Everyone knows horses love carrots and apples. I've owned several horses over my lifetime, all of whom loved apples, carrots, Lipton Brisk Iced Tea (yeah, back in the 80's soda wasn't considered to be bad for you yet) and lettuce. Enter Blue Jeans, the bratty pinto. I adopted Blue Jeans about 2 months ago after his mom/owner, Amy, passed away suddenly. Adopting Blue Jeans was conditioned upon me also adopting his best friend, Cappuccino, a very large myotonic goat, also known as a fainting goat. My father, who had spent some time around Blue Jeans, assured me that he was a well-mannered horse. Well, as it turns out, Cappuccino is the least difficult of the pair and eats pretty much everything, including leather lead shanks. Blue Jeans, on the other hand, is like a giant, ferel cat who hates apples. The first time I gave him an apple, he literally took a bite and then spit out slobbery bits of apple like a baby who hates the pureed peas you just put in his mouth.
I did discover, however, that Blue Jeans loves watermelon. I am waiting til our mango tree bears fruit next month to see what he thinks of mangoes. Horses love sugary treats, so I bet he will like them. Although by that logic he should like apples too...
My brain just can't grasp the concept of a non-apple eating horse, and this spitting applesauce business set me on a mission to create an apple treat Blue Jeans would actually eat. So I grabbed some rolled oats, an apple, a carrot, some cinnamon and molasses. I was aiming for a chewy granola type treat. Don't worry, I made sure I did a thorough Google search of foods that are safe for horse consumption prior to creating this recipe.
Simply grate, mix and bake. It doesn't get any easier, folks. I spread the mixture into a baking pan and cut the final product into squares, but you could certainly use a mini muffin pan or even roll them into balls.
I baked these Monday night and planned to bring them out to the farm the next morning. I asked to have Blue Jeans left in his stall after breakfast because he doesn't like to be caught out in the pasture, but they forgot, so after about 10 minutes of chasing him around, he finally let me grab him and throw a halter on his head. I should add that 10 minutes is a major improvement from Sunday's 30 minute game of cat and mouse. I had never met a horse that wouldn't come in from pasture when they heard a feed bucket or saw a handful of carrots. Apparently, that's because I had never met Blue Jeans...
Anyway, we put him on the cross-ties and got the bag of treats. This was the moment of truth.
Let me tell you that this horse doesn't often put his ears forward (meaning he is happy). He has not been handled or ridden in over 6 years until now. Not only did he have his ears forward, he kept them like that pretty much the whole time we were there with him today. I don't think he has ever had such a yummy treat before. Even picky Leah couldn't keep her hand out of the bag. I had to tell her to save some for the other horses. I sampled these treats as well. and they were really tasty. If I were to make them for (mainly) human consumption, I might switch the molasses to honey or even agave. They were good enough to eat for breakfast or a snack. Of course, you could switch the fruits you put in them as well. Dried cranberries would be a nice substitution.
Overall, I think this was a win for both of us. Blue Jeans loved the treats and is starting to enjoy being spoiled rotten, and I got one step closer to becoming his new best friend. Look out, Cappuccino! So what if there was a bit of bribery involved?
Recipe (Serves 4 horses or 9 humans)
2.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup molasses
1 carrot - grated
1 appled - grated
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. corn oil
Preheat oven to 300° F. Lightly grease a baking pan. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. The mixture will be sticky. Press the mixture into the baking pan evenly. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let pan sit on a rack to cool and then cover and move to refrigerator to cool for several more hours. Cut into squares.
Get creative! One way to get out of your routine, and simultaneously save money, is to use ingredients you already have in the house. When I started restricting my trips to the grocery store to once per week, not only did I save a bunch of cash, but was forced to think outside of the box in creating meals.