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Episode 169: Dr Michaela Hempen Pt 3: The Stallion Project

This week we are shifting gears completely. Michaela is going to tell us about the stallion project that she and Anja Beran are working on. The stallion project refers to work that Anja and Michaela are spearheading to bring about changes in Germany in the stallion testing process. In this episode Michaela describes the stallion tests and the damage that results to the horses that go through them. Anja was saddened by the number of beautiful young stallions people wanted to send to her to “fix” after going through the stallion testing. She and Michaela are working to get changes instituted.

The web site for the stallion project is:

The site is in German, but don't let that deter you. It is very much worth visiting. Anja and Michaela have included some of the silhouette images from Anja’s new book. The example/non-example contrast is very powerful. You can use google translate to give you a rough approximation for what is being said.

The stallion project is actually very related to the work Michaela is doing with Blondie. Blondie was originally trained to be a reining horse. She would have been started young and pushed through the training fast. When Michaela took over her training, the hard push was revealed in the many loud “no” answers Blondie gave to even simple requests such as haltering.

Many of us take on horses like Blondie and these stallions. The good news is the constructional approach that we’ve been talking about can go a long way towards creating a good life for these horses. The even better news would be that horses are seen as the individuals that they are, that they are no longer treated as expendable livestock.

In Part One I introduced Michaela by saying our conversation was a present to all of you. Her work offers such valuable insights on how to use the training for the benefit of our horses. The Holiday season seems like a good time to be sharing this work because it’s a time when the presents we most want to unwrap are those that create positive changes in the world.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


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