October 29, 2012 the five month Thoroughbred filly, registered Magical Encore, arrived in style. A large semi-truck and trailer with stalls carried her from Denair, CA to her new home just outside Lompoc, CA. Weaned two weeks earlier and ready to embrace a whole new life, Encore! disembarked without so much as a nicker to her mother, Heart’s Magic, who stayed behind at the other end of the semi in an equally spacious box stall.
Encore! walked the long driveway to her new home with calm assurance. Her doe-like eyes had no panic in their friendly gaze. She seemed to know all is well with this new chapter. Her new stable mates, Coltrane, an ageless Holsteiner, and Bambi a Guernsey type cow stared in disbelief. Their world basically had been very private until the invasion of this mighty weanling. Gratefully, there were no hysterics on anyone’s part.
Encore! walked easily into her small outdoor paddock with a view of rolling hills in cattle and wine country. She explored her surroundings then settled right down to a big meal of alfalpha and forage hay. She has a huge appetite! She washed it down with a bucket and half of water and then wandered over to the fence to assess her future companions. Surprisingly, neither Bambi nor Coltrane paid her much mind. I sometimes think Coltrane now thinks of himself as a cow and finds Bambi sufficient company.
We, Catalina, Chris and neighbor Wilda, watched quietly in awe of this beautiful creature that landed so unexpectedly at our doorstep. Just days before, it seemed like the book was closed on the idea of Encore! But with a final phone call, and an enthusiastic thumbs-up from brother Tim and sister Pia, we became team Encore!
The next morning I was up at 5:00 am, built a fire in the wood stove, put on the coffee and waited for Chris to get moving. I felt like the teenager of years ago that couldn’t wait to gallop her Thoroughbred, Charlie, bareback on the old dirt road just behind what is now Meditation Mount, in Ojai, CA. All the childhood memories of horses and open spaces flooded me with joy. I could feel my heart sing. I realized Encore! kindled a spark that lay dormant, for the most part, since I gave up training and exercising horses, except for an occasional horse here and there to keep my hand in. Suddenly, I was back in the game and my spirits soared 200%.
After two nights in the paddock alone, Encore! graduated to a suite. Wilda couldn’t bear to think of Encore! with no stall, and I kept wondering about the mountain lion a neighbor saw two years ago. We all agreed that one of the large box stalls would be excellent night time lodging for empress Encore! I swept the spider webs and spiders out. I put down a bedding of sweet smelling pine shavings. I secretly hoped Charlotte would return and spin a web for Encore! like the one she did for Wilbur, in Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White. I can’t imagine a better friend for Encore! than dear Charlotte.
Now, with the stall, in five star order, we led Encore! Into her new digs. A few high pitched whinnies and some looking around for a way out quickly dissolved into munching hay. Her gigantic appetite serves her well.
The sound of a horse eating hay and the CD playing Mozart’s flute sonata comforted us all. I had played The Chant for our Golden Retriever, Mozart when he was a puppy and it worked wonders. I figured we would do the same for Encore! Raised on Mozart, Beethoven and Bach with Gregorian Chant thrown in, we would have our own baby genius, with four long legs and a soft muzzle, to brag about.