Last weekend I packed up a picnic and headed to Black Star Sport Horses with my friend Morgan for the annual Tejas Carriage Association two-day event, one of my favorite events of the whole year. Basically, you hang out on a beautiful fall day and watch a bunch of horse-drawn carriages compete in various events including dressage, a cones course, and obstacles throughout Black Star’s 255 acres.
This year I kept the menu simple with my Italian Pasta Salad in mason jars, pumpkin bread, apples, and dark chocolate pomegranate cookies. I love taking pasta salad on picnics because it isn’t highly perishable and you can take it in individual glass jars that stay chilled for hours. Much more practical than say, a sandwich, that will quickly get soggy and need ice packs.
Pumpkin bread is just perfect this time of year. I actually took a loaf to the carriage event last year! You can watch me make it in a season two episode of The Rose Table:
The pumpkin bread bakes up perfectly and freezes really well. I made two loaves when I had a free evening and pulled one out of the freezer the night before the picnic. Get the recipe here.
I also baked dark chocolate pomegranate cookies, a brand new recipe here on The Rose Table, but one I’ve actually been baking for years. These would also be delicious with dried cherries or cranberries but try them first with pomegranate arils.
I chose my bottle of Gnarly Head Wines limited edition 1924, which I’ve been saving for a special occasion. I thought 1924 is a throwback era and appropriate for a throwback event like carriage driving. Plus I thought the dark, full-bodied cabernet sauvignon would pair nicely with the salami in my pasta salad and I was right. I’m a huge fan of Gnarly Head. I have yet to try a bottle that I didn’t love. It’s not expensive wine but Morgan took a sip and said, “Wow. This tastes expensive!” My thoughts exactly.
We went on Saturday and set up our picnic with a view of the cones course. There were fancy Dutch warmbloods, adorable miniature ponies, two-in-hand carriages, marathon carriages, pleasure driving carriages, and so much more. I actually went back on Sunday to watch my dear friend and trainer Jessica Blackmon compete as a navigator in the cross-country marathon. It’s quite terrifying! The horses race through assorted obstacles set up all across Black Star’s expansive wooded property, including a water obstacle set up behind Black Star’s indoor arena.
Before heading back home, I took Morgan to meet my own horses, Prince and Wendy. They were delighted with their apples. It was another fabulous horse weekend!
Learn more about the carriage event plus get some picnic packing tips on this week’s episode of The Rose Table:
If you love horses or just love being outside on a beautiful day, be sure to check out Black Star Sport Horses’ event schedule. They typically host 8-12 events each year that are open to the public and free for spectators. Want more fall picnic inspiration? Read about last year’s carriage picnic here.
Thank you to Morgan for being such a delightful date!
Disclaimer: I was gifted the bottle of Gnarly Head Wines. Thoughts and opinions are my own.