Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

( 8 )

Overview

Mindful work with horses, says neurosurgeon Allan J. Hamilton, can enlighten the human handler as much as it benefits the horse. Evolving over 30 million years to become the quintessential prey animal, equines have developed acute right-brain survival skills, such as leadership, awareness, empathy, and cooperation. In particular the horse has finely honed abilities to lead, communicate, and connect not with words, but with the vital emotional energy described in the Buddhist tradition as chi. When we learn the ...

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Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

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Overview

Mindful work with horses, says neurosurgeon Allan J. Hamilton, can enlighten the human handler as much as it benefits the horse. Evolving over 30 million years to become the quintessential prey animal, equines have developed acute right-brain survival skills, such as leadership, awareness, empathy, and cooperation. In particular the horse has finely honed abilities to lead, communicate, and connect not with words, but with the vital emotional energy described in the Buddhist tradition as chi. When we learn the language of chi, we become more effective as leaders, more attuned to others, and more joyful as human beings.

Zen Mind, Zen Horse begins by examining how the equine and human brains function, often related to their respective roles as prey and predator. Going on to draw insights and wisdom from spiritual traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Ayurvedic healing, and Yaqui shamanism and from the great horse cultures of the Mongolians, Bedouins, and Native Americans, Dr. Hamilton shows the importance of developing right-brain awareness and quieting the left-brain dominance of our Western brains.

Seamlessly integrating spiritual principles and practical applications, Dr. Hamilton shows how to apply the chi-based approach to every aspect of horse-human communication, including:
• The act of grooming as a spiritual practice
• Techniques of alpha-horse leadership that make others gladly follow
• Gaze, stance, and gesture as training tools
• The irresistible power of infinite patience

Ultimately, the author shows the depth of insight humans gain into themselves, as well as horses, after working with these amazing animals.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen Kiesling
Combining brain science, horse sense, and fine storytelling, this spiritual handbook points toward a special and completely real form of enlightenment.
Susan Richards
Zen Mind, Zen Horse is far more than a book about how to care for a horse, though it stands out as one of the best on the subject. Rather, Hamilton has given humans a way to achieve our highest good by allowing horses to be our guides. This beautiful testament to the power and magic of equine energy captures the soul of a horse perfectly.
Linda Kohanov
Zen Mind, Zen Horse is both practical and profound, offering sound advice for tapping the wisdom of horses as natural mindfulness teachers.
Andrew Weil
These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual techniques.
Library Journal
Calling his work with horses an avocation, Hamilton, a neurosurgeon, consultant for Grey's Anatomy, and nationally known horse trainer, emphasizes the spiritual connection that can exist between horses and humans. He argues that people need to quiet their inner voices, allowing the intuitive right side of the brain to guide human/equine relationships and communication. He compares horses to a band of legendary Zen masters, perfect teachers that help uncover their trainers' real motivations. Hamilton builds on Parelli's principles of natural horsemanship, explaining equine and human brain function, chi (life energy), and the seven chakras that all play into nonverbal communication. He provides groundwork for his concepts as well as specific instructions for readers. Personal stories and equine legends are interspersed throughout the text. VERDICT Hamilton's ideas will resonate with anyone who has ever formed a close relationship with a horse. The sometimes lyrical writing is clear and persuasive, and the examples and illustrations are good for novices and experts alike. Recommended.—Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans Hosp., Tampa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603425650
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 194,596
  • Product dimensions: 9.76 (w) x 7.08 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan J. Hamilton, MD, is a Harvard-trained brain surgeon, a renowned horse trainer, a developer of equine-assisted learning programs, and the author of The Scalpel and the Soul,which won a Silver Nautilus Award in 2009. He is professor of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona and a medical script consultant for the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy. He raises Lippizan horses on a small ranch in the outskirts of Arizona.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Days of Thunder
The Two Sides of Me
Chi & Equus
Grooming as a Tea Ceremony
Searching for Chi
Grooming as an Act of Love
The Magic Dog
Prey, Predator & the Rules of Learning
Patience
Leading the Way
Now & the Ocean Liner
Tiny Bubbles of Chi
Picking Up the Pace
Minding Your Manners
Sending Out & Backing Up
Tending to Horses
Sidepassing & Jumping
Come to Me
From Sack to Saddle
A Leg Up
Stopping & Spooking
Trailering (or Not)
Epilogue
Twenty Exercises
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A fantastic read to awaken the right hemisphere of mind.

    Just borrowed this book from library and love love it. Any one who loves horses an or works with horses should read this book. Definatley purchasing it. Kinda want hard copy versus digital as this book has great diagrams for learning chi placement and manipulation.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    Amazing book and so well written!

    I must say this is one of the best books I have read. It's as if your standing right because the writer listening. In the 20 years I've been around horses this book gave me much more insight to being with my horses. Love it and will pass it on... Thanks
    Debbiexo

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    An EXCELLENT read

    enlightening and inspiring

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Well.

    Not as expected

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Not what I had in mind

    Listened to an interview of Dr. Hamilton . Thought I could learn some thing new on the matter of natural horsemansip. I was very disappointed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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