In reverse chronological order, latest first:
Time has flown by at the speed of light. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been almost 100 days since Miss Saffron stepped off the trailer, an as yet unhandled mustang from the wild who had never willingly touched or been touched by any human. And she was very pregnant. We were told by the BLM that she would probably deliver in May. That was March 17th. Three days later Miss Firestorm was born. Read More→
Barely a month ago we adopted a pregnant mustang from the BLM facility in southern Mississippi. At that time she had never been handled or even touched willingly by any human. Her seven-hour trailer ride home turned into nine, delayed by two wrecks on the freeway. She was covered in stressful sweat and not a happy camper. But still, less than an hour after arriving home, she took a bit of forage from my bare hand.
This was clearly an unusual mustang. Read More→
No-agenda time is a ritual Kathleen and I began with Noelle after Malachi died. We’d go into Malachi’s playpen, open it up to Noelle, scatter a bit of hay around our feet, then sit there and talk, with no agenda whatsoever. Seriously, none. It yielded some of the best moments and lessons ever with Noelle. We began No-Agenda Time with Saffron and Stormy a week or so ago and the yield has been amazing. Last evening, just after sunset, Stormy fell asleep right at my feet. Shortly after, her mom, Miss Saffron, an untouched mustang from the wild just a few weeks ago, turned away and sauntered off to the water tub for a drink, maybe fifty feet away. Leaving her baby asleep on my boot. She won’t even let Stormy interact with the other horses through the fence. And has never before left her in our care. The trust it took to do that both surprised and overwhelmed us. And that was surely Read More→
Yes, already! So much for BLM predictions of May :). Born yesterday morning (March 21) around 8:00am. We know because there was no baby at 7:20am when Kathleen drove off to work at her new passion, teaching American Literature to 11th graders at the renowned Webb School in Bell Buckle. And there was a baby when I went down to feed around 8:30am. A mere three and a half days after a nine hour trailer ride for mom! When Kathleen got my photo-text Read More→
For those who remember Noelle and Malachi, you’ll know why this is entitled Here We Go Again. Last Friday, March 16, we hitched up the trailer, called Laura to sit with the house, horses, dogs, and cat, and drove to the BLM facility on the campus of The Piney Woods School south of Jackson, Mississippi, arriving way too close to midnight. The next morning we adopted our second mustang carrying a foal conceived in the wild.
March 3rd marked three years since Malachi was born (see the blog). And June 3rd will mark the third year since his sudden and shattering death. We felt as if our hearts had been ripped right out of our bodies. It was a terrible time. So how did we know the time was right to have another go? That God was saying, “Now!” Read More→
I grabbed Carolyn’s hand as we stepped off the train. A nervous chill of anticipation skittered up my spine. People were rushing past us, anxious to get on with their morning, and we timidly tried to keep up. Someone spoke, and smiled, then spoke again and hurried off. The words meant nothing, but we smiled back just the same.
I was bristling with excitement. Gone were the miseries of the long, sleepless flight over. Gone were the first flashes of Milano, seen as a drowsy blur of television stations and newspaper reporters. Now, after a good night’s sleep on a long train ride, my senses were alive and tingling again and the whole feeling was like I had dozed off in Dallas and awakened here.
It was our first trip abroad and my first time out of the country except for three days in Nassau and a few hours in Juarez. So, maybe you can imagine. I mean, anywhere would’ve been terrific, but we weren’t just anywhere. We were in Rome!
The Eternal City. Born nine hundred years before Christ. Home of Cato, Nero, Constantine and the Caesars. A magical place where it is said, you can actually hear the breathing of the centuries; Read More→
Horses eat grass.
They are genetically programmed to eat grass. 18-20 hours a day. Their bodies must have it. Their hind gut must have it. But from the moment we landed in middle Tennessee, the warnings began to pour in from the locals.
Your horses cannot be out 24/7 on the rich sugary grasses of middle Tennessee.
You’ve just moved into Founder Valley!
It freaked us out. Could grasses be that different? Read More→
We’ve posted a new video because the most amazing thing just happened! It reminded me why we have been so obsessive about getting the relationship right with each of our horses before anything else. Even before training. Relationship that gives the horse the choice, the free will to make it so. And what a difference it has made to this newcomer as he has stumbled his way through the learning process. Our horses have never stopped trying, never stopped listening, never stopped giving. And they are with us because they want to be. As you will see in the video. Please take a look: Video: Relationship First! Read More→
For years I’ve called the process of making Benji movies trial-and-error film making. I always – well, usually – know what I want to see up there on the screen, but almost never know how to get it on film. I remember late one night in Oregon on Benji the Hunted there were about twelve of us crammed and bundled around the camera which was sitting on the dirt pointed down at a tiny little cougar cub who was supposed to be looking up at Benji, pleading with his eyes to not be left alone to be eaten by Read More→
Rarely a day passes that doesn’t bring emails or posts heralding happier, healthier horses who have left their stalls, shoes, and sugars behind and are living the Wild Horse Model as closely as circumstances allow. Horses who now trust and forge relationship by their own choice, not ours. Unsolicited stories from people we did not know before they wrote. And they are the fuel that drives us ever forward, learning and writing, to make a difference for horses everywhere. After reading just the few below, grouped together for the first time, Kathleen said to me, “When you first contemplated writing that first book, when you told me how important you felt these discoveries were and how much you believed that we should make an effort to get this word out, you said, ‘If just one horse-human relationship could be changed for the better, if just one horse could be living a happier, healthier life then the all the effort would be worthwhile.’” She paused for a long moment and wiped away the beginnings of a tear. “Congratulations my Sweetie,” she said. “Mission accomplished.”
I hope you’ll open your heart and listen to what these horses have to say. Read More→
This is simply the Coolest Thing Ever! Your horse is fifteen to twenty feet away from you when you step up onto the mounting block. You cluck a couple of times and lo and behold he sidesteps all the way over to the mounting block and stands there patiently waiting for you to climb on.
No way, I said. How in the world would you teach your horse to sidestep toyou? From fifteen feet away! It’s just not in the logic pattern of everything we’re told to teach the horse… “give to pressure”… not step into it!
But I saw it with my own eyes and was blown away. Read More→
I can remember the vet checks on our very first three horses. I was walking Cash down to the arena with Dr. Matt and he casually mentioned, “He has a good eye. A soft eye. That says a lot.” I could only wonder what he meant. What could he see that I couldn’t? And what did it tell him? But I chose not to embarrass myself and I kept quiet.
Much later – after learning that either I lose the fear of being embarrassed or I would never learn anything :) – I asked him about it and he told me what he had seen. Read More→
When we first discovered that the genetics of a horse prescribe a lifestyle of living out 24/7 with lots and lots of movement we threw up our hands in frustration. We had no access to land other than a 2.5 acre plot behind the house that was virtually straight-up-and-down steep with some of it totally unusable. Horses in the wild out in the Great Basin of the western United States – where their genetics evolved – travel 10-20 miles a day looking for grass forage, water, and staying away from predators. How could we even get close to replicating that with what we had to work with? But ultimately we discovered that it’s amazing what you can come up with when you really put you mind to it. With less than 1.5 usable acres we wound up creating a Paddock Paradise that generated approximately 8-10 miles of movement every 24-hour day for all six of our horses, and we did it quite simply and inexpensively using what we had available. It’s all explained in the new video, with specifics and on-the-scene videos (one of them quite whimsical according to Kathleen and I’m not sure how to take that :). Click this link and take a look: Our Paddock Paradise: What We Did, How We Did It and Why? Read More→
A new scientific study reported by Discovery News verifies that horses are closer to people who treat them well and the study praises the use of treats and words. Those who have read The Soul of a Horse will understand why that gets a big Yippee! from me, and I’m sure from trick trainer Allen Pogue as well. A full chapter in Soul (The Big Red Circus Ball) is devoted to these subjects. We have known for some time that the findings regarding treats and words are true but Read More→
I’ll never forget standing out in the rain one cold October day, soaked from head to foot because the rain wasn’t expected. The temperature was only in the mid-fifties, but to me, sopping wet, that was freezing.
I looked at our horses, heads down, dripping with water, and I just couldn’t stand it. Read More→
Every time I look at one of these photos of Kathleen’s and think about how much I lusted after the very life we’re living I have no choice but to reflect upon how very blessed we are. Have always been. I’ll never forget asking my dad when I was a junior in high school, “How am I supposed to go about choosing a career? Where do I start?” His response was profound, and not of the times, and for some reason that surprised me. Read More→
Ginger Kathrens’ motion picture camera has followed the life of Cloud since the day he was born – the day she named him – more than nine years ago. Across those years she has filmed three incredible PBS Specials on Cloud and his wild herd, but the latest one Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions (I call it Cloud 3 :) is truly the best compilation of the the most amazing footage I’ve ever seen that tells a story story so remarkable Read More→
A day doesn’t pass that we don’t receive several beautiful emails from folks who have read the book, the blog, a newsletter, or been on the website and been moved by something we’ve said or done. These words are what make it all worthwhile. The juice that keeps our wheels turning and keeps us fired up about what we do. And keeps us ever Read More→
I sat on the front porch tonight and ate broiled salmon and spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic while listening to the rain. What Kathleen and I call an Asheville rain, in honor of what was perhaps her first understanding (for a California girl) of how nice a rain can be. We were attending a Celtic music festival in Asheville. It was a Sunday morning Read More→
Last night was an emotional ride. Benji and I were invited to speak at The Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s annual fund raiser: The Mane Event. At the end of the presentation I attempted to demonstrate to the supporters of the ARL how important they are to the League’s work of saving animals; how their support is actually making a difference. Not only saving but changing lives… of people (mine and Kathleen’s) as well as animals. Our Mouse was the subject. Two years ago, nine-month-old Mouse was among 14 horses rescued by the ARL from just horrendous, Read More→
This was no easy decision. It was overflowing with complexities and angst. Kathleen had lived her entire life in southern California. All of her immediate family is here. And half of mine, the other half in Montana. So the notion of moving to middle Tennessee left a few chords unstruck. Read More→
Patience is not a concept I’ve had much contact with in the past. Like so many homo sapiens, I’ve always wanted everything to happen right now. I think it’s genetic. The shortest distance has always been a straight line. We humans tend to be that way. Especially in this millennium of instant gratification. But since my introduction to horses, I’ve come to learn Read More→
For those who wonder whether horses grieve let me assure you that they do. Noelle’s demeanor has changed completely since the loss of Malachi. She wanted – needed – companionship and I was the only one around. We helped each other. Consoled each other. Reassured each other. And the net result for both of us has been Read More→
On the evening of June 3rd, exactly three months from the day of his birth, we lost Malachi in the aftermath of a violent thunder and lightning storm that knocked out a power pole on our property. As we piece together what happened, a fleet of huge power company trucks climbed our driveway that night which passes right by Noelle and Malachi’s paddocks and stalls. These gigantic loud monsters Read More→
Our canine superstar Benji, Oprah’s favorite onscreen animal, has never had anything to do with our other horses. Not even sweet Cash. Along comes our unhandled pregnant mustang adopted from the BLM Dec 10. Malachi was born on March 3 and from the very first day Benji was taken with him. Maybe because Benji was adopted from a shelter as well Read More→
This photo was taken at 3 weeks old, but our boy horse is almost two months now (see below) and is definitely proving every day that deep down every horse on the planet would prefer to be in relationship than not. Born of two wild unhandled parents he is completely unafraid of people or other horses. Perhaps too much so. I’ve brought everyone from the herd Read More→
’m writing this on the 17th day of Malachi’s life, but this photo and all the ones below were actually taken on his 12th day. I’m spending so much time with him and Noelle that I’m sorry to say I’m having trouble keeping up with everything else, like photos, newsletters, even email. By the way, all the fantastic photos you’ll see in this journal entry Read More→
Malachi’s 8th day on the planet.
Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament of the Bible. In Hebrew the word means messenger, and in the Book of Malachi the message is that change is coming.
Malachi intended to write a book about change.
In fact I didn’t set out to write a book at all. Kathleen and I were just trying to figure out how to keep and care for a small group of horses that had somehow landed quite unexpectedly in our front yard. We were asking Read More→
We’re giddy. Last night everything was normal. No liquids anywhere. And this morning there he was. And mommy is very much a mommy. And very protective. This morning I couldn’t touch Read More→
A friend asked us if we had a name for the foal yet. We said no, and he said, “Well, the mom is Noelle. How about Foelle?” I threatened to send his email address to all of y’all :)
Today was a good day. Perhaps not the best day Noelle and I have had, but still good. And Kathleen did take some photos and video. It was an unseasonably Read More→
This morning Kathleen said to me, “Do you realize that you’re always saying, ‘I wonder when I’m going to be able to do this or do that with Noelle.’ Just a few days ago you were saying you couldn’t wait until you could scratch her on the neck. Seriously, just a few days! And here you are scratching her neck, her chest, her leg, her ear, her face and are you satisfied, even just a little bit? Have you taken a moment to just sigh happily Read More→
Day 15 with Noelle, our new pregnant Mustang who had never been handled before arriving at our place is coming along beautifully. Today she and Benji actually “joined-up” completely on their own. They sniffed noses and touched each other. Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera in the paddock at the time, and the funny thing is that Benji won’t Read More→
From the journal January 3, 2009 – On the evening of December 20th, 2008, we arrived home with my Christmas gift from Kathleen, an untouched pregnant Mustang adopted from the BLM in Reno, a six-year-old buckskin lady who chose us – well, chose Kathleen. I had missed her completely in our survey of the 150 or so mares in the five-and-over pasture at the BLM facility the week before.
Just imagine being the very first person ever to be touched by a wild Mustang, and being the first person to touch her foal. Shivers skitter up my spine every time I think about it. Two horses Read More→
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”
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But first read the National Best Seller that started it all
now in it’s 17th printing:
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“Joe Camp is a master storyteller.” – The New York Times
“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
Hopefully, you’ll also want to read
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