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Book Review: ‘Beyond the Homestretch’ by Lynn Reardon

March 9, 2010

This has got to be one of my favourite books of ALL TIME – for a book addict like me that is really saying something. It reads like fiction, has a truthfulness about life that reminds me of Seinfeld skits and it is obviously written from the heart.

Author, Lynn Reardon is a DC Accountant turned Texan horse rescuer. At a certain point Reardon and her husband decided that they wanted to pursue a new lifestyle and a new career. Without any specific plan they ventured to Texas to ‘feel out’ a new lifestyle, Reardon with a focus on horses and her husband Tom exploring his more creative side. Through many ups and downs Reardon eventually founded LOPE – LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (check out a podcast here). Reardon was inspired by a friend and mentor, named Allie Conrad of CANTER who had started a very successful service to help ex-racehorses start a new career, thus avoiding the meat auctions – which is sadly the fate of many horses.

The best part of the book in my opinion is how honest it is. Many times when I read horse stories, I get annoyed because I doubt things happened as they were described – they just don’t seem to jive with any of my experiences with horses. The horses are too noble or they rear up neighing as they stamp out a robber.

Reardon tells it like it is – the good and the bad. Her stories are filled with love, laughter, fear, pain and joy, just like real life. You feel by the end that you almost know her and the horses in her life. The essense of this book is the reason we all are involved with horses – this indescribable, addictive dedication or emotion that lives deep in your chest. The feeling of well being and happiness that being around horses brings.

Proceeds from her book go to LOPE, I encourage you to buy this book, check out her website and donate if you can to this great cause.

Here is a small excerpt:

“Suddenly, an all-too-familiar, Tawakoni-like scream (Tawakoni is a stallion) of equine machismo hit my ears – it was Boo, who was clearly still on the stuff (steroids from the track). He was nearly unrecognizable from excitement, pumped up with bravado and misplaced affection. Full of lust at the prospect of companionship, he was actually mounting Cow Paddy, a horse nearly twice his size and not at all interested in alternative equine sexuality.

Cow Paddy was deeply, dangerously offended. So offended, in fact, that he bit Boo on the lip, leaving a bloddy twist of tissue hanging – tipping Boo’s face from rakish to gory in a matter of seconds.

Shrieking, I scrambled over the fence, trying to stop Cow Paddy from biting off more of Boo. Cow Paddy, his good nature strained to the breaking point, eyed me warily, and then decided to leave, stalking off indignantly. Boo retreated to a small run-in shelter, his passion thoroughly extinguished, his mouth dripping blood.

Shocked at Boo’s rapid transformation from gelding rapist to chastened slasher-film victim, I pawed at my cell phone, dialing Austine Equine Associates and worrying about the camera crew on the way. I moved Booo back to the new horse pasture, demoting him to solitary confinement , and tried to avoid staring at his torn lip, hoping it wasn’t as seroius as it looked. All signs of violent romace had vanished from Boo – it was hard to believe he had been molesting Cow Paddy just ten minutes ago.”

I am giving ‘Beyond the Homestretch’ a rating of 5 out of 5 for many reasons. This book is not only entertaining and hilarious it also gives you a peek into the life of running a rescue. Every chapter leaves you with something to think about and something learned. After reading this book I feel inspired and hopeful and can’t wait to go out and see my horse again.

For any of you from Alberta (my home province), I encourage you to engage with a local rescue such as the Bear Valley Rescue.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Natalie Keller Reinert permalink
    March 10, 2010 4:33 am

    Very nice! Always a pleasure to get some realism into equine literature – including non-fiction. Although wouldn’t you like to have an attack stallion at your behest for neighing and stamping out would-be robbers?

    “Gelding rapist” makes me think of “filly rapist,” one of the best word combinations ever used to describe a horse – Epic Steam in Jane Smiley’s “Horse Heaven.”

  2. March 10, 2010 5:24 am

    We had a break-in recently and my so called guard dogs couldn’t even stamp out would be robbers…ha ha. Sad.

    It is too bad so many authors, particularly fiction writers can’t keep it real with horses. It really puts some fantasy’s up that don’t measure up to reality. They make horses out to be more like dogs when in my experience they are a bit more like cats, usually happy to see you but not willing to die for you. I’ve had a few beginner students who seemed personally offended when their horse didn’t give them enthusiastic feedback.

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