Synopses & Reviews
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.
Horse training presents unique opportunities to explore powerful spiritual truths. The exercises in Zen Mind, Zen Horse offer everyone who works with horses -- novice or expert -- a new understanding of how humans train and interact with horses and why these two species, one a master predator and the other the ultimate prey animal, have such a deep, natural connection.
Horses have evolved to understand and respond to the flow of vital energy -- chi -- around them, using it in their body language to communicate with members of their herd, to express dominance, and to sense danger from nearby predators. Being quietly present and receptive to your horse's energy opens the potential of your emotional, intuitive right brain. These simple, safe groundwork techniques reveal a pathway to awakening your deep sensitivity, calm leadership, intuition, and mindfulness.
About the Author
Allan Hamilton is a Harvard-trained brain surgeon and a renowned horse trainer who has given clinics throughout the United States and Europe. His work with horses has been featured in Arizona Highways Television Magazine, Western Horseman, Haute Ecole, Horse and Rider
, and Equus
. Dr. Hamilton holds a Professorship in neurosurgery as well as Clinical Professorships in radiation oncology, psychology, and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona. He is the author of The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Human Power of Hope
, which received the Silver Nautilus Award in 2009 for nonfiction works in spirituality. Dr. Hamilton serves as the medical script consultant for the television series Grey"s Anatomy
and also consults for Private Practice
. He raises Lipizzan horses and pasture-fed Angus cattle on a small ranch on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.
Table of Contents
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
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)