Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This beautiful photo stopped me in my tracks today and brought to mind the famous Robert Frost poem. When was the last time you read it? I mean: when was the last time you really read that poem?
The roads diverging in the woods of the horse world are many, and we all choose which one to take, and we keep choosing. Some stay on the main road while others choose to find their own paths, their own places in the horse world.
Often the roads less traveled carry people far from the show rings and winners circles; you’ll find them in the vet hospitals, in the farrier shops; they may give up riding ambitions to become massage therapists or saddle fitters or equine dentists or to fill any number of roles working for non-profit organizations.
Increasingly, you’ll find that those roads less travelled carry people to seek fulfilling lives by working at horse sanctuaries and shelters, or by dedicating themselves to re-training racehorses or working to end horse abuse or abandonment.
However, like Frost, they cannot know at the outset whether their enthusiasm and concern for horses will be enough to sustain them over years of hard work. Many drop off the road less traveled and seek the easier route.
Summer is just about at its crest, and it doesn’t get much better than this. The days will get shorter now, the sun will sink in the sky. Look around you and see what road you’re traveling on these days and where in the horse world it is carrying you. Where do you think you will end up? Will your choice, like Robert Frost’s, “make all the difference”? Or is it time to seek a new road?
Because people do choose those roads less traveled, our horses have a better life. They are cared for and cared about by people who have recognized and voluntarily embraced horse care and horse health as their lives’ work.
People on the road less traveled through the horse world will probably never own horses as nice as the ones they work on and around each day but after a while, when they look at horses, they don’t see price tags or race records or pedigrees anymore. They see another animal that is dependent on humans, and they set to work to do what they can to help it along.
And that truly makes all the difference.
Thanks to Ben from Aachen, Germany, where this beautiful photo was taken on one of the woods trails. Both he and the lone horseman probably could have been at the World Equestrian Festival (Aachen CHIO) but they were out for a walk in the woods instead. And that decision made all the difference to a blog halfway around the world.