August 31, 2023


To be honest, I spent the last few days wondering what I had gotten myself into. Encore was anxious, spooky, and I truly never saw him take a single deep breath. He would take this series of half-breaths but never really exhale, like a sleep apnea patient. He wouldn't even eat his grain the first night, so I didn't end up getting Gut-X into him until Monday night.

That cowhorse mane had to go (with owner's permission!) if he was going to be marketed as a sport horse.

But after two days of keeping his routine very consistent, introducing clicker training, and getting Gut-X into him, when I came out on Wednesday I had a totally different horse.

SUCH a different horse, can you believe it?

Just like his Aunt Aeres two years ago, almost overnight after starting the hyaluronic acid supplement there was suddenly a softness to his eye. He cocked a hind leg while I was grooming him in the crossties (which, two days ago he'd never been crosstied before. One of several examples I could give you of him learning things faster than any horse I've had before). 

I actually didn't plan on doing his mane last night, but as I was brushing a few tangles out after his nightly feet picking and brushing routine, I heard him exhale - fully - for the first time the whole time he'd been here. I clicked and treated, and kept going as he practically dozed under my fingers.

Don't get me wrong, we've still got quite a ways to go. He's an anxious fellow by nature, and this is all very new to him. He is attached to his underneck like it's a security blanket he won't let go of. But this whole time I've seen a thinker shining through the anxiety, and now that the anxiety has subsided just a little bit, I can see the horse he'll become with time, trust and consistency. And it's only been three days.

Airplane ears after a click treat sugar cube.

It's exciting to see him start to come out of his shell, and I can't wait to get to the barn every day and see what baby steps we're going to make that day.


  1. gotta love that, 'oh lord, what have i done' feeling that inevitably follows the initial giddiness of a getting a new horse, omg haha.... glad things are settling into a nice routine already!

  2. I think I have that what have I done feeling every time a new one comes around. It always seems like a good idea... and then not for a bit. Glad he's starting to settle. He's SO handsome!