By Alexandra Kokka

Onlythewinetalking made his way to TAA-accredited MidAtlantic Horse Rescue as an unraced 5-year-old. The son of Emperor Tiberius didn’t have long to wait before he was taken home by adopter Amy Oosterhout. After seeing Onlythewinetalking online and a test ride, the deal was sealed.

“When I visited the rescue, I looked at and rode several horses,” Oosterhout said. “‘Punky’ and I clicked. He has the right amount of spunk.”

The Pennsylvania-bred had a lot to learn about life beyond the track. Luckily, Onlythewinetalking or “Punky” had Oosterhout there to teach him the ins and outs of standing in cross ties and being hand-fed treats.

During the last three years, the pair has improved tremendously and now enjoys progressing in dressage and jumping. However, “Punky” especially enjoys going on trail rides.

“He is calm in trailers and busy barns, takes pigs, children, Shetland ponies, and streams in stride,” Oosterhout said.

The duo is competing in beginner novice level eventing with aspirations to reach novice or training level. Most recently, they earned sixth place in the Maryland Combined Training Association Jenny Camp Horse Trial in the open beginner novice division.

“I hope to try new stuff like a paper chase or a hunter pace this fall, but we are not in a hurry. I enjoy the training process more than competing,” Oosterhout said.

Ribbons aren’t necessary to measure success, and “Punky” and his adopter are finding wins outside of competition too.

“Since I got ‘Punky,’ my riding and fitness have improved dramatically,” she said. “He is much more fit and athletic than my previous horse. It’s amazing how much confidence a good horse can give you.”