Conversation with Bernd Hackl



In the latest episode of "The Curious Equestrian," hosted by Anna Louise Clayden, listeners are treated to the wisdom and experience of Bernd Hackl, a revered figure in equine training. 


Known affectionately as Bernie, his approach to horsemanship has resonated within the equestrian communities in Germany and beyond, fostering a deeper understanding and connection between horses and their handlers.


A Lifelong Dedication to Horses

From the tender age of fourteen, Bernie discovered his innate ability to connect with horses, initiating a lifelong dedication to understanding and communicating with these majestic creatures. His guiding philosophy, "as much as necessary, as little as possible," underscores his commitment to a training approach emphasising empathy, lightness, and responsiveness.

The Essence of Empathetic Horsemanship

Throughout the episode, Bernie eloquently discusses the "golden ball" concept — a metaphor representing the empathy, self-awareness, and accountability essential for cultivating a genuine understanding of equine partners. He advocates for an introspective journey towards becoming better versions of ourselves to enhance our interactions with horses.

Challenging Traditional Practices

Bernie's methodology is rooted in observation and the courage to question conventional practices that may not serve the best interest of horse welfare. By adopting a mindset that seeks to understand the 'why' behind every action, he has developed a training philosophy that encourages critical thinking and a holistic approach to horse training.


Overcoming Communication Barriers with Owners

A recurring theme in Bernie's work is the challenge of effectively conveying his training methods to horse owners. He emphasises the importance of attention to detail, such as teaching a horse to willingly reach for the halter, as foundational elements of his training approach.


Patience, Observation, and Understanding

Bernie underscores the virtues of patience and observation, allowing horses the time to comprehend and willingly respond to requests. This approach respects the horse's learning process and fosters a working relationship characterised by efficiency and mutual respect.


The Art of Inter-Species Communication

Drawing parallels between intercultural communication and horse training, Bernie highlights the significance of body language and the energy we project. Understanding and adapting our communication style is crucial in building a successful partnership with our equine friends.


Recognising Individuality among Horses

According to Bernie, Acknowledging each horse's unique personalities and energies is vital. His experiences with various horses have taught him the importance of adapting training methods to suit individual needs, ensuring a respectful and consistent training environment.


Building Trust through Authenticity

Bernie points out the authenticity of horses as a contrast to human complexity. Establishing trust and effective communication with horses demands patience, effort, and a sincere desire to understand their perspective.


Exploring Extreme Trail Training

The episode also delves into Bernie's approach to extreme trail training, which focuses on trust and confidence building. This training prepares horses and riders to navigate challenging terrains and obstacles, emphasising the strength of their partnership.


Fostering Empathy and Connection

The enlightening conversation with Bernd Hackl serves as a reminder of the pivotal role empathy, communication, and understanding play in horse training. His insights encourage equestrians to train with sensitivity and awareness, aiming for a relationship with horses built on mutual respect and trust.


This episode of "The Curious Equestrian" not only captivates with its depth of knowledge but also inspires a reflective approach to horsemanship, urging listeners to embrace the subtle nuances that forge a profound bond between horse and handler.