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Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses Hardcover – November 17, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Again and again Reardon shows us the magic that can happen when the right horse meets the right person. Terrific tales of second chances that will lift your heart with joy.”
Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse

“In Beyond the Homestretch, Lynn Reardon shares a personal journey to which many horse lovers secretly aspire: leaving the safety of the office cubicle and embarking upon a career working with horses. Her mission to find loving homes for ex-racehorses brings with it challenges aplenty, but also a richness of experience that she relates with style and good humor.”
Rick Lamb, author and TV/radio host of The Horse Show

“A wonderful, wonderful journey that inspires us all to live our lives with purpose, on purpose. Nothing lifts the human spirit like sharing, caring, relating, and fulfilling. With this book, Lynn Reardon is making positive differences in the world and demonstrating how we can do so as well. An enchanting read.”
Joe Camp, author of The Soul of a Horse and writer, director, and creator of the films starring the canine superstar Benji

“In Lynn Reardon’s world, the horses have as much personality as the people, and most all of them are real characters, author included. Lynn’s real gift is making the day-to-day chores and the simplest interactions poignant, meaningful, and insightful. After reading this book, you won’t look at horses — or life — in the same way again.”
Linda Kohanov, author of The Tao of Equus

Beyond the Homestretch is a fascinating read for horsemen and horse lovers alike. Lynn writes eloquently about her equine adventures, really bringing out the individual characters of her horses while also vividly depicting life on a Texas ranch. Lynn’s organization, LOPE, and her work on the Texas racing circuit provide a wonderful model for others to emulate.”
Alex Brown, creator of AlexBrownRacing.com

“Every now and again — all too rarely — a book crosses my desk that is a must-read. Beyond the Homestretch is one of them. When we watch horse racing, we experience only the tip of the iceberg. We don’t see the behind-the-scenes details of who the horses and humans are, their individual and engaging personalities, the ups and downs of their daily routines, and their charming quirks. Lynn Reardon has done us and the horses a big favor by writing this easy-to-read account and by adopting ex-racers so that they can live out their lives with dignity, respect, and love. Read and share this book widely. It is that important.”
Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice, and The Animal Manifesto

Praise for the work of Lynn Reardon:

“In the horse racing industry, there is no work more important than that done by Lynn Reardon. Through her nonprofit organization, LOPE, Reardon has rescued, rehabilitated, and retrained hundreds of former racehorses and found them loving, lasting homes. Her comprehensive, innovative, and exhaustive efforts have saved the lives of innumerable horses and fostered new partnerships between horse lovers and former racehorses. She is truly a hero.”
Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

About the Author

Lynn Reardon is the founder and executive director of LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE Texas), a nonprofit racehorse placement agency near Austin, Texas. Prior to founding LOPE, Lynn worked in nonprofit finance and administrative management in the Washington DC–area for too many years. Lynn lives on the LOPE ranch with her husband, Sophie the dog, multiple cats, and a herd of ex-racehorses up for adoption. Lynn has adopted three LOPE horses of her own: Tulsa Mambo, Sally, and Lightening Ball.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; 1 edition (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577316479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577316473
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lane R. Hatcher on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's fair to say that I inhaled Lynn's book in just a few hours. I adopted my horse, Taj Mahal (nee Famous General) from Lynn almost two years ago. While impressed with her and her organization from the beginning, my admiration has only grown. For anyone thinking about buying a horse, spend a few bucks (some of the proceeds go towards LOPE) and read this book, and then consider adopting a retired racehorse. As Lynn points out, once the steroids and excitement of the track are out of their systems, Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that have lived that life seem to easily (and, I believe for many of them, greatfully) give up that life and are happy to go on doing pretty much whatever riding discipline their new owners may choose. They are smart, they've got great characters, and I have found them (three of my own, plus many others) to be ready, willing, able, and, most important, happy to do whatever job you may have for them.

What I found particularly special about this book was Lynn's willingness to share her own fears, worries, and self-doubts as she started down the road of rescuing these horses. In my experience, many horsepeople, men and women alike, seem to have a need to "know it all" and show others how well they can ride. What many of them seem to ignore is the importance of horsemanship -- the ability to really understand their horses and their needs, and be willing to be humble and kind to these animals who are so willing to give us whatever they can. When I began riding as an adult, I often felt alone, distanced, and ashamed as the often snooty and arrogant teens and adults paraded past me and my TB and QH with their warmbloods and their gorgeous tack, perfect riding gear, and riding skills.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You might think this is about the horrors of saving unwanted horses, but it isn't. It is about a journey from Lynn doing a "career job" to doing a much more trying job that is her heart's passion. The characters are funny and quirky and that includes the horses. If you love horses, you will truly enjoy the indepth character analysis that each of the horses in the book get during Lynn's fostering. Its a good inside look at the trials of keeping up a horse ranch and a variety of horse sports such as racing, polo, etc. As Lynn trys to find the right life's work and adopter for each of her horses, she learns about the wide world of horses from show jumpers to tough cowboys and shares it all. You will learn alot right along with her and enjoy the journey almost as much as she seems to without having to actually schlep through muddy pastures and perform emergency vet procedures as she did. It is funny and uplifting and I was sorry when I came to the end.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at the book store, started reading it in the store, continued reading it in the car on the way home and finished it several hours later at home. I couldn't put it down. The book is very well written and holds you from cover to cover. I could relate to a lot of the horse antics in the book which had me chuckling out loud often. My 11 year old equally horsey daughter read the book yesterday and loved it too. My 14 year old son is reading it today. Great book for the whole horsey family. Don't hesitate to buy this book. It is well worth it. Tina in VA
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book based on Amazon's recommendation, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Reardon's story is intriguing and I was fascinated by her decision to leave her job in the office and follow her heart into the barn. It is a delight to get to know the horses' personalities and Reardon is adept at describing each of them. Like the horses she rescues, she has both courage and trust, and the combination is a winning one. I read the book in one sitting, staying up late to finish it, and then I loaned it to my riding instructor; of course, I never saw the hardcover again and bought the trade paper as soon as it was available. Reading it the second time around was every bit as satisfying as the first. This should be required reading for anyone comtemplating a midlife career change.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid equestrian, this has become one of my favorite books of all times. Lynn Reardon is a wonderful storyteller who puts things simply and tenderly. By the time you reach the end, you feel as though you know all of the horses and people she talks about personally. Her detailed experiences are informative, often humorous, and on occasion a bit sad, but such is the life of the head of an equine rescue. Even if you aren't a horse person, there are lessons to be learned from this book on compassion, patience, trust and kindness- things all of us could brush up on.
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I want to thank Lynn Reardon for being a voice for Off the Track Thoroughbreds - and letting people know that racers can be companions, competitors, best friends and teachers for us. I can safely say one of my OTTBs rescued me as well after my Eventing champion (also a TB) passed away suddenly.

This book explores the personalities (all different, of course) of the ex racers that make their way on to Lynn's ranch. In doing so, we not only discover things about their past, but what they'd be best suited for in their next career - eventer, trail horse, etc etc. Time and time again, OTTBs prove their athleticism, grace and loyalty, and yet they still have a questionable reputation. Lynn's book brings to light the fact that these horses are very different, and suitable to someone who connects with them.

I'm a trainer at a large Thoroughbred rescue in NY, and have purchased more than one copy of this book to loan out to clients and riding students. It gives them an idea of what these horses have experienced thus far in their lives, and that there is a "lid for every pot."

If you are interested in adopting an OTTB, there are many reputable organizations, much like Lynn's that can steer you towards the horse of your dreams. Read this book!
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