Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review – Beyond the Homestretch

So Hurricane Irene is here, ruining my weekend with lots of rain and heavy wind!  Since I’m inside reading (and blogging), I figured I’d give my readers a review of a book I read and enjoyed earlier this year.  (And yes, it’s a horse book).

After reading Lynn Reardon’s Beyond the Homestretch, don’t be surprised if, as a horse lover, you want to run off to Texas and start your own off-the-track Thoroughbred horse rescue.  (James loves it when I read these types of books!).  Lynn’s stories about the horses up for adoption are wild and lively, painful and joyous, but awe-inspiring with a satisfied sense of happily-ever-after.

Lynn, a transplant from Maryland, moves to Texas to leave the 9-5 rat race behind her, (must be nice!).  She expects she will live an enjoyable and fulfilling life with her husband and finally have the time to focus on her true passion: horses.  What she doesn’t expect is to open a rescue for off-the-track Thoroughbreds who are beautiful and fierce, high on life and who knows what else.  But before she realizes it, she finds multiple four-legged friends in her care, looking to her to find them forever homes and second careers.

In Beyond the Homestretch, Lynn tells us of LOPE’s (LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers) humble beginnings and introduces us along the way to a variety of amazing horses that are seeking a second chance at life. 

We meet Zuper, “a husky bay with an endearing splash of white on his nose, [who] exuded wisdom and Buddha good cheer.”  We smile at the thought of sweet Sugarfoot, “[who] was known for two things at the racetrack: an endearing habit of licking her groom’s bald head and her incredibly slow speed.  A small red filly with gentle eyes, Sugarfoot was oddly put together, like a toy assembled in a rush.”  We imagine Lynn’s panic as she pulls an all-nighter caring for Spider, the adorable three year old colt who was bit by a poisonous snake and lives to tell the tale.  And we completely understand why Lynn decides to keep Tulsa Mambo, a large black gelding and her first adoptee, for herself.

Horse owners can definitely relate to all the trials and tribulations Lynn is put through while caring for these accident-prone animals.  And while there will always be days of frustration, horses are worth the effort. 

Lynn continues to make these efforts every day and her LOPE ranch has helped numerous OTTBs find life after the racetrack.  For more information about Lynn and her organization, please visit: or

I hope everyone is staying safe and dry during this storm!!  Happy reading!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Keep Cool

With about a month of summer left, we're still in for some hot, humid days.  Follow this cute foal's lead and keep cool.

He's a genius.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Equus Keepus Brokus

It’s a common misconception that if you own a horse, you’re rich. This probably couldn’t be further from the truth! Now – of course, the extremely wealthy do own horses sometimes…and they play polo or have a racing stable. But your average horse owner isn’t rich. In fact, she’s poor.

There’s a saying that I like – “If you want to have a million dollars AND a horse, then you have to start with two million dollars.” This is dead on! Horses are really expensive – so much so that I sometimes take a step back and think, why couldn’t I have chosen a different hobby? A cheaper hobby? A less dangerous hobby? One that is not such an emotional roller coaster? But it’s too late – I am afflicted with the must-always-have-horses disease and I’m okay with it!

It’s no secret that James and I are saving our butts off so we can buy a farm. I grew up with property and had my horses right in my backyard…and it’s only natural that I want to get back to that (this is how I justify it to James!!. I love where I board my horse…but I can’t get up and check on them in the middle of the night just to make sure they’re sleeping soundly. I can’t take a book and sit in the middle of their pasture and read for hours and watch them graze. I can’t do anything too permanent to the barn because it’s not mine…and I’m ready for permanent.

My darling husband enjoys pointing out that if we didn’t have the horse, we’d probably already have enough money saved to buy our farm. This – I don’t deny. But if we didn’t have Misty, I wouldn’t want property!

Once I asked a co-worker, who does not own any pets, on what she spends her money. I can’t imagine not having all my extra money already accounted for! (My co-worker’s answer: clothes…my response: Misty is so much cooler than a new shirt or dress!).

But anyway – back to Misty costing as much as my mortgage some months…

I pay board for Misty…so every month, that’s an automatic check. Then every six to eight weeks, Misty’s hooves need trimmed and she needs her front shoes replaced…and she needs to be de-wormed…then there’s grain, hay, vitamin supplements (the horse takes more vitamins than I do), lessons, tack, riding gear/clothing, horse show entry fees…and of course, the dreaded vet bills. Last year Misty had some eye issues (I promise I’ll do a posting specifically about it one day)…and before I knew it, I had spent $3,700 in vet bills in three months!

And then there’s the emotional toll having a horse takes on you…and any rider will agree with this! When Misty is bad and acts up when I’m riding her…my whole day is shot. I’ll come home in tears because my horse hates me/I’m a terrible rider/I’m a failure as a horse mom, you name it…I’ve said it. Poor James has much to contend with! But when she’s good (which, quite honestly, is most of the time), then weeeeeeee – life is great!!! It’s truly amazing how an animal can dictate whether I laugh or cry!

But at the end of the day, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without horses, Misty especially, in my life. She’s worth all the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears ten times over. When we have those days where everything just comes together and we work as a team…and I can see all of our hard efforts paying off, it makes it all worth it. And even when we have bad days, it’s worth it then too.

I love Misty...annnnd Misty loves to sleep.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Men in Grey Suits

As many of you know, it’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel!  I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but this is really the first year I’ve gone out of my way to make time for Shark Week.  How could I have missed this amazingness!?  For those of you who know me pretty well, you know that I consider watching tv a “tremendous waste of time,” and I’d “take a book over a tv show or movie anyday.”

But Shark Week is totally different!

The Great White - the stuff of my nightmares!

I’m not usually one for blood and guts and overall grossness – but sharks are just so cool…and freakin’ scary!

Shark Week is reminding me why I’m not much of a fan of the water and why I’m afraid to go out too far / too deep in the ocean.  I can’t get over how many shark attacks occur in such shallow water!

The Hammerhead - the coolest shark out there!

This week has also reminded me why I think most surfers are crazy.  While I like to watch them ride the waves, I can’t get over the fact that they’ll enter the water when they know sharks are around.  In one show, a surfer mentioned their code for sharks.  He said when a new surfer enters the water, he’ll say, “There are men in grey suits out here today.”

Umm…no thanks.  You can keep the water and your board…I’ll take the sandy beach and my book.

I love this picture because I know it's fake...this email hoax circulated around 2001.  The helicopter and diver were in San Francisco, and the breaching Great White was of the coast of South Africa.

 There is one animal in a grey suit that I love though – and that, of course, is Misty Mystique.  But just like the “men in grey suits,” Misty has been known to try and take a bite out of people in her way!!

Yes, she will bite you.