Searching for crunchy, natural horse treat recipes? Are mass-produced horse cookies unappealing? If you’re like me, you want something that says “I care a lot,” because you do.
These homemade horse treats are fragrant with oats and spices. This recipe allows you to create many flavor variations. Choose from cinnamon, anise, fennel seed, or ginger to change up the taste. This is the basic cinnamon recipe, with variations below.
Many mass-produced horse treats have artificial coloring. And they look like dried sludge pushed through an extruder. They remind me of dirt plugs that lawn care machines leave behind. For me, they don’t express much love or caring at all. If you like to bake, why not fix up something special made just for your horse?
Horse Treats that Look good, taste good and Hold up in your pocket
I reviewed many horse treat recipes to create this one that’s simple, tasty and sturdy enough to stay whole in your pockets. These natural horse treats use kitchen staples you may well have on hand.
This method creates small wafers that can slip through the hole in a grazing muzzle if your horse wears one. A touch of molasses and honey gives them just the right sweetness with minimal sugar. These crunchy horse treats stay crisp and tasty even when left for weeks in an airtight container at the barn or in your car.
I’m sure most horses don’t care what their treats look like. But I do. I want to feel good about what I’m giving my horse friend — as good as she does eating them. Surprisingly, the dogs I’ve met really like them too.
The secret to crisp, crunchy horse cookies is drying them at a low temperature for a long time. Drying in a 225-degree oven worked best for me. After baking, I let them sit overnight with the oven off, as everything cools down. This dries them completely for extra crispiness without getting scorched.
Horse Treats Recipe
This crunchy homemade horse treat recipe makes about 200 1.5-inch wafers. You can stash a handful in your pocket without breaking them. They last for weeks in an airtight container.
Working in batches, grind the oats in a blender or food processor. Process until the oat flakes resemble a coarse flour. Optional: For a natural appearance, only partly grind the final batch (about a heaping cup), so that oat flakes remain recognizable.
Place the ground oats in a large bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the water, molasses, honey, and oil. Mix with a large spoon or with your hands, to form a stiff dough. The dough should be just sticky enough to form a ball. If the dough is too crumbly, add water until you can roll a teaspoon of dough into a ball without crumbling.
Preheat the oven to 250-degrees. Roll teaspoon-size pieces of dough into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a the bottom of a small jar, or the palm of your hand. I like using the curved bottom of an empty cinnamon spice container. Make uniform 1 1/2-inch wafers, about 1/4-inch thick in the center. Arrange on a cookie sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Fill 2 sheets.
Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time (switching top and bottom trays, and turning front to back).
Lower the oven temperature to 225 degrees. Bake for another 45 minutes, as the oven temperature adjusts naturally to the lower temperature.
Rotate the baking sheets again. Bake for another 30-45 minutes.
Test for doneness by removing one wafer and allowing it to cool for a few minutes. Treats are done when a cool one breaks crisply and feels firm when pressing a fingernail into the top. If the treat feels soft or moist, add more baking time as needed until they are firm or almost completely firm when tested. You may need more time (like an hour more) depending on the amount of water you have added and how your oven works. For extra crispness, leave the treats to cool on the sheets in the oven with the door closed until room temperature.
Store cooled treats in an airtight container and enjoy sharing them with your horse. Your doggie friends may like them, too.
Fennel: Grind 1.25-oz of fennel seeds (a spice jar full) with oat flakes. Reduce or eliminate cinnamon.
Anise: Grind 1.25 oz of anise seed with oat flakes. Reduce or eliminate cinnamon.
Ginger-spice: In addition to cinnamon, add 1T nutmeg and 3T ginger to dry ingredients.