Encore’s Second Chance

Well, January was chock full of busy-ness and also illness for me.  I had wanted to share this horse’s story last month, but it just didn’t happen!  So instead, Encore will be featured as my February Horse of the Month.  If you’ve watched a show called Free Rein, you may know his story.  It’s one that really tugged at my heart strings.  



(Photo by Graceful Horses)

We don’t know much about the history of a seven-year old Clydesdale cross named Prospero’s Encore, but we do know that he ended up at an auction in Ontario, Canada last summer.   He was in poor condition, and would have likely been bought for slaughter had Jessica Fobert and her team from the show Free Rein not come across him.

“When we saw Encore in the pens, we knew he would have no chance of going to a home just by looking at his physical condition. He was underweight and a little lethargic, so we figured we would bid on him, and hopefully give him an opportunity to be saved from a certain stressful end of life,” said Jessica.

Jessica sensed right away that there was something special about Encore.  Even in a small pen with strange horses, he remained passive and did his best to avoid conflict.

“At one point a man opened the gate of the pen to assess another horse and Encore got pinned between the man and another horse who started brutally kicking him. Encore did every possible to avoid stepping on the man , and took a beating in the process,” she said.

So Jessica bought Encore and brought him home where she began the slow process of bringing him back to health.  She soon learned that it was not going to be easy.  He had some serious health issues to contend with, including a bacterial respiratory infection that proved resistant to several different antibiotics.

“It took several trial and error combinations for the vet to find the right combination of antibiotics that would successfully kill off the infection. During all of this, we also found out he was battling e coli, digestive ulcers, and pneumonia,” Jessica said.


encore and jess

(Photo by Philip Zoratto Photography)


encore and Jess2

(Photo by Takumi Furuichi Photography)


Encore continued to prove that he was indeed a gentle giant.  He remained calm and well-mannered as the vet performed many uncomfortable procedures on him, including scoping his upper respiratory system, even without a sedative.

It took weeks to treat Encore’s infections with antibiotics and Jessica knew that the harsh drugs were also taking a toll on his body.

“A major part of his healing was assisted by several herbal remedies and homeopathy that were suggested by Marijke van de Water, an equine health practitioner who formulated Riva’s Remedies. Encore needed a lot of nutritional and supplemental support in developing a healthy immune system after being chronically  sick. We have a lot of thanks to give to Marijke for making herself available to help Encore become a healthy horse again,” said Jessica.

Putting weight on Encore was a slow process as well, but he eventually began to fill out on a diet of 24/7 access to grass hay and two beet pulp mashes per day.  Once Encore did gain some weight, Jessica put a saddle and bridle on him,  just to see how he’d do.

“He took to all of the equipment very well, but we have not started any formal training with him yet, so his exact level of knowledge is not known. He does however lead on a halter very well, ties without issue, and is very good for having his rather large hooves picked out and trimmed. It’s obvious that someone at some point did spend the time to teach this horse something,” she said.


encore after


While Encore was recovering from his illnesses, he had to be quarantined, but after he was given a clean bill of health, he was introduced to a new pasture mate.  He now happily lives with a mare friend during the day, but must be separated at night since he needs to eat quite a bit more hay than she does.  His pen is next to several other horses though, so he can feel close to the herd.


Encore currently lives in a foster home, patiently waiting to be adopted into a forever home.  His health is good, but Jessica noted that he could still use some chiropractic work to re-balance his body.

As for rescuing a horse from an auction, Jessica said, “I don’t suggest others go looking for a horse in such poor health unless they have the proper finances, education, experience, and a good team of help to back them up, as I do.”

You can watch the Free Rein episode about Encore here.  Also, if you are interested in adopting him, you can apply here.  You can learn more about the show Free Rein by visiting their website or by following the show on twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @FREEREINHD.


Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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2 Responses

  1. vicki says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. what a sweet horse! Praying he finds that forever home….

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