Joshua’s Dream

Here, in Amanda Moore’s words, is another powerful story about the Reigning Grace Ranch herd:

One afternoon, while a team of RGR volunteers were meeting over coffee to review ranch goals, the telephone rang. An anxious man needed help. He and his wife had spent the last ten years rescuing hurt and broken racehorses from the tracks in California. His financial resources had been depleted. He was losing his home, and thus the safe haven for his beloved Thoroughbreds. With 25 horses on his property, a home in foreclosure, and nowhere to turn, he called for aid.

When Christopher and I arrived at his property we were given a quick assessment of each horse and their condition. We decided to help find homes for the healthier, readily adoptable ones, and to provide aid for food and shoeing for those remaining.

One horse in particular struck my interest: a big black horse, weighing in at about 1000 lbs (underweight) and 17 hands tall. He was penned at the backside of the property, in a 10’x10’ stall, barred from ceiling to floor. This dark figure had very little access to sunlight and was forbidden to move in his containment. His head was hung low. His eyes spoke of abandonment and pain. He did not acknowledge my presence.

I learned that this once magnificent animal — son of Johannesburg and great grandson of Secretariat — had sustained a severe leg injury. While this could have been remedied or even avoided, because of repeated, forced, driven damage, it was now irreversible. At the peak of his career, this sleek creature had a six-figure income and was a quite talented racehorse. He now stood invisible in the shadows of a dark stall. My heart instantly ached with heaviness and pain for the horse they called Joshua’s Dream. He was only six years old.

Over the next several weeks, I could not get Joshua off of my mind or out of my heart. Why was I so impacted by this horse? Furthermore, what good was a lame horse at a children’s ranch? The longer I questioned, the stronger the promptings became and the answer became clear. Just do, and don’t ask why.

I called the owner and requested that we bring Joshua home permanently to Reigning Grace Ranch.

Once we had Joshua at Reigning Grace, we scheduled our vet for x-rays and a lameness exam. His injuries were significant to say the least. With an atrophied hoof and the risk of founder, the initial plan was a physical therapy regime for six months. Dr. Tavel believed that within months we would know if the therapy was effective. Little by little, Joshua began to gain more range of motion in his leg and for the first time, I saw hope in his eyes. Joshua revealed just how big his willing heart was; he simply needed someone to believe in him.

Today Joshua frolics and plays and teases and loves. He is a favorite of the children who visit the ranch. It is laughable now to look back at my initial struggles and doubts about taking in an invisible, abandoned, broken horse, wondering if I could do any good for him, while it is the very foundation of what Reigning Grace does with the children that visit the ranch each day!

God works in mysterious ways. In my endeavors with the ranch I have clearly seen the evidence of His Hand. Many times I don’t understand the plan, but when I begin to see it unfold, I am reminded of God’s brilliance and wisdom as I see his beautiful masterpiece come together to touch many lives. He wastes nothing. Oftentimes He uses something that our “material” world deems as unworthy, and He does so to make a powerful statement in His name. A dear friend of mine calls these “God winks.” It’s when He sends the message, “step aside and watch me work.”

When I see this, I look up to the sky and wink back at God, thanking Him for using the broken and invisible to restore peace in the lives of His precious children. It was by no accident that Joshua was meant to be a walking miracle at Reigning Grace Ranch. The official registered Jockey Club name given to him at birth is “Joshua’s Dream.” Appropriately, Joshua in the bible means GOD RESCUES. Indeed, He does.