Six Tips To Organize Your Feed Room

One of the most frequently used places in a barn is the feed room. Keeping this area organized is necessary to ensure that horses are receiving the correct grain and supplements. Keep reading for some tips from BarnManager on how to keep this room clean and neat.

1. Keep an Updated Feed List

One of the most important parts of a feed room is an updated list of what grain, supplements, and medications each horse is getting. Although most barns usually have one or two people who make the grain, it is crucial to keep a list in case they are away or not able to do the job that day. Providing horses with correct grain, supplements, and medication consistently is key, so start with a well-written feed chart or list. White boards are often useful for these types of lists because they make it easy to add, change, or remove items; however, whiteboards can make it more difficult to keep track of any changes being made. You should also include important special circumstances on this board such as a note about a horse needing water added to their grain or if the supply of a certain item is running low.

(Did You Know? BarnManager allows you to create, download, and print a feed chart! BarnManager also creates a Feed Change Log to document all changes made to a horse’s feed, supplements and medications over time.)

2. Put Grain in Bins

If you are feeding a large number of horses and have multiple types of grain, consider putting the grain in large bins instead of keeping it in the original bags. This can help make your feed room look neat and tidy. Also, multiple grain bags often fit into one bin so it can help save space. Invest in bins or containers that are sturdy and have lids to keep animals and insects out. When refilling the containers make sure that they are completely empty before adding in a new bag so the grain at the bottom does not stay there too long and go bad.

3. Label Everything

The next step in organizing your feed room is to label everything. If you do put your grain in bins, make sure to clearly label each lid. If a horse has a specific medication, it is helpful to write the horse’s name on the bottle or box along with the administration instructions. Some clients may have certain supplements or medications for their horses, so you should write their name on those containers as well. Also, label all the grain buckets. Clearly write the horse’s name along with the time of day the grain should be given on each one. Another tip is to have buckets in specific colors for each feeding time such as morning, lunch, and night grain.

4. Organize Medications and Medical Supplies

Keep extra medications and medical supplies like syringes and needles in a separate trunk, wall box, or container in the feed room. Storing these items separately from day-to-day supplements can help avoid confusion. Although these items are stored separately, make sure that they are still easily accessible and organized in case of an emergency.

5. Keep Medications Properly Sealed

It is important to make sure that any medications or supplements that would show up on a drug test are well-sealed and securely stored. These types of medications and supplements may include regumate, flunixin meglumine, acepromazine, or methocarbomol. Keeping these items isolated will help prevent accidentally contaminating the grain of a horse that is not receiving those medications or supplements. While contaminating grain can be a major problem in a show barn where the horses might get drug tested at a competition, it can also be an issue at any stable. Accidentally contaminating a horse’s grain with medication or supplements that they are not on can sometimes be dangerous. Keeping these items well-sealed and organized can help prevent this problem from happening.

6. Sweep and Wipe Surfaces

Another way to prevent contaminating feed with supplements or medications is to thoroughly sweep and wipe down surfaces every day. Making grain can be a messy task, so cleaning the room afterward is key. Along with preventing contamination, cleaning the feed room will keep the area neat, pleasant to work in, and also reduce the likelihood of insects or animals entering.

When organizing your feed room, it is important to make everything as clear, obvious, and simple as possible so you can rest assured that the feed is made correctly. When a good system is in place all employees can feel confident about successfully preparing the feed, even if it is not part of their daily routine.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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!

Winterizing the Barn

10 Tips for Winterizing the Barn from US Equestrian

From US Equestrian

Even if you and your horses live in an area where the climate is balmy year ‘round, the changing of the season from fall to winter marks a good time to take care of important annual or semi-annual tasks. This includes cleaning out the dust of summer, changing lightbulbs, inspecting stall and gate latches and more. But many equestrians are located in a place that Jack Frost regularly visits between now and spring. For cold-weather folks, getting battened down for the winter takes on an extra urgency.

Dr. Bob Coleman, who managed horse operations in his native Manitoba, Canada, before becoming an associate extension professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal & Food Sciences, knows better than most that pre-winter preparation can make the season easier on both horses and humans. Coleman and his University of Kentucky colleague, assistant extension professor Morgan Hayes, say it’s important to plan in advance. That way, when the weather turns bitter and conditions might deteriorate, you’re already prepared.

Winterizing the Barn

Photo by Leslie Potter.

Read more in the US Equestrian Magazine Winter 2020 edition.

Five Tips to Prepare Your Barn for Fall

1. Organize your blankets

Cold nights will start creeping in before you know it, so make sure each horse’s lightweight sheet is identified and cleaned, especially those who may be clipped. Keep tabs on the temperature lows each night as summer begins to turn into fall so you don’t lose sight of the nights when your horses may need light blanketing. Also have the heavier blankets ready to go so winter doesn’t sneak up on you and leave you unprepared.

2. Make a plan with all the students (and parents) at your barn

It’s back-to-school time, which means busier schedules for most families that may board or train at your farm. Make sure you keep in touch with those who may be heading back to school so you can help manage their horses and their riding goals despite their busier schedules. This communication will lead to more successful outcomes for everyone as many commitments are being juggled by all parties.

3. Inspect your farm for damage or deterioration

Winter is prime time for problems such as leaky roofing, broken fences, loose hinges, insulation problems, footing issues, and more. You don’t want to save these fixes for the middle of winter, when they’re hardest to repair. Survey your property for signs that things may need attention. Be sure your windows and doors are functioning properly to seal in the heat during the cold nights to come. Check on your water tanks and insulated pipes to be sure you won’t face any issues when freezing temperatures hit. If anything needs adjusting, the fall is the perfect time to make those repairs.

4. Have a severe weather plan in place

The fall can also bring with it the chance of severe weather in many parts of the country. The east coast may face hurricanes, so be sure to identify an inland location in case you need to evacuate yourself and your horses. Research how to prepare a farm structure for high winds and heavy rain ahead of time. Other parts of the country may see other severe weather risks, such as wildfires. If you find yourself facing evacuation, many horse show grounds and larger facilities will accept evacuees and offer horses a place to stay out of harm’s way.

As fall turns into winter, heavy snowstorms can put those up north at risk, limiting access to necessities for the horses. It helps in this scenario to have 10% more supplies on hand than you normally need to keep your stable safe and healthy in case of a weather shutdown. Above all else, stay tuned in to the news this fall so you won’t be caught off-guard if the weather starts to get dangerous in your area.

5. Decorate!

There’s nothing more fun than breaking out the fall décor as the leaves begin to change. The best part of decorating for fall is that decorations can stay up through November, so you can enjoy your efforts for a long time. Use horse-safe decorations to add some fall vibes to your barn, including pumpkins, string lights (out of reach of horses), scarecrows, and more. If you have jumps in your arena, add some hay bales, pumpkins, and colorful gourds to make them festive. You can even plan a socially distant Halloween party to get the whole barn involved in a fun activity.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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!

7 Tips to Effectively Manage Horses and School

The school year may look different in the fall of 2020, but it doesn’t mean students are any less busy than during a typical school year. From classes and assignments to college applications and outside tutoring sessions, it can be hard to find time to ride and care for horses. BarnManager is here to help you navigate the transition back to school while ensuring your horses’ care and programs don’t slip through the cracks.

1. Enlist a team you trust.

Everyone knows that behind every successful duo in the show ring is a knowledgeable, capable, and devoted team. We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village,” and with horses, it’s no different. From the trainer, to the groom, vet, parent, chiropractor, sibling, and everyone in between, it’s crucial to develop relationships with the team surrounding you and your horse to know he or she is in the best of hands when school gets too demanding. Trusting individuals with your horse’s care will allow you the peace of mind to devote yourself to the most important task at any given moment and not worry about your horse’s care or training.

2. Maintain regular communication.

Even with your team in place, you still need to communicate among all team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and nothing gets overlooked. If you can only come ride two days per week, let the trainer know when you will be there and when you expect your horse to be ridden by someone else. This way, you avoid mix-ups and assumptions that can leave everyone frustrated. Communicate about all the little things, as well, including supplements, vet visits, and other details about which you would like to stay informed.

3. Keep it digital.

We live in a constantly evolving digital world, but we can use technology to our advantage to better track what’s going on with our horses. Using a platform like BarnManager allows for consistent messaging and communication. The advantage to a digital space for communicating is to be able to refer back to a conversation that happened. This way, you won’t wonder if you forgot to mention something to your trainer or groom about your horse, and you will be able to review what your trainer may have already relayed to you.

4. Stay on top of your (and your horse’s) goals.

Have a conversation with your team at the beginning of the school year about your upcoming riding goals. Whether it’s wanting to move up, qualify for finals, or just have a good time getting to know your horse in the show ring, this will adequately prepare everyone to manage time and resources most effectively to accomplish these goals. If you have specific goals in mind for your horse, make sure your trainer knows this from the get-go and be sure to check in on how those goals are progressing throughout the year, even if you can’t be there to see for yourself.

5. Keep watching the sport.

Another benefit of the digital world coming to life in horse sports is the utilization of live streams at competitions across the country. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to ride or compete as frequently, be sure to tune into some live streams when you have time. You can learn so much from watching others navigate a course, and most platforms let you watch for free and even allow replays. If you’re a good multi-tasker, have a competition on in the background while you finish schoolwork; if not, reward yourself for finishing a daunting task by turning on a horse show.

6. Prioritize.

Perhaps the most important, yet most difficult aspect of being a horse owner or rider is prioritizing tasks. Begin each month and each week by analyzing what you have to do and what is most important to you and your personal goals. Do you want to make good grades and get into the college of your dreams? Maybe riding needs to take a back seat. Do you want to qualify for indoors and maybe ride in college one day? Then perhaps riding should play a bigger role in your everyday life. Of course, prioritizing your time is a conversation that must happen with your family and everyone involved in your efforts, both riding-related and academic, but it is important to know what matters most to you, so you can know how to effectively allocate your time.

7. Manage your time.

Perhaps the most important tactic in maintaining good grades while also riding and competing is effective time management. Make every hour count by scheduling your ride times and making efficiency a top priority as you go about your day. If you have a solid grasp on your time and don’t let it slip away chatting with barn friends or scrolling through social media, you’ll have more time in your day to devote to schoolwork and riding. Being a student also requires creative solutions for getting your work done, whether it’s in transit to or from a horse show, in between classes at a show, during free periods at school, or any other pockets of time you can use to your advantage.

Above all, this year is a time to emphasize safety while navigating both school and riding, so be sure not to forget safety protocols when going about your busy days. Focusing on safety, studying, and riding is a tough balance to achieve, but keeping all these factors in mind will help you on the path to accomplishing goals in everything you do.

 

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!

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