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9 Images

The grooming game

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Stable hands Jose Romero, left, and Erasmo Candido find some time to relax as they work Horses in the Sun, one of the country’s elite equestrian events. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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Jose Rodriguez Gonzales is an experienced stable hand from Mexico. Hundreds of stable hands brought mostly from a handful of Mexican cities to come work for horse owners and trainers for little pay and often no planned sleeping quarters. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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Stable hand Javier Gandara bathes a horse under his care. Hundreds of stable hands brought mostly from a handful of Mexican cities to come work for horse owners and trainers for little pay and often no planned sleeping quarters. Two of them died while sleeping due to asphyxiation by the fumes of a gas generated by an electric heater in the bone-chilling desert night. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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A stable hand Juan Contreras, left, wipes the boots of Jessica Helm as she saddles for a jump in an equestrian event going on at Horses in the Sun, an elite equestrian event is taking place in Thermal. The desert oasis attracts a large contingent of software executives, Hollywood celebrities and the children of wealthy families who arrive by air to compete amidst some of the sport’s top athletes by day and party at rented vacation homes by night. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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A professional jockey, John French, riding horse Roubet clears a hurdle in a jumping event. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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The horse trailer, center, in which two stable hands of died in sleep due to asphyxiation by fumes from an electric heater used in the cold desert night. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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Stable hands rush the horses to their owners. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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Stable hand Jesus Rojas bathes a horse under his care. Two stable hands died in sleep in a horse trailer due to asphyxiation by the fumes of a gas generated that powers an electric heater in the bone chilling desert night. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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Riders on their horses practice in a warm up arena as Horses in the Sun, one of the country’s elite equestrian events, is taking place in Thermal. The desert oasis attracts a large contingent of software executives, Hollywood celebrities and the children of wealthy families who arrive by air to compete amidst some of the sport’s top athletes by day and party at rented vacation homes by night. (Irfan Khan / LAT)
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