A Long Road was a beautiful bay Thoroughbred gelding that stood just at 16.1 hands tall and the first time I saw him he was standing in his stall at the race track. Since I had a reputation of rescuing horses that had problems that nobody else wanted, rehab them and then placing them in good homes, his trainer wanting to “dispose” of him thought he would check with me first before sending him to the place nobody wants to talk about. I fell in love with him immediately. He was strikingly beautiful with big brown eyes and once you got past his beauty, you fell in love with his personality. What was his fatal flaw you ask? He had no heart to race. Oh, on paper he should have been a triple crown winner, but he refused to compete in races.
It goes without saying that money changed hands and I loaded Roadie onto the trailer, (yes I had his barn name picked out before I took him out of the stall). As was my usual habit whenever I brought a new horse home, I would give them a week or so depending on the horse, to settle in and get used to things. This period of time was especially important for racehorses since they were not accustomed to being at liberty and as a matter of routine they were pumped full of all sorts of vitamins and who knows what at the track to keep them pumped up. I would also use this time to just be still with them, let them get to trust me and allow them to form a bond with another living being often for the first time.
Roadie loved people and from the beginning he followed me around like a puppy dog. He was a joy to train and he absolutely loved to trail ride, which in and of itself is highly unusual for ex-racehorses since they have not been exposed to many experiences outside the racetrack. All too quickly the day came when it was time for Roadie to move to his new home. I placed him with a nice woman who was looking for a young horse to train for dressage and jumping competition. She lived on the East Coast and arranged for a transport company come pick him up and while I cried as he left, Roadie in all his sweetness took it all in stride looking forward to his next adventure. His new owner and I kept in touch long enough for me to be satisfied that Roadie was doing well. He was a natural in his new occupation exceeding all expectations taking the blue ribbon his first competition.
I wrote an article about Roadie, how while he was considered a failure in one area and quite a success in another. A couple of weeks after the article came out, my editor from the magazine called and said that she had been contacted by a woman who believed the article was written about her horse because his name was A Long Road. She asked if it would be alright to give her my phone number and of course I said yes. We had quite a long conversation and she had as many questions for me as I had for her. She had purchased Roadie from the woman I placed him with. She had a baby and was no longer able to compete and felt he was not happy without a job to do. Roadie had captured her heart and she assured me that Roadie had found his forever home. To that point had taken nothing but blue ribbons becoming somewhat of a legend. That was the last I heard about him.
Roadie started out in a situation where he was forced to be something he was not, something he had no heart for and he was considered a failure. Just because he looked a certain way and his birthright said he should be something did not make it so. It is the same with us. God has given each of us talents, skills and gifts. He put them in us for a purpose and it is up to each of us to nurture and develop those gifts and search out how to best put them to use. We may have to travel A Long Road, but if we persevere we will find our purpose.
Till we meet again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.