Friday Fail: Homemade fly spray

My horse trailer has been hanging out at my friend Trista’s house for the better part of six months. Our truck doesn’t have a gooseneck hitch to pull it down to the barn, and I hate to inconvenience anyone by asking them to haul it down there for me. (It’s about a 45 minute drive.) I have most of the stuff I need from it, either in my garage or at the barn, so it’s usually a non-issue. Johnny and I occasionally go up to where the trailer is (which is about 45 minutes from our house) to visit our friends and work on getting the trailer into more appealing condition to sell. I always make sure to grab anything I need from it while I’m there, since it’s an inconvenient drive.

About two weeks ago, I started running low on fly spray. I made a mental note to get my big jug of Fly-Die fly spray out of the trailer and take it to the barn when we were up working on the lights over the weekend. Of course, like all of my mental notes, this was filed away and promptly forgotten.

So last week I decided to whip up a batch of homemade fly spray because I am too lazy and cheap to drive close to an hour to retrieve my fly spray; I am also too cheap to buy a new bottle at my local farm and ranch store.

After poking around the internet, I finally found a recipe that didn’t require me to buy citronella oil or call an Avon lady to acquire Skin-So-Soft. I can’t recall where I found the recipe, but it’s not important. It called for:

  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 tbsp Dawn dish soap
Now, we are Palmolive people, so that’s what I used. I figured it wouldn’t make a huge difference. I doubled the recipe so it’d fit in my spray bottle and it looked very unappealing.
I tested it out by spraying some of it on my arm; it didn’t burn or give me a rash, so I decided it was safe enough for Moe and Gina.
I took it out to the barn, where Moe had turned into Pissy Sensitive Diva Horse because flies were landing on his legs, belly, and rump. I sprayed him down liberally; he smelled like a salad bar. Another boarder asked me, “Do you smell vinegar??” upon entering the barn. I pretended like I didn’t know what she was talking about.
I rode Moe, who continued to be Pissy Sensitive Diva Horse, swishing his tail, stomping, and turning around to bite himself. I doused him again after our ride and turned him out. There were still flies pestering him.
I tried it on Gina, who seemed offended by the smell. She rolled her eyes around and sniffed suspiciously at me, the bottle, and her barrel. She isn’t as cranky about flies as Moe is, so there was definitely less swishing and stomping, but I could still see flies landing on her. After our ride, I sprayed the concoction directly on some flies on her legs, and they just keep hanging out. Hmm.
I’ve used about half the bottle of the stuff and here’s my official verdict: Big fat fail: this doesn’t work! Maybe it was the Palmolive. Maybe we have super flies at my barn. Who knows? But you can bet I’m driving up to Trista’s this weekend to grab my good old reliable Fly-Die! 

Homemade Horse Treats

I ordered a jumbo-sized bucket of Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns, Moe’s favorite treat, less than a month ago. Fatty Lumpkin does a fair amount of shameless mugging for them, and I frequently oblige him. (Stood still for grooming? Have a treat. Picked up all four hooves? Have a treat. Looked cute? Have a treat.) Uncle Jimmy does not sell his Squeezy Buns for cheap; at the rate I’m going through them, I’ll be spending more on horse treats than my own food soon.

Since I’m unemployed and enjoy cooking, I decided to mix up some homemade horse treats to supplement Moe’s Squeezy Bun habit. The result? A moist, chewy treat that’s easy to make and requires only a few ingredients!

To make your own horse treats, you’ll need:

  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 2.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil (plus more for greasing muffin tin)
The procedure for making these is very easy:
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Line a muffin tin with silicon or paper liners, or grease well with vegetable oil.
  • Shred or grate the apple and carrots. I used my mini food processor, but you can grate them by hand, too. 
  • Combine shredded apple, carrots, oats, honey, and oil in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Form into balls about 1.5″ in diameter (slightly bigger than a golf ball) and place in lined/greased muffin tin and bake for 45 minutes, until firm. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool; treats can be refrigerated to speed cooling.
Makes 12 generously-sized treats.

This is a pretty flexible recipe. You can substitute just about any sort of oat- rolled, quick-cooking, instant. Horses aren’t picky. Likewise, you can use molasses instead of honey if that’s what you have in your cabinets. You can probably also use corn syrup. (I always have some around from pecan pie season.)
Moe and greedy baby Trigger loved these. They’re a little moist, so they made the inside of my jacket kind of sticky. But when don’t I come home from the barn kind of sticky?
Anyone else have a horse treat recipe? Who’s in for publishing a cookbook?