Dr. Hamilton’s Blog

Taking Charge? Taking Control?

Taking charge is not the same thing as taking control although the two are often confused. Since horse training is a good mirror through which to reflect on our human condition, let’s talk about taking charge in equine training. To take charge means to assume responsibility for your horse. It requires that, as a leader, you have the intention of understanding his needs and fears and striving with all your might to see the world through his eyes, to find [...]

February 3rd, 2017|Horse Training, Horsemanship|

New Year’s Equine Resolutions

With the New Year come resolutions to fix or address some issues. It’s also a good time to try to make some new commitments to our equine partners. Don’t berate yourself about what you haven’t done. The idea about resolutions is not to immediately “fix” something but, instead, to commit to improving, to making progress. In the words of the famous American poet and humorist, Ogden Nash: What lordly aspirations dawn The while I draw my trousers on! Oh beamish [...]

January 10th, 2017|Horsemanship, Well Being|

Horses and Christmas

I know there is not much to admire about the Marlboro Man. After all, these iconic cowboys were used to advertise cigarettes but I was too young to know about smoking back then and I just loved them because they were cowboys. They were ruggedly handsome men with sharply chiseled features and strong jaw lines and all decked out like cowboys. But what I loved the most was the ads that would show up at Christmas time. Then the Marlboro [...]

December 20th, 2016|Uncategorized, Well Being|

Drifting Away from Earth

The year 2010 was a threshold year for the human race for two reasons. First, it marked the point at which we had extracted more oil out of the ground than was left in it. In other words, we had depleted more than half of the entire planet’s reserves of fossil fuel in the form of petroleum. The second event that year marked was that more of the world’s population lived in cities than in rural areas. So more us [...]

November 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|

A Horse Has Thing Or Two To Say About This Election

No election has divided our country as much as this year’s presidential election. Our leaders failed us. Our government failed us. And we failed ourselves by letting ourselves end up with a choice between a despicable candidate and an untrustworthy one. No one inspired us. They exhausted us. Voting ended up being like vomiting: it felt better when it’s over but it left a bad taste in the mouth. This election has been as predatory as possible. It’s about powerful [...]

November 7th, 2016|Policy, Uncategorized, Well Being|

Do You Question a Nobel Prize?

This year has been a historic for the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. The Peace prize was awarded to Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Columbia, “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long-civil war to an end.” His country voted down the peace treaty. In 1973, the Nobel Peace Price was awarded to Henry Kissinger of the United States and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War. Kissinger went [...]

November 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|

The Sanctuary of Cats

They live in the Masaken Hanono, a suburb in the Eastern part of Aleppo, Syria. They have banded together from all across the bombed-out remains of the city. Some of them resort to stealing from each other. Some band together to defend each other. They are the cats of Aleppo and they have a guardian, Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, an ambulance driver who scrounges enough food every day to care for 170 cats and 2 dogs, some of the animal survivors [...]

October 26th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Love in the time….

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez wrote in Love In the Time of Cholera: “…wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.” I don’t think that he meant that wisdom was not useful, it’s just that the wisdom you grasp comes too late in your own life to do you much good so you have to consider what you can do to pass it along. Three days ago my son Luke and his wife Claire gave birth [...]

October 21st, 2016|Well Being|

Virtual Reality with Horses: For Liberty to Appear, Lead Ropes Must Disappear

  We are used to putting on our horse’s halter – I only use rope halters, by the way—and clipping our lead rope to it and then walking off with our horse. It’s second nature. It should be because it’s really the only practical way to move our horses at will. The key word, however, is practical. Because the lead rope is not a method; it’s a device. In other words, it’s a way of exerting energy or pressure physically [...]

October 14th, 2016|Horsemanship, Well Being|

When You Are Planning for Disaster, Where’s Your Horse?

I think if there is one thing that Hurricane Mathew reminded us of this week is that Nature can bring devastation with an unimaginable savagery and suddenness.  Sooner or later an emergency may come along and play havoc with our lives. But it is not just our lives at risk, it is also the lives of our animals. And our animals are depending upon us to have an emergency plan in place. First, figure out how big a vehicle you [...]

October 14th, 2016|Horsemanship|

Working a New Horse

As a horse trainer there a sense of real excitement when I am first brought a horse to train. It’s like opening a Christmas present. First, I look at the wrapping. Color, age, conformation, movement. I can size that up from the rail. I lean against that fence and just watch this magnificent being in front of me, swishing his tail, ears turning, nostrils drawing in the new smells, and the deep, wise eyes trying to make sense of what [...]

September 30th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Learning When It’s Not Work

I talk in my book, Lead With Your Heart—Lessons from a Life with Horses, that training horses—like any education or learning process—should be fun. But what’s true for training horses is true for any teaching situation: the teacher or trainer is responsible for making the learning experience fun. It is not an option. It’s a duty. When it comes to horses, if a trainer gets out in the arena or round pen and begins to see her training session degenerating [...]

September 23rd, 2016|Horse Training, Horsemanship|

Is There a Doctor In The House?

This week Dr. Hamilton was a guest blogger on RadioMD with a piece called, "Is There a Doctor in the House?" Read the entire blog here. .......It is too easy in this day and age to cut the patient up into pieces, both bureaucratically and by organ system.....

September 21st, 2016|Health & Medicine|

Death Is a Good Yardstick

I buried a close friend today. As I sat in the chapel and listened to his friends and family come up and speak of him, I thought to myself: “Man, would he have been overjoyed to hear how much people loved him. How deeply cherished he was.” I could not help but wonder: “What will people say at my funeral?” Sure, they would say I was bright. Well read. Accomplished. But I wondered would they say I was nice? Caring? [...]

September 16th, 2016|Spirituality|

Is My Horse Dead or Is He Asleep?

Several years ago one of the boarders at my ranch came over to the house and started pounding on the door—not something I encourage, believe me. I was all ready to get huffy with her but when I opened the door, she was sobbing uncontrollably and pointing out to one of the pastures: “You have to help me! My horse is dead out there in the pasture!” I grabbed my hat and hustled out to the pasture. Her horse was [...]

September 12th, 2016|Horsemanship|

The Twitch Is Out!

Let’s get the subject of the horse twitch cleared up. There is nothing analgesic (pain-relieving) about a twitch squeezing the lips, one of the most sensitive parts of a horse’s anatomy. I know. There are some of you out there---horse handlers, trainers, and even veterinarians—who are going to tell me what an essential piece of equipment the horse twitch is. That they use it and the horse calms down. And some of you will tell me that there are even [...]

September 2nd, 2016|Horse Training, Horsemanship|

The Horse and the Animal Connection

At almost every talk I give addressing the special and important life lessons that horses can teach us, someone from the audience will ask: “Why does it have to be horses?” The simple answer is that it doesn’t. It just is for me. I have always had a special connection to horses and have always felt “in sync” with them from my earliest childhood. Part of it might be genetic: my grandfather was a cavalry officer and a very accomplished [...]

August 26th, 2016|Spirituality|