The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd

( 81 )

Overview

Look into the heart and soul of a horse.

A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what a horse needed or wanted. They searched for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care. What they found was not what they had expected.

Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or ever loved the idea of loving a horse, this memoir leads us on a ...

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Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd

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Overview

Look into the heart and soul of a horse.

A surprise birthday gift plunged Joe and his wife, Kathleen, into the world of horses as complete neophytes without a clue as to what a horse needed or wanted. They searched for logic and sense in the rule books of traditional horse care. What they found was not what they had expected.

Written for everyone who has ever loved a horse or ever loved the idea of loving a horse, this memoir leads us on a voyage of discovery as Joe and Kathleen navigate uncharted territory on their way to achieving a true relationship with their horses. Joe Camp’s inspiring book unlocks the mystery of a majestic creature who has survived on earth, without assistance, for fifty-five million years and teaches us that the lessons he learned apply not only to horses but also to our relationships with people.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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.”
—Bloggernews

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

Library Journal

Camp, creator of the famous canine icon Benji, knows the world of dogs, but here he tells the story of his journey into the realm of horse ownership. In his quest for knowledge on the subject, Camp began to question the logic behind traditional horse-management practices such as stabling, blanketing, and shoeing as well as how these practices affect horse behaviors, health, and well-being. He eventually became both a follower and a promoter of natural horsemanship methods. Though he primarily focuses on the Monty Roberts "Join Up" method for training, he also includes references and an appendix to other well-known natural-method horse trainers. 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. Suitable for all public and large academic libraries.
—Kyrille Goldbeck

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307406866
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 157,683
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Read an Excerpt

0307406857|excerpt

Camp: SOUL OF A HORSE

Introduction

My name is Cash. I am horse.

I have been on this planet for some fifty-five million years. Well, not me personally. My ancestors. It all began in North America, somewhere near what is now called Utah. We hung out and evolved for forty-three million years, then we began to migrate, to South America, and across the Alaskan bridge to Asia, Europe, and Africa. And, eventually, some twelve million years after we left, we were brought back home by the Spanish conquistadors.

We’ve been through it all. Ice Ages. Volcanic periods. Meteor strikes. Dinosaurs. You name it. And we survived.

We’ve only been carrying man around for, oh, the last three to four thousand years. We’ve helped him farm, hunt, travel, and fight his enemies. We were helping man shape world history, winning wars for him, as far back as 1345 bc. We protected kings’ dominions in medieval times, carried knights into the Crusades, fought on European battlefields all the way into the early 1900s, and helped conquer and settle the American West.

Throughout these millions of years, many of us have always remained wild and free. Even today, our herds roam free in Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, France, Africa, the Greek Island of Cephalonia, Abaco in the Bahamas, Sable Island in Nova Scotia, the Canadian West, several states of the American West, Virginia, and North Carolina.

And, until recently, we’ve done it all pretty much naked and in good relationship with man. But over the past several hundred years things began to change. These changes are actually inexplicable, given that our genetics and history are widely known. You see, we are not cave dwellers. We don’t like dark cozy rooms, clothing, iron shoes, heat, or air-conditioning.

Humans seem to like all that. And because they do, they presume we should like it too. But we’re movers and shakers. In the wild we’ll move ten to twenty miles a day, keeping our hooves flexing and circulating blood, feeding our tiny little stomachs a little at a time, and keeping our own thermoregulatory systems in good working order.

Think about it. Our survival through all those millions of years has built a pretty darned determined genetic system. And an excellent formula for survival. We are what you humans call prey animals, flight animals. We are not predators, like you. We have survived because we freak out at every little thing, race off and don’t look back. We are also herd animals. Not just because it’s fun to be around our pals, but because there is safety in numbers. And being prey animals, we consider safety just about the most important thing. But our idea of safety is not the same as yours. Our genetic history does not understand being all alone in a twelve-by-twelve stall. Even if it’s lined in velvet, in a heated barn, it’s away from the herd and by no stretch of the emotion or imagination is that a safe haven! Stress is all we get from such an experience.

Stress. Big-time!

Have you ever seen one of us, locked in a stall, pacing . . . pawing . . . swaying . . . gnawing? That horse is saying, Let me outta here!! I need to move! I need to circulate some blood!

And about these metal shoes nailed to our feet. Have you ever seen a horse in the wild with metal shoes? I don’t think so. There is nothing more important to a prey animal than good feet. And ours have helped us survive for millions and millions of years. Rock-crushing hard and healthy.

But once upon a time, back in medieval days, some king decided he would be safer if he built his castle and fortress up on top of a high hill or mountaintop. He still needed us to fight his wars, and move things and people around, but up there on top of the hill, there were no pastures like down in the valley. So he put us in small holding pens where we had to stand around all day, in our own pee and poop, and guess what happened to our feet. It wasn’t the moisture so much as the ammonia. Ate our feet up! So when they’d take us out onto those hard stone roads . . . well, you can imagine.

The king’s blacksmith came up with the idea of nailing metal shoes onto our hooves, to keep them from disintegrating when pounding the stony roads. There was a much simpler, healthier solution, but, unfortunately, it escaped the king and his blacksmith. So all the king’s men and all the king’s horses went down the hill . . . and all the king’s peasants, living in the valley, where their horses were out in the field, happy as clams with strong and healthy hooves, saw these shiny, newfangled pieces of metal on the king’s horses, and what did they say? Surely the king knows best! We must have some of those shiny metal things for our own horses!

And so it went for generations.

You humans are funny that way. And you say we follow the herd.

Joe and I have had long discussions about all this and he seems to be getting it. So I can shamelessly recommend what follows. Joe has spent much of his life trying to lure you into the heart and soul of a dog, and now he’s trying to lure you into the heart and soul of a horse. For it is there that he first began to comprehend the vast differences between us and you, and the kind of thinking that can bridge that gap and bind us together in relationship. My herd mates and I have taught him well. And, believe it or not, the philosophy behind everything he has learned doesn’t apply to just horses but to how you humans approach life as well. So whether or not you have a relationship with a horse, I think you’ll find this journey of discovery fascinating. I did.

And I already knew the story.

1

The Herd

The wind was blowing out of the east, which made the beast uneasy. It wasn’t normal. And anything that wasn’t normal made him uneasy. A stray sound. A flutter of a branch. The wind coming from the east.

But there was a scent on this wind. A familiar scent. One embedded in the big stallion’s being for millions of years. He spun on his heels and sure enough, there it was, easily within sight, apparently not realizing the wind had shifted. The stallion screamed to the matriarch, who wheeled in flight.

Like one, the herd followed, racing away at lightning speed, the great stallion bringing up the rear. They ran without looking back for just over a quarter of a mile before the leader slowed and turned.

The predator, a small female cougar, had tired. She had been betrayed by the east wind. The horses had gotten away early, and now she was turning back.

The stallion’s senses had saved them this time. The entire herd was alive and well because those very senses had helped their ancestors survive for some fifty-five million years. Prey, not predator, the horse must suspect everything. Every movement. Every animal. Every smell. Every shadow. All are predators until proven innocent. By taking flight, not staying to fight, they survive.

And by staying together. Always together.

How well the big stallion knew this. He had watched his mother, in her old age, lose this very special sense and drift away from the herd. It was excruciating. His responsibility was the herd. To keep them together, and moving. But his mother’s screams in the distance would live with him forever.

The matriarch began to lick and chew, a sign that she was relaxing, that all was well. The stallion took her signal, and one by one, the herd began to graze again, nipping at the random patches of grass and the occasional weed. But they wouldn’t stay long. The matriarch would see to it. She would move them almost fifteen miles this day, foraging for food and water, staying ahead of wolves and cougars. And keeping themselves fit and healthy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(69)

4 Star

(5)

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(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    very insightful

    Changes your relationship with your horse.Makes you realize why a horse does what it does and how horses can view us as predators.very well written!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2008

    Not Just for Horse Owners!

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read, should be "required reading" for horse owners and prospective horse owners

    Describes well the spiritual, developmental and emotional needs of a horse quite well. Digs into these areas from both an individual and herd basis, and explores how the human treatment and interaction of the horse works with the individual and herd. Also investigates training methods, horsekeeping philosophies and some other facets of natural horsemanship. I gave away an older horse to a new owner, and this is the only book I gave her to go with the horse..

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    5 STARS!! I love horses and I never thought about the things listed in this book and all of the side affects of things that seem small to us but are bad for horses. This is a great book for people who want to give their horses better and happier lives and want to have a relationship with their horse.

    First Reaction after reading the book: "OMG the colt was Cash"

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    I loved it! The book gave me so much insight into the mind of a horse. Mr. Camp writes passionately and shares his lessons and his personal insights. He does a good job of educating the reader about the wild horse model. This book has helped me to have a better relationship with the horses that I ride. They are amazing animals that are very capable of interacting with and responding to us. The principals in this book will help to unlock your horse's true potential (as well as yours).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Thought provoking

    This book offers lots to think about and plenty of resources to begin followup research if desired.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    This was a terrific book about the connection between human and horse.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A book to share with many!

    I read this book twice and gave it to all my horse loving friends and family, whether they had previously owned a horse or still own one. All my family and friends loved the book and read it twice also. Each gave one to someone else or shared theirs with a friend. I believe more people are going towards Joe's way of treating their horses than the other way. I never had shoes on my horses and neither did my relatives and friends in Az. Now living in Pa, my cousin raises Arabians and has gone out west on trail rides and found most people did not have shoes on their horses so she is considering the same. She rides English style, and her horses are a picture of beauty. So perfect. This book is the best book for horse owners and horse lovers. Everyone should read it before riding a horse or taking care of one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Soulful of wisdom

    Fronm Benji to horses, what more is there to life? Horse lovers know a good journey when they see one, and this is it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    A Book All Horse Lovers Should Read!

    I absolutely loved this book!!!! So much so, I read the entire book in one day and will read it again!!!! I have been into horses for 14 years and presently have 6 wonderful geldings. What I loved so much is that I could identify with everything that was written! Buying the first horse, is this really the horse for me, should I sell this horse, bringing your first horse trailer home, first time using the trailer with a horse in it, fear, lessons, training, shoes - no shoes, stall or not to stall, should I feed this or that.... everything! So very well written and so very true in every aspect. I know if I sat down and spoke in person with this author we could talk for hours and I'm a very quiet person!!!!!!! Thank you for this fantastic book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    Wonderful!

    Excellant book! True knowledge and understanding of horses and what the need. I wish all horse owners understood what he and his wife figured out in their 2 years of ownership. Truly a must read for all horse lovers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    One of those rare 'Gotta Reads'

    Having spent about 5 years learning about natural horsemanship methods, I thought I'd read most everything I needed to know. Joe Camp's book opened my eyes to the truth that there was more to be learned! The Soul of a Horse is a great combination of helpful, practical horse-keeping advice thought-provoking stories research and heartfelt sharing of the Camps' journey into the world of horsemanship. I came away inspired, challenged, and motivated to make some changes for the good of our herd of 8 horses here at Shily's Promise Youth Ranch. More than that, I feel as if I found a couple of new friends in the Camps.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    The Best book that I have ever read!!!!

    Alleluia!! Someone else on this planet has the same thought path as myself!! This love story of horse language and understanding is the most compelling book that I have ever read. On finishing the book I felt like I wanted to jump in the truck and drive to CA to go and see Joe and Kathleen, I felt such a connection with them, I belong to their herd because THEY GET IT!! Keep writing Joe, My soul needs feeding too!! If you are a horse lover it is vital that you read this book, for the welfare of your horse and to allow you to truly love your horse and your horse to truly love you. 'Let a Horse be a Horse'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Great Read!

    A friend recommended this book and its a page turner. It is part memoir, part fable and part what the heck have we been doing? I've never particularly wanted a horse and have only ridden few times but this book captivated me. In a nutshell, it tells the story of how Joe and his wife Kathleen found themselves with 3 horses before they even knew how to care for them, much less ride them. First they learned how to have a real relationship with their horses, and the rest was a quest of sorts to do the best they could by their horses when most of the information out there was from 'traditional' horse people. The very beginning really grabbed me, and I was really impressed that Joe's wife Kathleen allowed her fear of horses to be completely exposed. I laughed several times with the situations she put herself in, and could identify with a lot of what she experienced. A second is story woven through about an Indian boy, who grows up and matures with his best friend, a wild stallion. Beautiful writing as you might expect from the 'Benji' guy. Can't wait for the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Not Just for Horse Lovers!

    This book was an amazing read. I literally could not put it down. I'm not a horsie person, but was fascinated by how traditional thinking on horses was exposed as just not right. The story made me laugh out loud, tear up a couple of times, get angry, and question how I communicate with my employees. Camp suggests that we learn to communicate with others first by looking from 'their side of the lead rope.' I loved this. It goes beyond walking in some one else's shoes. That's what this book does throughout makes you open your eyes to new ways of thinking without being aware that you are learning because it is so entertaining. I've read a ton of the 7 steps to this or that books. This book doesn't break things down that way because it's a story. The story of Joe and Kathleen's journey is punctuated with a fable running throughout of a young Powatan boy and his relationship with a wild stallion...breath taking. I'm getting a copy for my Mother for Mother's Day...she's not horsie either but I know she'll love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Flight

    A beautiful wild mare padded in. She had a mane and tail of the darkest glossiest brown. Her mane was long and flowing not ugly cut and short like show horses. The rest of her was a dark redish color brighter than rust, duller than regular orange. Her eyes were a sparkling green. She looked out on the vast medow and smiled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Dusk & Dust

    Okay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Skyflower

    Of course you may join after you do 2 things. 1. Post bio 2. Post 1 add.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    The baby

    She coos

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Joslyn

    Takes the baby out of the basket and lays her on the bed. "Hello little one." She says smiling

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews

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