Book Review: Zen Mind, Zen Horse
This would be a great book for beginners looking to understand more about horses. Dr. Hamilton goes all the way back to talk briefly about the history of horses and what shaped them into the creatures we interact with today. He explains how they have changed from being wild animals of the plains to domestic.
He then continues on to talk about basic horse/human interactions, like leading and grooming and how these simple tasks help you get to know, establish trust and bond with your horse. Hamilton then brings in the idea of chi and how our energy affects our horse. Now, don't let this turn you off because it sounds woo woo. Horses are prey animals and in order to survive all these years they have needed to sense danger without seeing, hearing or smelling it. The smallest thing needs to be noticed by a horse so they can determine if it is a threat or something to ignore. That means when you storm into the barn after a frustrating day at work, your horse absorbs all of that energy and can get just as jumpy as you are! He also talks about the power of intention, and I think this is where a lot of riders fall off the tracks. There needs to be an intention with everything you do with a horse and often times we're so distracted with so many other things the purpose and feel of the moment disappears.
While some of the sections I just skimmed over because they were basics I already knew, being refreshed on how a horse ticks is always valuable. Dr. Hamilton talked many times about if we want to truly partner with a horse we have to put our rushed, predatory ways aside and learn to have the patience needed to communicate clearly. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is around horses. Whether you are new to them, only around them because of someone else, or a trainer this book has many important topics and reminders!
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