Monday, February 14, 2011

Horse torture, goats, and tasty food

You gonna act like a terror, Dixie? Oh I'll get you. I'll get you GOOD.

Today was one of the most amusing days I've had in a long time. I tortured my horse but good.

I bought some applesauce and made a big syringe of it. Then I went to catch my horse to offer her dinner. Remember how I told you she's been objecting to being haltered?

I put her grain in her bucket and got the halter. She was standing at the gate staring at the bucket 20' away. I went in the gate and offered her the halter. She dithered around for a while - she'd stick her nose real near the nosepiece, then yank it away and either step toward the gate or drop her head a lot. If she stepped toward the gate, I backed her up - no crowding, thank you. If she dropped her head, I ignored it.

(Head-dropping was, deliberately, the first trick I taught her when I started clicker training. For some reason the first trick is the one animals always go back to, so you want it to be something completely innocuous. If God forbid I ever sell Dixie to someone who hasn't read this blog, they'll be puzzled but not threatened by her head-dropping routine. My Percheron Poppy - I messed up bad with him. His default behavior was pawing. I highly encourage you to play with clicker training, but I strenuously encourage you to teach head-down first!!)

She got mad and chased the goats, then came back. The Imp of the Perverse* had me, so I got bored. I shooed her away, hung the halter on the gate post, and left. I walked to the barn, glanced back at the paddock, and somehow managed to keep moving when I wanted to fall over laughing. I did not think a horse could actually look appalled - I didn't think they had the right facial muscles. She was frozen in disbelief that I had done such a thing to her.

I grabbed the hose and went back in the paddock. Dumped the trough, hooked up the hose, sprayed it out, tipped it back over, and set it to fill up. Then I grabbed the halter. Dixie had been hovering near me but not in my space, so she immediately stuck her nose in the halter and yanked it out again. A couple of repetitions and she stuck her nose in and stood very still for me to tie the halter on.

I let her eat her ration balancer in peace while the tank filled up, then Phase Two Horse Torture commenced.

I whipped out the syringe of applesauce. I squirted a bit on my palm and offered it to her. She dropped her head to sniff it, got applesauce on her lip, yanked her head up and licked her lips, and flapped her head up and down while she tried to decide if she should be mad. When she settled down, I grabbed the halter and went to shove the syringe in her mouth. Of course she tossed her head a few times, then she stopped and started making the spitting-out face, so I stuck the syringe in and gave her a tiny taste of applesauce on her tongue.

Then I stepped back.

She made the headslinging DO NOT LIKE face while she tried to spit out the applesauce, but gradually realized it didn't taste disgusting. It slowly turned into that "I am not sure what I'm tasting" headslinging. She glared at me. How dare I treat her this way.

I squirted some more applesauce on my hand and offered it to her. She went in for it, got it on her lip, and the entire scene started over again, exactly like before. I repeated the process again - that's three times she got DO NOT LIKE oh wait maybe I do applesauce. Then I took pity on the poor creature and turned her back out with her goats and her hay.

I have heard about giving your horses syringes of applesauce. It's a great (mean) trick to convince them that you're not always squirting gross things in their mouth. I have often thought about applesauceing my horses, but never have. I deeply regret that! It's a good training trick, plus it's absolutely hysterical - please, please, torment your horses with applesauce.

Here is a video, for DiJ and my lurker goat fans! This is right after the Great Applesauce Caper. Dixie is mad, you'll see her glaring. The two little ones are Nigerians, and the big one is a grade wether.

Outside critters from Funder on Vimeo.

I read a lot of food blogs to get ideas for what to cook. One Hungry Chef is a real chef, from America, in Australia. He posts very cheffy dishes, but I am looking for inspiration more than an exact recipe to copy, so I got excited about the "Roast Chicken" post. What I had for lunch was completely inspired by Jerad, but didn't look at all like his dish. Last week I turned two chicken legs into rillettes as per the OHC recipe... kinda. I didn't have a shallot, or fresh thyme (just dried) or lemon zest, or 2 kilos of legs - just two leg-and-thighs and some stock and some duck fat. I shredded it up, checked for salt, and sealed it in a little Glasslock container to mellow.

A major drawback of the primal diet is the shocking lack of crackers. Some things just need crackers. Rillettes without crackers sounded pretty awful, actually. Even the thought of making quenelles out of the rillettes wasn't that tasty. I could a) cheat b) make crackers from seeds or c) try the parnsip chips my friend swore by.

Remember when I posted about turnips? My blog posts go up on Facebook, and one of my non-horsey friends said that parsnip chips are like crack. Wash a parsnip. Peel it, unless you can't find your damn peeler. Slice it very thin on your mandoline, unless you don't have a mandoline because you know you will slice off your fingertip. In that case use your sharpest knife and strive to make even slices. Decide that if it's worth trying it's worth trying right and repeat with a second parsnip. Toss them in olive oil and salt. Lay them on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake til they're crispy.**

Once they cool a bit, put a gob of chicken rillette on each parsnip slice and eat and be entranced. It was phenomenal. The parsnips are slightly sweet and crunchy and the chicken is unctuous and delicious. All the ingredients are really cheap, too. For bonus points (i.e. what I didn't do) remember to take the rillettes out of the fridge an hour earlier so they're not really cold, and remember to oversalt the rillette when you make them. Hot food needs less salt than cold food.

It was really good. When I run out of food, I am totally buying a whole chicken and rilletting the breasts and legs. I have a porchetta-type roast and a small ribeye roast to eat first, though. Yall do know to buy whole chickens and make stock from the carcass, right? Because that's dead easy and so good for you. I will tell you how to do it Funder-style if you don't know.

*Any Neal Stephenson fans out there?

** I dunno, I was making a pork roast so the oven was on 350 convection and I didn't set a timer. Maybe 15 minutes? Less if you slice thinner. Longer if you slice thicker. You will know. Don't get distracted.


  1. Your goats are so cute, I needed something to make me smile tonight. And dixie definitely had a grouchie look going on in that video!

  2. Parsnip chips sound AWESOME.

    >sending this page to Jim so he will make them for me<

    Also: torturing the horse is the BEST fun. Oh yeah.

  3. I LOVE them. <3 They're all, 'we're so cute playing lala--OH MY GOD GOATZILLA--... :D' Mine are pygmies (to answer your question) and I am always jealous of the colors of almost every other breed! Are they social with you?

    Hopefully Dixie doesn't talk to Key... He picks goats up and flings them places. They no longer venture into the pasture. ;)

  4. Melissa - I'm glad I made you smile!

    Aarene - tell Jim not to be afraid of the whole recipe, it's just an inspiration!

    DiJ - The white-on-brown one (The Former Queen of NIgeria) is extremely friendly. The brown-on-white one (The Most Christian Missionary) is skittish but comes in for scritches as soon as she realizes I haven't killed the Queen. Both the Nigis runs like hell when Dixie pins her ears - she only ever tags the big one, Billy. He runs too, he's just slower.

  5. LOL please tell me those are their actual names!

    Luff me some goats. I'm such a hick. :P

  6. Love the applesauce story! I love all the expressions horses can make.

  7. You can also try other fun things like strawberry yogurt and molasses!
    I've also noticed that Boomer is VERY offended by being syringed on the left side, but totally tolerates it on his right side. Go figure!

  8. DiJ - yes, those are really their names. Well ok, I haven't actually tried to register those names. Somehow I don't think the dairy goat registries will see the humor in them.

    Kate - you write such lovely descriptions of horses' emotions. Thanks!

    Heather - I couldn't decide whether to try yogurt or applesauce first, but I know she likes apples. Once she decides the syringe might have good stuff I'll load it with different things!

  9. Applesauce in a syringe in order to get horses used to the whole thing....

    How mind-blowingly annoyed I am that I didn't think of it!

    That would make worming time a whole lot easier. There's another thing I'm stealing from you.

    Peanut's first trick was touching things with his nose, but his go-to is pawing. Consarnit!

  10. Homemade yam chips, made the same way as the parsnip chips, are addictive too. I must try the parsnip ones - I know I love the taste of them in mixed roasted root vegetable dishes.

    As for the applesause syringe trick, I think I will try that concept for the dogs and cat - maybe with a watered down liver paste. The few occasions I've had to syringe liquid meds into them have been quite a challenge. Thanks for the idea.

  11. Funder, I love your goaties! We had a small herd of pygmy and pygoras when we were in Oregon. I miss having goats and all their antics terribly. *sigh* It will be a while longer until we have goats again.

    I am going to practice de-worming with applesauce! Thanks for the reminder! Casey is such a pill about de-worming and he giraffe-necks so my 5'8" self can't reach him.


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