Beyond the Homestretch: What Saving Racehorses Taught Me About Starting Over, Facing Fear and Finding My Inner Cowgirl

New World Library, 304 pgs
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This lively inside look into the world of horseracing, complete with colorful horses, jockeys, trainers and gallop girls, vividly depicts the insights horses and other animals can offer when we reevaluate our relationship with them.

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Reardon shares an unlikely story. In 2002, she quit her Washington DC–area office job and moved to Texas to open the racehorse placement program LOPE (LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers). Though now the director of this high-profile organization that has helped transition more than 800 ex-racehorses into new homes, Reardon didn’t learn to ride until she was an adult.

At the LOPE adoption ranch, Reardon encountered dozens of unruly racehorses, all with special needs, unusual histories and vivid personalities. As she fumbled to help them make the shift to new careers, they returned the favor — by becoming her most memorable mentors in horsemanship and life philosophy. The horses themselves are a central focus of the book, with their fascinating racing careers, spirited natures and gripping veterinary needs. Reardon’s own story, that of a stressed-out office worker turned capable ranch hand, is told through her experiences with the horses.

Horses like Tawakoni, the son of a Kentucky Derby winner, and Endofthestorm, the speedy bay who required an emergency tracheotomy, give Reardon — and readers — an apprenticeship in facing fear and finding a new life. As a narrator, her journey of seeing life through the eyes of an equine athlete has taught her more than she ever expected (or really wanted to know sometimes). In Beyond The Homestretch, Reardon takes readers along for the ride, one filled with fiery racehorses, offbeat horse people, colorful Texas culture clashes, veterinary melodramas and surprising, Zen-like insights.