Saturday, February 13, 2010

"The Soul of a Horse"

I just finished reading "The Soul of a Horse - Life Lessons from the Herd" by Joe Camp.
If you haven't read it, I recommend that you do!

I am a self confessed book worm, and freely admit to reading everything and anything (that I deem interesting) that I can get my hands on. I DO read everything and anything equine related. I read everything with an open mind, as I find it interesting to read different opinion's on similar matters.

I am a HUGE fan of everything Joe Camp talks about in his book, the most important/main things I came away with were:

- You need to build a strong relationship with your horse BEFORE you ask him to do thing for you (aka you ride him)
- Horses are meant to live outside, don't stall them!
Now I believe there is a SMALL percentage of horses that do better in stalls, but the majority are better off outside (although is makes their owner's more nervous)
- Horses are not meant to wear shoes!
Once again, I will admit that there is an exception to every rule, but generally, horses are better off without shoes. Read about this. Do some research. Learn how the hoof really 'works'. It is healthier for a horses foot to be 'au naturel'.
- Horses do not need to be blanketed.
If you stop and think about this, no REALLY think about this, you will realize this is true.
My friends thoroughbred is blanketed because he would shiver, and I mean really shiver, the whole body kind. My thoroughbred is blanketed because when I got her she was skinny and the blanket helps her keep warm, without using all her energy to keep warm. Lexi, my QH filly generally wears a rain sheet. This is DEFINITELY for me and not for her. She had never worn a blanket until she was 20 months, and she is THE hairiest horse I have ever seen. I want her to wear a rain sheet to keep the rain and snow off of her as she lives outside 24/7. I am happy to announce I took her sheet off on Friday, and will hopefully stay off for the rest of the year, unless we are forecasting cold AND snow.

I know this is a controversial subject, I'd like to hear thoughts and opinions on why all you horses owners make the decisions you do in regards to your horses.

Don't forget to read "The Soul of a Horse - Life Lessons from the Herd" by Joe Camp.


  1. Welcome to the blogging world, and thank you for following along. I haven't read the book you mention - thanks for the review. I'm not an absolutist about anything - I think his ideas are good, but I also respect the needs of the individual horse. Some horses, I believe, do need shoes - we've bred them to have poor hoof structure - and I also believe that some horses need rain sheets and blankets more than others - I have a TB that grows a thin coat and she'd never do well in our climate without blanketing. That said, his goals sound worthwhile.

  2. That books sounds great..I'll have to look into it. are a case by case situation. I'm trying now to get Laz's laminitis under control with a barefoot specialist so I'll see if it'll work for us..his shoes are not working.
    Blanketing..I like to feel him warm and snuggly under his blanket especially being a thinner OTTB and not moving much. I think he enjoys it as well. BUT yes, some/many horses do not need it. Lucky, I say. Breed specific perhaps, I don't know. There is a large TB farm me and their horses are all unblanketed the whole winter and they appear ok, so we can only do what we think is best for our babies.

  3. Hey there. I'm new to your blog and totally look forward to following along.

    Love this post.
    -I am an advocate of 24/7 turn out for normal circumstances!
    -I believe shoeing/not is subject to the horse, topography (or is it topology-- ugh and I was a geography major!), and sport. Its a subject about which I am woefully uneducated however, so my opinion's worth is little.
    -Blanketing? I do it. I believe it is 98% for my own piece of mind... That being said, I still do it. Perhaps because I always have, and its always worked out for me. If it ain't broke don't fix it mentality...

  4. When I had horses growing up they lived outside 24/7 and were only blanketed if they shivered, which was pretty rare.

    Now I've got two horses from Florida that have never lived through an actual winter, and one of them has a lot of trouble keeping weight on. For this winter they've been wearing blankets (though a lot less than the other horses in the barn), I'm hoping that next winter they'll have acclimated enough not to need them. Plus I mean to have them living outside on my own property by then.

  5. Love hearing feedback, thank you!!!

    I love hearing horse owner's POV on why they do what they do, as I believe we can all learn from it!