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The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  743 ratings  ·  75 reviews
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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2008)
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One man's personal account of natural horsemanship, this book has a lot of interesting ideas -- IF you can set aside traditional thoughts on relating to horses.

Joe Camp relates how and why he got his first horses, and how he fell into natural horsemanship, eventually moving his horses to a natural pasture, giving up stabling them entirely, as well as pulling their shoes and keeping them barefoot.

The author seems like a nice guy. I like how open minded he is about trying new techniques in order
Ysabelle Dean
Apr 29, 2008 Ysabelle Dean rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All animal lovers, esp. horse lovers and owners
Recommended to Ysabelle by: Dr WR Cook
New book speaks to Horse Lover’s Mind, Heart and Soul

Lately I have read a number of books that seek to explain and satisfy the human yen to connect physically, emotionally and even spiritually with the horse. And yet The Soul of a Horse is the only one I’ve come across that speaks with a totally resounding note of truth. Coincidentally (or not?) it’s also the only one I’ve read that is written with the unflinching insight that a deep and satisfying connection with another individual – human or o
The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd by Joe Camp was an insightful read into treating horses like you would any other domestic pet, with loving care and bonding. Establishing rapport with horses is easily understood in this book describing communications techniques which do not require whips and ropes and forceful discomfort for the horse.

Traditionalists and lots of fans of rodeos and equestrian shows frequently see a totally different interaction with horses and may not be able to re
Patrick Gibson
Oh, Joe.

You made your point in the first dozen pages. Then you beat it to death. You may be kind to equines but you are brutal on homo sapiens.
I know this is meant to be heartwarming--your account of acquiring a half-dozen horses, learning how to care and understand them, and ultimately how the experience changed your life.

Unfortunately, the writing is clunky and uninspiring. Every other chapter deals with your learning curve. The in between chapters recount an imagined story of a stallion in th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Schneider
This wonderful glimpse into The Soul of a Horse has changed how I think about horses, their care, and relationships between man and animal. Reading like an affable but intense conversation with someone whose experience and research has in no way dulled his infectious enthusiasm, it is easy to read and hard to forget.

Three separate perspectives braid themselves throughout the book: a wild herd of horses, a neophyte horse owner, and experienced voices of experts in their field. The three views cre
Apr 28, 2008 Katcamp rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone!
This book is a wonderful and engaging read. If you love animals of any kind, or if you want to learn to communicate better with people, this is a must read. It shows how one man couldn't accept the traditional thinking of how to commune with a horse...he sought out how to form a relationship with his beloved Arabian, Cash. He succeeded. His quest is funny, sad, poignant and very moving. As in the book, it's for anyone whose ever loved a horse or loved the idea of loving a horse. The bond between ...more
Miranda Prather
What a breath of fresh air in the world of horse writing. I am glad that Mr. Camp wrote this book abut his foray into horses, mistakes and all. More people need to read works like his and understand the reality of the horse and give the horse freedom of choice when it comes to certain areas. It is our responsibility when we own them to learn all we can about not only horses, but about each individual horse that we welcome into our life. Each horse is different and our journey with each of them n ...more

I believe this is a must read book for all sympathetic horse owners who think along the lines of what I can do for my horse not what can my horse do for me. Joe is a dog trainer and producer of the Benji movies, when him and his wife moved to a large property they kept thinking how nice it would be to see horses in the stables and so as complete novices entered into the world of horse ownership, Joe was a disciple of Monty Roberts and followed his join up method successfully, when he saw the eff
Every horse owner, rider, or caretaker should be required to read this book!! The author has very plainly explained how best to care for a horse, and more importantly... why. I was amazed that his philosophy on horses so closely mirrored what I've learned over the past 20 years... but he puts it into words much better than I ever could!
Horses everywhere would be much happier if people would read this book and open themselves to the possibilities.
I absolutely loved this book! I enjoyed it immensely, agreed with everything the author has to say and I feel it has restored my confidence in my skills as a horsewoman.
I've been horseless for the first time in my life for the past 3 years because since I lost my dear gelding, to whom I was so connected, I just haven't felt ready to own another horse. Every time I thought about buying another, I'd worry that it would be nothing but a disappointment because no horse could compare to my boy and I
This is one of the most insightful books about horses I have ever read. So glad I found this book.
This book written by Joe Camp, the Bemji stories, decides he needs to have horses. His wife, actually, decided for him giving him a horse for his birthday. Joe studied the training methods of Monty Roberts, the man who was the inspiration for Redford's movie The a horse Whisperer. joe writes, I know dogs; I don't know horses. He knew he couldn't go with the 'traditional' method of tying a hises's legs together, throwing the animal to the ground, and beating the horse into submission creating a r ...more
I REALLY wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t. The preachy aspect and alluding you can’t really care about or love your horse if they have a stall, wear a blanket or have shoes is just too close-minded for me. Not all horses fit in the cookie cutter. Camp talks about “research” but then blatantly states “facts” that are NOT cited. One such example is “horses in the wild live longer” p 60. Where is the information from? Are we talking about mustangs, Chincoteague ponies, Przewalski, what? ...more
This book was written by a man new to horses who has trained doggies. He certainly is a believer in the natural horse way of doing things. He starts out the usual way with a smallish barn and keeping his horses in the stalls with shoes on their feet. He then learns more about the wild way of keeping horses and builds a natural pasture on his land, takes off the horses shoes and lets them be more like wild horses. He also learns about the great Monty Roberts and begins to practice the ways of joi ...more
George Seaton
Joe Camp--writer, producer and director of the Benji flicks--is a folksy kind of writer who hovers a bit too long on subject matter upon which he has strong opinions. The book is essentially about his and his wife's entry into the esoteric world of horse ownership and care. Camp and his wife entered this world--as I did just over a year ago--with little knowledge, and a whole lot of naivete. Camp explains that he "learned" pretty much everything he now knows about horse training and care from DV ...more
Joe Camp (creator of Benji) mixes fiction and nonfiction as he relates his experience of being a new horse owner while weaving in a story about a herd of horses. By watching videos, reading books and magazines, and talking to other horse owners he soon discovers the natural method of horsemanship. He jumps right in, taking the shoes off his horses and leaving them turned out at all times among many more ways of natural horse care. He becomes an avid believer in Monty Robert’s training techniques ...more
Dale Stonehouse
Author Camp, who wrote and directed all the Benji movies, interweaves his story of becoming a horse owner and realizing that all the traditional ways man has used to maintain his domestication of horses are in fact harmful to the horse, with a fable detailing how the first horse became domesticated by "choosing" a human after his herd was shipwrecked centuries ago off the coast of North Carolina.

My ambivalence about this book is thus: his correctness about how horses should live more similarly t
Avril Wilson
Soul of a Horse by Joe Camp
Recently I did a book swap with Joe camp and recived a copy of his brilliant book The Soul of a Horse life lessons from the herd .In return I sent him a copy of The Healing Touch.

My book has brought me in touch with some marvellous ambassadors for the horse and Joe is certainly one of these with humour, insight. honesty and humility he describes the adventures which he experiences with his wife Kathleen when they become involved with horses starting with one and endi
Best book about horses that I've read since Monty Roberts' books. It brings together all of the modern, enlightened ways of caring for horses and should encourage horse "owners" everywhere to rethink everything they think they know. The only thing lacking was operant conditioning, but I guess you can't have everything. Made me wish, for the hundred thousandth time, that I could have a small herd of my own.
A friend recommended this book to me and I wasn't sure why since I have never owned a horse..nor did I plan to own one. But I bought the book anyway....always up for learning something new.

This book swept me away. From the first to last page I felt transported! I could imagine myself sitting on the porch of the Camp's home watching these magnificent creatures. I learned SO much about horses and their SOULS. With everything that's been going on in the world of horse racing, this could not have b
Wow, what a refreshing take on horsemanship! I loved how the writer uses his complete-beginner experience to challenge even the most seasoned equestrian to question the way we view horses. Not only the way their minds work, but how we care for them and deciding, using examples of horse's in the wild, what is actually best for them.

Regardless of your experience with horses ~ love ‘em, own ‘em, would love to own ‘em ~ Soul of a Horse speaks to the heart of those who always wanted a relationship with a horse but did not know it was possible. It speaks to the heart of others who believed there must be a better way, a natural way to care for horses but lacked the knowledge or courage to buck the set of assumptions that go unchallenged. (Accepted practices that harm horses and endanger humans.) Still others are taken by how the
This is an interesting and eye-opening book, but its bias shouldn't be overlooked. This guy is an avid, avid fan of the "join-up method" and barefoot horse trimming, which are both great, but like anything else, they don't work perfectly in every single situation. Also, I was struck by how small his pastures were, though he speaks about them in the book like they are big and wild and allow his horses tons of freedom. In the end, this guy is a fairly idealistic newcomer to the horse world, but I ...more
My Review: Question: Why do horses wear shoes? Answer: Because humans are idiots creatures of habit. And unfortunately, our habits are often ill-informed and do more harm than good. Joe Camp’s lighthearted (and witty!) tale of discovery and personal growth reminds readers to stay informed, to be self-aware, and to be consistently conscious of the impact of their actions— especially with animals who are ultimately defenseless against their will. I don’t know about you, but I love my animals more ...more
Beautiful, insightful journey with Joe as he learns the ways of horses and becomes their friend not foe.
Meagan Hollole
Inspiring read. Thought provoking and heartwarming. A new favourite horse person and author.
Patricia Swenson
Joe Camp, of the Benji movies fame, writes of his entry into the world of horses. He has taken up the 'Natural Horse' philosophy. This is the story of his journey, and the benefits he has seen to his horses. The story of Mouse is truly touching. He uses techniques learned from Monty Roberts (the Horse Whisperer), and other trainers who follow the natural lifestyle for their horses (no shoes, blankets, stables/barns/stalls, etc). Wonderful and comprehensive list of reference/training sites at the ...more
I absolutely love and adore horses, so this part story/part educational book worked for me. I really want horses (always have - maybe someday!!) and if I ever get them, I will definitely follow this man's advice - along with Monty Roberts, whom he works with (I have read his book too - "the Horse Whisperer" movie was based on him.) This book blows "traditional" horse care & training out of the water and should be mandatory reading for any and all horse owners - loved it.
Kelly Kennefick
What a fantastic book! If you are around horses or want to learn about a different technique with horses, this is the book for you! I am a true city girl and I would see how some people treat their horses and although not knowledgeable with the correct treatment of horses, I knew there had to be a different way! Joe Camp is incredibly knowledgeable with horses and does a great job of talking about his experiences with horses and what the horses are doing.
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you don't need to be a horse person to love this book 1 4 May 06, 2008 02:42PM  
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“Stand in the horse’s hooves. Study his history. Understand why he is the way he is, and why he acts the way he does. He’s a prey animal. You mean like a rabbit?? Pretty much, yeah. But he weighs eleven hundred pounds!! Yep.” 0 likes
“Just because something has always been done a certain way does not necessarily mean it’s the best way, or the correct way, or the healthiest way for your horse, or your relationship with your horse, or your life.” 0 likes
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