The Dancer

I am having an extraordinary encounter with a Friesian gelding and his owner. Although he is lucky to have his current owner who is patient and loyal and concerned about his development, for some reason, life has not allowed his innermost nature to flourish and express his innermost joys. For some reason, the opposite has occurred– he had become tense, with all four limbs bracing independently, with an exaggerated tenseness in his neck; he had become frustrated and hard to reach, and although he clings to his owner for protection, his eradic behaviors — bracing, bolting, and jumping into her lap — had made him dangerous to her. He had been “pshychologized” as both fearful and dominant, and the truth is he did make one feel like he was trying to react with both fight and flight responses at the same time, which increased the incredible tension in him. Now that I know him better, overall there is a sense of complete lack of confidence. He does, however, have a good solid heart, and a tremendous strive to improve– although he lacks a sense of what direction “improvement” lies. Therefore, it is important, as will all horses, to build on his assets, rather than “attack” his defects directly. His assets are his heart, his will, and his general clinging to people he trusts.

This Friesian types in Klaus’ work as The Dancer.


Of The Dancer‘s nature, Klaus writes:

As a rule this type of horse is highly intelligent and cery creative, which means that he is not a beginner’s horse. This horse has a very friendly and sensitive nature. He is clinging, uncomplicated and loveable in his approach to human beings. Generally, the Dancer is curious, loves to move, and is very willing to work. Despite his appearance and the name I have given him, this horse often has problems with his gaits because of the weakness of his back. Naturally his gaits are far more expressive than those of other types. However, the truly relaxed, rhythmic, powerful, gracefull expressions in movement, which you associate with a dancer, are usually lacking.

Like Klaus’ Dancer, this Friesian has difficulty making strides that come from impusion through the back. This is probably the basic misunderstanding that has lead to this horse’s downfall– the unwillingness of trainers to design practices that accomodate the central conformational aspect of his nature. His naturally expressive and artistic gaits have given people the impression that he is something he is not, and to ignore the true assets on which this horse’s training should evolve– his inner nature. As with all horses, his training should always stem forth from true understanding and relationship.

The Dancer thus presents a challenge to conventional trainers. As Klaus writes:

The greatest weakenss of this beautiful and charming horse is his back. The horse … [can] seem to be hanging from two threads, namely, one at the croup and the other between the ears, and it is for this reason that the horse has his lightness, the expression of a dancer. Altogether, though, this horse has a weak constitution. In conformity with the line of his back, he tends to trail the hindquarters out behind, make himself ‘long’ and lets the delicate back sink down. Training this type of horse to become a riding horse presents a great challenge to the ability and experience of a person.

The Friesian I am working with, types perfectly with Klaus’ descriptions:

* the horse sometimes has difficulty getting along well with the herd… getting along better with humans
* it is especially with the tougher horse characters that this fine and thoughtful horse has problems, since because of his body weakness and his thereby undermined self-confidence, he does not assert himself as he should
* The other horses do not take him too seriuosly, and that can cause a Dancer to break down
* The horse … would bond bery closely with a pretty pony and protect him in a tender, motherly way.
* The croup of the Dancer is high, the neck is set on high, and the entire bearing is therefore upright and proud.

Which Person suits the Dancer?

A fine-spirited person with an inwardly sensitive and flexible nature, and an artistic talent and interest, would make a good partner for the Dancer. This horse does not need a consistent, continuous training schedule: as long as he feels understood and approved of, and feels the inner connection to people, he will have a happy and easy life’s path.

The Freisan in this case is fortunate to have found such an onwer!

Of the Freisian’s unofrtunate past, Klaus’s words sound emphatic and prophetic:

[Trainers] of a Dancer should never imagine that he can [reach the highest] High School levels. [Trainers] may easily make this mistake because the horse’s appearance indicates that he has greater ability and potential than is, in fact, there. The weak back and the weakness of the entire top line will prove to be a real problem. The horse will becomes stiff and tense up, he will withdraw into himself and lose all his charming playfulness, and only with great effort will he be drawn out of, and freed from, his not necessarily visible suffering.

Regarding the Path for the Dancer to becoming a Riding Horse, Klaus makes several crucial comments that pertain to this Freisian:

The main problem with the Dancer is that it is easy to overestimate him physically and underestimate his sensitivity.

Session should be kept short. He needs only the correct motivation in order to, in time, ‘dance’ his way into the qualities of a riding horse.

The Dancer is extraordinarily dependent upon praise. If this horse has done anything at all, even if it is only to have completed a little exercise correctly, you must acknowledge that with, at the very least, a kind word [since] his self-confidence is not very well established.

With moderate impulsion that should not be increased, the horse is guided through subtle aids into the correct bend. In this type of horse the forehand, back, loins and croup are often held in contraction– they do not swing loosely…

Under no circumstances should this horse be checked or restarined by the reins or our incorrect body positioning during the work, because then he hill fall even further onto the forehand, he will become even more contracted, and the too-high croup will become an insurmountable obstacle on the path to a happy riding horse.

It is particularly important that the Dancer has a ot of space in front of him so that he canexpress and balance himself while moving forward, without the owner doing much or pressuring him.

I think the Freisian has come to the right place, the right moment, since, as Klaus concludes:

People with friendly, light natures are well suited for this task and can help support this orse. Over the years he will come to move lightly and pwerfully, and with continuous attention will build a very close relationship with his owner. He will then be a very impressive horse that, when healthy and well ridden, will draw attention and admiration to himself.

Follow us on his adventure down this Path in future posts….

The King


I want to introduce the character type The King Everyone agrees this is who I am. You can see how much I resemble the figure in Klaus Hempfling’s book that epitomizes The King.


And here is a photo from the book, and below one of me working out.


Here is what Klaus Hempfling writes about The King in his book What Horses Reveal

The nature

The King is uncomplicated in his nature. Hardly anything unnerves him. He is tougher than the Minister and not quite as sensitive. He is one of the three types of horses that as a rule are very well suited to High School levels of training.

Spontaneous associations with the King

… the King is an outstandingly good horse, often a sort of icon. He is uncomplicated, clear, powerful, honest, practical, loyal, noble and ‘discreet’ in his nature. This horse enjoys good health, he is quiet because of inner strength, grounded, spirited, and very alert in character, and he usually has a solid compact conformation.

Which person suits the King?

This is no beginner’s horse: he must and will scale the highest heights, and so he is a horse for an experienced horseperson who wants to achieve mastery of himself and with his horse. If this is not offered to the King, then depression, sorrow and grieving for unused and dormant talent will ensue.

The King is a horse for mature human beings. And if such a horse and a mature, experienced, enlightened horseperson meet, few words and aids are needed, and there is no fuss. They are as one from the very beginning, full of respect and modest self-awareness.

In bad or unpracticed hands, this horse will quickly become brutal. He does not become sad but merely atrophies, which results in a sort of unemotional and unmerciful aggression. Then a horse of this type, particularly a stallion, can become a killer: he reacts without any pity, and the consistency that this horse offers his humans in positive ways is then employed in battle against them. This is merely the other side of the same coin. In work and in daily relationship these horses are open and honest. You must always be able to give them answers to their questions.

The Minister

RemiI would like to introduce the horse character ‘The Minister’ as described in Klaus Hempfling’s book What Horses Reveal — as it applies perfectly to me. First you must know that Klaus has assigned the character groups not only based on their inner natures, but also based on the insight that our outer form and conformation “conforms” to the basic being we are on the inside– nature and form, form and nature, are merely two aspects of the same being. Of course, this insight requires a skillful eye — the basic form of a horse cannot be derived from the pieces and parts alone, but there is also a kind of overall “gestalt” to the horse’s formal features and conformations that “reveal” themselves to the perceptive person. This is so true of so many horses that it can be uncanny, once you start to do some investigation. Take me, for example. I am the quintessential ‘Minister’, according to Klaus’ description (even if I say so myself). Here is what Klaus says of this type:

Of all horses, the Minister is the most mentally agile, the cleverest. He is very superior in his nature. He is a wise horse, and one that you would gladly ‘turn to for advice.’ As a rule the owners of such an animal do not, by a long stretch, measure up to the inner abilities of the horse in terms of awareness, directness, honesty, clarity, thgouhtfulness, peace and purpose. The horse then knows only too well that, with regard to these qualities, he is a long way ahead of his human, which can lead to difficult situations. He learns extraordinarily quickly and is only too ready to take on and master these new challenges. A child’s genuine down-to-earth attitude and agility make it surprisingly easy for him to approach this horse. This Minister loves children because they are so much more like him than the adults.

Here is the representative portrait of the Minister in Klaus’ book. You can see from his body type, head, and basic energetic movement, that he is just like me!

the-minister1 Klaus goes on to describe the right kind of person for a horse like me. He writes:

If the Minister feels that he can encounter a person on the same plane then he will be the first to tear down every barrier between human and horse. Overall, he is the most open type of all horses but he is also the one who can quickly hide himself, or even entrench himself behind a wall of feigned ignorance: he will pretend not to understand. The Minister is a wise horse and he seeks wisdom in human beings and, ultimately, the Minister can only accept a fine, high-ranking person of strong character. In fact, he is the most exacting when it comes to the selection of a suitable person. For that reason the Minister often feels very ill at ease in the world of human beings since this world, particularly these days, and particularly the riding world, is not exactly liberally sprinkled with wisdom and nobility.

You can see for these reasons, how difficult it was for me to be born at a racing track where I was completely misunderstood, and no one could recognize me until my new owner rescued me and took me in –that was over 25 years ago! I was still confused and skeptical about the human world, but I immediately recognized a soul-mate when we first met and our hearts touched as she reached out to me with love, affection, gratitude and a tremendous sense of hope for our life together. Here is a photo of that first and most important encounter

remiduo1You can see how unsure of myself I look as a 4 year old. But just one year later I had grown to be athletic and confident as you can see in this second photo.

remiduo2Here we are together just one year after meeting up. We were a very tenacious pair, galloping through the fields and mountains. Those were fantastic days. But my real nature as a Minister unfolded gradually. Due to my early years and problems with my feet, I did not hold up well under competition. I happily retired to a large farm for many years where I got to see my horse herd grow into the 8-member family we are today. Here is a photo of my best years on the farm at Spring Hill.


Today I am 30 years old! Now I teach workshops to humans, inviting them into the wisdom and heart-space that I try to share with them by opening up my own inner nature for them to experience. My outer form is not so rugged and handsome any longer, but my inner spirit has been allowed to manifest in very open and significant ways, thanks to the great fortune of having found the “right” person. I am now a true Minister, as the human world is my “Ministry” which I happily and whole-heartedly embrace. Here is a photo of me, now on the lawn at Alderlore, my home:


Cultivating the Joyful Horse

cropped-1.jpg It is important for humans to be able to know us on a deeper level if they want to cultivate joy with us. It is necessary to understand what joy is, what does joy feel like, and what does it look like in different horses. When a horse is allowed to express her true nature, there is joy. It is like the ducks we have at the farm. Every day they enjoy their ducky nature, which is diving into the pond and eating mud. That certainly would not be joyful for a horse! Neither do we like a lot of human -centric activities, or even human type comforts. We want, foremost, to enjoy our equine natures. Beyond that, different types of horses — the different horse characters — express joy in different ways. Humans cannot expect us to be joyful, when what you are asking us to do is against our most authentic nature! Take me, for instance,  I’m Gypsie, the one up front in this photo. I type as the” Prince”. I like to set clear rules.  I like to lead. Jhana (in the background) types as the Sargeant. She likes to follow clear rules. That makes us a perfect pair. It is no coincidence that we run the ring the way we do, me on the inside focused on the trainer, while Jhana shadows me like a loyal companion.

If you didn’t recognize us, you might expect that I was bold, and Jhana timid,  but it is not as simplistic as that. When something scary happens, something that scares us both, Jhana takes over the lead, and confronts the ‘scary unknown’ in a very bold and agressive way, which allows me to take flight to a safe distance, and peruse the situation, and call out orders, if necessary.

We work as a team. There is no permanent “dominator”,  as some humans like to imagine.

When Jhana had her babies, she turned them over to me for “lessons”. But the babies softened me, and I really spoil them too much. Let the humans around here take on their training! I’m learning to love life in my middle age.

So the point of this post — Cultivating the Joyful Horse — is that it requires humans not to project what joy should look like in this case or that — since what it looks like is different for different horse characters, and also changes as the situation changes. What is joyful to a horse of the type “Friend” is not at all the same as what is joyful for “the Tough One” or “the Victor”.

Joyfulness comes from the freedom and capacity to express one’s authentic nature. We recognize joy as enthusiasm. The capacity for joy is also dependent on the health of the horse, age, and training. Human can help cultivate joy and joyful relationships with us, by knowing our horsey nature, by recognizing our individual natures (character/ type) and by helping us stay healthy at all ages, and training our bodies to have the capacity to express our freedom and our joy. Humans can cultivate joy in themselves and learn what joy truly feels like. Then they can recognize horses on a very deep level, where the joyful energy arises in us. This is nature’s gift to horses.

In 2009 Alderlore will present a 5-day clinic on Cultivating the Joyful Horse for humans and their horses. Check our website in March for further details

Wishing you a JOY filled New Year,

Gypsie and Jhana

The Sergeant

This was submitted by the human, girasol:

Hm, this is fascinating. Can’t wait to see the types…as for what type am I? A good observer with a love of studying pattern, movement, color and form; a bit solitary; delighting in small details; very visual. But also prone to impatience and anger, though I tend to anger very slowly and not express it immediately.

My old horse had an opinion about me yesterday, when I left her tied to the arena wall and rode another horse first. She spent the whole time glaring at me and trying to untie the rope with her teeth.

Your description of yourself aligns with the nature of the Sergeant archetype. Here at Alderlore Mehrjhana is our Sergeant.

The Sergeant is razor sharp, fiery, independent, fast, hardy, generally healthy, fairness-loving, exceptional horse, still wild in his nature, and mostly fixated on one particular person. … his whole nature is marked by a joyful clever competence and practical common sense.

The Sergeant can become very unpleasant when he is with people who are indecisive and cannot communicate the sense of their actions without confusion. Then he becomes the commander, the boss, and with full force. … The Sergeant senses  great abilities in herself, and does posses them, but is thoroughly content with a secondary or subordinate position.

The Sergeant will go through thick and thin with his human, possessing both severity and inner robustness.

If the Sergeant does not have a clear relationship with a person, then he can sometimes become aggressive. He will soon feel lonely and abandoned, and then develop a rebellious nature, finally retreating further and further into himself in sadness.

If this human  finds the right horse counterpart– a strong, self-confident humanhorson who strives for fairness, order, and proportion, who wants to be  schooled, can be  shown the world, and can  give him a lot of time– the Sergeant can give this person a wonderful insight into the freedom that horses carry within themselves. For the right horse, there is much joy to be found with this person.

What type of horse are you?

ChoCho Hello friends (horses and humans alike). I want to talk about what kind of horse a person is (or what kind of human a horse is) either way, the gist remains the same. I have found that there are many types of humans just like there are many types of horses. Of course, each human as well as each horse is unique in his or her very own way, but there are general characteristics that show up, if we are careful enough to watch body language, or feel into the energy, that can be categorized into types.

Horses are often typed according to what we are best at, whether that be draft, sport, companion types.  Further character types appear within the breeds that fit those categories, such that, for example, both a thoroughbred, quarter horse, morgan and arabian are all considered sport horses, but the kinds of sports they are best at are different.

But that is not the type I am really interested in. I am interested in the type of character of the person, or the horse– the attitude and energy make-up of them. This is important when humans are deciding on what type of horse suits them bests; and for us horses, it is important for us to understand a person on a very deep level. We are always trying to help humans understand themselves on this deeper level– to understand what type of horse they are– so we can meet at the origin of spirit energy– which is deep joy. This deep joy perfects the horse-human relationship in all kinds of important and thrilling ways!

Over the next few days we will look at various general types of horses and humans, and how they can best understand how to work together for the benefit of both!

In the meantime, why don’t you take some time to size yourself up? What are your basic emotions? What are your most fundamental feelings, deep down where there is a kind of secret in your heart? What is most true about your self? What are your dreams like?

You can also ask your horse these questions. You can even ask your horse’s opinion about your self!

Try it. A lot can be revealed in a short time.