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

Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses [Kindle Edition]

Allan J. Hamilton MD , Robert Miller , Monty Roberts
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual techniques.

Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7700 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1603425659
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (10 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HN0VUE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,796 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me 5 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very disapointed.Lots of fluffly horses are spiritual stuff.Then we move in.He describes how you teach a reluctant horse to load.Basically you starve it of food and water until it goes on the trailer when it it desperate (Oh sorry, makes a choice!).The use of the round pen(when he exerts huge psychological pressure on the horse)until it makes the choice that he approves of etcetera.I am pleased I am not one of his horses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 6 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have met Allan Hamilton on a number of occassions. He has a brilliant mind. He is something of a polymath. He is a horse whisperer but you do not need to love horses to like this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trish in Cumbria 2 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought that this book was really interesting, helpful and at times sharply insightful; especially when putting it in context with other horsemanship books I have read & the Zen philosophy.
However I can see that the content may have seemed a bit mumbo-jumbo in places; especially if you're not already a firm believer in the centuries old ethoses of horsemanship.
Overall this book has a lot to offer & well worth the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  104 reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen Mind Zen Horse 17 Aug 2011
By Dani Gilbert - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I could only recommend one book to any person interested in natural horsemanship it would be Allen J. Hamilton, M.D.'s "Zen Mind Zen Horse." Dr. Hamilton has incorporated the wisdom of leading horse legends such as Ray Hunt, Monty Roberts, Ga Wa Ni Pony Boy and others with science and spirituality to create an amazing "bible" for students at any level of horsemanship. In this powerful book Dr. Hamilton shows a deep and clear understanding of the nature of these beautiful sentient beings we call horses. He leads us step by step toward a better understanding of all aspects of horsemanship. I am struck by his commen sense and respect for his students and horses. I am going to give each of my students a copy of this book. As a native american woman, horsewoman, registered nurse, equine therapist and mother to many I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Read it and be blessed.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read this even if you never get near a horse 22 Sep 2011
By william - Published on
dr. hamilton's words point to the balance we all need to find and maintain in our lives... in this case, the horse is the vehicle through which he delivers his message. if you don't like horses, read it for yourself. if you do like horses, and especially if you have one, read it so you might deepen the relationship between your animal and yourself. there are no empty, 'feel good', new age-ish sentiments here; just timeless wisdom balanced with a neurosurgeon's pointed observations about how a horse lives, and how you might live a little better too.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable book for anyone who is around horses 5 Oct 2011
By Richard Foxx - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you've always taken your horse for granted, if you've ever blamed your horse for not paying attention, if you've ever hit an impasse in your horse's training progress, ZEN MIND, ZEN HORSE is for you. This well-crafted, very readable and totally compelling book combines the best of masters such as Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt with the teachings of Buddhism and the Zen masters. There were moments in this book that brought to mind such classics as ZEN AND THE ART OF ARCHERY. But make no mistake...this is no airy, fairy horse book. It is loaded with practical hints and tips. In short, this is a must-read for anyone who aspires to fathom the equine experience and expand their mind as well.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightened Horsemanship Will Change the World 17 Jan 2012
By mae lee sun - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Hamilton has the distinct honor of being gifted with a brilliant mind and compassionate heart. He has used his knowledge of neuroscience, horses and zen to bring a very practical and sensible manual on horse training to the world- with both the horse and rider in mind as a symbiotic unit. Most so called natural horsemanship trainers neglect to mention the spiritual nature of the horse in conjunction with the rider and so fear to tread into the space of 'energy' or 'chi' - I imagine partly because they fear they won't be taken seriously. However, Dr. Hamilton is succinct and pragmatic in his articulation of training methods while also establishing the fact that a person's energy field, i.e. thoughts, intentions, posture, philosophy, etc. will always have an impact on the horse.

Two of the major aspects that seems neglected in training are time and patience. Being with a horse requires one be acutely aware of their human tendencies to want things right away so the horse can 'do' something for them- jump, walk, turn, stop, perform, whatever the case may be as to why you wanted the horse in the first place.

If you're willing to take full responsibility for yourself and your horse, in what kind of horse you helped to create or person you turn out to 'Be', then this book is for you. It is reasonable, logical, accessible, based on human kinds' highest ability to interact with nonhuman life and will help create the opening and ground necessary for you to develop yourself into the kind of horseman/woman that you can be proud of and that your horse would willingly follow- based on the inside out rather than from impersonal conditioning that has trained the horse to do something like a robot, leaving a void, obedient animal in your charge. The only aspects I disagree with is the use of bits and round pen training as I see them as unnecessary when there one can be safe and ride bitless and round pen training can be stressful.

Thank you Dr. Hamilton for bringing all the pieces together in one magnificent book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 15 Nov 2011
By L. K. Burroughs - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book! It gives loads of insight into how and why we relate so well to these magnificent animals. Dr. Hamilton writes in a charming, clear way that draws you in and makes you want to learn more. He clearly explains training techniques for you and your horse to work better as partners. A great book if you are interested in your horse as well as your own spiritual growth.
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