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The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“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

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

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307406857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307406859
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The National Best Selling author of The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd has seven new books about his continuing journey through the enigmatic world of horses.

Joe Camp, film writer, producer, director, author, passionate speaker, and the man behind the canine superstar Benji believes that anything is possible if you work hard enough and have faith in yourself. He was told by industry "experts" not to bother with the original Benji film; that it wouldn't work. He proved the experts wrong and now, after five Benji movies, he's at it again with his latest career as an author. His recent highly praised and best selling book The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd published in 2008 by the Harmony Books imprint of Random House is in its seventh printing and is changing the lives of horses and people all across the planet.

His next book The Soul of a Horse Blogged - The Journey Continues picks up where The Soul of a Horse left off with the adoption of a pregnant mustang and continues through he and wife Kathleen's move from the dry rocky hillside pasture of southern California to the wet grassy hillsides of their new middle Tennessee home.

His new series of eBook Nuggets from The Soul of a Horse is packed with inspiring new stories and compelling new discoveries.

Joe Camp showed us the heart and soul of a dog when he created Benji. Now, in these engaging, emotional, and often humorous stories, he deftly lures us into the heart and soul of a horse, unlocking the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on earth, without assistance, for fifty-two million years.

Camp has written, produced and directed seven theatrical motion pictures (including all of the Benji movies) cumulatively grossing well over the equivalent of $600 million in today's dollars, making him one of the most successful independent filmmakers of all time.

Camp ignored the "experts" who said the original Benji movie would never work. He raised the money from private sources to produce the film, but when completed the movie was turned down by every major film distributor in Hollywood. Camp and his partner had to form their own distribution company and release the picture themselves worldwide from their offices in Dallas. In spite of the many obstacles, Variety reported that the film was the #3 grossing movie of the year.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Chartrand on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 been written at a more appropriate time.

The book is clever, witty and inspiring. A very fast read. I was sad when I finished it because I wanted to read more! And so many of the lessons can be applied to LIFE...not just horses.

You will not regret reading this book. And I will never look at a horse the same way.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot - on November 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Through his work with Benji, it is clear that Joe Camp understands and gets along well with dogs. Working effectively with horses requires a whole different type of intuition and language. After all, dogs are predators and horses are a prey species. In his outstanding book, The Soul of a Horse, Joe Camp has demonstrated that he is adept at understanding and working with both ends of the spectrum. It is inevitably refreshing when someone approaches a subject with a "fresh set of eyes" and questions traditional paradigms. Joe has done exactly that and effectively describes his thought processes in an enjoyable narrative. Thanks, Joe for nudging the horse loving public to think about and reconsider things that have been taken for granted for so long.
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169 of 197 people found the following review helpful By T. Terrio on August 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine gave me this book. I was so excited as I have always raved to her about the magical bond between humans and horses. I have owned, trained, and loved horses for the last 30 years. Most of my experience predates the relatively newer "Natural Horsemanship" movement that has seized the horse community. There has always been a rash of bad trainers and bad horse people in the world who felt domination was more important than respect. I am NOT one of those people. I myself use and implement natural horsemanship techniques every single day. I have a very strong bond with all of my horses.

The book began on a good note; the key to a successful relationship is establishing a good strong bond. KUDOS! But then it went downhill with the author criticizing and dismissing nearly 90% of the equine owning world. Horses should be outside 24/7... they never need to wear shoes... they never need to be blanketed... etc... He spoke in terms of absolutes and certainty... that those things NEVER should be done to a horse. To do them is inhumane bordering on abusive.

I have owned many horses and performed in many different fields. I have shown, jumped, dressage, endurance trail, and pleasure. While your typical pleasure horse that is not being worked vigorously daily probably will never need shoes, or need to be stalled (I don't believe in stalling a horse 24 hours), or need a blanket; performance horses are a different story. Some of my performance horses do need shoes, and in winter they do in fact need to be blanketed to allow their body to regulate after a work out. Sometimes we even have to body clip them so that they can cool down without catching a chill or getting muscle cramps. Leg wraps are for their protection, not for my vanity.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steve Schneider on April 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful glimpse into The Soul of a Horse, and it has changed how I think about horses, their care, and relationships between man and animal. The book reads 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 evolving, 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.

If you love horses, it is an absolute must read. But if you have an on-going relationship with any animal, you will gain a lot from this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anna Quinn on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I love a book that makes me think, and Soul of a Horse did that and more. Told in a passionate, yet wonderfully easy, around the campfire voice, Joe Camp challenges his own perceptions and the perceptions of others as he seeks to learn what a horse needs, rather than what we think they need. His story not only deepened my understanding of horses and the impact of humans upon them, but offered metaphor upon metaphor for increasing awareness of ourselves in relationship to others. Part educational, part spiritual, this book has more than one important message...not the least being, that we are capable of doing better.
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