By: Brittany Bevis
Competitors attending The Madness May 7-16 at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio are in for a sweet treat thanks to Meredith Knotts, aka “The Cookie Lady.” The business owner, head baker, and design lead of Cookie Lady Equine Confectionery has been busy in her kitchen this week baking custom-designed and hand-decorated cookies especially for horses competing at The Madness. Although these cookies might look good enough to eat, they’re actually for horses!
Meredith has been involved in the horse industry for the past 20 years and enjoys breeding, raising, and showing her own horses. In fact, she bred and raised her current show horse, NFerno, a World Show Top 10, Congress Top 5, and NSBA Top 10 earning horse by Hot N Blazing. They compete in Hunter Under Saddle, Trail, Performance Halter, and Pleasure Driving as a team.
After a full day of competition, Meredith found that NFerno needs a “little sweet incentive,” and her cookies provided the perfect boost.
“I’m a firm believer that horses respond better when they have a little sweet incentive,” she says. “Training can be daunting and requires our horses to be very focused and sometimes mechanical. We love our horses and everything they give us, so I offer that little bit of sweet relief. A long time ago, I was lovingly coined ‘The Cookie Lady’ by my dear friend, Shannon Timm. I was The Cookie Lady at shows, in the training barn, and here at home. Good rides always equal cookies, to me.”
I’ve always loved how horses respond to a familiar face, especially a familiar face bearing cookies! Cookies are fun and create happiness for both humans and horses. There was a need for a more gourmet horse treat, and there was a need for an equine confection that was made with quality, traceable, confectionery grade ingredients. In turn, I created a treat designed for horses, but delicious enough to take a bite of yourself, and professional enough to use in a promotional capacity. Sharing is caring!”
Thus, the Cookie Lady Equine Confectionery was born. Today, Meredith creates equine treats that are “simple, sweet, and gourmet,” with every morsel made in her home kitchen.
“I’m a one-woman show. I handle the website, social media, baking, decorating, packaging, fulfilling orders, and shipping. Each small batch is baked using only human grade, confectionery ingredients, packed full of all of the things horses (and humans) crave, beautifully decorated and iced, and then packaged and heat sealed for ultimate freshness. My cookies contain no preservatives, agricultural grade ingredients, or veterinary prohibited additives. They’re all natural and all delicious! I think humans indulge just as much as the horses with Cookie Lady.”
What makes these cookies sweet, and allows the Cookie Lady to adorn them with so many creative designs, is royal icing. “The options are virtually limitless. Icing is mixed and custom colored for each individual project. I hand pipe and flood all the cookies with a tipless pastry bag. The process is very therapeutic, to be completely honest. I have no formal pastry training, so I’m completely self taught and take pride in each and every cookie and the joy that they bring.”
Meredith explains the extensive process. “Cookies are baked and cooled overnight, icing takes place the following day, and then we allow another day for the icing to set. Cookies that require multiple colors and layers of decoration also require more days. It’s about a three-day process from start to finish for each individual, basic cookie. You cannot rush perfection, and Cookie Lady is no exception.”
How did the partnership with The Madness come about? It’s all thanks to a good friend, Kathy Avolt, of An Equine Production, who runs the show management service for the event. “Kathy mentioned that she would kill to have the Cookie Lady involved in the SOQHA Madness. Being a huge supporter of the SOQHA, and a Madness Circuit champion myself, I quickly jumped at the opportunity and went right to work putting a custom cookie design together. When I sent Kathy what I had come up with, she wanted to show it to Judd Paul.”
“Kathy, Judd, and I put our heads together and designed a custom cookie pack for The Madness. The Madness plaque and my very popular, blue ribbon cookie are part of this custom pack. Hundreds of custom cookies later, the SOQHA Madness is blessed with the Cookie Lady! We encourage exhibitors to find our banner at The Madness and snap a picture to share on Facebook and Instagram. Every person who takes a picture with our banner and shares it will be sent free cookies with their next Cookie Lady order.”
Just like The Madness cookies, the Cookie Lady receives a lot of custom orders. However, she also has plenty of ready-to-eat cookies. “My husband, Josh, designed his own cookie called Tiny’s Stuffins. The Stuffins are delicious, little muffins stuffed with mint, apple, banana, or (NFerno’s favorite) cinnamon roll. They are iced and packaged in a 12-pack. Our best sellers are Po-Nuts, Sweet Splats, Stuffins, and Toasties. My Birth-Neigh cakes and cookies are also very popular.”
If you’re at The Madness next week, be sure to keep on the lookout for the Cookie Lady’s Madness cookies!
For more information visit http://cookieladyequine.company.site,or Instagram: CookieLady_Equine, Facebook: Cookie Lady • Equine Confectionery.
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