Caroling is fun, but it can be chilly fun. Back at the barn, deploy the microwave and warm up the hot chocolate and cider–or a cup of warm bran mash cheer, depending on your species.
In addition to the traditional holiday cookies, serve treats that can be eaten by humans and equines alike. Animal crackers, oatmeal cookies, and bran muffins are all popular, as are grapes, apples, carrots, pears, peppermints and candy canes. Plain gingerbread cookies are easy to bake and can be cut into seasonal or barn-theme shapes.
Special horse treats are also easy to make. If you do not have time to bake, horse treats can also be made by coring apples and filling the hole with a mixture of sweet feed and molasses.
If you do have the time and inclination to bake, here is a basic horse treat recipe:
Basic Horse Treat Recipe
- 1 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup shredded carrots or diced apples
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 1/4 cup water
Mix ingredients. Make small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet for individual treats, or spread mixture in a greased brownie pan for cutting into shapes.
Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Brown sugar, raisins and crushed peppermints may also be added.
Adjust the water and molasses as needed to create a mixture that is sticky, but not stiff. Some experimentation with cooking time may be necessary when the ingredients are varied.
Find guidelines for organizing your own barn caroling party in the December 2005 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.