"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Sunday, January 4, 2015

TOA Blog Hop: Fave

In this latest installment of her blog hop series, Beka asks:

What is your horse's absolute favorite thing? Outside of riding! Are there treats that instantly convert your horse into an addict or liniments that leave him yawning and chewing? What does your horse just love to have?

- She is out on 24/7 pasture because she loves to be outside. She will tolerate being in a stall if she has a friend next door that she can touch noses with (I told you guys she's a touchy-feely horse!), but if she has to be confined to a stall, she likes to have the choice to go outside when she pleases. The setup in South FL worked well for her because she had a run attached to her stall. When we first moved to MD, she was on typical stall board for this region: 12 hours turnout, 12 hours in the stall. She would get tremendously anxious when turnout time approached, pacing her stall and calling. And acting out under saddle if I was riding when it was close to that time! The second she was set free in the field, she'd tear off at a mad gallop to join her buddies...which is how she ended up with a ligament injury in the spring of 2013. Stall runs are not an option here so now she is outside all the time with access to a run-in shed and she is happy as a clam. She is smart about it too: if the weather is bad or it's very hot, she seeks the shelter of the run-in shed.

- Friends. Lily can't live without equine friends, and she will go above and beyond to get along with everybody. She loves people and horses, but especially horses and will go up to them and be all, "Can I be your friend? I will love you and whisper sweet nothings in your ear and share my hay and grain with you and follow you around forever and ever and ever." Needless to say, not all horses are tolerant of that level of adoration. (And I'd rather she not share the grain I spend $$$ on to buy her!)

Jezebel on the left, Lily on the right.
"Yes Jezebel! We will eat from this hay pile together and then we will eat together from the other two piles and we'll be besties forever and ever and ever!"
- STUD MUFFINS. Lily LOVES Stud Muffins. She will do all of her stretches for them and once you're done giving her treats, she'll continue bowing (her favorite stretch) to see if you'll give her more!

I can get her to eat any medicine imaginable if I just hide it in a Stud Muffin or two!
- Wither and chest scratches, especially in the spring and late summer when she's shedding. She'll make the funniest faces and will even groom me back sometimes. She's the only horse that has ever groomed me back.

This face. Check out her upper lip. She'll wiggle it when you hit a really sweet spot.

- She'll eat any and all treats you can offer. And then she will never forget you and will mug you for more treats if she sees you again.

"Your phone looks edible. Gimme." -_-
(We had a slew of boarders at the previous barn that would just walk out into the fields to give the horses treats. Bad bad bad bad!)
- Food. All food that a horse can eat, though I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be above eating things like roast chicken and ham sandwiches as long as it was a person offering it. *sigh* She only gets a handful of ration balancer with her supplements, and even with the wild concoction of powders, pellets and liquids that are added in there, she gets tremendously excited about this little handful of grain. Which makes it SO significant that she has learned to back up and wait for the food to be dumped in her feeder. Granted, the fact that she gets rewarded with food for backing up and waiting is what has made this conditioning so successful. She gets tied in the run-in while eating so she doesn't go bug the others once she is done, since she usually scarfs her grain down before everybody else. Lately Lily gets fed loose at the other end of the run-in because she knows better than to try to bother Gracie. Lily gets 4x the amount of grain Gracie does and Lily's is a whole lot tastier anyway. Lily always leaves some flax at the bottom of her feeder: after everyone is finished eating, Gracie is released and the first thing she does is lick Lily's bowl clean.
- Attention. She is kind of an attention whore. If she's never seen you before and you walk into her field, she'll be the first horse to come greet you. Mainly to see if you might have treats, but nowadays that she's more civilized, she'll be happy if you just pet her, tell her how pretty she is, and scratch her forehead.

"Yes. Touch me. Groom me. Yes."
She was napping here, enjoying the one-on-one attention.
- Forehead scratches. She'll lower her head, relax her ears, close her eyes and give a big sigh. If you want her to relax, just scratch her forehead. It's what I use as a reward for her because she enjoys it so much. :)


  1. My herd loves stud muffins too!! :)

  2. Quest is a total treat hound too, need to give the Stud Muffins a try! I haven't found her favorite itchy spot though...yet

    1. Stud Muffins are like horse crack. Wait until spring: I'm sure you'll find Quest's itchy spot then! :) Gracie likes her chest scratched but only in the spring when she's shedding.

  3. nice! isabel needs to be free too, stalls are NOT her thing lol. and food. she must have food. always :)

    1. Horses and their food, I tell you! :)

  4. If there were stud muffins in Germany....

    I love the photo of you putting your back into it, scrubbing on Gracie. She's like Bellis, loving the massage. Aren't candid photos the best?

  5. I haven't tried Stud Muffins! I'm going to see if I can my hands on some. Archie's never turned down a treat.. except peppermint stuff. Your ladies are pretty particular! They've got such distinct personalities. :)

    1. Hahaha they totally do!

      A lot of feed stores carry Stud Muffins; I've found them at Southern States. They are pricey for horse treats but you can make them last longer by breaking them into smaller pieces: they are soft enough that this is easy to do. They are way better than any other "pill pocket"-type treat available on the market right now: Stud Muffins are soft (as long as it's warm out; they get hard when it's very cold!) which makes it very easy to hide pills in them. Totally recommend!

  6. Wow maybe I should try stud muffins. A lot of people on the blog has suggested them but I've never seen them for sale here so I've never tried them... maybe I should order some lol. I never realized how much Chrome and Gracie have in common..... have to say I'm glad he doesn't share some of her other traits LOL!!!!

    1. They are like horse crack! Lol I would buy mine online at the Cheshire Horse: http://www.cheshirehorse.com/Stud-Muffins-Horse-Treats-P922.aspx but you can find them at a lot of feed stores. Southern States carries them, if you have them in your area, and I wouldn't be surprised if Tractor Supply had them too.

      Gracie has a lot in common with Liz's Griffin also, and she reminds me endlessly of my Paso Lucero. I'm hoping all of the groundwork we've been doing pays off in spades when it comes to my relationship with her. She's a really smart horse with some significant gaps in her training. I wish she really was 4 or 5 years old like I'd originally been told she was, and that I was working with her from scratch from the beginning, with no opportunity for bad habits. I guess we get to do it anyway, even if she's 8 years old instead of 5! :) She's a really cool horse in person; she has charisma and people automatically fall in love with her.

    2. I didn't even think of Tractor Supply. I used to live close to one, but since moving it's pretty far away so I don't go often. If I'm in the area any time soon I'll check. If not I'll order from the website. Thank you!

      I've noticed similarities to Griffin as well. :D I wish you could have had Gracie from scratch, but you'll do great with her even with the bad habits. She's already improving!