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A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe Camp and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted. The Camps went searching for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care and what they found was not what they had expected. Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or even loved the idea A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe Camp and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted. The Camps went searching for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care and what they found was not what they had expected. Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or even loved the idea of having a horse in their lives, this memoir leads us on a riveting voyage of discovery as Joe and Kathleen navigate uncharted, often politically incorrect territory on their way to achieving a true relationship with their horses. As the creator of the beloved Benji series, Joe has spent most of his life luring us into the heart and soul of a famous dog, but now in this engaging, emotional, and often humorous story, he deftly lures us into the heart and soul of a horse. In doing so, he exposes astonishing truths and unlocks the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on Earth, without assistance, for fifty-five million years. In a single emotionally charged moment, Camp communes with his first horse, Cash, in a way that changes him and his relationship with horses forever. In his own words, as he stood alone with his back to this horse: The collar of my jacket was tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. And my heart was pounding. Then a puff of warm, moist air brushed my ear. My heart skipped a beat. He was really close. Then I felt his nose on my shoulder . . . I couldn’t believe it. Tears came out of nowhere and streamed down my cheeks. I had spoken to him in his own language, and he had listened . . . and he had chosen to be with me. He had said, I trust you. Ingeniously alternating between the stories of two people thrust into an unfamiliar, enigmatic realm and a fabled herd of wild horses brought to the New World centuries ago, Joe Camp’s valuable and inspiring book teaches us that the lessons he was learning apply not only to his horses but to life and to people as well–to all of us.


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A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe Camp and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted. The Camps went searching for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care and what they found was not what they had expected. Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or even loved the idea A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe Camp and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what horses needed or wanted. The Camps went searching for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care and what they found was not what they had expected. Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or even loved the idea of having a horse in their lives, this memoir leads us on a riveting voyage of discovery as Joe and Kathleen navigate uncharted, often politically incorrect territory on their way to achieving a true relationship with their horses. As the creator of the beloved Benji series, Joe has spent most of his life luring us into the heart and soul of a famous dog, but now in this engaging, emotional, and often humorous story, he deftly lures us into the heart and soul of a horse. In doing so, he exposes astonishing truths and unlocks the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on Earth, without assistance, for fifty-five million years. In a single emotionally charged moment, Camp communes with his first horse, Cash, in a way that changes him and his relationship with horses forever. In his own words, as he stood alone with his back to this horse: The collar of my jacket was tickling the hairs on the back of my neck. And my heart was pounding. Then a puff of warm, moist air brushed my ear. My heart skipped a beat. He was really close. Then I felt his nose on my shoulder . . . I couldn’t believe it. Tears came out of nowhere and streamed down my cheeks. I had spoken to him in his own language, and he had listened . . . and he had chosen to be with me. He had said, I trust you. Ingeniously alternating between the stories of two people thrust into an unfamiliar, enigmatic realm and a fabled herd of wild horses brought to the New World centuries ago, Joe Camp’s valuable and inspiring book teaches us that the lessons he was learning apply not only to his horses but to life and to people as well–to all of us.

30 review for The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    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 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 to help his horses be as happy as possible, all without falling into some of the silliness that can accompany some of the fringier elements of NH -- he uses common sense, which is how I view working with horses myself. I did find some of the filler chapters -- a story involving a stallion and the native american boy who tames him -- to be less interesting, even a bit cheesy. Those chapters, as well as some of the repetitiveness in the writing keeps this one at 3 stars for me. Worth a read if you're interested in natural horsemanship, but probably won't convince you if your mind is already made up to follow a more traditional path of horsemanship.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ysabelle Dean

    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 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 otherwise – requires us to set aside our own aspirations, expectations and needs in order to clearly understand those of the other. The horse has largely lost its traditional place in human affairs as the ubiquitous beast of burden. But we still tend to value these generous and beautiful animals mainly for what they can do for us, whether it’s feeding our egos through winning ribbons or races or providing therapeutic release from the stresses and strains of life. The Soul of a Horse examines the biological, physiological and emotional needs of the modern domestic horse and how successfully these are met by widely used and accepted methods of husbandry, handling and training. A delightful blend of autobiography, critical analysis and storytelling, this book engages the reader intellectually and emotionally from start to finish. Joe Camp presents his ‘life lessons from the herd’ with the same humble, gentle yet persuasive persistence we admire in the very best horse trainers. A heartwarmingly affirmative read for the barefoot horse owner, this book is also a ‘must read’ for any person who has ever owned and loved a horse. Ysabelle Dean Instructor, Associate Clinician and Australian Representative - Dr Cook's The Bitless Bridle TM Australian Equine Arts www.ausequinearts.com Vice President - Australian Equine Barefoot Movement (AEBM) Inc www.aebm.org.au

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rlouiseg

    I never finished this book which is very rare for me. But how could I? Joe is so negative and puts all other horsemanship down. Even if I agreed with his methods (which I don't) I still couldn't recommend this book. Also it was extremely repedative, labouring and re-labouring his points. There was no new training information as it seemed to claim. Only some rehashing others methods. I don't like writing bad reviews but I wanted to save you the frustration of buying this book. I never finished this book which is very rare for me. But how could I? Joe is so negative and puts all other horsemanship down. Even if I agreed with his methods (which I don't) I still couldn't recommend this book. Also it was extremely repedative, labouring and re-labouring his points. There was no new training information as it seemed to claim. Only some rehashing others methods. I don't like writing bad reviews but I wanted to save you the frustration of buying this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    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? 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? I also disagree with the statement and want to see the research he is quoting. The author also states that high end breeding will end and be replaced by the “family” horse. I also disagree with this, as long as Olympic level horses and racing thoroughbreds sell for MILLIONS of dollars (many to Middle Eastern countries) they will not be replaced by $1000 backyard breeds. I also think horses should be given choices so saying “my horse will never be blanketed” is NOT giving the horse a choice. A recent study out of Norway taught the horses to point to their blanket preferences 1) blanket on 2) blanket off 3) no change (http://www.thelocal.no/20140204/resea...) These horses actually seemed to make logical blanket choices and asked for a blanket in wet and cold weather but none in nice weather. Yes, they ASKED for a blanket some of the time. I agree that a horse owner should “make decisions based on knowledge & wisdom, not hearsay” (p217) but listening to Camp would just be another form of hearsay. Know your own horse and speak to experts who also know your horse. Take into account, age, conformation, temperament, health, teeth, breed and other things unique about your animal. Blanket, shoe or stall if they need it! I wish Camp just stuck to antidotes about his own horses. PS: Clinton Anderson, one of Camp’s heroes sells hobbles, splint boots and spurs on his web site

  5. 5 out of 5

    John of Canada

    A nice blend of fact and fiction.The training seems logical and well thought out.If I ever get my own horses,this would be my go to for instruction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    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 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 the wild and its encounter with the first humans. This is so bad I ended up skipping it and sticking with the even numbered chapters. I was raised with horses. I get it. Horse shoes are bad. Leggings are bad. Breaking is bad. The horse does indeed have a soul. And they are intelligent. You don’t have to overstate this. And that is what happens. Make a point and repeat it over and over again. Then tell stories from other sources. And make references to books and DVD’s that none of us have ever heard of. You quoted another author so many times I thought why aren’t I reading that book? I wanted to find those warm and fuzzy moments, but just as you would focus your writing in that direction, you’d loose it and start preaching—an old sermon from a previous service. If you had recounted one more time how you prepared the open pasture for your burgeoning flock, I would have been forced to buy a can of horse meat cat food out of spite. You saved me from this by mercifully ending the book. I wish I could get you to re-write it because there really is a good story here and one people would be interested in. Can you take it back? I guess not. I am sorry you come across as an obnoxious jerk. I am sure your neighbors want to smack you with an old hitching post (did you need an entire chapter on the evils of the hitching post?). Sorry dude. I wanted to like your book. I just couldn’t be a part of your home on the range.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Wow. This is a must-read for anyone who owns or wants to own horses. Joe Camp presents solid proof that several of the things we do for our horses is completely wrong. In fact, even though we think we're doing everything for our horses, half the time (more like 99% of the time!), everything we do is for us. How else would you explain why we still, even in the 21st century, feel it necessary to slap horseshoes on every horse we see even though research shows that this is actually NOT GOOD for the Wow. This is a must-read for anyone who owns or wants to own horses. Joe Camp presents solid proof that several of the things we do for our horses is completely wrong. In fact, even though we think we're doing everything for our horses, half the time (more like 99% of the time!), everything we do is for us. How else would you explain why we still, even in the 21st century, feel it necessary to slap horseshoes on every horse we see even though research shows that this is actually NOT GOOD for the horse?! Why else would we blanket our horses just because we think that because WE'RE cold, THEY must be cold?? This book was hard to put down. Each page enlightened me further and I can't believe that the author has such a wonderful relationship with his horses! We all think that wild horses die very early because they don't have all the conveniences of domesticated horses. Not true. Wild horses live longer and are healthier than our horses because they are living the way they're supposed to live! Horses aren't supposed to stay in a stall, be turned out now and then (usually alone), blanketed whenever the temperature drops slightly, or fed two large meals a day. Horses are supposed to roam miles per day, use their own system to regulate their temperature, and eat practically 24/7! I am definitely going to keep this book on hand for the rest of my life, and if when I buy a horse, I will put everything I learned from reading this book to use. Joe Camp is a wonderful storyteller. The entire book is very heartfelt and interesting, and a surprisingly quick read. I'd love to meet Mr. Camp and his wife someday and be introduced to his herd.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I recieved this book as a Christmas present in 2008. It's WONDERFUL! The book itself is very intriguing, and well written. Joe Camp alternates between writing about his own experiences, and writing a small story in alternating chapters about a wild horse herd, from their perspective. He covers well-known topics like doing "join-ups" and natural training, and topics you don't see. Before reading this book, I shod my quarter horse mare each summer because she has white, soft hooves and got bruised e I recieved this book as a Christmas present in 2008. It's WONDERFUL! The book itself is very intriguing, and well written. Joe Camp alternates between writing about his own experiences, and writing a small story in alternating chapters about a wild horse herd, from their perspective. He covers well-known topics like doing "join-ups" and natural training, and topics you don't see. Before reading this book, I shod my quarter horse mare each summer because she has white, soft hooves and got bruised easily. After reading this book, I was completely turned around and convinced that I shouldn't use shoes. I was going to pursue Easycare boots to put on for riding, but ordered hoof supplement beforehand (SmartHoof, from Smartpak). I'm SO glad I read this book! My mare is doing wonderfully with just a supplement; riding on roads, pavement, gravel, grass, you name it. It's saving me so much money not to shoe her, and it's allowing her to be healthier by letting her hooves flex naturally. This book has really caused me to not be afraid to question what other people believe. Just because the majority of people do a certain thing, does NOT mean you need to follow! Question EVERYTHING and strive to make your animal's life better, always. Do yourself a favor; read the book! It's WONDERFUL! Give it a try!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katcamp

    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 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 Joe and Cash is mirrored by the relationship between a young Powatan and a wild stallion. Merged review: 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 Joe and Cash is mirrored by the relationship between a young Powatan and a wild stallion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 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 create an ever shifting, ever building comprehension. The choices made in the book are not always the easy ones, but prove to be the right ones. As I was reading, I came upon a part and thought, "Ah, here's the crux of what he's getting at." That happened on page 40, and then again on page 79, and then on page 92, and then 109, and 116, 119... on and on. There is a lot to think about, whether is applies to horses, animals, friends, family, or oneself. The lessons and perspectives offered in The Soul of a Horse are an inspirational and thought-provoking gift to the world of horses, the world of mankind, and ourselves. I feel as though I have peeked into a mystery and found some comprehension.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    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 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 relate well with this story. When the human comforts of western saddles, bridles with bits, halters and restraints are not available doesn’t feel good. Knowing both sides of horse training, for me natural horsemanship is genuinely more satisfying and equally challenging. Joe Camp exposes a lot about mistreatment, but shows a lot about barefoot pasture friends that enjoy being taught, play with their owners and relish rapport. There are lots of YouTube videos from organizations which would complement this books message very well, and visually demonstrate what is said in this book. My favorite is Honza Bláha – Open Borders This was a delightful read to show how some might understand and love horses.

  12. 4 out of 5

    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 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 needs to be tailored somewhat differently as a result.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    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. 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saga

    A must read for everyone, even non- horse owners. The reasoning itself is so logical that the answer is plain to see. The ONLY thing is that Camp talks about the millions of years of genetics which is not true. The book is one of the most amazing I've ever read, and I am picky about books. A must read for everyone, even non- horse owners. The reasoning itself is so logical that the answer is plain to see. The ONLY thing is that Camp talks about the millions of years of genetics which is not true. The book is one of the most amazing I've ever read, and I am picky about books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    This is one of the most insightful books about horses I have ever read. So glad I found this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    This is a book of Monty Robert’s horse philosophy in practice. Giving the horse a choice of whether to follow you or not. It is also a book of mind open to learning new methods. Such as taking the shoes off. A horse’s feet is designed for hard surfaces and they don’t need shoes. Right. The first time I encountered a shoeless horse I thought the owner was crazy. Maybe she was right. It takes a horse a few months to adjust but after that the hooves are healed. You don’t need a stable full horses t This is a book of Monty Robert’s horse philosophy in practice. Giving the horse a choice of whether to follow you or not. It is also a book of mind open to learning new methods. Such as taking the shoes off. A horse’s feet is designed for hard surfaces and they don’t need shoes. Right. The first time I encountered a shoeless horse I thought the owner was crazy. Maybe she was right. It takes a horse a few months to adjust but after that the hooves are healed. You don’t need a stable full horses to enjoy this book. If you are around horses on any regular basis you will likely find it useful. I definitely did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Breann

    Mr. Camp weaves fictionalized dreams of his beloved horse's origin story with tales of his journey in to natural horsemanship. I was moved by much of his logic around bare feet and life that mimics wild herd life as what is in the best interest, and yet sadly missing, from the modern horse. While passionate on the topic, it got a bit preachy for my taste by the end. Easy and quick, would have been a tremendous essay or long read, maybe just a bit too long for a book. Mr. Camp weaves fictionalized dreams of his beloved horse's origin story with tales of his journey in to natural horsemanship. I was moved by much of his logic around bare feet and life that mimics wild herd life as what is in the best interest, and yet sadly missing, from the modern horse. While passionate on the topic, it got a bit preachy for my taste by the end. Easy and quick, would have been a tremendous essay or long read, maybe just a bit too long for a book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Grace LaPlante

    Joe Camp writes from a place of respect and forging relationships with his horses. He's honest about making mistakes, early on, and finding a better way to connect with his herd. It's a well-written example of how to build trust with a horse and how putting the horse's needs first is always the best approach. Joe Camp writes from a place of respect and forging relationships with his horses. He's honest about making mistakes, early on, and finding a better way to connect with his herd. It's a well-written example of how to build trust with a horse and how putting the horse's needs first is always the best approach.

  19. 4 out of 5

    M.Christine Duncan

    What a phenomenal read! If you loved books by Monty Roberts, or anything by Jon Katz, you'll appreciate the clarity with which Joe approaches his writing and his experiences with horses and the gentle way to live alongside them today, in join-up. Beautiful and delightful. Very inspiring! What a phenomenal read! If you loved books by Monty Roberts, or anything by Jon Katz, you'll appreciate the clarity with which Joe approaches his writing and his experiences with horses and the gentle way to live alongside them today, in join-up. Beautiful and delightful. Very inspiring!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Beautiful and inspiring. One man's journey into his relationship with horses by sharing what he learned along the way. Beautiful and inspiring. One man's journey into his relationship with horses by sharing what he learned along the way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Randy Elrod

    So helpful as we embark on this journey of owning horses.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Sort of an ordinary book. The writing was OK and the story was OK. So it gets 3 stars for OK.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sequana

    This was a fun and enlightening book. I will never look at horses in the same way again!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Ott

    Natural horsemanship is the way to go! I enjoyed the unique storytelling way he presented the information. I look forward to one day owning a horse again!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nina Casali

    Hard to rate this as 3/4 of the way through the book was put together wrong so after page 178 I couldn't finish it. Found it interesting and informative though. Hard to rate this as 3/4 of the way through the book was put together wrong so after page 178 I couldn't finish it. Found it interesting and informative though.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mandi

    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 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'll never again have that kind of relationship with any other horse. But after reading "The Soul of a Horse," I've realized it wasn't just the horse that made our bond so strong (although he was very special, and I still don't think I'll ever love a horse the same way; not any less, just not the same) it was the "training," if you will, the time I spent with him, and the way I treated him, that made him trust me and therefore bond with me, and I with him, like we wouldn't otherwise have done. I now feel ready to bring another horse into my life because I feel confidant that by using natural horsemanship, like Mr. Camp discusses in his book, I can form a strong relationship based on trust and respect with any horse. I've read quite a few negative reviews of this book that said it was too repetitive. I can understand that complaint, but it didn't really bother me. I never felt like I was reading the exact same sentiment over and over. Besides, I feel what Camp was saying is worth repeating. I will say I thought the fictional story about the wild stallion and his herd was a bit corny. Many reviewers said they skipped the story or that it ruined the book entirely. I don't feel that strongly about it, but I don't think it added to the books overall message and I wouldn't have missed it had it been omitted. I highly recommend this book, especially to horse owners. There is abundant information to help them make better choices for their horses so they can live happier and healthier.

  27. 4 out of 5

    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 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 DVDs, magazines, and primarily adhering to the Join-Up method of training. Camp argues against shoeing horses, confining horses in pens, blanketing horses against the weather. Actually, he pretty much crusades against these things...over and over again. Suffice it to say there is a wee bit of unnecessary repetition in this little book. Camp clearly loves his horses. But he comes across as pretty much having the inside track on the proper method (the only method, he would argue) of caring for and training these noble critters. And I don't necessarily disagree with him. But, in my short experience, every horse owner or trainer out there believes they have their own inside track with regard to these same issues. I've concluded that nobody's completely right, and nobody's completely wrong. I've also concluded that the owner should embrace whatever "natural" method of training seems to catch their fancy, and works best for their horse. As to keeping horses in pens, box stalls, shed rows... Well, Joe, a whole lot of us don't have the luxury of a little or a lot of land to put a horse on. And my horse--box stall with large pen--is doing just fine, Joe. This is, as I said, a folksy little book that any horse owner will enjoy, whether or not they agree with Camp's conclusions.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    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 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, especially Join-up. He has spent the time needed to establish a bond with each of his horses and it is obvious that Mr. Camp has a deep love for his animals, doing so much research into the best way to care for them. These natural methods have worked very well for him and brought him much success with his six pleasure horses. But the good part ends there. Reading the book becomes like listening to a lecture on how he after just a year and a half of experience thinks that the way he is caring for his horses is the right way and the only way to care for a horse. They should never wear shoes, never be put in a barn, never be covered with a blanket, never wear leg wraps. The list goes on and on with no consideration to what kind of horse or what special circumstances may require one or all of these items. The book is also very repetitious. How many times do you have to read that the horse has been around for 55 million years or if something you are training your horse to do is not working, to go back and start at the beginning and think like a horse. The story that runs through the book is an over romanticized tale of a herd of horses where words are put into their mouths (reminiscent of Benji) and they are given human emotions. No life lessens were learned here.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    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 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 joining up as well as other natural horseman like Pat Parelli and Clinton Anderson. The stories of how he and his wife learn about their horses and how to conquor the various pitfalls on the way are informative and entertaining. He also writes about generations of a wild horse herd and how one man came to know one of the wild horses with the horse eventually leaving that herd and coming to live with the man. Sweet stories and fascinating thoughts. The problem I have with it is one or two inconsistencies. For example, his horse Cash, gets hurt out in the natural pasture. If we allow nature to take it's course, Case limps around the pasture and either makes it or not. Cash though is taken into the stall with a soft cast on his leg and allowed to recover in the safety of his barn. The Camps also feed additional supplements to which the horses wouldn't, in the wild, have access. So, for me, completly natural is one thing, well thoughtout and logical natural is another. I think it's fine to have one foot in each world is absolutely fine, just don't represent yourself as having both feet in the natural world. Otherwise, a good book and one that I'll recommend.Probably really a 3.5 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    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 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 relationship based on fear, a lack of trust, or choice. So, the so-called soft training method, while it tmay akeslonger, made the only sense. This book should be bible for every horse lover, breeder, trainer, owner.the Thorobred racing industry is just plain torture for horses who are genetically are meant to be able to be with other horses, be able to run, to exercize their incredible physiology in natural settings- not shut up for hours on end in a stall standing in their own pee and poop, only to be made to run far too young on poorly developed legs, drugged, and scared literally to death in too many instances. This is a must read for all who have anything to do with horses, certainly, and all who care for animals of any species. Apart from the message, the book is a great read. The chapters are short, the writing is excellent. Each page is a delight!

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