Six Ways to Make Horse Showing More Affordable

Horse show entry and office fees, transportation and travel expenses, tack and equipment costs, training fees, and grooming and braiding charges can be enough to make many an adult amateur – no matter the discipline – contemplate a second job or a steady diet of ramen noodles to offset expenses.

Fortunately, while the entirely inexpensive horse show may remain elusive, there are ways to greatly reduce your expenses and make horse showing more affordable.

Here are six tips that could help you decrease your costs this show season!

1) Identify your goals.

 Before heading to a horse show, think realistically about you and your horse’s level of competitiveness and what you hope to accomplish throughout the show season.

If your aim is to use horse shows simply as a way to test all that you have been practicing at home, to enjoy the competition with your horse, or to gain experience or exposure, unrecognized or schooling horse shows could be a great cost saver. These shows generally have much less expensive entry and office fees, paid memberships to governing organizations such as US Equestrian or the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) are typically not required, and US Equestrian fees are not imposed.

If your aim is to earn rated points, awards, or titles or to qualify for prestigious year-end finals and championships, you can still be smart and save money when it comes to selecting which horse shows you attend. Consider your travel expenses and what is realistic for you. While that beautiful horse show in Kentucky might look fun, perhaps the one of equal rating and just an hour drive from your home in Pennsylvania could be far more affordable for you and offer you the same opportunity to accrue points.

By identifying your goals in advance and selecting horse shows that fit those goals, you could save a great deal of money!

2) Submit your entries on time – or even well in advance.

Many horse shows penalize riders with an added fee for entering a horse show beyond a set entry date, while some others even offer reduced rates for early entries. Submitting your entries on time or in advance is a simple way to save money.

3) Be well organized and prepared for horse show day.

No one wants to have to purchase new gloves or spurs at a horse show when they know that they have perfectly good ones sitting at home, and having to purchase any tack or equipment at the horse show can be a good way to quickly exceed your budget! Instead, get organized and ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Make a thorough packing check list (fun fact: you can do this within BarnManager!). Be sure to include any items that you might need at a horse show that you might not typically use at home like ear plugs, Show Sheen or other show grooming products, rain gear just in case, and yarn or rubber bands.

Review your packing list a few days in advance of the show to make sure that you have everything that you need and that everything is in good repair. You don’t want to be left scrambling to get to the tack shop the night before the show!

As you’re packing and getting organized, it’s also wise to clearly label all of your belongings. That way, nothing gets inadvertently put in someone else’s tack trunk at the show or left behind at the ring with no identifier.

4) BYOS – Bring Your Own Stuff.

Much like it’s cheaper to ensure that you have all of your tack and equipment with you rather than purchasing anything new at the show, it’s also cheaper to “bring your own stuff.” That could include packing your own shavings to avoid paying more for them at the horse shows and bringing your own snacks and lunches to avoid paying expensive food vendors. If you’re going with a group from your barn, consider working together to organize who can bring food items to share.

5) Learn to groom and band or braid for yourself – or have friends and family help.

Whether your show requires that your horse’s mane be banded, braided in hunter style, or put into button braids, learning to do it yourself can save a ton of money – especially if you are horse showing frequently!

You can find numerous great tutorials on YouTube and on equestrian websites to help get you started on learning to braid or band before getting into the barn to practice. If you get good enough at mane or tail braiding, and if time at horse shows allows, you could even braid or band for others at the show to help you recoup your horse show costs.

Similarly, if you are able to groom, tack up, and care for your horse and your stall area yourself at the show – while still having the energy and focus needed to ride well – doing so is a great way to cut costs.

If you are fortunate enough to have friends, family members, or a significant other willing to help you out, don’t be afraid to take them up on the offer! Having an extra hand to hold your horse or an extra body to run back to the stalls for that forgotten item can go a long way and can help eliminate grooming costs.

6) Take good care of your belongings.

At the end of the horse show, again consult your packing list, this time to ensure that nothing gets left behind. It’s easy to head home from the horse show with a crop, glove, or girth missing from your tack trunk; ensuring that you have everything is an easy way to avoid having to purchase the item again.

While cleaning and organizing may be the last thing that you want to do when you get home from a horse show, it’s important to take good care of your belongings to prolong their lifespan and avoid having to spend money on new tack or clothing. Try to hang up your show clothes as soon as possible instead of leaving them crumpled in a bag or in the back of your car. (If you take good enough care of your show coat, you may even be able to avoid a dry-cleaning bill until after the next show!) Clean all of your tack and equipment as soon as possible after the show, and re-organize your belongings to keep everything ready to go for next time!

What are your horse show cost-reducing tricks!? We want to hear from you in the comments below!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Stress-Free Horse-Free Vacations

Liv Gude gives us some tips on what information to leave your horse sitter this summer.

Aside from the generally obvious things, like your emergency phone numbers, here is some additional information that you should put together for your caretaker:

1. Your horse’s normal vital signs – heart rate, temperature, and respirations.

2. Your horse’s particular way of telling you they don’t feel well. Each horse has their own language.

3. A list of your horse’s medications, as well as administration details – when and how. Most horses have that one way, and one way only, they will take something.

4. Any quirks that might put your horse sitter in danger – like that tickle spot that makes your horse kick out.

5. A detailed plan of what to do in an emergency – colic, hoof issues, not eating, acting weird, lacerations and first aid, etc. Let your horse sitter know where the first aid kit is!

6. A plan if your horse needs a refill of food, fly spray, etc. Do you have an account at your local feed store where your sitter can just zip over?

7. Detailed information about what is safe, and not safe, for your horse to eat as a treat. We so often want our horses to be spoiled when we are away, but not spoiled with something they are allergic to.

8. Instructions on how to handle your horse if they are acting like a fool, won’t be caught, are pawing at the gate, you name it. If you are in the middle of training or un-training a behavior, you want your horse sitter to be able to reinforce the same actions.

Happy Vacationing!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

Five Fundamentals of Equitation from Stacia Klein Madden and the Iron Bridge Hounds Pony Club

Stacia Klein Madden can typically be found ringside during major equitation classes at top horse shows across the country or at home at Beacon Hill Show Stables training some of the country’s most competitive junior and amateur hunter, jumper, and equitation riders.

Two weeks ago, however, our BarnManager team found Madden somewhere a little bit different: in Maryland amidst 11 young U.S. Pony Club riders and their adorable, fuzzy ponies and well-schooled mounts.

The riders – ranging in age from seven to 16 and in skill level from walk-trot to those competent at jumping three feet – generally focus on dressage, eventing, and beginning show jumping in their lessons, but Madden’s presence meant something different for them as well: a special clinic with a focus on the “Fundamentals of Equitation.”

The clinic was awarded to the riders as the winners of the 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Barn Night Group Video Contest, presented by BarnManager, thanks to this winning entry!

This year marked our BarnManager team’s second year in a row partnering with WIHS to put on the clinic, and for the second year in a row, we walked away having gained valuable insight! (Read about last year’s clinic with Laura Graves here.)

With Madden, the emphasis on equitation provided the participating riders – and us! – with tips and reminders that can be beneficial to riding across disciplines – and across all skill levels.

While using the full ring properly in your hunter or equitation class or halting squarely in a straight line after a fence in your lesson may not be exercises you need to work on, it never hurts to revisit the fundamentals!

In fact Madden herself said, “The basics are the same, whether you’re teaching somebody to be on a horse for the first time, or whether you’re trying to win a national championship. It’s just levels and degrees of what you’re trying to fine-tune. Having taught these levels might inspire me to go back to some very simple things with my students at home when I teach this week!”

Here are five of our favorite fundamental reminders from the clinic with Madden:

1) Always remember that you are the pilot – not the passenger!

 Ensuring that the rider had full control of the horse was an over-arching theme of Madden’s for the clinic, no matter what level the rider was.

“Air Force One is the most technologically advanced airplane in the world, but it can’t fly itself! It still needs a pilot,” Madden said. “Think of your horse as the plane, and you as the pilot. No matter what kind of horse it is, you have to fly the plane. If they want to go off the course you planned, you have to correct it.”

2) Don’t allow repeat disobediences from your horse, but tailor your correction to the crime.

As the pilot of your horse, you should expect the horse to go where you direct them to go and do what you have asked them to do. When they don’t, it’simportant to correct them properly the first time and not continue to let the disobedience go on or even build into a greater problem.

In the IBHPC clinic, Charlie Atkinson had a good ride in her session on the pony, Emmie, but the chestnut mare had a habit of rooting the reins in a quick motion, pulling Atkinson out of the tack.

Madden showed Atkinson how to quickly set her hands to prevent the rooting as well as teaching her the proper timing for the correction. “When you feel her neck tense and her head go up a bit, get ready, because that’s what she does before she roots down,” Madden advised Atkinson. By the end of the session, Atkinson had a feel for the timing and correction, and Emmie had stopped rooting at the reins both while moving and in downward transitions.

There is a difference in the type of correction a horse may need, however.

“There’s a difference between a horse that stops and a horse that ducks out, and you correct them differently,” Madden said. “A horse that stops is one who loses momentum on the approach to the jump and stops straight right in front of the jump. A horse that ducks out is one that keeps his momentum but turns away from the jump.

“When the horse stops, you need to correct the loss of momentum, so you circle right away, and use your stick behind your leg to get the horse going forward,” continued Madden. “Ducking out is a steering problem, so to correct it you need to turn the horse the opposite way that he went past the jump, then re-approach.”

3) Utilize a three-second rule when it comes to your transitions.

Young Pony Club rider Penelope Roesler had only been riding Fleetwood Mac for a short time before the clinic after transitioning from a pony, and at the beginning of her session, Fleetwood Mac was a bit sluggish off of her leg aids.

Madden taught Roesler how to use the crop behind her leg to reinforce the leg aid and increase Fleetwood Mac’s sensitivity to the leg, and she instituted a “three-second rule” for her transitions, calling out a new gait then counting aloud to three to encourage Roesler to get a prompt transition. The improvement in Fleetwood Mac’s responsiveness was dramatic, and by the end of her session, Roesler was cantering a small course on him.

Particularly when schooling or hacking solo at home, if you have a sluggish horse, it can be easy to get lazy yourself and give your horse a little extra time to accelerate, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a little extra time to decelerate! It never hurts to remember to be crisp and timely in your transitions.

4) Incorporate ground rails into your routine.

Madden incorporated rails on the ground before jumping for each one of the groups. “You can get a lot done with rails on the ground. You want your horse to have a long, healthy career,” she said.

“I have multiple horses in my barn in their 20s, still sound and showing. You do that by saving their legs and not always jumping. You can keep a horse pretty fit over cavaletti, and they’re a great way to work on riders’ skills as well. Cavaletti work prepares you for jumping and gives you the skills to be ready to jump. There are a gazillion things you can do over cavaletti. Get creative with them and figure out what would help you and your horse.”

5) Be thankful for the opportunity that you have to ride in any capacity and enjoy it!

Maybe it was the way they carefully groomed their ponies, brushed out their tails, and showed their mounts how much they appreciated them, or maybe it was the way you could almost see each of them taking in and absorbing everything that Madden said and truly valuing her expertise, but watching the Iron Bridge Hounds Pony Club riders was a valuable reminder of what it looks to really be thankful for this incredible privilege that we have of riding and working with horses.

No matter what your discipline or riding level, I think we can all agree that love and appreciation of the horse is the most important fundamental of all.

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!

Inside the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals!

The Barn Management Team that Helps Bring it All Together

Riding in equestrian competitions of any discipline requires an important prerequisite: the actual horse on which to compete!

At most horse shows and events available to young riders, that means either owning a horse of their own or leasing one. Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) shows, however, are an exception.

The organization, now open to students in grades four through 12, makes riding in hunt seat, western, and dressage competitions more accessible to many young riders, as competition horses are provided at all events. Competing riders show up to the event and randomly draw which horse they will be riding that day. For flat classes, they even enter the ring with no prior warm-up!

The IEA, now open to students in grades four through 12, makes riding in hunt seat, western, and dressage competitions more accessible to many young riders, as competition horses are provided at all events. Photo by Jump Media

But if the riders are not bringing all of their own horses, where do these magical, ready-to-show horses come from? And who is taking care of and managing them? And how do the riders know that the mount they are getting will be cooperative?

Our BarnManager team caught up with the barn manager and horse coordination team working seamlessly behind the scenes at the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals in Harrisburg, PA, on April 26-28, to learn more about what makes it all possible.

Here’s an inside look at the process, from months before the show to the moment that the last horse ships out of the show!

Before it All Begins

Several months before the first horse arrived at the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals, barn manager Simon Towns – who has worked for the IEA for 15 years – spent a lot of time on the phone.

Part of her role as the barn manager for the Hunt Seat National Finals each year is searching to find the horses that she will ultimately manage at the Finals, and that means placing numerous calls to horse owners within the IEA’s network and in the area surrounding the finals’ venue.

“This show is in April, so usually in January and February the initial calls are going out to people that you know just from having done it or from knowing the area,” explained Towns. “This [year’s Finals] happened to be in Zone 11, so we went to Zone 11 [in Pennsylvania and New Jersey] first, but we’ve also got some from New York, some from West Virginia.”

This year, 13 providers stepped up to the call, with a total of 72 horses coming to the Finals from universities and schools including Delaware Valley University, the Grier School (PA), Bethany College (WV), and Morrisville State (NY); independent owners including Megan Mendenhall; and riding schools and farms including Black Horse Stables (PA), Candy Lane Acres (PA), Briarwood Farm (NJ), Innova Riding Academy (PA), Stellar Riding (PA), Cavalier Farm (CT), Granite Springs (NY), and Serenity Farm (PA).

So that should be it than, right? The horses have all been acquired; their owners will bring them, and the IEA riders will pull a name from one of those 72, get on, and show! Not quite. This is where the management and coordination really begin!

Settling in at the Show

For this year’s Hunt Seat National Finals, the horses arrived on Wednesday and Thursday morning, where they were greeted by Towns and horse coordinators including Ashley Wilson of Concord, GA, and Kathryn Bordua of Manchester, CT.

IEA horse coordinators Ashley Wilson (far left) and Kathryn Bordua (far right) with Morrisville State-provided mount, Pappy, Morrisville State rider Hannah Guindon, and IEA barn manager Simon Towns. Photo by Jump Media

After being unloaded – on a shipping schedule coordinated by Towns and the horse coordination team – the horses are led to their stalls, which have already been completely set up and bedded with shavings by that same team.

“Simon does a lot of the pre-work, months ahead of the show, basically doing the barn format, how the stalls will be set up, how many providers need to go where, who’s working with who, who’s shipping in with who, organizing the shavings and things like that,” explained Bordua. “Then, Ashley comes in a couple of days ahead of time, and she and Simon work together to get the barn all set up.”

Once settled in their stalls, some of the horses come with owners or handlers to care for them, but others are generously donated for the weekend without a handler.

“At this show, we have some horses that were dropped off to us, so we do things like feeding in the morning,” said Wilson in describing the various hats that the barn management team wears throughout the weekend. “We actually pick stalls for a lot of them and fill waters. Sometimes you have a provider who will bring seven horses but have one person, so you help out there.”

Competition Time: Maintaining an Even Playing Field

Once the horses are situated, Thursday is a full day dedicated to schooling, and for Bordua, Towns, and Wilson, evaluating the horses.

While the horse providers supply background information on each horse, it is up to Bordua, Towns, and Wilson to assess what division, or divisions, each horse is best suited for – which is no easy task and one that continues to evolve throughout the show weekend.

“We watch the schooling with information on what the providers say that the horses can do,” said Towns. “Kathryn adjusts their duties appropriately within the show framework so that we can establish what we want the standards to be.” They divide the horses into Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, or Open divisions.

Bordua added, “I start by watching the horses go. I say to the horse provider, ‘Where do you want me to put this horse?’ They tell me. Then we decide their suitability and their level appropriateness. It’s a lot of watching them go around and saying, ‘We like this one over fences more, or I really like this one on the flat more. This one is better suited in Open because the playing field is more equitable that way.’

“You also don’t want to put the tiny little peanut pony in the class with the big warmbloods,” continued Bordua.

Skout, one of the adorable and well-behaved ponies used the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals. Photo by Jump Media

“When the coaches look at the class, they want to see what appears to be even competition,” added Towns.

After watching all of the horses go, Bordua and Wilson create a complex grid that details which horses will be used in what classes throughout the weekend, and the show begins! The start of the show, however, does not mean the end of the evaluating of the horses, and Bordua’s ongoing updates to the grid are frequent.

Wilson explained that the Open and Beginner levels were the most difficult to place horses in, as the Beginner horses need to be complacent with greener riders while the Open horses should have the ablility to let more experienced riders show off.  “You want the super fancy horses for the Open kids, but there are sharper edges to those horses,” continued Wilson. “Then the Beginner group has to go around and show well, but nothing is going to faze them. It’s just hard to find.

At the end of the day, Bordua, Towns, and Wilson want all the riders to have a fair and fun competition experience, but perhaps even more importantly, they want the same for the horses.

“Our job is also a lot of horsemanship,watching, and trying to assess a situation. I If we see the unraveling start to happen, we try to, at least for the horse’s sake, make sure that we make a decision before it actually becomes made for us,” said Bordua.

“We all have the same basic goal of making sure the horses and the kids are well-matched and used appropriately,” said Towns. “We all have that same philosophy.”

“We really have to think about the horses’ mentality and safety,” concluded Wilson. “We’re approaching the show from those 72 horses’ standpoints, instead of ‘Let’s see what the kids want or what the coaches want.’ Our side is, ‘What is going to make the horses happy and comfortable?’”

Learn more about the IEA by visiting www.rideiea.org.

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!

Five Ways to Master Your Show Ring Mental Game

Whether you’re about to jump a grand prix, ride a dressage test, enter a western pleasure class, or complete a 2’ hunter course, there’s a good chance that you know the feeling: that bundle of nerves or anxieties that leaves you sick to your stomach or tense in the saddle.

Or, maybe you’re as cool as a cucumber going into the show ring, but it’s after the class when a mistake has been made that the mental game gets the best of you, as you overanalyze and continuously critique yourself for the error. Or perhaps you find yourself struggling right in the middle of the class, with your mind wandering off to something that happened earlier in the day instead of focusing on the task at hand.

No matter what the particular struggle may be, equestrians everywhere are becoming increasingly aware and open about the importance of managing the psychological component of the sport. We’ve gathered five tips from top riders that could help you do just that!

1. Develop a routine.

Adrienne Sternlicht frequently listens to books as part of her pre-class routine. Photo by Jump Media 

There are countless articles online about the benefits of a morning routine for productivity and performance, and the same can hold true when it comes to a show-ring ritual!

Show jumper Adrienne Sternlicht frequently listens to books (including 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-class routine, and that helped bring her a sense of calm before helping team USA earn gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon (WEG).

“All that routine does is bring comfort to uncomfortable situations,” said Adrienne. “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.”

Fellow show jumper Daniel Bluman says, “Routine is the most important thing that I think any athlete can go back to.”

Whether it’s taking a walk, meditating, napping, reading a book, grooming your horse, or polishing your boots, find a set of habits or rhythms that you enjoy and that help bring you to a place of calm and familiarity. They can help prevent you from anxiously having to overthink what to do next before you ride.

2. Know what works for you, and don’t be ashamed of it.

Once you find your routine, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to stick to it even if it doesn’t make sense to those around you.

For instance, while Adrienne prefers to keep busy or immerse herself in meditation or audio books and couldn’t imagine sleeping, Daniel can often be found napping by the grand prix ring prior to his round, and Olympic dressage rider Kasey Perry-Glass likes to keep things light.

“I was talking to a sports psychologist, and she asked me to think back to the best ride that I’ve done and what I did to prepare for that best ride,” explained Kasey. “I said, ‘I think I was laughing in the barn and having fun.’ Sometimes we think we have to be so serious and not crack a smile, especially for these team events. It has to be so focused, but sometimes focus comes in many forms. Luckily, I have teammates that love to joke around with me. The lighter I keep things the better I am in my head. Another girl on my team, loves to sleep; we have to wake her up. So, it’s interesting how everyone can be so different.”

Laura Graves, the number two-ranked dressage rider in the world says: “I think it’s important to learn how you succeed: how you recharge, what drains you, and really how much you can tolerate.”

3. Recognize that you are not alone in your struggles.

Even Olympic riders and top professionals are speaking out more and more about their own fears, anxieties, and difficulties in mastering the psychological side of the sport.

Kasey recently shared, “Leading up to the Rio Olympics, my horse got overfloated with his teeth. He wouldn’t eat; it was just horrible. After Rio, I went through a pretty big depression. At the end of 2017, I took a big break and started talking to a sports psychologist, just getting my mind right again. [That incident before Rio] took the fun out of riding. Mentally, I just was not prepared for getting shot up into the high-performance world and then having all these things happen to me and not knowing how to deal with them. So, I think it’s really important to learn to be mentally strong. I think it’s important to stay true to yourself and take care of yourself and your mind.

“Even these big events that you go to, I try to think of it as a very small thing,” continued Kasey of her routine now. “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.”

For Daniel, a two-time Olympian himself, the struggle often comes in overthinking his last ride.

“I do definitely dwell on mistakes. It’s a constant battle. To say that after the competition I’m not angry if I had a rail down, that would be a total lie,” Daniel says.

4. Try to avoid dwelling on mistakes or thinking about what could go wrong.

Daniel Bluman may glance a look back at the clock (pictured), but he is continuously striving to not spend excess time looking back at past show ring mistakes. Photo by Jump Media

Easier said than done, but by proactively and consciously striving to let go of mistakes and to focus on the positive scenarios, you are more likely to set yourself up for success.

“We compete a lot; we are all the time doing this, so [not dwelling] is something that I’ve tried to master through the years,” said Daniel. “Constantly, every competition, every week, I try to be better and to dwell the least amount of time possible. I just go back, see what I did wrong, how am I going to correct it, and that’s it. If I keep dwelling on it, then I start affecting the people that love me.

“People don’t want to be around you when you’re in a bad energy all the time,” continued Daniel. “It’s important to bounce back from it. I know people say, ‘Ah look how seriously he or she takes it. He’s been upset going to the gym 10 times a day because he lost that class.’ I don’t think that makes you better or worse. There needs to be a balance between work and sport, especially in our industry where we compete until our 60s. If we’re going to take it that seriously, then we’re going to be dwelling from the time that we lost until the time that we win, we’re going to spend most of the year dwelling!”

Adrienne says, “‘I don’t mind what happens.’ – I love that phrase. It’s sort of a yogi phase, and I love yoga. It’s a sort of ‘I will still be here tomorrow’ mentality. That’s the nature of my program also. With [Adrienne’s trainer, Olympian McLain Ward], he’s very much of the mindset, ‘okay, tomorrow we’re still going to come back regardless of what happens, and work together, and we will also come back to address whatever those issues are and fall back on our program and move forward.’”

5. Remember why you are doing the sport in the first place.

We have shared this quote from Daniel on both our BarnManager social media and blog before, but it is one that will continuously hold true:

“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.”

Have your own show ring mental strategies? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Photos by Jump Media

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Avoiding Pasture Hazards

Liv Gude gives us some tips on avoiding common pasture hazards.


Now that spring is swinging, your horse’s world may have become a bit greener. Aside from the binge eating risks of all of that fresh salad, you should keep your eyes peeled for some pasture hazards that your horse may, or may not, avoid on his own.

If buttercups are something that cover your land, know that they are toxic to horses. Luckily, they also taste horribly, so most horses avoid them like the plague. However, horses will eat them if they have no other choices. So if you have a barren pasture except for some sparse patches of buttercups, you might want to add some hay for your horse to eat when he’s out.

Dandelions are not toxic, but they are super high in sugars which makes them delicious and tempting. Be wary of your metabolically challenged horse eating them. You might need to switch paddocks, limit turn out, or find another way altogether for your horse to get some turn out.

Also watch out for internal parasites. Pasture piles of previous poops often have worms just waiting to find a new host. If your horse’s pastures are not routinely picked out, you may want to double up on the number of fecal egg counts that you do.

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Fitting a Grazing Muzzle

Liv Gude gives us some tips on fitting your horse’s grazing muzzle


A well fitted grazing muzzle can help your horse stay healthy and trim, all while avoiding an increased risk of laminitis in some cases. But, muzzles can rub your horse bald, and even to the point of sores.

Some horses do best with a soft and fuzzy grazing muzzle that sits closely to their face. Some horses do best with soft and fuzzy, but a bit larger.

If you horse is really sensitive to rubs around the muzzle, look for a style that is made from stiff materials that can be held away from his face.

You must always use a breakaway halter of some style. Nylon halters must have a leather crown piece or some other breakaway option. Leather halters might be your best bet to attach a muzzle to, as they hand help the whole thing stay away from your horse’s face.

Adding fleece to halters is an option also. You don’t have to go for real sheepskin, you can get all sorts of colors and textures for rub protection.

If your horse likes to talk his muzzle off by hooking the nose and flipping the basket under his chin, you can get halters that have a face piece that connects from the crown piece to the basket. If your horse likes to remove everything by getting out of the crownpiece, braid some of his mane around it to see if that helps.

Happy grazing!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Winter Fuzz to Summer Slick

Liv Gude gives us some tips on transitioning from winter fuzz through the spring shed and on to summer slick.


Horses shed when the days start to get longer, which begins with the winter solstice around December 21st. Most horses hold on to their coats a bit longer to begin the shedding cycle in February. Here are a few ways you can be prepared to help this transition.

▪ Use specialized grooming tools, like shedding gloves. Please stay away from metal blades and hacksaw blades. These can damage the hair and skin, and definitely can’t be used on legs, faces, bony parts.

▪ Help your horse shed themselves by giving them ample opportunity to roll in sandy stuff.

▪ Bathe your horse when the temperature is comfortable and safe. This helps convince hairs to come out!

▪ Add products to make them shine a bit more as your help transition. Grooming oils are nice to condition dull coats, and sheen products help with slicking up hair coats.

▪ Remember that a horse’s hair coat is ALWAYS shedding and growing – it doesn’t just happen twice a year. This is why a bridle path needs constant touching up, and a horse will regrow hair that you have clipped for wound treatment or some other reason. Therefore, you CAN clip a shedding horse. His summer coat will come in even eventually!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

Tips and Tricks from the Best Show Jumping Grooms to the Greats

The warm-up ring of the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is an incredible place to learn. Pull up a chair during a FEI class, and suddenly you have a front row seat to watch many of the top riders in the world at work behind-the-scenes.

Not only is the schooling ring a place to take in valuable riding lessons gleaned from the warm-up rides of the sport’s best showjumpers, it’s also where you can find and learn from many of show jumping’s top grooms, always on hand and attentive to their horses’ needs. So that’s just what we did. Our BarnManager team caught up with grooms from around the world to learn their tips and tricks, and now we’re bringing you insight from four of them!

Meet This Week’s All-Star Grooms


Denise Moriarty
– Originally from Ireland, for the last six years Denise Moriarty has groomed for U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington.

 


Tia Stenman
– For the last three and a half years, Finland native Tia Stenman has groomed for Torrey Pines Stable where she currently cares for the horses of the USA’s Spencer Smith.

 


Ninna Leonoff
– Ninna Leonoff has been a vital part of Markus Beerbaum’s team for more than 20 years after first moving from Finland to Germany to groom for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) gold medalist in the 90s.

 


Josie Eliasson
– A Gothenburg, Sweden native, Josie Eliasson has spent the last three and a half years grooming for the USA’s Jessica Springsteen at Springsteen’s Stone Hill Farm.

 

Q: What’s one thing that you don’t go to the ring without?

Denise: “A towel. You clean your horse; clean your rider. It’s the most useful piece of equipment.”

Tia: “A towel. Often it comes to the rescue for a lot of things.”

Ninna: “A towel.” (We’re sensing a theme!)

Josie: “A towel. It’s so handy for everything – for your rider, for the horse, for everything. It’s just very handy and such a simple thing.” (Okay, it’s unanimous!)

Q: What’s your favorite or the most rewarding part of the job?

Denise (pictured left): Seeing the horses do well in the ring.

Tia: I love my horses; they’re my hairy children. I love the travel. There’s nothing better than when you get to know the horse, and you kind of can read their mind. I couldn’t do it like in a factory way. For me, it’s really important that I know my horses and that I get to be with them as much as I can, because this is the only way I can be the best possible groom.

For sure the most rewarding is when your horses jump great; they perform great, and you see they’re happy. They’re not really made to do this, what we make them do, so when I can see that they actually like what they do – like this guy here [Theodore Manciais], when he jumps around with his ears up, and he’s excited and he feels good and he’s enjoying it – I love that. If I can keep them happy during all of these travels and crazy things that they go through that’s really important for me, and that’s satisfying.

Ninna: When the horses are feeling good; when they are looking good. That’s most important for me. I think these days, to keep them feeling good soundness wise is important and rewarding. I really like to get to know my horses. I like to spend time with them so I know how they feel. Even brushing I can feel if they have sore backs or they’re tired or fresh.

Josie: Just to be with the horses. To be able to travel the world and work with them on a daily basis is just a dream.

Q: What items do you use most often in the barn?

Denise: A broom. Our whiteboard is our go to for any changes that come. Brushes, and the washing machine!

Tia: A broom. I use a lot of lunge line because I’m not big; I’m not strong. I’d rather have a little bit more time to react if my horses are being silly; I don’t like to take stupid risks. A hoof pick. I always have that in my pocket, even when I go to my car. Show Sheen is great because I hate to pull through a tail, even if it’s clean.

Ninna: A pitchfork! The curry comb. That one I use a lot; I like it a lot. Saddle soap. Probably a broom.

Josie: The different brushes, the curry comb for example, I use a lot. Nothing compares to a really good brush of the horse. Cookies! We use a lot of cookies; our different horses like different kinds of cookies.

Q: What is one time saving and/or grooming tip that you would give?

Denise: Just being organized and having your day planned. Being organized is going to make it run a lot smoother and be a lot less stressful. I make surethat my boots are laid out, that my ring bag is packed for that horse, and that I know what bit or bridle or chain and everything that [Kent] wants on the horse so that I’m not last minute panicked trying to figure that stuff out.

Tia: Maybe it’s not time saving for everyone, but I always towel dry my whole horse. After I give them a bath, I do a quick towel dry of the whole body because then they dry faster. If I leave the upper body wet, and I only dry the legs, the water from the top goes back to the legs, so I do a quick towel dry because I don’t like them to be standing wet for hours.

Ninna (pictured right): What I normally do – let’s say now I go back from the ring. I take his tack off and put him back in his stall so he can pee and drink. In the meantime, I normally always clean the tack. Then I go wash him. That way everything stays nice and tidy. I don’t like anything that is on the floor or looks dirty. I like to keep things clean. I always try to stay organized right away so that everything looks nice.

Josie: It’s really good to have the horses used to getting this care. For example, after jumping, we wash them, and we put them in ice and put on the magnetic blanket. Then, if they’re good and used to it, they can stay for a little bit, tied up or not tied up, while you have time to clean tack or do other small things. That really saves time too. Instead of just sitting there watching and waiting, you can get things done.

But also, when they’ve been really good jumping for you, I often also do just want to give them the time to take care of them! I just love to curry them. It does so many good things. It helps them with the blood circulation and everything; it’s a kind of massage. Obviously, it gets them clean, and you spend time with your horse at the same time.

Photos by Jump Media

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!