Friday, December 11, 2009

Lynn Reardon

As an avid horse enthusiast and owner of a retired race horse, when I heard about the book that Ms Reardon was writing, Beyond the Homestretch, I knew it was going to be great. There is no need to be a life long equestrian to enjoy this heartwarming look into the lives of some of these enchanting creatures. Ms Reardon has done a bang up job crafting a story that will reach into the hearts and souls of people from every walk. Whether you are in the business, an owner, a lover or just someone who enjoys a tale about second chances and the road it takes to get there, this is a must read!

To go along with this interview there is a giveaway :) The contest will run from Dec 13-19. Anyone who posts a comment on the review, the interview or emails me at will be entered into a random drawing to win a hardback copy of this wonderful book

1) For those who don’t know, can you please explain what LOPE is?
LOPE is a nonprofit devoted to finding ex-racehorses (of all breeds) new homes after their racing days are over. We work directly with the racing industry to transition these wonderful equine athletes into new careers via our adoption ranch, online services and urgent email bulletins. It’s very rewarding work

2) How many horses do you currently have at the LOPE ranch?
Right now, we have 11 horses here (and one more is on the way this week).

3) Horses can be expensive what with the skyrocketing cost of feed, hay and vet bills. I know that the ranch is a non profit, so how do you get the funds to help all these horses?
That’s a great question. We rely on donations for almost all of our annual budget. Many of our donations are under $100 and come from individuals who love horses. Our biggest funders are the LOPE Founders Circle – each member contributes $8000 annually toward LOPE’s operating budget. The Founders Circle has many individuals, one foundation and a local horse internet board (Texas Horse Enthusiasts). And then our vets (Austin Equine Associates) sponsor LOPE for almost all of our vet costs (which is a huge help).

4) Are you just the middle man between the trainers and buyers or do you adopt out horses as well? If so what do you look for in prospective owners?
We adopt out the horses that are donated to our ranch (the “LOPE Ranch owned horses” on our website). To adopt a horse, you have to fill out an approval form, provide vet and farrier references and agree to never race the horse (or sell the horse at auction, where someone could buy to race the horse again). We look for people who love horses, have experience owning them (or have a good trainer to help them) and, most importantly, are a good match for a particular horse here. Our horses have gone to trail riding, jumping, barrel racing, dressage and therapeutic riding homes, so there are many types of people who are good matches

5) Do you find it difficult to let go of the horses once they have been at the ranch for awhile? Definitely! I’ve adopted three of my own – and my husband only knows about two of them (he just keeps wondering why that third horse never gets adopted, lol). It’s kind of like being a kindergarten teacher though – you get attached, but you know they need to “graduate” from your class to first grade too.

6) What is LOPE in need of most? Donations or foster homes?
Donations probably help us out more. We try not to use foster homes too much (except in unusual cases) because it can be difficult to expect foster homes to put in so much time and cost – especially during a drought year. Our ultimate goal would be to raise enough funds to open a second adoption ranch (or expand our current one) instead.

7) Can you tell us about the worst case you have ever seen?
Storm, one of the horses in the book, came to us with a sesamoid fracture. He also had congenital problems in his respiratory system – that ultimately led to him having a temporary, then a permanent, tracheotomy (while he was at the LOPE Ranch). Storm also had deep set abscesses in both feet – that required surgery. He was truly the worst case I’d ever seen! But he recovered fully and was adopted to a new home. It was very rewarding to see him heal and become rideable again.

8) What do you hope people learn from reading your book?
I hope people will learn that ex-racehorses can make wonderful riding horses and pets! So often these horses get reputations for being crazy or wild – when often they are simply misunderstood or mishandled. Also, that it’s never too late to become what you might have been (as George Eliot’s famous quote says). I was the least likely person to run a racehorse adoption ranch – yet look at me now

9) What made you want to write a book about your ranch and the horses who have touched your life?
Whenever people came to see the horses, I always had lots of information to tell them about each horse’s personality and history. I spend so much time interacting with the horses that I really get to know all of their little quirks and entertaining habits. I’d go on and on, telling these stories to prospective adopters and funders – and then someone said, “hey you should write a book about the horses.” So, finally one day I sat down and began writing – the words flowed so naturally whenever I described the horses and their stories. Within a few months, I had accumulated over 60,000 words – and that eventually grew into the book.

10) What kind of fundraisers does LOPE have through the year to help with expenses?
We do a big horse show every spring – it’s a fun, family type schooling show with English and Western classes. And we do 2 or 3 online silent auctions as well – to help with hay and feed costs during the year. I’m always so grateful at how many people are willing donate their time, their special items (like art or racing memorabilia) and their hard earned dollars to help us raise funds!

Please let our readers know what we can do to help:
We appreciate any and all help! Some things that really can give us a boost are simple fundraisers, such as bake sales, Ebay auction donations, etc. I often run out of time to think of all the neat ways LOPE could raise funds and awareness through small events at local boarding barns or tack stores or horse shows. For example, we recently had a book signing at BookPeople – before the event, one of our volunteers approached the Tiniest Bar in Texas (which is very close to BookPeople). Within a few minutes our volunteer convinced the bar to donate part of their proceeds to LOPE for the night of the book event! I never would have thought of that – and LOPE ending up raising a nice donation towards our feed budget, thanks to Tiniest Bar and our volunteer. We also really appreciate donations of barn supplies, vet supplies, halters and so on.

Helping us get the word out about the book is super helpful – especially around the Christmas gift season. A significant part of the book proceeds will go to LOPE, so the more sales, the better Also, we feel like the book is a good way to get the word out about LOPE and our work – and it might help attract more sponsors to the organization.

Website for LOPE is
Website for the book is

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I’m so excited about the interview and really, really appreciate all of your support.



  1. As a former Thoroughbred breeder and OTR (off-track racehorse) adopter, I just want to applaud Lynn Reardon for writing this book and donating proceeds to LOPE. I'll definitely buy a copy to do what I can to help the cause.

  2. Laurie,
    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. As a life long Equine Lover I have to agree with you. Lynn does a wonderful job and I fully support her efforts and the efforts of LOPE.

  3. I'm an animal lover, period. ALL animals. This is a great cause and I think it's wonderful what you're doing!