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These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings. –andrew weil, m.d. e Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses e Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses forewords by monty roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m. ALLAN J. HAMILTON, m.d. author of the scalpel and the soul forewords by monty roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m. ALLAN J. HAMILTON, m.d. author of the scalpel and the soul These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings. –andrew weil, m.d.

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Zen Mind, Zen HorseFull-color; photographs and illustrations throughout320 pages; 7 x 10Paper:$24.95 US / $29.95 CANISBN: 978-1-60342-565-0No. 62565eBook Available Available August 2011

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Page 1: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

“These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings.” –andrew weil, m.d.

z e nM I n D

z e nh o r s e

The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

M I N D

h o r s e

The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

fore words by mont y roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m.

a lla n j. h a milton, m.d.au t hor of t h e s c a l p e l a n d t h e s o u l

fore words by mont y roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m.

a lla n j. h a milton, m.d.au t hor of t h e s c a l p e l a n d t h e s o u l

“These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings.” –andrew weil, m.d.

Page 2: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

f o r e w o r d vi

i n t r o d u c t i o n 1

days of thunder 11

the two sides of me 22

chi & equus 33

grooming as a tea ceremony 46

searching for chi 65

grooming as an act of love 74

the magic dog 90

prey, predator & the rules of learning 108

patience 124

leading the way 134

now & the ocean liner 152

tiny bubbles of chi 156

picking up the pace 178

minding your manners 184

sending out & backing up 197

tending to horses 215

side passing & jumping 228

come to me 235

from sack to saddle 244

a leg up 257

stopping & spooking 269

trailering (or not) 278

e p i l o g u e 286

t w e n t y e x e r c i s e s 289

a c k n o w l e d g m e n t s 297

b i b l i o g r a p h y 301

i n d e x 306

contents

Text © Allan J. Hamilton, m.d.

Illustrations © Elayne Sears

Page 3: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

A Letter from the Author

Dear Bookseller:

Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses is a primer on spirituality, brain function, and the bonds between the equine and human species. It is written from my unique perspective as a Harvard-trained brain surgeon and an experienced horse trainer. It is both a technical manual for training horses and a guide to extracting the deeper, spiritual lessons we can learn from these animals and applying them in our daily lives. It looks at horsemanship as a spiritual journey, open to anyone, at any level of expertise, and at any stage in their lives.

Ground work with horses provides a vital tool for humans — from a complete novice to an accomplished horse trainer — to reawaken and strengthen the capacity of our dormant right brain. With the lessons in Zen Mind, Zen Horse, we can discover a reliable way to silence our inner voice. We can move from an isolated, self-absorbed “me” to a connected, interactive “we.” Developing a partnership with a horse teaches us to sum-mon and focus our own vital energy, the non-verbal life force of chi, in our interactions with others.

Zen Mind, Zen Horse is not just for those who feel the deep tug of affection for horses; it is also for anyone who has the spiritual itch to become a better, happier, more fulfilled individual, and wonders where to start and how to accomplish it. No horse experience is needed to make these lessons work. How often do we attempt to adopt spiritual principles without any way of understanding them or seeing them in action? Zen Mind, Zen Horse uses the exceptional powers of horses to demonstrate dozens of such principles in action and then allows us to decide for our-selves which ones we need most in our own lives: clearing our mind; focus-ing our intention; adopting the infinite patience of a fencepost; living in the moment; forging partnerships based on integrity, not ambition; earning the responsibility of leadership.

Anatole France wrote: “Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” This book addresses how each of us can undertake this vital step to enhance our self-awareness.

Sincerely,

Allan J. Hamilton, m.d.

Page 4: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

22

chap ter t wo

the two sides

of me

The education system and modern society generally (with its very heavy emphasis on communication

and on early training in the three Rs) discriminates against one whole half of the brain.

Dr. Roger Sperry, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work on right- and left-hemispheric brain function

Page 5: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

t h e t w o s i d e s o f m e

23

m y o w n l i f e has developed along two divergent themes. The first is my profession as a brain surgeon; the second, my avoca-tion as a horse trainer. For four decades I have pursued these

two seemingly contradictory callings. The first finds me in an operating theater dominated by stainless steel and digital monitors. The second places me in wide open spaces, in the embrace of earth and sky (see figure 2.1). One, all sutures and antiseptics, belongs to science; the other, with its dust and sweat, to nature.

It might seem as though there’s an irreconcilable tension between the two. Neurosurgery requires a surreal ability to maintain focus, what Sir William Osler, a nineteenth-century physician, called “. . . coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances, calmness amid storm, clearness of judgment in moments of grave peril . . . .” For brain surgeons to reach the heights of their technical abilities, they must learn to suppress any interference from their own emotions.

Horsemanship, on the other hand, relies primarily on personal insight and intuitive assessment. Its practitioners must plumb their own emotional depths. And mastery does not come from personal sublimation but rather through intimate transformation.

out of my right mind This schism that runs through my life represents more than a mere opposition of profession and hobby. It contrasts two different approaches to being me. One way, by impos-ing an unwavering dedication to technique, requires suppression of the ego in order to perfect surgical method until it becomes its own form of expression.

2.1 The high-tech neurosurgical operating room (opposite) depends largely on

cognitive, logical, and mathematical left-hemispheric functions. Working with horses

in the round pen (above) depends largely on empathetic, emotional functions housed

in the right hemisphere of the human brain.

Page 6: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

t h e m a g i c d o g

100

The Four Aspects of the Round Pen

so m e n u m b e r s j u s t f i t s n u g ly. Four is one of them. It’s the first composite number, meaning it’s the first number that can be created by multiplying numbers other than itself. The simplest geometric solid, a tet-rahedron, must have four sides. There are four seasons and four primary elements. Time is the fourth dimension. And there are four directions.

To me, looking at the round pen encircling my horse and me, it seemed only natural to amplify my groundwork by attaching specific concepts relating to each of the four cardinal directions on its circumference (see figure 7.7).

These four directions are assigned colors in the Native American tra-dition. Traditionally these four colors, all pigments found in the natural environment, also representing the four races of humanity, were assigned as follows: black for the North, white for the East, yellow for the South, and red for the West.

the north North, associated with the color black, embodies the concept of empathy. Derived from the Greek empathe s (from em- + pathos, feelings, emotion), empathy is defined as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feel-ings, thoughts, and experiences of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” It is epitomized by the expression “see-ing the world from someone else’s perspective.”

North represents the direction of the leader, the alpha mare — the one who takes responsibility for the group. It is also the embodiment of the Golden Rule: namely, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” North is the faithful, invariant direction upon which we depend for our moral compass, to show us the way when we are lost, to help guide our next steps when we wonder where to go: to make sure we do the right thing.

Why black? Yes, it is the color of darkness and shadows, but it is also the color painted under the hunter’s eyes so he’s not inadvertently blinded by the sun or the snow. It is the color of charcoal — what’s left after every-thing is burned, consumed by fire. It is the color of death. Grief implies empathy, the ability to see loss and comprehend the world through the suffering of others. Empathy is a fundamental ingredient of compassion-ate leadership.

Page 7: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

t h e t w o s i d e s o f m e

101

t h e m a g i c d o g

101

north

color: Blackconcept: Empathyrole: Leaderadditional: The Golden Rule

east

color: Whiteconcept: Learning, illuminationrole: Teacheradditional: Imprinting, ritual

south

color: Yellowconcept: Intentionrole: Visionary, entrepreneuradditional: The archer is one with the target, seeing the end before beginning.

west

color: Redconcept: Wisdomrole: Shaman, elderadditional: Walking the red road

colors of the round pen

The north is the leader, responsible for the herd or group. The east is the educator, the

teacher, and stands for illumination and knowledge. The south is the visionary, the one

who sees the goal, the objective. The west is the shaman, the individual responsible for

bridging what is physical to what is not, for lending meaning to the existential struggle.

7.7

n

s

w e

Page 8: Zen Mind, Zen Horse BLAD

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“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 their 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.” susan richardsauthor, c ho sen by a hor se

“Combining brain science, horse sense, and fine storytelling, this spiritual hand-book points toward a special and com-pletely real form of enlightenment.”stephen kieslingeditor-in-chief, spir i t ual i t y & he alt h m ag a z ine

“Zen Mind, Zen Horse is both practical and profound, offering sound advice for tapping the wisdom of horses as natural mindfulness teachers.” linda kohanovauthor, t he tao of equus

“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 their 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.” susan richardsauthor, c ho sen by a hor se

“Combining brain science, horse sense, and fine storytelling, this spiritual hand-book points toward a special and com-pletely real form of enlightenment.”stephen kieslingeditor-in-chief, spir i t ual i t y & he alt h m ag a z ine

“Zen Mind, Zen Horse is both practical and profound, offering sound advice for tapping the wisdom of horses as natural mindfulness teachers.” linda kohanovauthor, t he tao of equus

dr. allan hamilton is a Harvard-trained brain surgeon, professor of neuro-science, and renowned horse trainer who has given clinics all over the United States and in Europe. He is the author of The Scalpel and the Soul: Encoun-

ters 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 televi-sion series Grey’s Anatomy and also consults for the spin-off show, Private Practice. He raises Lipizzan horses and pasture-fed Angus cattle on a small ranch on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona.

A new road to training horses and a new journey toward

self-awareness

H o r s e T r ainin g wiTH emoTion, inTuiTion, and Transcendence

Publicity Contact: Adam Carmichael (413) 346-2139 • [email protected]

www.storey.com

Zen Mind, Zen HorseFull-color; photographs and illustrations

throughout

320 pages; 7 x 10

Paper: $24.95 US / $29.95 CAN

ISBN: 978-1-60342-565-0

No. 62565

eBook Available

Releases August

2011!

“These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings.” –andrew weil, m.d.

z e nM I n D

z e nh o r s e

The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

M I N D

h o r s e

The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

fore words by mont y roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m.

a lla n j. h a milton, m.d.au t hor of t h e s c a l p e l a n d t h e s o u l

fore words by mont y roberts and robert m. miller, d.v.m.

a lla n j. h a milton, m.d.au t hor of t h e s c a l p e l a n d t h e s o u l

“These deceptively simple techniques embody a powerful set of spiritual teachings.” –andrew weil, m.d.

Marketing and Publicity:• Book trailer to promote author

for interviews

• Forewords from equine experts Monty Roberts and Robert M. Miller, d.v.m.

• Author events at equestrian trade shows and bookstores