Ortega Mountain Ranch


Benji. The Soul of a Horse. Joe Camp.

Joe is the writer/producer/director of the famous Benji movies, and he is the author of the beautiful book The Soul of a Horse. I met Joe and his wife Kathleen in the summer of 2007 when I signed up for Pete Ramey’s barefoot hoof trimming clinic in Valley Center, California, which Joe and Kathleen were hosting. We discovered that our horse-keeping philosophies were very similar, and we became friends. As I learned more about Joe and Kathleen’s horses I discovered that two of them were for sale. Sort of. The Camps wanted to reduce the size of their herd but Joe didn’t want to part with any of them, which was a bit of a dilemma. But initially, he agreed that they were for sale, so we went to their ranch to meet these horses. One of them was Scribbles.

We spent the afternoon with Joe and Kathleen and I rode Scribbles. I really liked him. He was well-trained and responsive. We needed a riding horse because Sophie IMG_1510was too young to ride and Silent was still lame. But we were incredibly busy and eventually, we realized that we didn’t have time to devote to another horse. Besides, Joe had decided that he didn’t want to sell the horses after all. This time for sure. We understood how he felt about them so that pretty much was the end of that.

Except that Kent had other ideas. He knew that I liked Scribbles, so unbeknownst to me, Kent contacted Joe in early December and Joe, Kathleen, and Kent agreed that Scribbles would become our newest horse. With Joe and Kathleen’s blessing, Scribbles became Kent’s Christmas gift to me.

Kent picked him up on Christmas Eve, and Scribs was introduced to his new home. On Christmas day I found out about and met the newest member of our little herd. I was thrilled and surprised beyond words…

One good thing about Scribbles was that he didn’t have any physical problems. He was in great shape and had been properly cared for. Joe and Kathleen had transitioned him to barefoot and his feet were beautiful. He had been fed all the right food. He had been trained and ridden with Natural Horsemanship principles. He was easy, and it was nice.

While Scribbles may have been physically healthy, he did have some emotional issues. He’s a somewhat fearful, reactive horse, and he’s a bully. He built his self-confidence by picking on the other horses. While it worked for a while, after a few weeks it backfired. Ivy, while small in stature, has a big presence. She’s the IMG_1623boss. Initially Scribs challenged her and took over the herd leadership, but it didn’t last long. Ivy was too smart for that. She took back ownership of the herd in a kick-butt-take-no-prisoners way, and Scribbles was left dazed and confused. After he lost his crown it was obvious that he didn’t know how to act. He didn’t know his place.

We put him on two homeopathic remedies to address his emotional shock, irritability, anger, and fear, and we also gave him some flower essences to balance his emotions. Scribbles is now a well-adjusted and happy member of the herd. He is not in charge and he is fine with that. He knows his place—which is what he wanted to know from the beginning—and he is relaxed, comfortable, and is becoming more and more confident.


You can read more about Scribs at Joe’s website and in Joe’s book The Soul of a Horse.

Scribbles (See Me Scribble) is an APHA registered sorrel Overo Paint gelding, born 3/31/98.

Grandfather: Scribbles – 213 Lifetime APHA points; 25 times Grand Champion; 14 times Reserve Grand Champion.

Grandmother: CB – 52 Lifetime points; 8 times Grand Champion; 6 times Reserve Grand Champion; APHA Champion 2/12/78.

Sire: Scribbles Foreman – 203 Lifetime points; 5 times Grand Champion; 7 times Reserve Grand Champion; APHA Champion 4/16/89.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at ortegamtnranch@cox.net