Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Major is very full of opinions. As a good trail partner, I often trust them, because dicey footing or poor choices could land us in trouble.

But our last outing he was seriously convinced I was wrong. Just wrong. We should not be going that way. Or this. We should be going HOME, which is THAT way!

all the trails I was wrong about according to Major

That is what I get for practicing on the dam hills, nice open trails and roads…that eventually lead home. But the trails are wet, muddy and slippery. Hence why I chose the dam trails!

This was OK, it is heading home!

Heading out Major was quite exuberant. Trotting on good footing, weee! A detour to the dam site was slightly less enthusiastic, and I swear he threw up his hands when we turned around…finally!

He still protested going down the cutoff trail (he hates the rocks) but at least we were heading in the right direction. Along the river he was positively giddy, oh boy!

icky rocks on cutoff trail
 sheds filled with rock cores from dam building

Then I turned up the "wrong" hill. That protest was actually a stop and spin the "right" way (most of his protesting is just slowing down and acting unconvinced of our direction). So then he had to trot up the wrong hill, oh boy!

what Major thinks

Sadly, at the top I actually WAS wrong. A trail that used to go through does not any longer, so instead of a big loop we had to backtrack.

I actually was wrong on this hill!
coming and going

Which was acceptable until we passed the turnoff. The trailer is two miles away up the hill. Home is more than 10 miles away by slippery trail. It did not matter, I was wrong.

skeptical of our direction along the river
rock ponds
Stopping to take photos of things was very wrong (as evidenced by annoyed ears). Being pet by hikers was ok. Luckily Major's protests are minor, and involve him stopping and longingly looking back the correct-to-him direction.

my favorite photo of the day, Tiny construction cone…giant rock mountain

up the road to the trailer (They didn't leave any shoulder trail which sucks)
Major sulked his way back up the hill. At the top he was finally happy,  (oh yeah, I forgot the trailer is here!) with some snacks.

are you done yet? Can we leave already?
I am glad his protests are not particularly serious. He isn't very barn sour, so I don't know what his mood was that day. Sometimes we trailer to the dam and ride home, and sometimes we don't. And I do trust his instincts on so many things…and no matter what, I'm glad my horse has an opinion (even if he doesn't always get his way)!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

d.i.y.: hanging horse treats

I thought about titling this sticky horse balls, or sweet hanging balls, but the internet is a scary thing…I'm not sure I want to read those comments…(I'm sure I'll get them anyway…)

And if your horse is on some sort of gluten-free, vegan, no-sugar diet, then you should probably just skip this post. This is for the horse that enjoys the occasional disgustingly sweet treat, which will get all over his face and forelock, this is for you. If you horse is "trapped" inside from the rain, as Major thinks he is, this treat will provide hours of entertainment.

You’re still in the mood for it, here is the basic recipe. As with all my recipes literally almost everything can be substituted, I’m not always sure with what, but go ahead and try it if your horse hates “X” thing!

Major's Sweet Treat

2 cups molasses (or corn syrup)
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 cup corn meal (could use flour)
2 cups feed (whatever: hay pellets, sweet feed, rice bran, oatmeal)

You are essentially making an old school popcorn ball, for our horses. (Anyone remember when you'd get popcorn balls at Halloween? So tasty! So potentially filled with razorblades was the rumor! Love the 70s)

livestock molasses is very inexpensive, this was like $8 for a gallon, should last a long while!

all the things!

Ok, anyway: Combine the molasses and sugar until dissolved on medium-high heat, then cook until 300 degrees/hard crack stage. You can do the hard-crack water/candy test (but seriously, just get a cheap candy thermometer, I use it one-two times a year and have owned it for 20 years…).

This took about 30 minutes. Soon all the hair on your hands will have burned off, and burning pieces of sugar candy will be close to whizzing through the air. Now you can stop and mix the lava mixture into your ingredidnets. You don't have much time!

knuckles burning, cook faster!

I used a bundt pan for tiny cakes that I have rarely made cakes in, perfect for this, already a hole! Grease super well, this mixture will stick to everything. I pressed it in with waxed paper, it hardens really quickly (which is why there are no pictures of this step)! You could also hand-shape the mixture into a shape with the rope already in it.

I popped them out of the pan about 20 minutes later (the cooking pan I added some boiling water to melt the rest of the sugar off). Later I tied some fancy hay strings through it.


Major was super happy with his treat. Did it make the rain more tolerable? I think so. He managed to work through to the middle in three days, when it fell off on the floor. Then he ate the rest in like 5 minutes. The other one is waiting for another rainy day.

Yes, this is how I entertain myself in the depth of dark winter. But remember: Tomorrow the daylight will be 1 minute 31 seconds longer. This is what my weather app told me. I'll be counting....

sunset over treat

Monday, January 7, 2019

conversations with major: clean up

Um, Major, what is this mess?
What mess?
Don't be coy, see the side and wheel of the trailer!?

Tasty rice bran!
OK, I know the contents…
Then why did you ask?
Stop interrupting. Why is it all over the trailer?
Because I just ate!
Um, dude, the bowl was on the ground. Why is the mess on the trailer?
Because I have to pick my head up to chew it, the trailer is in the way.
In your paddock you don't do that with dinner!
It is different here, just wait, I'll clean up…

That is gross Major.
No, it's leftover tasty rice bran! 
Thanks for trying buddy.
It's good, you should try it.
NO THANKS, you keep your messy face over there.

But will there be more tomorrow?
It is really only for when we do something, like go for a ride.
Then can we go for a ride tomorrow?
Just so you can have rice bran?
Ummm, yes?!
Maybe Major, maybe.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

happy new year!

Sometimes the holidays can leave you laying a little flat-like a unicorn in the return pile of a department store. 
How sad: someone returned the unicorn

But it’s nothing that a New Year’s Day ride can’t fix. Major had a very hard time trying to keep four on the floor, but mostly behaved himself, for an uneventful ride. Just the way the year should start. 

Happy new year...again! I pretty much feel like Solstice is the beginning of the new year, but I’ll celebrate twice and welcome 2019! My family had a midnight tradition of milkshakes and hamburgers, I still do milkshakes, with mandarin juice added, so yummy! That was the extent of my wild evening. 

Mandarins and Major, a good start to the year. I wish a great 2019 to everyone!

First photo of 2019!