quotes from this film:

“A real relationship between man and horse is something that expresses itself physically. It is also intellectual and spiritual to the utmost; because unseen truths become daily experienced realities through a spiritualized relationship with horses.

For man and horse can learn from each other, grow, become one with each other…. Klaus founded his own school which revolves around body language – behind which, an entire internal and external world is hidden.”

What really comes through in this film is Klaus’ philosophy that you must bring a whole, integrated, balanced, strong-container-of-energy self to the horse. His way is more of a wholistic martial arts training, combined with personal growth work and creative expression. To be like Klaus you need to embrace your own Renaissance Self.

Holistic horsemanship

If you’re looking for ways to develop yourself in this way – so that you can bring a more whole, powerful self to your relationship with your horse – here are some activities you can do in your own town that will facilitate the aspects he’s getting people to experience (or develop) in his workshops:

  • Pilates
  • Tai chi or Chi gung
  • 5Rhythms Dance (Gabrielle Roth), or, just put your own music on in your living room and let yourself move, leap, roll – allow your body to express the story or feeling in the music.
  • Per Bristow’s DVD Course – Sing With Freedom
  • Some kind of meditative practice – your choice of which kind, but learn to run energy through your body and ground yourself into the earth. Or practice the As Above, So Below method taught by Montaro.

I feel that Klaus wants people to get inside and truly inhabit their bodies, learn how to grow and use/control their own energy, learn how to sink that energy down into the earth so you can move in a powerful, balanced, connected way. This is what he models for us in his videos and books.

This is a man who has immense chi or ki. He has a strong, powerful, healthy body through which his lines of ki can flow unobstructed. His mind is likewise a strong, focused container for his intention. I appreciate these things about him and I’m glad he is offering himself as an example of what is possible. I also understand his attraction as a role model and the people who attend his workshops, seeking to model themselves after him.

The Hempfling touch

I also question whether it is possible for others to be like him, or how far those people will get in their journey before becoming overwhelmed, discouraged, or frustrated. I also question whether his acolytes understand just how much of his remarkable results with cranked up stallions is actually due to his own personal power – the man he has become through his own rigorous development and the powerful space he holds. And that these things are not transferable!

Just like the master kung fu sensei (teacher) who lives in the mountain, who has spent his whole life training his chi and his body – a student cannot have a hope in hell of getting anywhere near his level of mastery without spending at least a decade in dedicated study with the sensei.

At 49:10 in the film the narrator explains how Klaus manages to transform these angry, distressed, or aggressive stallions, “The unique transformation into a calm, friendly, innocent fellow has always been achieved without the slightest signs of anything else than calmness, softness and peace.”

Say what??

That is not what I see in this clip! I see Klaus exhibiting serious strength, intensity, focus, agility and vigor; he is like a column of coiled energy sunk into the ground. And yes, the outward appearance of his physical body is calm and centered. But there’s a whole lot more going on underneath the exterior.

Having trained martial arts for 7 years (up to 6x/week) I can tell you that once you reach a certain stage, you can tell who is going to win the fight the second you face each other – before the first blow is even exchanged. It is unmistakable whose ki/energy is stronger, more intense, and more committed to persevere. This is why many master senseis no longer have to fight. The fight is won through energy alone. I think this is what happens with horses.

Horses have such a finely tuned sense of energy/ki/chi that they can scan and read everything about you in a millisecond. They know Klaus is the real deal, that he will not give up, and most importantly, that he loves their true spirit and only wants to help them. They know he does not seek to oppress them, but rather, to celebrate their power, vigor and freedom and give them a safe container or paradigm through which to express these things in this crazy human world.

Previously, humans have only sought to squash and eradicate those powerful forces (because they feel threatened) and this is usually why the horses end up in that state. Klaus says, “The relief of the horse understanding, ‘I am not alone’ is what causes the horse to bond and follow the human.”

I wonder if Klaus himself realizes that what he is teaching is in many ways a pipe dream for the average person. Of course, anyone who studies, learns from his books, or trains at his workshops will improve. And will get further down the path. But if they are wanting to be like Hempfling I think they have a reality-check coming.

Personally, I wonder if Klaus would have more success in transmitting his teachings – in a form that people could actually utilize and get somewhere with – if he focused on the philosophy or mindset required. Perhaps paired with some simple exercises to ground into the earth and intensify your own ki.

There are times in his books when I feel like he’s just starting to get into something really great and meaty, and then– poof! It’s over, he’s done talking about it. I’m not sure whether he is deliberately cryptic, or doesn’t know how to verbalize what’s in his head or heart, or if there’s a language barrier. But I do look forward to the day when he is able to get these deeper philosophical musings down in writing – explained in a way a 10-year-old could understand.

I wonder what one of his workshops is like? I see that in each one of them, Klaus will work directly with your horse, so I’m sure that alone is a valuable “re-set” for the horse. But I do wonder just how much a person can transform and shift their way of being with their horse (ongoing, for the long-term) in 1-3 days. If anyone has attended a workshop with Klaus, please enlighten us!

p.s. And by the way, don’t bother leaving a comment or question underneath this video on YouTube, if it is not entirely appreciative/positive, it will be deleted. Guess how I found that out? 😉

New Klaus Hempfling Film: HorseLand – Review

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