The Soul of a Horse

Life Lessons from the Herd

By Joe Camp
Crown, Hardcover, 9780307406859, 256pp.

Publication Date: April 29, 2008

List Price: $24.95*
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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 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.

About the Author
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. Visit his websites at and

Praise For The Soul of a Horse

“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

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