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 trust 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 best selling books that are turning the traditional thinking about horses on its head. The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd is a National Best Seller in its fourteenth printing, its sequel Born Wild is an Amazon #1 Best Seller and was a #1 Hot New Release.
“Many have called The Soul of a Horse the ultimate love story,” Joe says, “because we were six months into horses before I discovered that Kathleen – my lawyer wife – had been deathly afraid of them from the beginning. Her prior experience with horses, before us, was, in her own words: “from the ground looking up.” Four trail rides as a teenager, on a horse named Jack. She was dumped all four times. Unbeknown to her at the time, Jack had also dumped a jet fighter pilot. Those were her last times on a horse until she gave me a surprise birthday trail ride. I had no idea that she was petrified throughout the entire six hours. And the next six months. This truly became a story of supreme sacrifice driven by unconditional love. But it was microscopic compared to the love shown through our new journey with mustangs. Stay tuned.”
Joe showed us the heart and soul of a dog when he created Benji. Now, in this engaging, emotional, and often humorous book, 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-five million years.
Monty Roberts, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Man Who Listens to Horses , and world renowned clinician, said, “Imagine how inadequate it makes me feel to realize how recently Joe came into horses. The man 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.”
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.
Joe has also written the highly acclaimed followup to The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd: The Soul of a Horse Blogged – The Journey Continues, plus six eBook Nuggets from The Soul of a Horse, three novels from his own screenplays, the inspirational non-fiction book Who Needs Hollywood, a dog training book, and several children’s books.
Camp ignored industry “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 Ed Vanston had to form their own distribution company and release the picture themselves worldwide from their offices in Dallas, with Camp personally developing the marketing strategy, writing advertising copy and press releases, and supervising each and every booking. In spite of the many obstacles, Variety reported the picture was the #3 grossing movie of the year.
In advance of release of the 2004 film Benji Off the Leash , Joe and his floppy-eared star traveled the nation for months, appearing on television, radio, in newspapers and magazines, promoting the film while passionately making a case for Hollywood to “clean up” their family films, and extolling the values of adopting pets from shelters. “This time around,” Joe says, “it’s all about proving that you can put food on the table and, at the same time, make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. It’s about living life with purpose, on purpose.”
When Camp struck out across the country in the Fall of 2001 to find the new Benji in an animal shelter, media flocked to follow him around. The American Humane Association had reported that the original Benji’s rescue from a shelter had caused more than one million adoptions. Camp wanted to recreate that model. Local and network television, radio and newspapers covered the search, with the ultimate selection being a feature on ABC’s Primetime Thursday . The search and Benji’s new movie generated more than one billion media exposures for the efforts of shelters and rescue groups all across the nation.
One of Joe’s favorite pastimes is working with the Piney Woods School in Mississippi. This historically black boarding school educates mostly high-risk kids from families below the poverty level, yet usually sends 100% of its graduates to college, many to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. “Of all we’ve done,” says Camp, “we’re most proud of the things we’ve accomplished for these kids. And the rewards are the greatest.”
Joe is also on the board of trustees of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Ranch Santa Fe, CA. “Mike Arms, the Center’s president is the most amazing animal advocate I’ve ever met,” Joe says.
Even with all the accomplishments and media exposure, Camp is still in awe of his own success. “Inside, I’m still a kid sitting in a dark theater in Little Rock, Arkansas, watching Disney’s ‘Song of the South’ or reading books like the Black Stallion with happy tears rolling down my cheeks,” he says. “To be able to bring that kind of happiness to others is very special.”
Kathleen has been an attorney for 23 years practicing in California. She also has a passion for photography. All of Joe’s recent book covers and all the photos within the books and most of the photos on this blog are hers. She is also prominently featured in all of Joe’s horse books and one critic called The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd the ultimate love story because Kathleen kept her fear of horses a secret even as she orchestrated the acquisition of their first three because she knew that at this particular time in his life he needed horses.
Since the couple’s move from the dry rocky high desert of southern California to middle Tennessee, while awaiting the issuance of her Tennessee Bar License, Kathleen realized another lifelong passion: to teach kids. In the fall of 2011 she accepted an interim position teaching 11th-grade literature at the renowned Webb School in Bell Buckle, a college prep school that boasts more Rhode Scholars than any other secondary school in the country. Even though she now has her Tennessee license to practice law, she has remained at The Webb School teaching young minds the value of reading, writing, and communicating well.
“It’s a God thing,” she says. “In fact the entire move to Bell Buckle has been a God thing. If you read Joe’s second book (The Soul of a Horse Blogged – The Journey Continues) you’ll understand why we had to be precisely here to acquire the knowledge to write that book, and nowhere else in the country would I, a practicing lawyer, have been able to leap frog into this wonderful teaching position at The Webb School.”
And now we’re off on yet another passion. I haven’t been this excited since we discovered how horses are supposed to live and that I could change our horses lives for the better and could convince others to do the same. Now we’re feeding ourselves like we feed our horses. As they were genetically designed by God to be fed. 100 years ago we were ingesting up to 90 different minerals and nutrients that are no longer available to us today because of “modern” farming techniques and “modern” food processing. Which is why our doctor recommended this program. I have had two bad knees forever and they are now both pain free for the first time in years. I have two shoulder rotator cuff tears, and they are now without issue or pain. I feel better, healthier than I have in years. I have more energy. Much more positive attitude. I sleep better. I’m singing to the horses (hoping are all tone deaf :). The program is Youngevity 90 for Life. Check it out here: http://thesoulofahorse.com/what-is-youngevity-90-for-life/
The story of our journey with horses (to date) is told in the two books that follow: the national best seller The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd and its sequel Born Wild – The Soul of a Horse.
And what a story it is as two novices without a clue stumble and bumble their way through the learning process so that hopefully you won’t have to. If you haven’t read both of these books already please do because with that reading, I believe, will come not just the knowledge of discovery but the passion and the excitement to cause you to commit to your journey with horses, to do for the horse without waiver so that your relationship and experience will be with loving, happy and healthy horses who are willing partners and who never stop trying for you. Horses like ours.
The highly acclaimed best selling sequel to the National Best Seller
The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd
#1 Amazon Best Seller
#1 Amazon “Hot New Releases”
Please list the names for each inscription in the “instructions to Seller” field as you check out!
But first read the National Best Seller that started it all
now in it’s 13th printing:
Please list the names for each inscription in the “instructions to Seller” field as you check out!
“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
“Joe Camp is a natural when it comes to understanding how animals tick and a genius at telling us their story. His books are must-reads for those who love animals of any species.” – Monty Roberts – Author of New York Timers Best-seller The Man Who Listens to Horses
“Camp’s tightly-written, simply-designed and powerfully drawn chapters often read like short stories that flow from the heart.” Jack L. Kennedy – The Joplin Independent
“Joe Camp is a gifted storyteller and the results are magical. 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
Click on any book cover below to read more or purchase
Follow our latest journey with these two amazing
new arrivals from the wild.
In chronological order:
Follow Our Entire Journey
From no horses and no clue to stumbling through mistakes, fear, fascination and frustration on a collision course with the ultimate discovery that something was very wrong in the world of horses.
Read the National Best Seller