I hope you’ll open your heart and listen to what these horses have to say.
Katie Pontone and her National Champion
Katie lives in upstate New York and is only eighteen years old but what follows, in her own words, is from the heart and mind of a young lady much wiser than we might expect from one with so few years under her belt:
“I took my pony, Wicked, barefoot after reading The Soul of a Horse and she never looked back. Wicked is blind in one eye but is now the 2012 National Pony Jumper Champion because she managed the only round without fault of the top pony jumpers in the country at the national finals and was the only barefoot one of all the pony jumpers! Thanks to you Joe Camp and to our trimmer Cindy Ross. I can always count on Wicked’s perfect hooves to turn tighter, gallop faster, and jump cleaner than my shod competitors. She is not only ranked number one in the United States, USEF National Pony Jumper Championships, but is the 2012 USEF National Horse of the Year and the USEF Zone 2 Horse of the Year for the Pony Jumpers. She is the number one pony jumper in the North American League and with our recent victory at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show for the 2012 North American League National Finals Wicked earned the title of the 2012 National Pony Jumper Champion. This success was made possible through natural trimming following the Wild Horse Model, twenty-four hour turn out, limited sugar intake, and ignoring everything my trainers have told me when it comes to proper horse care.” Read Katie’s and Wicked’s amazing story.
Rescued from a kill buyer by Cindy Caughey, Brody enjoys
his two new best friends
“Brody is now barefoot and out on 50 acres of mixed grasses, weeds, and brambles. He loves his life and loves to ride fast. He’s such a proud boy, he loves it and gets terribly excited to show off for the barn. Thank you so much for your books, and your Cash. Your experiences with Cash, your knowledge, and your compassion helped me help this guy so very much and I’ll always be grateful for that. So will Brody.”
From AnneMai on the Island of Mallorca: “After reading your first book we have given our mare as much freedom as possible, no irons, outside at all times (she has an open shelter) and as natural feed as we can get :). She takes herself for walks all day eating a bit here and there. It is a joy to see her and to have her at home for the first time in my life. Thank you for giving us the courage to change all these things :))”
Carri’s mares – no longer stressed!
I love this story from Carri in New York. Like so many of us trying to find a way out of the boarding stalls and unhealthy lifestyle, she looked and looked for a place she could afford to buy. One day she realized that the hay field that abuts the back of her property was no longer a hay field. She had a “bright idea” that took courage. She placed a cold call to the owner of the ex-hayfield and asked if she might be interested in leasing a piece of that land. The owner not only said yes but leased her half the barn for hay storage and a run-in. Thank you Carri for proving once again to all of us that where there’s a will there’s a way! – Joe
From Carri in Erin NY: “Thank you for giving me the courage to take my own journey!!! I finally have my 2 mares where I can take care of them all on my own (first time ever)! Boarding them has been a major nightmare…the last place I had them RARELY had them in pasture (although it was promised they’d be out all day, every day)…so they were stuck in a dark box constantly and were stressed beyond belief (for 2 months). It’s your journey that has kept me from panicking during these long, cold months in upstate NY (I moved my girls from their former dungeon to their new Heaven on Dec 19th). I think back and remember your panicky moments…and your triumphs. Your words have kept me sane…and allowed me to focus on keeping them as horses should be kept…free to make their own choices…24/7. No shoes, no blankets, no stalls. Once again, thank you Joe…from the bottom of my inexperienced heart! And my girls thank you!!”
From Carrie DeCesare in Ohio: This is Monet and Mouse, they just completed their first walk trot under saddle, equitation and pleasure divisions all ridden bit less, shoeless and Mouse lives out 24/7 with his herd with no stalls or blankets on fifteen acres of open pasture and free choice hay. They took two firsts and one third place! So thankful I found Joe Camp almost 2 years ago and transformed our horses lives. They are all now 100% sound in excellent health and condition and have no bad habits or lameness. I will NEVER put a shoe on a horse or make it live in a stall again and I will forever strive to educate horse owners about the benefits of following the natural horse life style. Thanks Joe!!
Three of Trish Lambert’s Four
Out of Stalls Forever
“Right now my four have about 10 acres they can roam, all day and all night. They are barefoot and have grass hay available all the time, plus whatever forage they can find in the dry Texas Hill Country, along with steam extruded grass pellets (Total Equine) twice a day. My mobile equine dentist/vet came out about two weeks ago to float two of the herd. First thing she said (after not seeing them for about a year and a half) was: They look great!!! Next, and even coolest, BOTH horses needed minimal tooth maintenance. The record she gave me, the one with all the teeth shown so that issues can be noted, was absolutely clean!!!! I was thrilled, and validated for the way they are living. Joe, I am so glad that you are serving as an advocate for this way of keeping our horses!!!” And I am so glad you are convincing vets how to have happier, healthier horses Trish. – Joe
Melissa and her Champion mare Daisy
From Melissa in upstate New York: I just wanted to thank you so much for stepping out and writing your Soul of a Horse books. I had hoof issues for years with my mare. Then your book was dropped into my hands… definitely an orchestration of God’s marvelous plan; it was such a blessing! Long story short, she hasn’t had shoes on since 2009. I found a natural trimmer who did such an awesome job with her hooves that I went to school this past June to study natural barefoot methods. I’m 17 and now working on my own natural trimming certification and have a passion for natural horse feet, as they are such an excellent display of the Master’s perfect craftsmanship. I show Daisy English and Western, jumping and barrel racing, and she has never taken a lame step. We won Overall Senior High Point for most points collected over four consecutive days. Shoes, blankets, and stalls are things of the past. I’m not sure what I’d be doing right now if I hadn’t read your books! So thank you . . . you’ve really changed my and my mare’s lives.
From Anna in Saskatchewan, Canada: “I have to share with you what you have given to my horse, Jericho, and me. Our 7 years together have been a roller coaster. Jericho immediately tuned in to my unassertiveness and the bucking and dancing started with me having little or no control. I began my quest to find out how to have a quiet, safe horse. I took clinics and observed at Pat Parelli and John Lyons’ clinics, but somehow I never really understood and didn’t get it! It was only after reading your book this summer that I think I got it! I wanted so badly to have what you had with your horses. So, I promptly ordered Monty Robert’s Join-Up DVD, which was an incredible turning point. I hung out in the pasture, rubbed Jericho, walked him in hand, read your website and learned about bitless bridles, ordered one, and love it, as does Jericho. Now Jericho is next to perfect and I am being a good leader. He no longer tries to run me over or drag me around while in hand, and he will stand perfectly quiet beside me. It’s only been 3 months since I read your book. Wow! I can hardly believe how much our relationship has changed. Thank you Joe for writing your book, The Soul Of A Horse, and for creating a great, informative website! May God Bless you and yours richly! He has Blessed us richly, with you!”
From Tracy in New Zealand: “I feel like I have taken a parallel journey with Joe and Kathleen after buying my very first horse and accidentally finding The Soul Of The Horse at one of the most needed times in my life. The book was truly inspirational. Thank you so much for letting me know that a lot of my negative experiences were normal. It has been an amazing journey achieving true unity and acceptance from my very badly damaged horse Gandalf, and since that beginning I’ve rescued more than 30 horses destined to be dog food and have become an instructor in all things natural. Please keep your news and information coming as it is hugely inspirational.”
As luck would have it, I got my newest horse three years ago – the same week my grandma sent me your book, “Soul of a Horse” as a gift. All the subjects you wrote about, all the things you questioned, had been going through my mind for years. So I used your model for my new horse, Silver. He was a bit of a wreck when I got him, (he used to buck and rear) but I changed it all up – no grain, 25 acre pasture 24/7, access to variety of grasses, etc. We pulled the shoes and use a professional barefoot trimmer. We go bitless (we use a rope halter only), and we focused on a good relationship foundation from the beginning. Now I have this truly awesome horse who is my trusted partner in everything. Even when we encounter a situation that we have never been in before he looks to me for guidance and complies willingly and pleasantly. I ride him alone on miles of harsh mountain trails in California, barefoot and bitless! We’ve done over 300 hours this year. He even carried me down the aisle on my wedding day – we cantered in the dress! – with no practice or desensitization. He just trusted me on the matter. I just wanted to say I truly believe Silver and I would not have come as far as we have if it weren’t for your book.
From Emily in New Jersey: “Where do I begin?!?! The Soul Of A Horse is such an inspirational, motivational, and moving story. I had to stop myself and reevaluate everything I do with my horse Solo. All these years of owning I thought my horse was very happy. I really thought I knew what was best for him. But everything has changed since I read your book. I never knew one could establish such a deep, sincere connection with their horse and now Solo and I are well on our way to such a relationship. It’s incredible. Solo used to be spooky but now he’s so calm and relaxed in the arena. He used to be tough to catch in the field but since I’ve been approaching him with my head down and my shoulders down I haven’t had a problem (he even comes up to me now!!! No bribing with carrots anymore!!!!). Your book has turned my whole world around and I speak on behalf of Solo too. It’s amazing. I was so touched by Cash’s story I was bawling like an idiot at the end of your book. But like Cash, giving Solo a choice to trust me when I ride or bring him in from the field has made my riding and owning experience 110% better. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Joe, you’ve really made Solo’s life and my life so much better and easier. You are truly a Godsend for every horsemen across the globe. I can’t thank you enough and I speak for Solo too. I hope your story and work gets through to everybody. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God bless you Joe, Kathleen and all of your critters. Your work is truly amazing.”
From Dorothe in NY: “Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your book changed my whole approach to horses as I told your lovely wife Kathleen. Cooper is an Arabian/QH mix rescued from a kill pen. Blanco, a Paso Fino, was going to be put down because he is 24 years old and was diagnosed with the onset of cushings. When I rescued him, he weighed 700 lbs. and his ribs were sticking out. Unfortunately I don’t have my own barn yet, but after I read The Soul of a Horse, I moved both horses from a large boarding facility to a private barn close to my house where I have full control over their feeding and care. When my Vet saw them this spring he was amazed how great they looked. Blanco had gained 150 lbs. and his levels were normal. Cooper had a chronic cough at the other place, which was diagnosed as heaves. Since he is outside most of the time now and is getting the proper supplements plus a constant supply of hay, his cough is gone, and this spring was one of the worst allergy seasons we’ve had. The photo shows both enjoying a gallop around the paddock. They are best friends. I look forward to every one of your newsletters and of course any book you’ll write in the future. I loved The Journey Continues as much as Life Lessons from the Herd. I even learned more from it as it is like a journal with facts and good advice.”
Much later, this from Dorothe: “Last week 2 friends and I went with our horses by trailer to a nearby park to ride. We had to park on a grassy clearing along a major highway. On the return trip my horse Cooper had to face backwards as he was the first to be let out and he does not like to back out of the trailer. He was already tied up and I was holding him by his halter before we opened the door to let the other horse in. At that moment he decided it was time for him to get out and he stepped forward off the trailer. The forward/down motion together with his weight released the tie clip and I could not hold him alone. All went so fast that I had no time to react. I saw him running along the highway and knew there was nothing I could do but call him to stop. Cars were driving by at speeds between 60 to 70 miles and not one slowed down, At one point it looked as if he was going straight towards the road and my heart stopped. I said a prayer, suppressed my panic and called to him, as calmly as I could, to stand. He actually slowed down, then turned his head towards me and stood, waiting for me to approach him to let me take him back to the trailer. It was his choice because he trusts me.
From Lauren in New York: “I would like Joe and Kathleen to know about the impact they have made on my life & of course more than mine, my horse’s life. I am in awe of The Soul of a Horse book. I have read it and read it over and over again. I had my horse at a barn with people I adore but noticed that Dollar was not happy, we had some issues, he was in a stall too long, his turnout was short and he didn’t have time to be a horse. I decided to move him an hour away from my home so that he could be outside. Now in this lifestyle he is living, he is so happy I swear he smiles. We lost a horse at the barn this winter from a broken leg. They say the horse slipped and fell in its paddock and the break was too great to repair. It’s a shame but if that horse didn’t have metal shoes on would she have slipped if she were barefoot? My friends give me the old line no hoof, no horse, and they are correct but what they don’t realize is nowhere in that old phrase does it say no shoe, no horse, it says hoof. I own hundreds of books and magazines. Yet I have never found a book that I could not put down, nor one that was as honest and as raw as The Soul of a Horse. This book has made a huge impact on our lives and I hope there are more to come soon.”
From Michelle in Idaho: “Thank you for encouraging us to get shoes off our horses. Yesterday we went for a trail ride into the mountains. Our three horses were the only ones barefoot and I have to tell you the difference in how the horses handle rocks and steep terrain is amazing. The horses with shoes seemed to be less sensitive to where they placed their feet whereas our horses were careful to step around tree limbs, rocks and hardly stumbled at all while going up and down steep trails. I was watching the footwork on the horses ahead of me, I noticed they didn’t seem to care about where their foot was (maybe not feeling the rocks makes them less aware) and would often step on part of the bigger rocks and stumble due to poor placement. Also when they did put their foot on the bigger rocks, they were more prone to slip and stumble with the shoes.”
From Kimberly in South Carolina: “I want to let you know that your book & your website have been truly inspirational & continue to change my relationship with my babies!! I am fulfilling a dream of giving my horses the opportunity to “be horses” as free & natural as possible. After years of boarding & having little control over decisions that affected their well being, they are now in my back yard. I have gained courage & confidence in my care giving from your writings with outstanding results. My horses are now all barefoot, they get supplements for proper nutrition with Safe Starch (no grain: no sugar) & unlimited freedom on 6 acres. I have joined Monty’s online university & experienced a mutual level of love & respect that I never dreamed could happen. It is so serene to feel your horse truly WANTS to be with you! We have even added another horse to our herd who joined the family like he was here from the beginning. I thank you for sharing all the wisdom & experiences.”
From Madeline in Namibia, Africa: “I would like to thank you for this truly amazing book. I thank you on behalf of my horse StarWalker as well. I cannot believe I was doing damage to my best friend without even knowing it. I will never again put shoes on my horse or have another blanket put on him. I am 19 years old and my horse StarWalker and I have been together for the past 4 years since he was just a lil’ guy! We have been jumping competitively for the past two years and have been doing quite well. Shoes are no longer on my horse (I am very disappointed in myself for having shoes on him previously. I can not believe I put shoes on him just because my coach said I should. I am just thankful that horses are such forgiving creatures). His boots are off now and he is doing fantastic. I really appreciate what you guys have done for him! He’s much happier, and never been better :)”
From Kathy in Oregon: “Joe, your book changed my world. I dabbled with Parelli, John Lyons and others but YOU made the difference. You have inspired me to keep it as natural as possible and do my best for the horses that I love. I have too many animals in a small area so I went to work and constructed my “track” to get more movement; then I changed it I don’t know how many times :) and added pea gravel here and there. The improved movement with the track and the gravel has turned them around—their hooves have never looked better. Thank you for making a difference and continuing to be a champion for these beautiful creatures.”
Like Carri’s story (third from the top) I love this next one from Aisha in the United Arab Emirates because, like Carri, this young college student demonstrates what can be done when you just flat refuse to give up. When you persist until you have the right answers. Against the odds and the advice of so many. Right down to the hysterical caper that she and her boyfriend pulled off to get their horses out of their stalls and moving and nibbling around the clock. She is an amazing young lady. Her story is a bit longer than the others but well worth the read. – Joe
From Aisha in the United Arab Emirates: “Harry and Diablo were your typical horses, they had four shoes, were getting fed oats, barley, corn etc. They were stalled all day and all night and the only time they got out of the stable was when we wanted to ride them. They were clipped, ate at table height, and wore blankets (yes in our so-called winter!), and they were separated from other horses. God forbid any horse came near them. Horses were dangerous when put together! They might kick and bite (or so we were told :)) Everyone in our livery yard was exactly the same. What idiots and sheep we were… just following along without thinking a whit. I opened the pages of The Soul of a Horse the same night I purchased it. I know you must hear this ALOT but you have helped our horses so much! Before the book Diablo was nervous, anxious and had a very bad joint problem, and he was very, very thin. Harry was listless, unhappy, and didn’t have any spirit. He was also anemic and was on all the wrong foods. Now Harry is no longer anemic, listless, or unhappy and Diablo’s joints are no longer swollen. They are on food that is less than 10% NSC, eating from the ground. And they are barefoot! Our farrier said it was impossible for them to go barefoot. He told us what Joe said was nonsense. We were about to ruin our horses. We said goodbye to this farrier and never asked him back. I began looking for a trimmer who understood the Wild Horse Model. Imagine! I thought I could find such a thing in the UAE! But after a month of constant searching I found Cedric Couke who had studied with Pete Ramey. Unbelievable! He plays polo with his horses barefoot and has done such an amazing job for our horses. The next thing was to figure out how to get our horses out of their stalls. Joe’s most important discovery: horses need movement – movement – movement for their overall health and well being and they have to be together to eliminate stress. We only have one paddock at our boarding facility and it was taken by a mare. We weren’t allowed to put our horses in the riding arenas because the fences were plastic, but Sultan and I were so determined that after the grooms and trainers finished their duties and left, we would sneak the horses out, take an unlimited amount of hay for the night, and the water bucket, and leave them out. We would come back around 5am to sneak them back into their stalls, and clean up the evidence. This went on for about a month until Sultan convinced the management to build us our own paddocks, which they did! Bless Sultan! That’s why I love him. The next thing that got to me was that horses needed grass as well. Our yard has a beautiful land full of grass, but horses aren’t allowed loose on it. There are no fences and the horses could just wander away. What Sultan and I did was we kept the horses on a 22 foot line for about a week, and then gradually set them loose. They were fine! We set them loose as soon as everyone goes for lunch and return them to their stalls before anyone comes back. We ride, set them loose again when everyone goes home, then put them in the paddock for the night. Thanks to Joe’s book our horses are living like horses! I don’t think I have ever seen them so healthy and happy. Our relationship with Diablo and Harry has deepened and our bond has grown. If it wasn’t for the book I don’t think we would have bought our third horse Chance. We wanted to show him he could be a horse too. He was neglected and abused, and now he’s just the funniest character around. I don’t think life would be the same without him. Joe you really truly changed our lives, and the way we think. I’m not the same person I used to be (ignorant!), and it’s all thanks to you. I’m hoping more books and workshops are coming. May God protect you and bless you for all you do. I learned more from your book in one month than I had learned in the entire 12 years I had spent with horses. This book will strengthen anyone who touches it to dig deeper for their friend.”
From Dianne in Winnsboro Texas: “I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful and inspiring book you have written and I cherish this book. I started reading the book on route home to TX while my husband Rick drove. I read it out loud so he could enjoy it also. I never put it down and had it all but finished by the time we arrived home. I teach natural Horsemanship to my Cowgirl Camp girls each summer and have decided to give a copy of your book to the top Cowgirl at each camp session. I cannot think of a better gift.”
From Nina in Washington D.C.: “I was sitting here on my sofa, waiting for my coffee to brew, looking at the cold weather report here in D.C. and Maryland, where my horses are. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Worrying about my horses being cold and covered in snow. Should I think about blanketing them even though they have a round bale and their own run-in? It did rain and snow yesterday. Are they wet and shivering? What to do? What to do? And then… I read your newsletter! I feel so much better now. I knew that I should stay out of their way and let them be horses but I LOVE them! Thank you for being there for all of us Joe (and Kathleen), you do make a difference in all of our lives! I love The Soul of a Horse Blogged by the way. It is so hard to put the book down, but I also don’t want to read it too fast. I don’t want it to end! So comforted by your experiences and knowledge. Every person who loves an animal must have this book. I can’t wait for the next one!!!!!!!!!”
From Marjorie in Las Vegas: “You are our hero. I will never “stall” a horse again, and I cringe when I see the unlucky ones who remain confined to extremely small spaces and stressed. These two are BOTH so happy and calm…Moki, the buckskin was kind of aloof before. Now, he’s much more affectionate. It’s called, relaxed! And playful. :)”
From Toni in northwestern Washington: “I just finished your book and was totally amazed and in awe of what you have done. I have had horses since I was about 10 and dearly love them as you do but I sure learned a lot from your book and will never stall or shoe another horse. My daughter has just bought Cosmo, her first horse, and he has come such a long way because of your teachings in your book. He’s just 3-1/2 and she has done wonders with him. I have also passed the book on to another friend who competes in jumping and dressage. Again thank you so much for writing this book.”
From Maddie in North Carolina: “My name is Maddie and I am almost 14 years old. I have wanted to help animals by becoming a vet since I was 3. A couple weeks ago, I picked up Joe’s book The Soul Of A Horse. I was mesmerized. Everything in the book taught me something new. It is such an inspiring book and by far, the best book that I have ever read. How Joe bonds with the horses is just so incredible to me. I’ve always dreamed of being someone like him. Having special connections with the horses. Learning from them. Having the horses tell you what they feel. I also love that Joe always questions things. Everything that Joe has taught me through the book has stuck to my mind. Permanently. I hope that soon I will receive my gift from God and learn from the horse, just as Joe did. Thank you for blessing me with The Soul Of A Horse.”
From Amy in Nebraska: “We recently acquired our first horse, Toots, and have finished reading your book, “The Soul of a Horse” together as a family. Our girls are 9 and 5, and they soaked up the information like sponges. As an educator, it amazes me how when presented with logical information, kids make sense of theory much faster than adults, whose minds are muddied with illogical dilemmas that throw up barriers to change. Thank you for providing us with the foundation we need to get off on the right hoof with Toots! She thanks you also! I wish I had pictures of her protecting me from an angry new mother cow a week ago. I was trying to retrieve her calf and pair them up, and the cow came after me. Toots headed her off and protected me! I was absolutely amazed, but realized then that we really have created a great relationship! We have a long way to go on our journey with her, but because of the path you’ve lead us to, we know it will be a fantastic adventure. Thanks again!”
Laura’s Rose – Untouchable for six years
From Laura in Alabama: This past summer, my daughter and I began volunteering at a local horse rescue. It is there that I met Rose. She is an eleven year old mustang. She came to the farm when she was five and worked with a trainer for three months. For the next six years, she was basically untouchable.
With the help of some great people, I have started connecting with her. That is when I found your book. Thank you is simply not enough to convey my gratitude. I have found myself laughing and crying throughout your book. Cash is wonderful and Mariah breaks my heart. I couldn’t have left her with that old cowboy either.
You have answered so many of the questions I was struggling with by “getting to the why of it”. I look forward to reading your future books and sharing the Benji books and movies with my daughter.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have volunteers who have been at the farm for years be able to come up to her and touch her and pet her. There was one lady with tears in her eyes. You are certainly right about connecting. I sure wish it were that easy with people.
The whole story of our journey (to date) is told in two books 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 we stumble and bumble our way through the learning process so that hopefully you won’t have to. If you haven’t read them both already these two books, I believe, will provide not just the knowledge but the passion and the excitement to make your relationship and journey always be with loving, happy and healthy horses who are willing partners and who never stop trying for you.
The highly acclaimed best selling sequel to the National Best Seller
The Soul of a Horse – Life Lessons from the Herd
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