WITH HER BOOTS sinking into the soft ground, Kayla Candelmo tugs on a lead rope attached to retired racehorse named Cove Bay. The horse raises her head in defiance, hooves firmly planted. “Mares,” Candelmo says with a laugh – lots of people think female horses are more stubborn than geldings. Candelmo eventually wins the tug-of-war, and Cove Bay is led into the indoor arena at Dark Horse Equestrian Center in Saco to be exercised. As a barn manager for the stable, Candelmo’s job includes facility upkeep, show preparation and care for the barn’s more than 40 horses. That means mucking stalls and feeding and watering the horses, which can take four or five hours to complete. Eventually, Candelmo hopes to train horses in addition to her barn duties, but she wants to have “more experience under my belt, and have a better resume” before charging clients. Cove Bay is one of Candelmo’s projects. The 10-year-old retired from a Massachusetts racetrack last year, and “it can be challenging to slow her down,” says Candelmo. “A lot of people say to me, ‘Oh horses are scary,’ and I’m like, ‘How? They’re afraid of their own shadows.’ “

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