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Excitement builds for retired racehorse show

This week, three ex-racehorses will prance into the spotlight of the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo as remade creatures.

Their heads will reach down into the bridles for connection. They will move up slowly into the trot, and will canter into a pretty frame, just weeks after running their last competitive races.

In proving how malleable their minds and willing their spirits, horses with names like Four X The Trouble, Brazilian Wedding, Solidify, an alternate, and High Level, will advance the pioneering work of The Retired Racehorse Training Project.

Brothers finishes second in the Breeders' Cup. Photo courtesy Donna Brothers

Donna Brothers thinks fast in the irons

Dirt stung her face and bounced off her goggles like gravel on a windshield from a speeding truck.

She flinched, and crouched lower in the saddle.

Beneath her, the striving, rushing Thoroughbred waited for a signal: where did she want him to go? They’d rocketed from the gait and had surged only a few paces when, in her peripheral vision, a solid wall of galloping horses squeezed from the right toward the rail; and, horses to her left struggled to hold their position.

In the thick of her first race, the petite, 21-year-old “girl jockey” had mere seconds to make a plan.

“There’s nothing in the world that could have prepared me,” says NBC Sports broadcaster and former jockey Donna Barton Brothers.

Lazarus rises from field, free of laminitis

When he was so sick with toxic laminitis that his feet hurt too much to stand, the bay Thoroughbred nicknamed Lazarus would lie down in a tranquil pasture near his barn. And, Kristen Shellenbarger would lie down beside him. As she reached out to caress her first horse, dread of his impending euthanasia gripped her. She made the appointment because,  at this point, all medical advice pointed to this sad, inevitable conclusion, she explains. “I didn’t want him to be in pain, and I didn’t know what else I could do for him,” she says, adding, ” I’d just lie […]