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  • The Soul of a Horse
  • Written by Joe Camp
    Preface by Monty Roberts
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  • The Soul of a Horse
  • Written by Joe Camp
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307449498
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Life Lessons from the Herd

Written by Joe CampAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joe Camp
Preface by Monty RobertsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Monty Roberts


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: April 29, 2008
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-0-307-44949-8
Published by : Three Rivers Press Crown/Archetype
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Look into the heart and soul of a horse.

A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what a horse needed or wanted. They searched for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care. What they found was not what they had expected.

Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or ever loved the idea of loving a horse, this memoir leads us on a voyage of discovery as Joe and Kathleen navigate uncharted territory on their way to achieving a true relationship with their horses. Joe Camp’s inspiring book unlocks the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on earth, without assistance, for fifty-five million years and teaches us that the lessons he learned apply not only to horses but also to our relationships with people.





My name is Cash. I am horse.

I have been on this planet for some fifty-five million years. Well, not me personally. My ancestors. It all began in North America, somewhere near what is now called Utah. We hung out and evolved for forty-three million years, then we began to migrate, to South America, and across the Alaskan bridge to Asia, Europe, and Africa. And, eventually, some twelve million years after we left, we were brought back home by the Spanish conquistadors.

We’ve been through it all. Ice Ages. Volcanic periods. Meteor strikes. Dinosaurs. You name it. And we survived.

We’ve only been carrying man around for, oh, the last three to four thousand years. We’ve helped him farm, hunt, travel, and fight his enemies. We were helping man shape world history, winning wars for him, as far back as 1345 bc. We protected kings’ dominions in medieval times, carried knights into the Crusades, fought on European battlefields all the way into the early 1900s, and helped conquer and settle the American West.

Throughout these millions of years, many of us have always remained wild and free. Even today, our herds roam free in Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, France, Africa, the Greek Island of Cephalonia, Abaco in the Bahamas, Sable Island in Nova Scotia, the Canadian West, several states of the American West, Virginia, and North Carolina.

And, until recently, we’ve done it all pretty much naked and in good relationship with man. But over the past several hundred years things began to change. These changes are actually inexplicable, given that our genetics and history are widely known. You see, we are not cave dwellers. We don’t like dark cozy rooms, clothing, iron shoes, heat, or air-conditioning.

Humans seem to like all that. And because they do, they presume we should like it too. But we’re movers and shakers. In the wild we’ll move ten to twenty miles a day, keeping our hooves flexing and circulating blood, feeding our tiny little stomachs a little at a time, and keeping our own thermoregulatory systems in good working order.

Think about it. Our survival through all those millions of years has built a pretty darned determined genetic system. And an excellent formula for survival. We are what you humans call prey animals, flight animals. We are not predators, like you. We have survived because we freak out at every little thing, race off and don’t look back. We are also herd animals. Not just because it’s fun to be around our pals, but because there is safety in numbers. And being prey animals, we consider safety just about the most important thing. But our idea of safety is not the same as yours. Our genetic history does not understand being all alone in a twelve-by-twelve stall. Even if it’s lined in velvet, in a heated barn, it’s away from the herd and by no stretch of the emotion or imagination is that a safe haven! Stress is all we get from such an experience.

Stress. Big-time!

Have you ever seen one of us, locked in a stall, pacing . . . pawing . . . swaying . . . gnawing? That horse is saying, Let me outta here!! I need to move! I need to circulate some blood!

And about these metal shoes nailed to our feet. Have you ever seen a horse in the wild with metal shoes? I don’t think so. There is nothing more important to a prey animal than good feet. And ours have helped us survive for millions and millions of years. Rock-crushing hard and healthy.

But once upon a time, back in medieval days, some king decided he would be safer if he built his castle and fortress up on top of a high hill or mountaintop. He still needed us to fight his wars, and move things and people around, but up there on top of the hill, there were no pastures like down in the valley. So he put us in small holding pens where we had to stand around all day, in our own pee and poop, and guess what happened to our feet. It wasn’t the moisture so much as the ammonia. Ate our feet up! So when they’d take us out onto those hard stone roads . . . well, you can imagine.

The king’s blacksmith came up with the idea of nailing metal shoes onto our hooves, to keep them from disintegrating when pounding the stony roads. There was a much simpler, healthier solution, but, unfortunately, it escaped the king and his blacksmith. So all the king’s men and all the king’s horses went down the hill . . . and all the king’s peasants, living in the valley, where their horses were out in the field, happy as clams with strong and healthy hooves, saw these shiny, newfangled pieces of metal on the king’s horses, and what did they say? Surely the king knows best! We must have some of those shiny metal things for our own horses!

And so it went for generations.

You humans are funny that way. And you say we follow the herd.

Joe and I have had long discussions about all this and he seems to be getting it. So I can shamelessly recommend what follows. Joe has spent much of his life trying to lure you into the heart and soul of a dog, and now he’s trying to lure you into the heart and soul of a horse. For it is there that he first began to comprehend the vast differences between us and you, and the kind of thinking that can bridge that gap and bind us together in relationship. My herd mates and I have taught him well. And, believe it or not, the philosophy behind everything he has learned doesn’t apply to just horses but to how you humans approach life as well. So whether or not you have a relationship with a horse, I think you’ll find this journey of discovery fascinating. I did.

And I already knew the story.


The Herd

The wind was blowing out of the east, which made the beast uneasy. It wasn’t normal. And anything that wasn’t normal made him uneasy. A stray sound. A flutter of a branch. The wind coming from the east.

But there was a scent on this wind. A familiar scent. One embedded in the big stallion’s being for millions of years. He spun on his heels and sure enough, there it was, easily within sight, apparently not realizing the wind had shifted. The stallion screamed to the matriarch, who wheeled in flight.

Like one, the herd followed, racing away at lightning speed, the great stallion bringing up the rear. They ran without looking back for just over a quarter of a mile before the leader slowed and turned.

The predator, a small female cougar, had tired. She had been betrayed by the east wind. The horses had gotten away early, and now she was turning back.

The stallion’s senses had saved them this time. The entire herd was alive and well because those very senses had helped their ancestors survive for some fifty-five million years. Prey, not predator, the horse must suspect everything. Every movement. Every animal. Every smell. Every shadow. All are predators until proven innocent. By taking flight, not staying to fight, they survive.

And by staying together. Always together.

How well the big stallion knew this. He had watched his mother, in her old age, lose this very special sense and drift away from the herd. It was excruciating. His responsibility was the herd. To keep them together, and moving. But his mother’s screams in the distance would live with him forever.

The matriarch began to lick and chew, a sign that she was relaxing, that all was well. The stallion took her signal, and one by one, the herd began to graze again, nipping at the random patches of grass and the occasional weed. But they wouldn’t stay long. The matriarch would see to it. She would move them almost fifteen miles this day, foraging for food and water, staying ahead of wolves and cougars. And keeping themselves fit and healthy.

From the Hardcover edition.
Joe Camp|Monty Roberts

About Joe Camp

Joe Camp - The Soul of a Horse

Photo © Kathleen Camp

JOE CAMP is the writer, producer, and director of all the celebrated Benji movies and programs, and the creator of the canine superstar. He is the author of the inspirational memoir Benji & Me, and has also written several children’s books. He lives in California with his wife, Kathleen, his three stepchildren, seven horses, five dogs, and two cats and is a passionate advocate for children and animals.

About Monty Roberts

Monty Roberts - The Soul of a Horse
Monty Roberts was born in California in 1935 and won his first riding trophy at the age of four. Winning championships while attending university, Monty spent most of his working life as a professional horse trainer. His autobiography, The Man Who Listens to Horses, was published in 1996 and sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Monty is the author of two other international bestsellers: Shy Boy and Horse Sense for People.


“One cannot help but be touched by Camp’s love and sympathy for animals and by his eloquence on the subject.”
—Michael Korda, The Washington Post

“Heartwarming, joyful and triumphant lightly describes this literary gem by Joe Camp, author, producer, director and, now, horseman. Not just for horse lovers but for anyone who has loved any living creature.”
True Cowboy Magazine

“This book is absolutely fabulous! An amazing, amazing book. You’re going to love it.”
Janet Parshall’s America

“Who should read this book? Every person who has a relationship with a horse, other animals, spouse, family, or other humans. So that includes just about everybody.”
The Rider Magazine

“Joe Camp is a gifted storyteller and when he turns his talents to his newest passion, the horse, the results are magical. Few veteran horsemen can impart the insights about horses that Joe Camp, a relative newcomer, has done in his book The Soul of a Horse. Joe entertains, educates and empowers, baring his own soul while articulating keystone principles of a modern revolution in horsemanship.”
—Rick Lamb, TV/Radio host "The Horse Show,” Author of Human to Horseman

“One does not have to love horses to appreciate Joe Camp’s new book, The Soul of a Horse. And those who don’t already love horses surely will by the time they finish reading.”

Joe Camp’s The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd presents the history and majesty of equines in a way that truly touches the heart weaving an engaging tapestry of writings that explore the evolutionary development of horses along with Camp’s present day relationship with the horses that have chosen him as their leader. A treasure map leading to untold riches.”
The World Magazine

“Joe Camp … writes about horses with empathy, curiosity, and a deep regard for equine instincts and behavior. He began to question why horsemen used traditional methods of horse care, and pursued a more natural path to training and horsemanship. He turned his horses out, applied natural hoof care principles, and relished the new insights herd behavior gave him -- into not only horses, but into himself, too. It’s a book that encourages the reader, gently, to step into the herd and learn.”
Horse and Rider

“You will never look at a horse race, or a herd of mustangs, or even the canine of dubious parentage that is lounging on your couch, the same way.”
—Las Vegas Review-Journal

“The tightly written, simply designed . . . chapters often read like short stories that flow from the heart, not just from the corral.”
—Joplin Independent

"Hundreds of other books about horses, training, and equine management have been published, but Camp's easy-to-read prose, humor, and enlightening tales bring readers to question what truly is best for the horse."
—Library Journal

"Joe shows that animals can change your perspective and perhaps even your life. This book is about compromise, trust, and love. There are life lessons to be learned here that go beyond the pasture and affect the quality of your life. Read this book and feel your heart open."
—Mike Thompson, Writer-Producer of the new Universal film Traveling

"Yes, it's a "horse" book... but really, it's so much more.  This book is about relationships, choices, acceptance, trust, compromise, and love. Take the horses out of it, and it tells stories of life lessons and teaches that the quality of life is often in the choices we make."
—Susan Sherlock, Recording Artist

"Joe speaks a clear and simple truth that grabs hold of your heart."
—Yvonne Welz, Editor, The Horse's Hoof Magazine

"Joe Camp is a natural when it comes to understanding how animals tick and a genius at telling us their story. The Soul of a Horse is a must read for those who love animals of any species."
—Monty Roberts, author of New York Times best-seller The Man Who Listens to Horses

"The Soul of a Horse is beautiful. Everyone who reads this book will laugh a little, cry a little, and think a lot; about the horse, about mankind, and about themselves."
—Pete Ramey, author, speaker, Hoof Rehabilitation Specialist

"I wish you could hear my excitement for Joe Camp's new book, The Soul of a Horse. It is unique, powerful, needed."
—Dr. Marty Becker, best-selling author of several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and popular veterinary contributor to ABC's Good Morning America

"I am amazed and in awe...and I'm a tough, cynical woman. The ideas in this book are phenomenal."
—Holly Hazard, Innovations Director, Humane Society of the United States

"It's lovely! I found myself wiping away a tear on more than one occasion. I like the mix of 'fable' and real stories from Joe's own farm and experiences."
—Gaynor Renwick, Manager, Horses First Racing Club; Warminster, England

"Joe Camp's The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd presents the history and majesty of equines in a way that truly touches the heart. Camp accomplishes this by weaving an engaging tapestry of writings that explore the evolutionary development of horses along with Camp's present day relationship with the horses that have chosen him as their leader. A treasure map leading to untold riches."
—Candace Runaas, PET Home Magazine

"I was so excited to read this awesome book (or a draft of it) that I could not stop until I was finished. I cannot wait for it to be published and available! I am already compiling a list of people I want to pre-order it for as a gift. Joe is a great story teller. He has managed to pull together all of the aspects that make up this new paradigm of horse care called "natural horsemanship", and has done so in a manner that is some how both gentle and forgiving to the reader as well as absolutely unquestionable. He makes it simple and so obviously the best way to keep and relate to horses. There will be so many horses (and people) that will benefit tremendously from this book! What a blessing Joe Camp is.”
—Terry Jenkins, Retired Zoo Sanctuary manager and animal advocate

"I simply love the way Joe Camp writes. He stirs my soul. He has successfully woven his personal story with horses, with a mountain of valuable information, from many professional Natural Horse people, into a spellbinding book. I have cheered and cried as I have read the pages of his manuscript. I find I keep saying to myself, "THIS IS THE WAY HORSES SHOULD BE TREATED!! This is a must read book for everyone.”
Debbie K

"The book was fantastic!! I am so impressed. The writing gets straight to the heart of the problem with horse care today: it's not about the horse anymore!!"
—Ellen Siedlecki, Equine Verternarian

"The old adage "If it isn't broke don't fix it" may never be shown more true with horses than in Joe's book.  He shows how people have broken most, if not all, of the ways horses were made to live and how to make things right again.  It's funny, compelling, to the point, and what any horse would have you read."
—Al Fischer, rescue horse lover/volunteer.

"Joe Camp's new book, The Soul of a Horse, should be required reading for anyone who wants horses, has horses or just plain loves horses! From start to finish this book takes you on Joe and his wife Kathleen's own journey from beginning horse owners to a fully realized partnership with their horses as part of the herd. Joe's common sense approach to natural horsemanship shows how much he cares about the well being of horses. In fact, he became Horse in order to understand them and help them to not just survive in our world but to thrive. Joe walks his talk which sets a true example of commitment, respect and most importantly love for any animal that lives with us in our human world."
—Dr. Kim Bloomer, Host of Animal Talk Naturally Radio

From the Hardcover edition.

  • The Soul of a Horse by Joe Camp
  • April 28, 2009
  • Pets - Horses - Care
  • Three Rivers Press
  • $15.00
  • 9780307406866

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