10 Masterclass Innovation Series Takeaways Worth Knowing!

10 Masterclass Innovation Series Takeaways Worth Knowing!

For the past several months, our BarnManager team and our Equine Tech Collab partners have wanted to bring to life an event, or a series of events, that would embody the Equine Tech Collab’s mission of supporting the education of equestrians in order to equip them with the knowledge and tools needed for best practices in horse care, welfare, and management.

On Tuesday, March 19, that idea came to fruition in the form of the Equine Tech Collab’s Masterclass Innovation Series: A Mindful Approach to Horse & Rider!

The two-part panel discussion event included conversations on “The Soundness Spectrum: Maintaining Horses’ Soundness Through Proactive Management” and “In Good Company: Top Riders Discuss the Skills and Practices That Help Them with Mental and Emotional Challenges,” with panelists and moderators including:

  • two-time Olympic show jumper, Daniel Bluman
  • FEI groom for Millar Brooke Farm, Danny Ingratta
  • Tonya Johnston, MA, a Mental Skills Coach, author, and A-circuit competitor who specializes in working with equestrian athletes
  • the U.S. Dressage Olympic team bronze medalist currently ranked fifth in the world, Kasey Perry-Glass
  • Dr. Tim Ober, the official veterinarian of the US Equestrian show jumping team
  • Dr. Sheila Schils, an innovator in the field of equine rehabilitation and injury prevention
  • 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) show jumping team gold medalist Adrienne Sternlicht
  • Jennifer Wood, founder of Jennifer Wood Media and Equestrian Businesswomen and co-founder of Jump Media

 

We learned a ton from all of them, but we have narrowed it down to 10 takeaways from the evening to share with you! (For more, you can watch the full evening on demand on USEF Network here!)

1. Keeping your horses sound starts with spending time with them.

Two-time Olympian Daniel Bluman shared: “Nowadays the schedule for the horse and the rider and for the whole team is pretty busy. There’s a lot of traveling; there’s a lot to do. I think it’s very important that you make yourself a good schedule where you get to spend enough time with the horses. I think that’s the base of our sport, the base of our industry, and our passion. I think for every horseman, grooms, veterinarians, or the rest of the team, it’s all about spending many hours with the horses so that you have as much information as you can.”

Danny Ingratta, the head groom for the team at Millar Brooke Farm (home of 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, Olympian Amy Millar, Jonathon Millar, and Kelly Soleau-Millar), added: “For me it’s daily; every day I’m looking at the horse. I’m feeling the horse—everything from acupuncture points to if their legs are a little bit bigger. I like to touch the horse and see what it tells me. You run your hands down it’s legs. Are there bumps? Is their scurf on its legs?”

Daniel also noted that the more time that you spend with your horses, the more likely you are to notice if something is off or unusual: “It makes it easier for me to notice if there are differences. If I normally do circles to the left or to the right and the horse is not reacting or doing what they normally would do, and I know them fairly well, then perhaps it’s important to call the vet and check that there’s not something that’s bothering them.”

2. Educating yourself is important for both you and your horse. 


Educating yourself is another vital step to maximizing your horse’s well-being and soundness. It also goes hand-in-hand with spending time with them – and your vets will appreciate it too!

“Familiarizing yourself with anatomy enough to run your hand down the legs and know where swelling is and that it’s different from one day to the next [is one of the first things you can do to improve soundness]. Most vets appreciate clients who have gone through the process to form an opinion in that manner. Focus on your own education; get what you can from each example.” – Dr. Tim Ober, the official veterinarian of the US Equestrian show jumping team

3. A good relationship with your vet can go a long way. 

“I would say that a grand prix horse showing in an intense schedule down here [in Wellington] should be seen every two weeks. Then I would scale it down and say every two weeks to every six weeks. I think everybody is challenged to figure that out in their own program—what a good rhythm is. But if it’s more than six weeks, it’s difficult to get to know the horse or it takes a much longer time to get to know the horse. I think there’s a big advantage in developing that familiarity with your veterinarian.” – Tim

“I think a close relationship with your vet is really important. If your vet doesn’t know your horses well enough, he or she is prone to making mistakes.” – Daniel

4. Stress is not always a bad thing – at least if you’re a muscle.

While negative connotations generally come to mind when we hear the word “stress,” it can be a positive force, too. In fact, stress is needed for a muscle to grow and rebuild. Dr. Sheila Schils, an innovator in the field of equine rehabilitation and injury prevention and a professor in the pre-vet program at the University of Wisconsin for more than 20 years, explained:

“The only way that you’ll get a stronger muscle is to break down muscle fibers. Often what we see in our horses is they get done with a competition, and we feel their backs and immediately feel, ‘Oh they’re sore.’ In my world, as long as that soreness doesn’t become pathological, I’m in the back going, ‘Yay!’ Because now, next week that horse is going to become stronger.

“We don’t want to over-stress those muscles, but we have to look at this discomfort and pain in a different way. The way that we reduce this stress, so it ends up making a stronger muscle as an outcome rather than resulting in injury, is we use the muscle more.”

5. Just because you may feel like you need a day off following a horse show, it might not actually be what is best for your horse.

In order to move the muscles more and to help them grow and heal, Sheila explained that a day off from riding after a big effort is not really the best solution.

“Even though on Monday, when all of you need a day off, you think, ‘So does my horse.’ Wrong! The brain may need a day off, don’t get me wrong, but the muscle needs to keep on rolling. The worst thing after the muscle has been stressed is to let it sit in the stall and rest, because then it becomes inflamed. If I have my preference, you ride them, because you have such a better sense of when that horse becomes fatigued. You can sit on them and know how far to push them, rather than putting them in something that doesn’t have that idea of how far. If a horse has had a strenuous week, and then you put them on a treadmill, or especially a water treadmill, then you could be not giving them that appropriate recovery time.”

6. You’re not the only one with show ring anxiety; Olympic and World Championship athletes battle it too. 

“Even these big events that you go to, I try to think of it as a very small thing. Because if it becomes too big in my head, it becomes overpowering. Then I can’t focus. Two hours before I start my preparation, I feel sick to my stomach. I’m not nervous; I’m just anxious. Once I start braiding and getting him tacked up and all of that, it goes away. Then after my warm-up I feel pretty secure. I trust my training; I trust my coach, and she sends me in having full confidence.” – Kasey Perry-Glass, the U.S. Dressage Olympic team bronze medalist currently ranked fifth in the world

7. There’s great value in routine.

In fact, Daniel says he thinks it’s the most important tools for any athlete, and Adrienne and Kasey agree! Here’s some of what they had to say about routines and the rituals they utilize themselves:

Daniel: “[Routine] keeps you going in moments when your mind shuts down because you’re just so tired. You have to train your brain to not think about what’s at stake, rather it’s just one more time that you’re going in the ring to do what you practiced. I try to spend a lot of time with the horses before big competitions because I know that that’s going to give me that peace that I like. Part of my routine is actually to ride my horse as close to the competition as possible, so that I already know I’m guaranteed that period of time of peace.”

2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) show jumping team gold medalist Adrienne Sternlicht: “Before a big class, I have a distinct routine, which brings comfort to uncomfortable situations. I was so freaked out the first day at the [WEG]! I had no idea what to expect. I found comfort in being able to a) meditate and b) listen to books. There are certain chapters of certain books that I listen to that I really like. (She often listens to chapters titled “Fear” and “Desire” in the book Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D, as part of her pre-competition routine.)

Kasey: “I’m an overthinker. I think way too much about everything. I look at my husband all the time, and he doesn’t think about anything like ever! I just want to channel that. I’ve tried to simplify my life in any way that I can. The more organized that I can stay in my daily life and my routine, the better I am. My horse is on a very time-sensitive schedule at competitions. I plan everything out. By putting on his bridle, by putting on his saddle, braiding – because I braid myself, it helps me get in the zone.”

8. Daniel Bluman loves a good nap

Through trying different routines, Daniel found that a pre-competition nap is often quite beneficial for him. It’s all about what works best for you!

“Daniel over there, he sleeps often. I see him when he’s really nervous before a big class, where as I like to keep myself super busy.” – Adrienne

“I definitely love sleeping. That’s not a secret to anybody. The class may be going on, and I’m taking a nap before I get on the horse. That’s also something that has worked for me. If the first time I took a nap before competing I went horrible, I probably would have never napped again! But napping has consistently worked well for me. I’m an anxious person by nature, so I go over the plan too many times. Then at some point my brain shuts down, so a little nap is always fantastic to refresh. You just have to have somebody to wake you up in time!” – Daniel

“Sometimes focus comes in many forms…[Olympic dressage rider Adrienne Lyle] loves to sleep. We have to wake her up. So, it’s interesting how everyone can be so different.” – Kasey

9. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember why we all do this in the first place: the horses.

The next time that you’re feeling anxious going into the show ring or find yourself overthinking your last bad ride, try doing what Daniel does:

“I try to focus on the reasons why I do the sport. I didn’t start riding because I wanted to win a five-star grand prix anywhere in the world. I didn’t even know that five-star grand prix existed. I didn’t start riding because I wanted to be the most successful rider in the history of the sport; I really just started riding because I loved horses. In times when I’m really anxious or I feel my head is getting ahead of me, I just really try to remember that thankfully we work with horses and not with motorcycles or with cars. We work with actual animals that have this incredible power to give us that feeling of calm of peace.”

10. We truly are “stronger together.”

”Stronger Together” is the tagline of the Equine Tech Collab for a reason. We knew that together we could do far more to further our shared missions than we could ever do alone, and the first Masterclass Innovation Series was a testament to that. Not only did all of the Equine Tech Collab partners come together, but also the panelists all gave so generously of their time, knowledge, and expertise – something that we are so incredibly thankful for! By working together to share this knowledge and to share resources, we hope that the equestrian community as a whole can become even stronger together!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Migrating South: Four Things to Do to Prepare Your Horses for Winter Travel

It’s that time of year again – the time for holiday decorations, gifts, and snow, or, in the case of many riders, owners, and trainers: palm trees, horse trailers, heavily packed tack trunks, and warmer weather.

As horses across the country and across disciplines are shipping to more temperate locations for the winter show season, there are several things you can do to help ensure a smooth southern migration. Here are four tips!

1. Make a list and check it twice – or arriving down south may not be as nice.

Remembering to pack up all of the tack and equipment you will need for the winter—your horse, any feed and bedding needed for the trip, and all necessary paperwork—can be an overwhelming amount to remember. That’s why it’s important to make well-thought-out lists of what you need before you just start throwing items into tack trunks!

 

Consider breaking down your lists either by category (i.e. tack, grooming equipment, blankets and “horse clothing,” feed, etc.) or by horse. With BarnManager’s customizable list tool, you can do either, including setting up your own checklists and tables any way that you like and even linking lists to specific horse profiles to remind you of each horse’s packing needs.

 

Common items to include on your packing list may include:

+ Traveling items such as a spare halter, hay net and hay, buckets for water, and any shipping boots or wraps.

+ An equine first aid kit containing disinfectant, electrolytes, a thermometer, gauze, Vetrap, and bute.

+ Grooming and bathing essentials including brushes, curry combs, hoof pick, hoof polish, baby oil, fly spray, detangler, shine enhancer, sweat scraper, shampoo, conditioner, sponges, and rags.

+ Tack and equipment including saddles, saddle pads (for both schooling and show), girths, bridles, bits, spare stirrups and stirrup leathers, an extra set of reins, any boots for the horse, martingales, breastplates, a leather punch, a lunge line and lunge whip, studs and a stud kit, coolers, sheets, and blankets.

2. Have proper documentation ready.

In order to be shipped commercially or across state lines, each horse will need documentation of a negative Coggins test, as well as a certificate of veterinary inspection (or health certificate). Most states require that the negative Coggins test was produced within a year prior to travel, but some require that the test was performed within 60 or even 30 days before traveling. Regulations also vary by state for how recent the health certificate needs to be; some are valid for six months, some for only 10 days. Talk to your veterinarian about what the requirements are in your state and within the states that you’re traveling through or to.

 

For ease of access, keep your horses’ Coggins, health certificate, and any veterinary records in BarnManager so that they are always readily available on your phone, iPad, or computer.

3. Ensure the health of your horse.

Long distance travel can be stressful for horses and humans alike, and horses can be prone to problems like shipping fever (a term often used to describe any viral or bacterial respiratory infection a horse contracts while traveling). In order to do all that you can to prevent such concerns, make sure that any animals being shipped are up to date on vaccinations and in good health at the time of travel.

 

In order to reduce the risk of shipping fever, ensure that plenty of low-dust hay is provided for the horse during travel, and allow the horse to periodically lower its head while in the trailer. This allows the horse to clear particulate matter from its respiratory tract. Shipping fever has also been linked to stress, so avoiding shipping one horse alone for a long distance, which can induce greater stress, is also advised.

4. Arrange reliable transportation.

If you are not shipping your horse yourself, it’s important to know that you have arranged a transporter that you can trust.

 

If you don’t know where to find one, consider using a service like Equo. The horse transportation application makes it easy to find and schedule reliable drivers with at least two years of experience, GPS accessibility at all times, and rigorously inspected trailers and vehicles. Equo also allows for the shipment of a reasonable amount of gear along with the horse at no added cost, as well as, in many cases, one human ride-along!

Once you’ve followed these four tips, you’re on your way to hitting the road! Safe travels!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

horse selfie

Revisiting: Alaska: A story of me…because of him

Originally posted by Nicole this time four years ago, this is the story of her childhood horse, Alaska, and the amazing journey they shared. This week, we decided to look back on the story of how Alaska inspired Nicole’s interest in management and horse care as well as how he ensured she would be around to create BarnManager.

 

Before moving into the Washington International Horse Show for the week, I made a quick trip down to Gordonsville, Virginia to visit the beautiful rehab facility and farm that is Oak Hill Farm. Oak Hill is owned and operated by Dr. Timothy Ober DVM (USEF Show Jumping team vet), and his amazing team. But most importantly, Oak Hill is the home to my horse Alaska for his retirement years. Alaska turned 20 this summer, and my visit featured much celebration and reflection on our time together.

 

horse in a field

 

Anyone who loves an animal understands that there is a unique bond between human and animal. There is a silent language, often accompanied by looks of understanding, unsolicited displays of affection, and a certain loyalty that two humans are not capable of recreating between one another. Whether it is a dog who never leaves your side when you are homesick or a horse that makes you question whether you are the one in charge, they make us feel whole.

 

 

The joy that I felt in seeing how happy my horse is living out his retirement surrounded by breathtaking scenery, caring people and an abundance of everything that a horse could ever dream of was all-encompassing. I walked around the farm smiling from ear to ear, inhaling slowly and allowing the fresh country air to sweep me into a state of bliss.

 

On a quiet Sunday morning, I sat in the grass in the middle of his beautiful green paddock. I watched him move slowly and pleasantly around the field following the best grass. Every few minutes, he came over to where I sat and checked in, patted me down in search of treats, looked at me with is big warm eyes and went back to munching. I think that anyone who passed by probably thought that I was crazy, but I never feel more at home than I do when I am near him.

 

horse in field with person

 

Alaska came into my life by accident. He came to me as a circumstance of coincidence and luck, and I never could have predicted just what luck he was bringing along with him. He was a kind and generous teacher. One that never held a mistake against me for even a nanosecond and who rewarded me generously for my growth and development. As a rider and horseperson, I was better for having him in my life.

 

He spurred my interest in horse care and management. Growing up a barn rat, I spent as much time with the horses and in the barn as I could. But with Alaska, my time in the barn became more focused. I wanted to learn to care for him in the best ways. I stalked vets, farriers, chiropractors and more, listening, trying to see what they were seeing. and feel what they felt. I became more in tune with the subtleties of communication between animal and human.

 

horse going over a jump

 

And in the meantime, Alaska did his thing. He taught, he was patient, and he brought happiness and purpose to my life. And so, it was only appropriate that he played a leading role in shining a light on what was to become the most trying time in my young life.

 

At 17 years old, thinking that I had life nearly figured out, my world came crashing down. Alaska was so gentle and kind that to fall off of him was an embarrassment in itself. At the time, I had never had the pleasure of falling from the 18.2 hand equine’s back. So when I lost my balance and struggled to come off as gently as possible, I found myself in a special kind of pain. Along with a bruised ego, I had fractured a couple of ribs. Broken ribs required an x-ray.

 

person kissing a horse on the nose

 

From Alaska’s back, I quickly moved found myself subjected to x-rays and CAT Scans and blood work and PET Scans. A tumor had been growing inside my chest. Did he know? My parents were convinced that his wisdom extended into the supernatural. To them, he saved my life. All that I know is that it happened. I fell off of him for the first time during our partnership, and I fell in such a way that a chest x-ray was required, and a chest x-ray got the ball rolling that led to a diagnosis of Stage 3 Lymphoma.

 

I don’t know if he was an agent of fate. I don’t know if he was brought to my life for this reason. But as I sat on the grassy hill, watching him make his way slowly across the field in my direction, I didn’t care. I am not here without him; I am not me without him.

 

Cancer is terrifying. Everything in your life turns backward, upside down and inside out. We all go through challenges in life, and we all handle these challenges to the best of our ability. But Alaska made it easy. He remained a constant source of light, love, and happiness. While some people looked at me with sadness or fear and struggled to find things to say that did not need to be said, Alaska looked at me the same. If possible, he was maybe kinder and gentler than ever. He sustained me. He rescued me from dark places, he gave me consistency, hope, and peace.

 

As I sit here today, 8 years of remission under my belt, I am so grateful to see him living the life that he deserves. We celebrated his 20th birthday with a birthday bag filled with 20 lbs of carrots. I think he is in the prime of his life. He spends his days surrounded by beauty, perhaps the same beauty that he brought to my life.

 

horse wearing a birthday hat

 

The beauty of waking up each day and looking forward to what life has in store for you. The beauty of appreciating each day for what it brings and not wanting for more. The beauty of knowing that no matter where you go or how you get there, you are lucky enough to be here in the first place. And the beauty in knowing that we found each other, and the rest just is.

 

horse selfie

“We found each other, and the rest just is.”

 

The Secret Sauce Behind BarnManager’s Product Design – A Fresh Tilled Soil Case Study on BarnManager and the Product Design Process

One of the things that makes BarnManager unique is our approach to product design and development. We are led by our users, not our assumptions. The following post is a deeper look at the way we worked with the User Experience experts at Fresh Tilled Soil to gain new perspective and build a better BarnManager. I hope that you like this behind the scenes look at our process. If you would like to provide feedback or be interviewed for current or future feature development, feel free to send me an e-mail at nicole@barnmanager.com. This post was originally published on Medium – Enjoy!
 

Lovelight Farm


 

The BarnManager Story

Managing a horse barn is a labor of love with many moving parts. It requires an endless paper trail of health records for the horses under your care, white boards to communicate with barn staff, and calendars to keep track of appointments, training, and competitions. The majority of people involved in horse management are not happy with the traditional methods of keeping it all organized and need a new solution.

Examples of white boards and clip boards

Most barns manage their horses’ schedules and information with a combination of whiteboards and notebooks

BarnManager is an application that was created by barn managers for barn managers to improve communication, sharing, and scheduling across the myriad of roles involved in the care of horses including horse owners, grooms, barn managers, trainers, riders, and veterinarians. It’s a tool that supports traditional horsemanship and enables users to spend more time doing what they love — working with horses.

Building a Better BarnManager

With a growing customer base, BarnManager was ready to invest in making improvements to the initial version of their application. Owner and president Nicole Lakin engaged Fresh Tilled Soil in a project to:

  • Improve the overall product UI/UX,
  • Increase user adoption, satisfaction, and “stickiness”,
  • Optimize for mobile access, and
  • Re-engineer and improve the application’s code base

 

User Research — Getting To Know Your Customer’s Customers

For UX practitioners the real work hardly ever happens in the office. You need to interact directly with your client and your client’s customers in the environments where those people interact with the tools and products being designed for them. You have to see how they work and what they are doing every single day. You can’t make judgements from a desk or from behind a screen. This is particularly important when technology is not the center of your customers’ world — which is certainly the case in a horse barn.

Barn staff explains whiteboard

A member of the barn staff explains how they manage their horses’ schedules to our team

As luck would have it, our team was able to attend a horse competition just days before our project was scheduled to kick off. Many of BarnManager’s customers and users were in attendance, so it was the perfect opportunity to get to know them in their environment. Over the course of our interviews with barn managers, trainers, owners, riders, and veterinarians, we were able to identify a number of critical pain points:

  • Keeping medical records in one place. Often, a horse’s medical history isn’t kept on-hand or in an organized fashion, which presents a challenge for veterinarians who may be seeing a horse for the first time. And it’s not just about access but also appropriate access. Not everyone can or should be able to see a horse’s complete medical history.
  • Lack of communication. Keeping track of all information about a horse is very hard to do, and most barns have a variety of places where this information is kept. Everyone involved in keeping a horse healthy and competition-ready needs to be aware of and up-to-date on what has happened and when. Has the horse been fed today? Have they been exercised? How did they respond? And more. Most of this is accomplished today via handwritten notes and on whiteboards posted throughout the barn — very inefficient, not portable, and impossible to share.
  • It’s all about the schedule. A horse’s calendar and schedule is ALWAYS changing. As are those of the barn staff, veterinarians, and others. Barn managers need a centralized view to keep track of everything and avoid missing key dates.
  • Mobile is a must. Most of BarnManager’s users are very mobile. They spend more time in the barn, in the stables, and in the fields with the horses than they do in front of a screen.

Our site visits were so engaging that we even put together a little video about our visit to Lovelight Farm.

 

Visiting with EquiFit Founder and President Alexandra Cherubini at Lovelight Farm in Marshfield, MA

 

Mapping The User Experience

Experience mapping is one of the most effective ways to highlight user insights and improvement opportunities within any type of project. They are a crucial part of the strategy and design process and a foolproof way to illustrate all the different touch points that a user interacts with in any given experience. We worked with BarnManger to create a detailed User Experience Map for their users.

User Experience Map for BarnManger

 

Building a Product Roadmap

BarnManager had a lot of great ideas for improvements to the application, and many more surfaced in our user interviews. But those ideas needed a process and ultimately an artifact to help them focus on the big picture and establish a path to fulfill their product vision. With user research and experience maps clearly defined, we were ready to take the team through a roadmapping process to help them focus, align, prioritize, and ultimately paint a picture of a brighter future for their customers.

BarnManager product roadmap

 

Wireframes and Prototyping

Getting your design right early pays off: what costs $1 to fix in the requirements stage costs $3–6 to fix in design, $10 to fix in coding, and $40+ to fix after release*. Rapid prototyping helps you answer important questions quickly and inexpensively. Fresh Tilled Soil developed mobile and web-based clickable prototypes for further user testing and concept validation. These prototypes allowed us to present a simple and focused feature set meant to address users’ pain points and the workflows identified in our interviews and observations.

Web app prototype and testing using InVision

 

Mobile app prototype and testing

 

Mobile design

BarnManager’s initial product release didn’t include a dedicated mobile experience, yet their users spend most of their time away from a desk and screen. So designing a beautiful mobile experience was high on the list of goals for the project.

Mobile app screens for White Board and Activity Timeline

 

Mobile app screens for Calendar, Conversations, and Horses

 

Web Application Design

We also delivered a fresh new design and user flow for the web application version of the product which included improvements to the application’s code base.

Website Design

Once the main project wrapped up, the BarnManager team realized the company’s website needed a refresh as well in order to better match the new experience and interface that was to come for the core product. We worked with Nicole to come up with a design that could be implemented within a very reasonable amount of time and budget. Everyone wanted to keep the focus on the product work and not spend too many resources on the website. So here’s what we came up with.

New BarnManager website design

 

The Client Experience

 

“Working with the team at Fresh Tilled Soil enabled us to bring fresh eyes to the challenges of barn management. The team really embraced getting to know the people that we were trying to serve and the challenges that they face on a daily basis and helped us to reframe them by bringing in new perspectives, backgrounds, and approaches. Working through their discovery and design processes helped us to achieve new levels of insight into what our customers were telling us. And what we have learned has been invaluable.

Every time we do a demo with a potential new user and they tell us that BarnManager is far more user-friendly and clearly beneficial than the other software that they have looked at, we know that this is the result of the work that we did with Fresh Tilled Soil.” — Nicole Lakin, Founder/CEO BarnManager

*Graham, R.J., & Englund, R.L. (2004). Creating an Environment for Successful Projects, Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Equine Tech Companies Form Collaboration

Wellington, FL – Equine technology companies BarnManager, Equo, Jumpfax, and StableGuard have come together to form the first equine technology collaboration of its kind, aimed at supporting one another, better serving the equestrian industry as a whole, and ultimately creating greater inter-operability between the equine applications and software.

Watch more on the equine technology collaboration here!

 

Launched by BarnManager founder and CEO, Nicole Lakin, the innovators working together on the equine tech collaboration include Lakin, Equo’s Steven Bluman, Alicia Heiniger of Jumpfax, and Alexa Anthony of StableGuard.

With the formation of the equine tech collaboration, the four companies are able to work together to develop improved solutions for the equestrian community, while also each continuing to provide a unique service and value to the equine industry. 

 For BarnManager, that service is a cloud-based software that offers digitized record keeping for the many facets of horse care, as well as intuitive and simple business tools to make small business management easier and more accessible. For Equo, it is offering what has been described as a “mix between Uber and Expedia for horses,” taking horse transportation to the next level by connecting riders, owners, and trainers with certified drivers through the Equo mobile app.

 For competitors, Jumpfax offers a complete, dynamic calendar of events, a comprehensive horse show guide that includes programs, start lists, results, key contacts, and more, as well as a sports data center updated daily with show jumping’s statistics. And StableGuard is often compared to the “Nest home security camera for horses.” Through the StableGuard mobile app, users can watch live-stream feed of the horse in their stall, receive emergency alerts, watch event play-back, and track human interaction. Unlike other equine monitoring devices, StableGuard constantly tracks the horses’ well-being without needing additional wearable devices such as smart blankets, Bluetooth halters, etc.

 “They are all very complimentary, and they all really could be used on a daily basis by any show jumping rider,” said Jumpfax founder Alicia Heiniger.  “I’m a rider myself, so I’m a natural user of these apps, and we all really share a vision, a passion, and a wish to make our industry better and stronger.”

 Lakin added, “We’re all trying to improve and advance our own specific area of the industry, but ultimately, we’re all using technology to help horse people have peace of mind at the end of the day and to allow them to focus on why we’re all really doing this in the first place: the horses.”

 Lakin studied entrepreneurship and received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Babson College, and it was her experience there that sparked the idea for the equine tech collaboration.

 “At Babson, I was constantly surrounded by other entrepreneurs,” explained Lakin, whose BarnManager application is now the Official Barn Management Software of US Equestrian. “It was a really inspiring atmosphere, and we were constantly thinking of ways that we could help each other – even though we were in completely different industries. It was a really great way to integrate together and to support each other, and I find it extremely important to have community like that.”

 

Steven Bluman of Equo, Alicia Heiniger of Jumpfax, Nicole Lakin of BarnManager, and Alexa Anthony of StableGuard have partnered to form a new equine tech collaboration. 

Photo by Jump Media

In addition to forming their own community to help one another as equine technology start-up founders and better serving the equestrian industry, Anthony, Bluman, Heiniger, and Lakin hope that their collaborative effort will encourage equestrians to embrace how technology can help them navigate in their industry.

 “It’s really an exciting time,” said Anthony, CEO of Magic AI, the company behind StableGuard. “Now is a great opportunity for all of us to join together and create awareness surrounding technology in a traditional industry. I believe it will make the adoption a little bit easier if all four of us work together – we’re stronger that way.”

 Equo CEO Bluman echoed Anthony’s sentiments: “Just like in any other life aspect, when Uber came out and Airbnb came out, everybody said, ‘No way! I will never get in a car with someone that I don’t know,’ and, ‘I would never go in an apartment that I don’t even know who owns the place.’ Now, people are realizing they’re both great options. It’s the same with us. People are a little bit skeptical when it comes to using apps for whatever it is for their horses. By our companies coming together and acting as a force, people are going to begin to pay more attention to what’s happening. We’re trying to update the horse industry and really bring it into the 21st century.”

 In addition to collaborating to grow and improve together and to introduce equestrians to applications to simplify their daily responsibilities, Lakin hopes that the equine tech collaboration will ultimately lead to greater inter-operability between the applications.

 “We all are cognizant of thinking about how the applications are talking to each other, because at the end of the day, if we’re all making a million different products for people, and they have to have 17 apps on their phone, you’re not improving anything, you’re making it worse,” explained Lakin. “If we can work together and make our products work together, we’re not only better together for ourselves, we’re delivering better products for the end user.

 “When each company can focus on their own specific piece of the puzzle, but then we can all also put those pieces together, we’re really able to create something great for the consumer,” concluded Lakin. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Learn more about BarnManager, Equo, Jumpfax, and Stableguard by visiting each of their websites, and watch here to hear more about the equine tech collaboration.

To sign up for a free trial of BarnManager click here!

 The “Stronger Together” equine tech collaboration video was produced by the new Creative Studio by Jumpfax.

Equine Technology Collaboration

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford  

Competition moves us forward, but collaboration transforms us.

It is a very exciting time to be working in the equine technology space. New companies seem to be launching almost daily, and we all share common goals of moving the equine industry forward, improving horse care, and making the lives of horse people easier, safer, better, and more efficient.

However, the launch of new equine tech companies also means that we are all competing for the same resources and attention within an already hectic niche industry. I know that, through BarnManager, we have built a great tool for barn managers, horse owners, riders, and other equine enthusiasts, but with so many new companies, how can we make sure that we aren’t getting lost in the noise? And more importantly, how can we make sure that we are continuing to deliver a product that makes our customer’s lives easier? My answer is through collaboration.

Equine Tech Collaboration

As more and more companies seek to use technology to solve the equine industry’s problems and close the gaps, we need to be aware of what impact we are going to have on potential customers and what impact we are having on one another.

This is the foundation for the collaboration between BarnManager and our equine technology partners, currently including Equo, JumpFax, Stableguard and Electronic Vet. We as equine tech founders and owners want to communicate with each other, grow together, and work to bring better solutions to our customers than any individual startup can do on its own.

So what does this all mean?

Integration and Inter-operability

We are committed to looking for ways to integrate our services and offerings and to make them compatible with other products and services. Each equine tech company is creating value for its customers in its own unique and specific way. Maintaining that focus on a specific problem or challenge enables each company to perfect their approach and to continue to evolve and improve over time. However, many of our customers are shared, so it is on us to make the use of all of our products seamless.

Our software and applications should communicate with one another and enable you to get the most of each product. They should minimize data entry so that you are not entering the same information in multiple places and programs. And they should work together to identify opportunities that arise from working together, opportunities that neither individual may have been able to identify or achieve on their own.

 

Cross-Promotion

No one wants to be constantly bombarded by salespeople, advertisements, sponsored posts, and e-mails. As start-up tech companies though, we must all utilize these channels in order to grow our businesses, reach new people, and share our stories. We want to tell you how our products can help you with that thing that drives you crazy, that thing you know you could do better, or that thing that you love but never have the time for.

If we as equine tech companies work together, we can have more meaningful conversations and create greater long-term value, while also taking less of your time. We can be in more places, learn more, share more and grow more as a team.

 

 

Innovation

It is no secret that the greatest innovations come from diversity of opinions, perspectives, backgrounds and thought processes. As we work together, we hope to bring you new ideas, discoveries, and inventions. Creativity is born from collaboration, and the best creations often come when you least expect it.

We at BarnManager look forward to serving our customers alongside our equine tech collaboration partners! Together, we are stronger than we are apart!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Sign up to start your free trial and to find out more here!

 

The Plaid Horse Blog: Nicole Lakin’s Barn Management Brain Child

“When it comes to horses, there’s nothing that can replace the feeling that you have whether you’re on the horse or on the ground with them,” Lakin said. “That’s irreplaceable and technology will never change that. What technology can do is to automate business side of things, and that’s what we’re doing with BarnManager. Nobody gets into the horse industry to be an accountant! Our mission that drives all of our design and development is to enable the incredibly hard working managers, grooms, riders, trainers, and all equestrians to spend more time getting to do the things that technology cannot.”

Check out The Plaid Horse Blog for more from a great interview with our founder, Nicole Lakin!

Nicole Lakin’s Barn Management Brain Child

First Dates, First Impressions, The Joy of the Horse.

Jenny (the Director of Sales and Queen of Friendly at barnmanager.com) and I just returned from Denton, Texas where we visited with the AWESOME teams at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses and McQuay Stables. We had an absolute blast, and have some exciting new features and programing coming your way!

Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses McQuay Stables

But more interestingly, Jenny and I had some very entertaining and somewhat enlightening conversation over dinner one night. As part of Jenny’s job at barnmanager.com, she finds herself meeting lots of new and interesting people on a daily basis. She is also the type of person who can walk up to anyone and have them laughing in a matter of seconds. She has this charismatic halo that follows her and envelops everyone in her presence. She is truly a ray of sunshine, and I am not exaggerating.

barn manager team member

Jenny is constantly reminded about the significance of first impressions. First impressions are her life. And lucky for her, she tends to leave a good one. But in our lives as both humans and equestrians, we find ourselves constantly struggling with how we hope to impress ourselves upon the universe. Obviously, everyone wants to leave a “good” impression. But what does that mean?

person in a store aisle

Our equestrian upbringing has made us who and what we are. We have learned that nothing worth getting comes without hard work, some ups and downs, and often sacrifice. While Jenny and I are wildly different people with wildly different personalities, we find that our work ethic and our overall attitude and approach towards “work” is the same. This comes in large part  from the way we were raised….and by raised, of course i must lend some credit to our parents, but mostly I mean how horses raised us. Nothing given. Respect earned day after day. Things changing in an instant. Adapting could sometimes mean scrapping months of hard work and starting anew. And the rewards were epically more gratifying.

person on a horse

If you came of age in a barn, you know what I mean. We take pride in everything that we do. In every accomplishment and in every failure we search for meaning and understanding.

We are proud of who we have become and how we arrived at this place. And yet, as Jenny discussed with me over a glass of Malbec, what does it mean for the non-horsey when we reveal ourselves as “people who ride horses?” What do our roles as “horse-girls,” equestrians or even people who work in the Equine Industry lend to their first impressions of us?

back view of a person on a horse

While on a first date with a Dealer of Rare Violins (I will never be able to understand how or where she meets these people), Jenny struggled with the choice of whether or not to tell her new acquaintance what exactly she does for a living. What will it mean to him? And how on earth can one explain that they sell Web-based software to horse farms? Jenny and I seem to have found a way to keep one foot firmly planted in the horse world while allowing the other to dangle to and fro, testing the waters and occasionally diving in thigh high. Is it more of a 3rd or 4th date kind of thing? (This is all assuming that we allow them the luxury).

I assume that for anyone with anchors in two universes this question arises sooner or later. We are who we are, for better or worse. We aim to be our best selves, and to put that out into the world for others to see. And my best self is the person that horses made me to be.

For Jenny, the answer became clear as she started describing her job, and ultimately her life to her new musical friend. She hesitated at first when he asked her what she does for a living. It is nearly impossible to qualify or quantify what we do to a non-horse person. Jenny struggles with the fact that many of her childhood friends are pursuing careers as doctors, lawyers and real estate developers and seemingly having a larger impact on the world. What she does tends to feel small and immaterial in comparison.

horse and rider going over a jump

As she described to him what barnmanger.com is,  how it came to be, and how she has helped to develop it from its weanling stages, his face grew harder and harder to read. So she kept talking and struggling to explain something that is always slightly inexplicable. When she stopped, the violin dealer reveled in her passion, which he said shone in her eyes as she spoke about horses and the role that they play in her life. He found himself floored by how much she loved what she was doing and jealous that he did not feel so strongly about his Violins. (I imagine they aren’t nearly as cuddly as a horse).

What Jenny discovered that night was that a passion for horses goes so far beyond a first impression. It reveals something much deeper. If the recipient of such information is paying close enough attention, they will feel that extra je ne sais quoi that makes Jenny who she is. They will see in the way her eyes light up that she knows some special secret that maybe one day she will share with them (if they are lucky). She may not be curing diseases or amassing a great fortune, but she is living a noble life by living with a joy that is contagious: the joy of the horse.

person on a horse

horse selfie

Alaska: A story of me…because of him

Before moving into the Washington International Horse Show for the week, I made a quick trip down to Gordonsville, Virginia to visit the beautiful rehab facility and farm that is Oak Hill. Oak Hill is owned and operated by Dr. Timothy Ober DVM (U.S.E.T. Show Jumping team vet) and his amazing team. But most importantly, Oak Hill is the home to my horse Alaska for his retirement years. Alaska turned 20 this year summer, and my visit included much celebrating and reflecting on our time together.

horse in a field

Anyone who loves an animal understands that there is a unique bond between human and animal. There is a silent language, often accompanied by looks of understanding, unsolicited displays of affection, and a certain loyalty that two humans are not capable of recreating between one another. Whether it is a dog who never leaves your side when you are home sick, or a horse that makes you question whether you are the one in charge, they make us feel whole.

kissing a horse on the nose

The joy that I felt in seeing how happy my horse is living out his retirement surrounded by breathtaking scenery, caring people, and an abundance of everything that a horse could ever dream of was all encompassing. I walked around the farm smiling from ear to ear, inhaling slowly and allowing the fresh country air to sweep me into a state of bliss.

On a quiet Sunday morning, I sat in the grass in the middle of his beautiful green paddock. I watched him move slowly and pleasantly around the field following the best grass. Every few minutes, he came over to where I sat and checked in, patted me down in search of treats, looked at me with is big warm eyes, and went back to munching. I think that anyone who passed by probably thought that I was crazy, but I never feel more at home than I do when I am near him.

horse in field with person

Alaska came into my life by accident. He came to me as a circumstance of coincidence and luck, and I never could have predicted just what luck he was bringing along with him. He was a kind and generous teacher. One that never held a mistake against me for even a nanosecond and who rewarded me generously for my growth and development. As a rider and horseperson, I was better for having him in my life.

horse going over a jumprider hugging a horse

 

He spurred my interest in horse care and management. Growing up a barn rat, I spent as much time with the horses and in the barn as I could. But with Alaska, my time in the barn became more focused. I wanted to learn to care for him in the best ways. I stalked vets, farriers, chiropractors and more, listening, trying to see what they were seeing. and feel what they felt. I became more in tune to the subtleties of communication between animal and human.

close up of a horse's eye

And in the meantime, Alaska did his thing. He taught, he was patient, and he brought happiness and purpose to my life. And so, it was only appropriate that he played a leading role in shining a light on what was to become the most trying time of my young life.

At 17 years old, thinking that I had life nearly figured out, my world came crashing down. Alaska was so gentle and kind that to fall off of him was an embarrassment in itself. At the time, I had never had the pleasure of falling from the 18.2 hand equine’s back. So when I lost my balance and struggled to come off as gently as possible, I found myself in a special kind of pain. Along with a bruised ego, I had fractured a couple of ribs. Broken ribs require x-ray.

From Alaska’s back to x-rays and CAT Scans and blood work and PET Scans. A tumor had been growing inside my chest. Did he know? My parents were convinced that his wisdom extended into the supernatural. To them, he saved my life. All that I know is that it happened. I fell off of him for the first time during our partnership, and I fell in such a way that a chest x-ray was required, and a chest x-ray got the ball rolling that led to a diagnoses of Stage 3 Lymphoma.

person kissing a horse on the nose

I don’t know if he was an agent of fate. I don’t know if he was brought to my life for this reason. But as I sat on the grassy hill, watching him make his way slowly across the field in my direction, I didn’t care. I am not here without him; I am not me without him.

Cancer is terrifying. Everything in your life turns backwards, upside down and inside out. We all go through challenges in life, and we all handle these challenges to the best of our ability. But Alaska made it easy. He remained a constant source of light, love and happiness. While some people looked at me with sadness or  fear and struggled to find things to say that did not need to be said, Alaska looked at me the same. If possible, he was maybe kinder and gentler than ever. He sustained me. He rescued me from dark places, he gave me consistency, hope and peace.

horse wearing a birthday hat

As I sit here today, 8 years of remission under my belt, I am so grateful to see him living the life that he deserves. We celebrated his 20th birthday with a birthday bag filled with 20 lbs of carrots. I think he is in the prime of his life. He spends his days surrounded by beauty, perhaps the same beauty that he brought to my life. The beauty of waking up each day and looking forward to what life has in store for you. The beauty of appreciating each day for what it brings and not wanting for more. The beauty of knowing that no matter where you go or how you get there, you are lucky enough to be here in the first place. And the beauty in knowing that we found each other, and the rest just is.

horse selfie

“We found each other, and the rest just is.”