Gallop intentionally!

This is a short story about a funny, profound (or profoundly funny) statement.

Spoiler alert: There’s a recipe at the bottom for a seriously delicious carrot cake.

horse portraitA couple of years ago I was out at the barn riding my horse, Joe. He’s a sweet and personable horse and usually pretty low key. I had been lungeing and riding him in the indoor arena and afterwards decided to ride him around the property. I had a bareback pad on him (essentially just a padded piece of fabric, with no stirrups) and a bitless bridle that I was trying out.

bareback pad, bitless bridle

This is a bareback pad and bitless bridle.

We were outside the back end of the indoor arena. Inside, I could hear a couple of women chatting and riding their horses. Joe suddenly noticed the activity, decided it was a saber-toothed tiger or something worse, pivoted 180° on his left front leg and took us off at a full gallop. We covered about 500′ in less than a second (or so it seemed), just long enough for me to start looking for a soft place to fall. In the meantime I pulled back on the reins and shouted “whoa Joe.” He stopped fairly quickly, bucked a little then settled down. I got him walking again and soon enough he acted like nothing had happened. I was amazed that I hadn’t fallen off. It all happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to squeak out some adrenalin (or pee for that matter). It was also nice to learn that bitless bridles do work! We walked around the property for another 10-15 minutes and then I decided it was time to call it a day. I took him back to the barn to untack and do the usual end-of-the-ride stuff — brushing, picking out his hooves, sharing treats (peppermints, horse cookies, carrots, apples or his favorite—my carrot cake).

terolyn training

A beautiful day to ride.

Later as I was heading out, I ran into two friends chatting in the lounge area. One already knew about my speedy adventure with Joe and the other didn’t, so I shared my little story. One woman commented that she always gallops when bareback, which is very true. She and her friend have Arabian horses that they’ve owned for years and they ride like they were born in the saddle. With mere bareback pads, they gallop all over the place, up and down small ravines, over gullies, even ride their horses backwards—and never, ever fall off. I’ve NEVER ridden like that (sadly, I just realized right now, I probably never will).

gallop intentionallyWhen the one woman said she gallops bareback, the other looked at her incredulously and asked, “but do you gallop intentionally?” The other replied solemnly, yet very emphatically, “I always gallop intentionally.” I had to laugh at the exchange—from my position, it all looked and sounded so serious. I was also tickled by the expression, “gallop intentionally.” It just sounded so profound, like “live consciously,” but with more gusto. I told the girls that would be a great bumper sticker. So I went home and made one!

SO: If you want to remind others to live their lives intentionally and with passion, to gallop intentionally just as YOU do, you need one of these bumper stickers! They are 10″x3″, removable waterproof vinyl and professionally printed. Click here to buy one for the amazingly low price of only $3.99. Postage is included!

Ride like the wind, Bullseye!


Carrot Cake, Joe's Favorite!

carrot cake recipeThis carrot cake is dense, moist and bursting with warm flavors. I'd recommend baking it in a bundt or similar cake pan. It can be served slightly warm, with whipped cream, a little ice cream or your favorite cream cheese icing.  
Off label use: this makes a really great breakfast food!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 12 slices


  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c oil (coconut oil is especially good)
  • 4 eggs room temp (esp. if using coconut oil)
  • 2 c flour (can use Einkorn)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c carrots grated (medium)
  • 1 c pecans chopped
  • whipped cream (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350° (This recipe seems to work as is at this temperature, regardless of elevation.) Butter baking pan if needed.
  • Mix together dry ingredients (flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon) and set aside.
  • Grate carrots and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream the oil (mix with fork) into the sugar.
  • Add four eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add pecans, mix.
  • Add dry ingredients, a cup at a time, mixing well. Add grated carrots, mix until all ingredients are blended.
  • Pour into baking pan, bake for 1 hour or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean or cake springs back when pressed with a finger.
  • Cool for about 15 minutes on a rack, then remove from baking pan.
  • Slice and serve with your choice of a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream or cream cheese icing—or plain (my favorite).

8 thoughts on “Gallop intentionally!

  1. Susan E

    I really enjoyed your story, it reminds me of a couple of my horses from years long past. And BTW, thanks for sharing the carrot cake recipe, I will definitely try it out soon.
    I was reading a comment you had posted on another site, it was about chickens, hens specifically, there was a pattern for making saddles to protect our little darlings from the Roos. You commented that you sew for animals, and in the comment said something about a fly mask.
    So my question to you is, have you come across or came up with a good pattern that would protect the face from sunburns? My boy Sterling, a beautiful sweet Arabian/Quarter Horse is grey w/apron face, he burns if he doesn’t have sunblock on every other day. He HATES having sunblock put on! Looking for a long term answer besides a lifetime supply of sunblock!
    Thanks, Susan

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      Hi Susan, wow I forgot about the chicken saddle pattern. I should probably write a post about that, huh?

      I haven’t ever looked for a pattern for a horse sun/fly mask, I’ve always just bought from Schneiders or locally. I BET your horse would hate sunblock! Schneiders has some pretty creative masks. They won’t last forever, but what does on horses, really?

      1. Susan E

        Hi, & thanks for the link. I have looked at these masks before, but just never spent the money on one because I’ve been skeptical of how well it would work & survive my boys! (That’s why I am thinking of going homemade). I also don’t really know how I feel about having a mask on him everyday for 1/2 of the year. I probably will go ahead and buy one that can be used without a bridal or halter, and hopefully it will last more than a week. LOL. Sterling is lowest in pecking order of 3 geldings. But the middle horse happens to be a miniature. He & Sterlings had a great dynamic before the third wheel came in to the picture. They were best buddy until my husbands horse came to live with us and and he is a bully. Sterling and Lyle, (he has crazy hair/mane like Lyle Lovett) still play and pick on each other all the time, it is really very cute… But it does make me worry that anything I put on Sterling won’t last long.

        So, did you make the saddles for your hens? I think you should go ahead and write about that. It is always good to have current information when searching for something!!
        I am going to be making some saddles for my girls as soon as I get to town for some fabric. I have 18 hens, 4 of them have no feathers on their backs. It is not only the rooster pulling the feathers out, but the higher rank hens do it at times too. They have even fought at times. Very odd. They are a docile breed so it is strange behavior to me. But hopefully the saddles will give some relief to these few gals that just can’t catch a break.

        1. Farmer Deb Post author

          Wow, horse politics, go figure!

          Yes, I made saddles for my chickens, but only because of injuries. I don’t have a rooster, so that’s not an issue for the girls. Things have calmed down here for my chickens, they’re not laying as it’s winter and they are getting older, so less pecking/picking on each other. I live in the suburbs, therefore the urban farm as opposed to a real farm. But they do have their pecking order.

          I decided to make another saddle (or two) to test out/perfect my pattern and will end up posting about it at some point. If you need the pattern, let me know. It’s really pretty simple and easy to make and a great solution.

  2. John

    Looking at hoop frame in Mother Earth News. I don’t understand the photo which shows a horizontal pvc pipe on the wood frame behind the hoop attachment.

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      Hi John, that horizontal pipe is not part of the pipe/clamp assembly. I’m in the process of making “rails” on which I can slide the 10′ pipes back and forth, so they can be slid out of the way when not in use, rather than disassembling them. Sorry for the confusion, I wrote this article after I’d already started adding the rails.

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      I don’t know a thing about strawberry towers, so I searched on Google and came up with this image. I can’t find the actual web site. Not sure if that’s what you meant, but it sure looks practical and easy to make. 🙂


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