Zen and the Horse

Applying the principles of posture, breath and awareness to be a better rider and to live a better life.

You can use horseback riding as a discipline to refine your posture, breath and awareness. What you learn through refining these on your horse can be brought into your daily life. Ultimately, riding a horse can lead to an awareness of being connected to all life and become a journey of self-development and spiritual training.


Zen & Horseback Riding

From Amazon reviews:

Thankfully, I came across this gem of a book and it has truly changed my riding experience. 

I wish I had read it long before I did. This should be required reading for anyone who is going to take horseback riding lessons and wants to really learn how to ride, regardless of discipline.

I now feel very safe and comfortable in the saddle with my horse and any other horse I ride. The book is very easy to read and follow.

I can sit the trot now, but more than that, I’ve been introduced to mindfulness and the breath during riding.

The proper use of the psoas muscles is what’s missing in Centered Riding.® In this book, there are informative and useful diagrams as well as exercises for locating and strengthening the psoas muscles. I highly recommend this book for beginners, more advanced riders, and especially riding instructors.

I learned a lot from this little book. I’ve been working years on my posture, and the information about the psoas really helped me get a solid position on the horse. The breath and awareness information were icing on the cake. This is one book that I’ll be reading again and again.

Just what I needed to help me find my seat. Great exercises that are simple and remarkable. A very worthwhile read.

Simple Pushes: Finding Balance in Life

From Amazon reviews:

Simple Pushes is a very easy read and provides life-changing tips. The concepts in this book have helped me become more efficient and balanced. As I begin to get bogged down in a problem I use simple pushes and move forward. 

My wife and I use the lessons in Tom’s book on a regular basis and now we can easily help each other with a simple push by saying, “…you’re pulling…” to get them back into balance.

Tom shows how pushing and pulling relates to all areas of life, and SO much makes sense now.

This little book is simple yet spot on. I laughed out loud when I read the statement that pullers have a lot of self help books. Guilty!

Quick read with easy to understand information. Tom’s explanation of the push/pull concept will make a difference in your life and in your relationships. For me the concept was an “aha” moment.

I really enjoyed this little book. It is one that I will keep handy and re-read (a simple push) in my effort to keep my life in a good balance.

Simple Pushes is a quick read, but one that I will be telling all of my friends, family, clients, and students to purchase!

For Rider’s Seat Clinic information contact: tnagel@zenandthehorse.com

Tom Nagel

Tom’s experience and expertise is in the basic biomechanics of how human bodies work. He practiced Aikido for seventeen years, obtaining a 3rd degree black belt before retiring. He is an advanced practitioner of Zen Bodytherapy, a bodywork discipline that combines deep tissue and alignment work. Tom started his Zen training in 1977 under the guidance of Tanouye Roshi and became a certified Zen teacher in 1986. He has been conducting clinics for horseback riders since 2000.

Rider’s Seat Clinic

Video from Netherlands clinic.

Sample Clinic Flyer:

What riders and teachers are saying.

“What you are teaching is the key to that dream place we all aspire to achieve with our horses.”  Karen Irland   Centered Riding® Clinician, Author of Along the Way: My Journey with Horses

“Happy horses, happy riders and lots of new insights and awareness! Ylvie Fros – Netherlands clinic organizer Author of Harmony, Lightness and Horses

“What Tom can do is show riders how to use their bodies in a natural, effective way that allows them to ‘get out of the way’ of their horse. The results are startling. Without a doubt, Tom’s teachings had the most profound and striking changes to both horses and riders of any clinics we have ever organized. ” Lisa Pritchard – UK Rider’s Seat Clinic organizer

“If you get the chance to go on one of Tom’s courses… do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it.” Samantha Bolam –  Flow Horsemanship Development Centre – UK

“Thank you for a wonderful experience and a new awareness to my life.  Not only has it changed my riding, it has changed my life on a daily basis. The simple step of shifting my psoas has such a profound effect on my whole well-being. I am a different person.” P. Peterson – Michigan, USA

“What struck me was how easy it was to find that ever-elusive seat I had been searching for all these years. It is so simple, yet so profound.”  Suzan Seelye, DVM – USA

Centered Riding® and the Psoas article