Clay is very food-motivated, and he has me pretty well trained to always bring him a tasty morsel when I come out to catch him. He stares me down to make sure I have something in my hand, and then decides whether or not to come to me (or at least stand still while I approach) or to take off in the opposite direction. ("Ponytude" is what I call these antics of his, because it seems to be the only explanation. None of the HORSES on the farm play games like this, but every single one of the ponies do!)
But before he gets his treat he has to do something to deserve it. Sometimes I ask for him to lower his head when I apply gentle pressure to his poll, sometimes I ask for him to back up, sometimes I ask him to "ground tie" and stay put until I call him to me, etc. It doesn't really matter what you have your horse do, as long as they understand that obediently going along with their silly human's weird ideas=treat. In some horses, especially precocious ones like Clay, feeding treats for no reason can encourage some unwanted, naughty behavior.
Whether you have a horse or a precocious pony, these cookie treats are delicious and healthy and will be well-received by your beloved equine.
Healthy Horse Treats
(Recipe from Terry Golson at HenCam.com)
Makes 2 1/4 pounds
1 tablespoon canola oil
2/3 cup molasses
2 cups rolled oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons dried peppermint
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Shred the carrots and apples.
3. Put the shredded apples and carrots into a bowl, preferably a stand mixer. (You could do this by hand, but the mixer will create a better texture and it is much easier. Most handheld mixers aren’t powerful enough for this dough.) Add the remaining ingredients. Add the oil, then measure the molasses in the same cup as the oil. The molasses will slip right out into the mixing bowl.
4. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until all is shiny.
5. Scoop out small balls (shown here using a melon baller.)
6. Bake for 1 hour, or until dry all the way through. If the tops turn dark brown before the centers are done, cover lightly with a sheet of tinfoil. Cool on a wire rack.