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Baked with Love: The Mrs. Pastures® Origin Story

February 8, 2024
Shelley Paulson with horse.

The wholesome, home-kitchen-developed Mrs. Pastures recipe, paired with Alltech’s industry knowledge and global reach, has already proven to be a winning combination.

It could be argued that few more iconic or beloved brands than Mrs. Pastures® Cookies for Horses exist in today’s horse industry. With their highly recognizable, red-lidded jars, they evoke a sense of nostalgia for many of us, leading to memories of days gone by, when we would cheerfully feed them to the horses that helped us learn and grow.

Devoted fans have included some of horse racing’s best-known champions, such as Hall of Famers California Chrome — who is still receiving regular Mrs. Pastures shipments at his home in Japan — and Old Friends Farm resident “Mr. Personality,” Lava Man. Mrs. Pastures cookie crumbs are even sent to 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Silver Charm, who has trouble chewing the standard cookies.

In October 2023, Mrs. Pastures built on this success when it proudly launched its first-ever addition to the product line, the sweet potato-infused Super Cookie™. Several more exciting new recipes are in the works.

How it all began

Mrs. Pastures Cookies for Horses was the 1986 brainchild of 66-year-old California horsewoman Patricia Burge, who wanted to create a wholesome treat for her daughter Maggie’s exceedingly picky horse, Poncho.

People are often curious about how the name of the company came to be. As the story goes, Mrs. Burge’s husband tried one of the horse cookies and remarked, “Well, it ain’t Mrs. Fields,” to which she replied, “No, it’s Mrs. Pastures!” The name stuck.

The all-natural ingredients of Mrs. Burge’s original cookie recipe remain unchanged, including apples, oats, cane molasses, rolled barley, water, and wheat middlings (a beneficial byproduct of the wheat milling process).

A legacy of love

Patricia Burge officially started the Mrs. Pastures business in her home kitchen and, at that time, never dreamed of it becoming the success it has. Her daughter, Maggie Carroll, officially took over business operations when her mother passed away in 2016 at the age of 96.

Five years later, Alltech acquired the business. Mrs. Carroll served as a close advisor in the first year following acquisition, helping to ensure that customers could continue to count on the high quality and great taste for which the treats are known.

A recipe for success

The original wholesome, home-kitchen-developed recipe, paired with Alltech’s industry knowledge and global reach, has already proven to be a winning combination — positioning Mrs. Pastures to meet the equine industry’s ever-evolving needs. The original recipe is now available not only in those red-lidded jars but in everything from 8-ounce pouches to 50-pound tubs.

With the new Super Cookie, Mrs. Pastures is giving health-conscious horse owners a superfood-filled treat option. Made with the same time-tested process as the original cookie, the Super Cookie is primarily made up of sweet potatoes, turmeric and kelp, with no molasses or other added sugars.

Nourishing the bond

Mrs. Pastures has an enduring commitment to nourishing the bond between horses and their humans — a tradition Alltech is proud to help the business carry on. The treats often serve as a healthful, positive reinforcement-based horse training incentive, helping to develop better ground manners, improve trailer loading and reward good behavior under-saddle.

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