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Beyond the Homestretch: What Saving Racehorses Taught Me About Starting Over, Facing Fear, and Finding My Inner Cowgirl Paperback – February 15, 2011
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Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse
This is a book for anyone who truly wants to change their life and live their dream.”
Leslie Guttman, author of Equine ER
In Lynn Reardon’s world, the horses have as much personality as the people, and most all of them are real characters....Lynn’s gift is making the day-to-day chores and the simplest interactions poignant, meaningful, and insightful.”
Linda Kohanov, author of The Tao of Equus
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.”
Rick Lamb, host of The Horse Show
Every now and again all too rarely a book crosses my desk that is a must-read. Beyond the Homestretch is one of them.”
Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals
A wonderful, wonderful journey that inspires us all to live our lives with purpose, on purpose.”
Joe Camp, author of The Soul of a Horse
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Rather than tell a straight beginning-to-end tale of her Thoroughbred rescue from start to present, she tells the story one horse at a time, weaving anecdotes of previous lessons and people she's met along the way. This is occasionally frustrating, as she'll mention some term such as "flossing the couch" or "the stuff" and then not explain what this means until several pages or chapters later. At times I was distracted enough to find myself wanting to skim ahead and get a definition rather than focus on the story being told.
This aside, I quite liked the way the main story unfolded, bit by bit, horse by horse, as each new rescue teaches Lynn something new. The stories are beautiful, and I found myself wanting to know more about these horses. To my delight, the book's official website includes photographs of many of the horses featured.
This book has so much information in it, and so many tales of triumph, you can't help but feel for Lynn as she deals with screaming stallions, equine tracheotomies, floods, souped-up racehorses, and more.
Rather than devour the book all at once, I've forced myself to read a bit at a time before bed. It's been a great end to my days.
The style is fantastic, with sad stories mixed in with off-beat to off the wall humor and characters. I grew up in the Northeast and only went to California a few times for a "West" experience. The way she describes the people she meets is fantastic, even a chance encounter with someone really jumps out on the page and in a few paragraphs can describe someone from her own experiences.
I would recommend this to any horse lover, and any animal lover. This changed my view on a lot of racehorses off the track. I knew that some could be mellow off the track, but never the way she describes them and their new careers. I always thought of them as "hot" and hard to handle, with a few exceptions. This book really changed my view and now I'm thinking if I ever adopt a horse, it would be a horse off the track from a rescue.
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!