Favorite Homemade Horse Treat Recipes

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Paddock Cakes, but as my days at the barn ramped up, so did my treat usage and eventually ordering a $30 bucket of treats every 4 weeks became, as my husband would call it, “excessive”. So off on my treat making endeavor I went! After browsing many Google results, such as this, many ingredients commonly came up and I assessed my current inventory and came up with my own concoction. The only additional ingredient I had to purchase was molasses. Everything else I added I researched to make sure it was horse digestion safe.

The first version of the cookies (pictured right) included oats, molasses, finely chopped apple, water, a light sprinkle of chia seeds and plain flour.

First version of the cookies!

First version of the cookies!

The second version, prepared for Christmas, had little indents in the tops to push in peppermint candies. These were especially well loved by Leo, but in this case the apples were not finely chopped enough and retain so much water that by the time the second day rolled around the peppermints had melted into the cookie - so, sticky but still delicious!

Christmas version of the cookies, with soft and hard peppermint candies (which both promptly melted from the apple juices!). Horses did not seem to mind.

Christmas version of the cookies, with soft and hard peppermint candies (which both promptly melted from the apple juices!). Horses did not seem to mind.

 
Basic ingredients, adjust the recipe easily as needed.

Basic ingredients, adjust the recipe easily as needed.


Perfected HH Cookie Recipe (muffin style)

- 1 cup plain Oats (add more as needed for consistency desired) (plain Quaker oats - like for oat meal)
- 2 cups oat flour, or processed oats (see above)
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1/4 chia seeds
- 1-2 ripe bananas
- 5-6 ounces of molasses (I usually just eye half a jar of the Grandma’s brand molasses)

Then add whatever else your heart desires, chopped apples (finely chopped!), carrots, banana chips, etc.
I try to keep mine low on sugar, but felt the need to decorate with some light icing for Valentine’s Day. The recipe is fairly easy to alter and to transform the “batter” from muffin style to the “dough” cookie cutter style: I simply add more oat flour (or processed oats) and water and work it to the desired consistency. Though I will mention, if you’re doing all or mostly cut out cookies, use almost all oat flour/processed oats. The larger oatmeal chunks make it hard to make a straight cookie cutter cut. Be sure to bake thoroughly so they are longer lasting!

Bake

I think I usually bake around 350 and leave in from 15 - 20 minutes. Adjust according to your own oven, mine is a bit wonky and I tend to go a lot by “I feel like it should be this temp today” so… just monitor them!

The icing recipe is fairly easy: water, powdered sugar and gel food coloring. Just use a ratio that works for you! And decorating is obviously not my forte.

If you’re also a fan of perfectfit, and if you want to know how I’ve achieved it,
I used this tupperware and this silicone mini muffin tray. So satisfying.

Lesson Update - January 2019

My husband was generous enough to come out and video another lesson (in a short span of two weeks?) and so here we are. The weather was gorgeous that day and I even rode in just my base layer. I also didn’t fiddle with the camera setting and as always am super pleased with my talented videographer hubby.

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Exercises

Starting in our Thursday night flat lesson we worked on a curved pole exercise: normal five strides, wide track to 6, straight track for 4. You can see in the video I go out around the white jump for the 4 stride, straight approach, and stayed inside for a more curved approach to a 5. Lately we’ve been mostly working on track change and how it affects distances.

When doing roll-backs, it’s easier to find a distance if you turn sooner so if you see you’re getting to the jump too quickly or slowly, you can shift out or in on the turn to adjust for a better stride (track change), whereas if you approach straight from farther away, your only options are to move up or slow down (speed change).

Also got a quick refresher on inside leg to outside rein for collection, but adding outside leg back for a slight whole body bend makes for even easier collection (honestly, I totally forgot that trick).

The Good

Leo is perfectly capable of doing the wave planks! We had been avoiding that jump because it can be a bit spooky for them, but he was unfazed, even knocking one the first time over (which is why I look so pleased after the rail, totally thought he would over-jump it!).

I got almost all of my distances, and even the “bad” ones weren’t ridiculous.

Last Sunday the storm was so bad that it ripped off the mid-section of the arena cover (I am seriously devastated for the barn owners) and Leo has been completely composed thus far.

Pretty much last weekend’s storm @ Leo

Pretty much last weekend’s storm @ Leo

Leo’s new very reasonably priced breastplate has worked perfectly so far with no saddle slippage to report!

The Bad

My hands have not improved since my last video and if anything, have gotten worse. My trainer pointed out that I was leading a lot with my right hand and I think my excuse coming towards some of the jumps was to indicate to Leo that he should be landing the right lead – it worked once – but I think there are more correct ways to hold the lead… and my right hand was forward the entire lesson, not just before the jumps so just a bad excuse.

Also, my hands didn’t really follow during at all during my courses - so, I’ve regressed. Even over the jumps, I’m still sitting up like half a second too early.

I’m THIS close to ordering some resistance bands to train myself to follow properly again. My wrists are also excessively in the hanging position, which I think will be most difficult habit to correct. I sleep with my wrists bent like that, they’re in that position all day when I’m typing at work.

Leo was also a bit grumpy and possibly sore from vaccines the weekend before. Luckily there’s a probably reason for his sour mood. Where are his perked ears over the jumps?

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Last Lesson of 2018 Re-Cap

I haven’t really gotten to do a full lesson review since late October, I had a teensy fall early November, days before the horrible and deadly fires in California, which put a stop to riding for a fews weeks. I got back in the saddle and had a few good flat rides before a worse fall at the end of November. On top of that, the trainer I had been riding with since July 2017 left unexpectedly and my comfort zone was no longer existent. To say I was shook would be an understatement.

Luckily, with the help of the head trainer at my barn I’ve slowly been regaining my confidence and actually popped around the courses in my last lesson of 2018 fear-free. Under no circumstances does that mean that it was flawless, but there was no last minute handsiness, and no pray-for-it long spots (which I have also become a fan of recently). I got to lesson with two of my favorite barn-mates as well and husband was kind enough to video for them also! Apologies for the blurry video though, I messed up the camera settings before the lesson and forgot to set it back to auto for videos. Whoops.

Some observations:

  • I wouldn’t look like an orchestra conductor if my reins were the proper length (shorter). Also, the pelham has probably become unnecessary.

  • I need a breastplate so badly. The saddle pad and just plain saddle slippage in this video irk me so much!

  • Trainer pointed out that my hips are way too far forward over the pommel of the saddle, and now that I’ve seen and felt it, it can’t be undone. You can see a definite effort to correct it at the 1:35 line. Honestly, I wonder if my saddle even fits me properly (that’s a shopping idea for another day) or my position was made worse by the saddle slipping?

  • I’m having trouble when cantering and attempting to use my outside leg. It just slips back and up. Need to work on that!

  • As far as the horse goes, Leo is perfect in every way! Even his little trip over the trot fence was cute because he got so mad at it. We’ve been working a lot on counter-canter stuff, so I think keeping his right lead down right-lead lines is becoming easier for him. He’s always so game for whatever lessons we have an I’m incredibly lucky to have gotten to ride such a nice horse. Hoping for more great lessons with him in 2019!

Goals for 2019

My main goal for next year, and trust me I know this sounds ridiculous, is to have more magical moments.

I came into 2018 considerably more optimistic about life than I am leaving it. Which is fine, shit happens. But after receiving an inspirational bracelet that reads “Believe in Magic” I realized I must be super easy to read and have become somewhat disenchanted.

So my first goal for the year is to work on Believing in Magic again: go beautiful places I’ve never been before and do more out of my comfort zone.

Some other minor goals:

  • Learn to bake

  • Visit grandparents more

  • More dog walks and outings

  • Become a stoic

  • Kick ass at work

  • Compete at a rated show

  • Compete in a derby

  • Be slightly more committed to writing and blogging (but let’s not get crazy)

  • Save SOME money

    • or just focus on spending less on things, and more on experiences and memories

  • Move out of our apartment

  • Cycle twice a week

(and purchase this beast, but that’s a secret!)

(and purchase this beast, but that’s a secret!)

An Amateurs Attempt at Body Clipping

Somewhere between spending an extra hour after my weeknight lessons for Leo’s sweat to dry and being implored by my husband to cut back on the horse accouterments, I decided to do the exact opposite and get a set of clippers. A Christmas gift to myself. After a single [horse] body clip and one [dog] puppy clip, the clippers would more than pay for themselves and hubby gave his okay.

I was warned that this was an activity that would probably take me 4 - 5 hours. I did my best to respect that warning, but I’m also naturally unrealistically optimistic. I showed up around 11 and expected to be done in time for a nice hack before the barn Christmas party. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t happen.

A Collection of Thoughts as I worked through the body clip:

  • [starting] Wow, I’m so well prepared. I got ALL the accessories, watched all the youtube videos, this’ll be so easy!

  • [doing the legs] Oh my God, I’m so good at this. I could go pro. I’m gonna make so much extra money. I could pay for an entire show season.

  • Oh, Leo’s a little ticklish on his back legs but what a good boy! [gives multiple treats]

  • I can’t imagine clipping a horse that’s trying to kick me, thank gawd Leo’s soooo good. [more treats]

  • HOLD STILL DAMN IT.

  • My phone is dying… so no more music and I won’t even be able to Instagram this. 🙄 #whatseventhepointanymore

  • Wow this venti cold brew is getting to me. Why didn’t I bring snacks?

  • Blade is getting hot… better use that coolant stuff.

    • Coolant stuff is not that effective because I didn’t read the directions and was wiping it off immediately…

  • Horse’s lunch time - I’ll give him a quick break in his stall! Need to find human food…

  • Should I switch to the wider blade? But I’ve already done some of the body with the narrow blade… and I think they’re different hair lengths, but I’m not sure? WHY DON’T I KNOW ANYTHING?

  • Oh good, the fifth person has walked by and asked me if I’m almost done. Uhhh, no? It’s only been 3 hours!

  • I’m soo hungry

  • ahhh someone’s having a pizza delivered!! I’ll just casually hang around and see whose it is… [it was for someone who lived in the back of the property, so like, not shareable]

  • How are horse bellies so dirty? Probably because I never actually wash it…

  • Is it normal to feel like crying? Barnmate walked by and said yes.

  • I just have to make it somewhat presentable for the night. I’ll finish tomorrow!

  • Homemade horse treats are a perfectly reasonable snack in a pinch…

  • OH good, the left side took me about half the time as the right side… and shows it. I’ll fix it later!

  • just. need. to. get. the. armpits. done.

  • AHHH IT’S SOMEWHAT DONE. Like 91%. Minus the face.

  • If someone sees him from far away it won’t be that embarrassing for me, I can stop here for the day, right?

  • Alright, turning this bad boy out! Why did I think I would have time to ride…?

It looks like Leo felt about as relieved as I did when he got turned out *queue bucking party*. I was also informed that night at the Christmas party that the head groom had finished my ridiculous clip job by doing Leo’s face. I think this was either out of pity or embarrassment on his part - he couldn’t have Leo seen at the barn with the possibility that people might think he’s responsible. Either way, I brought donuts as a thank you, and we’re all better off for it. I’m still going to touch up Leo’s armpits and entire left side next Saturday. Pray for me.

My MASTERPIECE. The right side looks slightly better. Maybe.

My MASTERPIECE. The right side looks slightly better. Maybe.

No one would ever pay me to do this.

Handsome AF from far away though!!

Handsome AF from far away though!!

NorCal Hunter/Jumper Association Clinic Auditing

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This past weekend I was lucky enough to audit the NorCal Clinic, taught this year by Mandy Porter. Mandy is one of my riding heroes, who I first noticed when I attended the SIHS Grand Prix and again when I found out that she competes many of Wild Turkey Farms' young horses (seriously, #horsegoals). As an instructor, I found her to be sympathetic, engaged, knowledgeable and super kind. I actually applied to ride in the clinic but count myself lucky that I didn’t get in since it’s been a rough few riding weeks (smoke, falls, rain, etc.). Had the clinic been in August or September, I would be crushed that I didn’t get in, but was happy to audit this time around!

There were two two-day session of the clinic. I missed the first day, gymnastics, but saw all of Day 2, coursework, and then some of Days 3 and 4.


A lot of the concepts covered were ideas I’d previously been introduced to in lessons. A lot of supple-ing exercises, figure eights, serpentines were used at the beginning of the sessions. The hardest exercise, in my opinion, was the canter to trot to canter transitions on a circle, so I think this will be the first one I attempt when I ride next. I also noted that when doing circles, serpentines or figure eights, don’t pull your inside rein down (many rider’s hands were too low) and your outside rein and outside leg should create a ‘wall’ so that your horse’s hind end doesn’t swing or fishtail out.

Main Emphasized Concepts

  • a good balanced, quality canter matters much more than distances, rhythm is more important than your distance

  • if you have an iffy distance, don’t let your horse know that it wasn’t exactly what you wanted - no last minute rein grabbing or pony kicking (bumping is fine)

  • when you start your course, get your horse in front of your leg (wish I could inset a clapping emoji here). get them moving off your leg and then collect! check that you have all your buttons that you’ll utilize during your course

  • track is also super important, don’t motorcycle turn, don’t cut corners!

What I liked most about her teaching was that she was really empathetic to everyone’s struggles. At one point, a rider was approaching the first fence and found it on the half stride, got a refusal. Found the same distance a second time, refusal. They lowered the fence slightly and she got over it and then got a refusal on the second fence, not because the distance but because the rider and the horse were both now questioning each other. Mandy wasn’t frustrated or angry, but was firm that they now absolutely had to get through the course. Both for the rider’s and the horse’s confidence. Through every portion of the course, Mandy could identify where one of the two felt like hesitating, told the rider “bump him with your leg, bump here" and they got successfully got through the course. She explained that the rider was stronger for having had a few refusals and then being brave enough to overcome. “You have to want to get to the other side of the jump."

Mandy never acted like these were struggles she doesn’t worry about or that she’s never had. I know I’ve had lessons like that where I think so myself, okay, if I can’t correct this I’m both ruining my own confidence and my horse’s, there’s no choice - I have to get over this fence.

The majority of the clinic progressed just like, very encouraging, and I think all the riders left feeling accomplished and got to do some complicated and challenging courses successfully. I definitely walked away feeling more excited to get back to jumping!

Motivation Monday: Why Not You?

Comparison may be the thief of joy, but have you ever sat with someone who you truly admire, who has accomplished what you want to? Having a mentor or someone to look up to has been more inspiring than anything else in my life. In my personal, professional, equestrian life, the people who inspire me to do better not just through their encouragement, but because they’ve raised questions in my mind.

Why not me? Not to say the people I look up to aren’t impressive, the most encouraging part is that They. Are. Normal. People. They have good and bad days just like you, they go through life just like you.

The only difference between “the mentors” and the people who haven’t accomplished the same thing is, that at one point, the people who everyone admires decided they were going to take the steps to reach their goals. Unless you want to be Elon Musk, goals don’t require you to be a genius, or ridiculously athletic, or rich or whatever – it requires planning, discipline, bravery and tenacity. Effort.

Next time you’re thinking about someone whose reached the goals you also have, think to yourself: What have they got that I haven’t? Nothing. Go get it.