When Maria and Ger Flaherty rescued a starving and neglected horse called Rolo they had no idea that he would completely take over their lives. Rolo was unbroken and confined to a stable when Maria found him. She just wanted to give him a home – but soon it was obvious - they had a racehorse on their hands.
In 2010 Maria was leasing a horse in a yard. But it was a horse in a stable opposite to the horse that she was leasing that really caught her eye.
After a cold and harsh winter, the rugs came off the horses and it was obvious that this horse had been completely neglected. He was skinny, he was never let out of the stable and he hadn't even been broken. There was talk that he would be shot.
But Maria had fallen for him. She tracked down the owner and offered him two hundred euros and to her surprise he accepted her offer. "I think I'm going to regret this," he said.
Maria took him home to County Clare and let him out in the field where he ate and galloped and became healthy again. She had thought she'd like a horse for a hack around the roads but it was soon clear that he had much more energy than that.
"That horse can gallop," said that man who broke him, "You should give him a chance." Maria and Ger were able to track down his documentation and discovered that he was indeed a thoroghbred racehorse.
A year after they bought him, Ger and Maria got married and while they were on honeymoon they sent him to a trainer's yard.
Paurick O'Connor trained him back to full strength over the next year and then Rolo started running races - and winning them!
Produced and Narrated by Nicoline Greer.
Sound Supervision by Tom Norton.
Featuring music by Jon Sanders.
Additional recording by Ronan Kelly and Shane Dunphy.
First Broadcast Saturday 17th May 2014, 2pm.
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.