Six Benefits of Digitizing Your Barn Records

Making the move from paper records to digital can be a bit intimidating. It’s likely that you’re comfortable with the way that you currently do things and would rather avoid change or a cumbersome learning curve.

However, there is also a chance that your barn office is filled with binders and paperwork, and, odds are, every once in a while there’s a miscommunication among your team related to all that information.

How do we know? Because we’ve been there! But by going digital, there’s a good chance that you can also say goodbye to piles of binders and begin reaping additional benefits – like these six.

1) It reduces clutter, saves paper, and streamlines your organization. – We’re listing this as one benefit, but it’s more of a three-for-one. By going digital, you no longer need to worry about missing paperwork or disorganized binders (and you’re saving trees in the process)!

“We would leave notes for each other; if somebody was on antibiotics or we were going to increase the feed for somebody, we’d put that in the notebook, and we’d date it,” said Dr. Susan Spivey, who founded and operates Southern Redhead Farms Rescue in Florida. “Now BarnManager helps us with that. It’s a place for me to stockpile those notes on each particular horse.”

Kris Amaya manages Stonehenge Stables, a top hunter/jumper operation based in Florida and New Jersey, and she shared similar feedback.

“Before when we had to keep track of our vet records, we had numerous binders. Not one or two, I want to say maybe five,” explained Kris. “We had a separate binder for the vet that would come in and do all of the chiropractic work. We had a binder for just FEI horses. We also had to split the binders between our horses in Florida and New Jersey, so there was a lot of paper at any given time and a lot of notepads. And notepads would get lost and then suddenly reappear when you were looking for another notepad! BarnManager makes everything streamlined.”

2) It improves communication with your team. – Team communication was one of the motivators behind why our founder, Nicole Lakin, created BarnManager in the first place.

“At Spruce Meadows, I would be back at the barn trying to make grain and have a question for someone who was down at the International Ring, basically a mile away, and getting in touch was challenging. I was looking for ways to get around those communication issues and to get even more organized,” explained Nicole, who was working as a barn manager at the time.

Within an app like BarnManager, you can communicate with your team and use tools like barn-wide messaging and shared lists.

3) It keeps your horses happy and healthy… – With digital records, all of your horses’ health records are at your fingertips, making it easy to stay on top of their appointments, exercise, nutrition, and more. With the feed, supplement, and medication management portion of BarnManager, your horses’ nutritional and feeding records are displayed in easy-to-read tables and charts.

And if someone needs to access the records outside of the app, no problem! One click of the “download report” button creates a PDF of the well-organized feeding charts that can then be emailed or printed and displayed in the barn (without the all-too-common risk of notes getting erased off the white board)!

4) …and it can help your horse transition to a new home if sold or adopted. – BarnManager offers a “discharge report” feature that allows you combine all of the horse’s records into one master PDF report at the click of a button, something that’s particularly useful for relaying information to new owners or lessees.

“I’ve got all of those records together for the horse. So, when they’re adopted out, I can say, ‘This is the last farrier appointment. This is the last time they received their shots. There’s the date of the Coggins,’” said Susan from Southern Redhead Farm Rescue.

Stacia Klein Madden also utilizes BarnManager’s discharge report feature when horses are sold out of her Beacon Hill Show Stables.

“It’s really important to me that, when I send a horse out, I’m sending as much information about the way that I’ve cared about that horse in the past,” said Stacia. “That way, those people can have the same information if they choose to care for the horse in the same way. I don’t like it to be a science experiment. We’re able to send a horse out with the feed listed, the vet care listed, the dental records, the vaccines, and any special instructions.”

5) It can help you identify what works and what doesn’t for your horse. – Horses’ supplemental, nutritional, and medicinal needs are often changing, and while it’s often easy to remember that something was changed, it can be hard to recall exactly when that change was made – which is where BarnManager’s change log comes in. Using the log, it becomes easy to see when something was introduced or removed from a horse’s plan.

Digital records are also useful for monitoring horses’ performance, which is a feature that Deeridge Farms and CMJ Sporthorses manager Miranda Valentine frequently puts to use.

“We have so much therapy equipment, but using all of it all the time is also not the proper usage,” explained Miranda. “You have to use it for each horse in the specific way where you get the maximum performance. I like to use BarnManager to record performance ideals, goals, outcomes, and then what we did with the horses before and after that competition to achieve that. That helps me register whether or not it was successful.”

6) It saves time and gets you back into the barn with the horses that you love. – While it may seem like a transition at first, ultimately, digitizing your records allows you to save the time that you would have spent looking for or organizing paperwork or relaying messages to different members of your team. With everything in one place, including your horse’s US Equestrian records if you choose to link them, you’re not wasting time jumping from one binder or system to another, and since cloud-based software like BarnManager is accessible almost anywhere, there’s no need to be glued to your office when you could be spending more time with the horses that you love!

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!

Dr. Barb Blasko: Helping Horses, Helping Humans (and How You Could Benefit!)

Dr. Barbara J. Blasko, M.D. was traveling home from the East Coast when the medical records of her horse, competing on the West Coast, were lost prior to a show.

“They lost his medical records, so before he could get onto the show grounds, they revaccinated him,” recounted Blasko. “I was flying on a plane, and no one could get ahold of me. This horse was super sensitive; he had a really bad reaction and got very sick.”

That incident in 2013 led Blasko to recognize a need within the equestrian industry, and it sparked an idea for the board-certified emergency medicine physician, newly armed with a degree in biomedical informatics. A year later, Blasko launched Electronic Vet, making electronic vaccination records accessible by owners and show managers and eliminating the need for paper records.

Today, Blasko is practicing medicine on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in California, and she has recognized another need.

“In this time when people can’t go to their doctor, there’s a great need for telehealth,” explained Blasko, who has been practicing telemedicine since 2013. “I’ve worked with some of the first companies that were involved in telehealth, and I think it’s a great way to help people.”

With that in mind, Blasko decided she wanted to bring telehealth to equestrians during the coronavirus pandemic, and she approached BarnManager’s founder and chief executive officer Nicole Lakin with an idea.

“I wanted to offer people another way to get medical advice and treatment without having to leave their house,” said Blasko. “I know that Nicole and I share similar visions and missions, and we both want to help equestrians find solutions to their problems, so I came to her with the idea of offering telehealth consults to both BarnManager and Electronic Vet subscribers.”

Lakin agreed that the opportunity to collaborate was a perfect fit, and now, any paid subscribers who sign up for either Electronic Vet or BarnManager before May 1 will also receive a free telehealth consultation with Blasko.

Through a telehealth consultation, Blasko is able to address issues such as infections, asthma, cold and flu, sore throat, rash, sinusitis, ear pain, and more. She is also able to address COVID-19 questions or concerns and to provide certain prescriptions or medication refills.

Being Horse Crazy Helps Keep You Sane  

Barb competing JF Justinian at the HITS National Sunshine Series in Coachella, California.

For equestrians hesitant about the idea of discussing their health or medical concerns over the phone with a relative stranger, there may be comfort in knowing that Blasko is much like them.

Before she was Dr. Barbara Blasko, M.D., Blasko was a horse-crazy kid growing up in Long Island, NY.

A $1 pony ride at a fair sparked her ongoing love of the animals, and she began taking lessons at the age of 8. When she was 14, her parents bought Blasko her first horse, an Appendix Quarter Horse named Myrtle.

“I started doing the ‘B’ show circuit on Long Island and the equitation,” said Blasko. “I worked for some trainers on Long Island as a groom and a braider to pay for my horse expenses. I didn’t have my own horse in college; it was just too expensive, but I did ride others’ horses, and I kept braiding and grooming in college and in medical school. That kept me sane during my studies.”

Today, while Blasko lives in California, she trains with Peter Petschenig out of Pilot Point, TX, where a few of her horses, including her jumper and a grand prix mount purchased for Petschenig, now reside.

“Peter moved to Texas, so he’s there with my jumper, and I’m fortunate to have a retired jumper that I keep here and do mostly dressage with,” explained Blasko, who aims to ride at least four days a week, frequently flying to Texas to ride her jumper and train with Petschenig.

“Honestly, horses have just been the piece of my life that allows me to focus on the rest of my life and my career,” said Blasko. “It’s my outlet.”

Combining Passions

As a young teen, Blasko first began to see horses as such an outlet when her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was that experience that also ignited another interest in Blasko.

“Seeing her have to be treated and have surgery and interacting with her doctors really made me want to become a physician and help people,” said Blasko, who was 14 at the time. “I wanted to help others that had similar illnesses to my mom and see if I could make their lives a little better.”

Dr. Barbara Blasko

Blasko has now been in practice for 22 years, and today she is an emergency medicine physician and an associate clinical professor of emergency medicine at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, CA.

While working for Kaiser Permanente in California, Blasko helped the organization make the huge transition from paper documentation to electronic health records.  

“I became interested in health care technology, and I went back to school and got a degree in biomedical informatics, which is basically electronic health care delivery,” said Blasko. “I was involved in a lot of workflow design, physician champion committees, and in teaching other doctors how to use the electronic record.”

It was about that time that the issue with her horse’s vaccination records occurred, and Blasko knew that there was an easier way to do things.

“That was around the time that vaccines were becoming mandatory for competition, and I noticed that there were a lot of problems with paper records,” explained Blasko. “I founded Electronic Vet to make a cloud-based platform where all of the records could be housed electronically, and everyone could have access to them online.”

The cloud-based eVet Certificate includes horse and owner information, as well as the vaccines/test results/Coggins on file. The eVet Certificate can be exported and emailed from the owner/trainer’s account directly to the horse show office or provided instantly to participating show offices in the U.S. and Canada via eVet’s innovative technology partnerships.

“Having the ability to do your vaccine record digitally is one less thing to worry about when you have to get to the horse show,” said Blakso, who has partnered with a number of show managers to make their customers’ vaccine records accessible on Electronic Vet. “Basically, when our clients get to the horse show, the vaccine records are already there. They don’t have to hand a piece of paper to the show secretaries. We’ve also partnered with online entry companies so that when you create your online entry, you also create your vaccine certificate, and everything gets sent into the horse show directly.”

Managing Electronic Vet in addition to her full-time career is a balancing act for Blasko, but knowing that she can provide benefits to others while doing what she most enjoys makes it a labor of love.

“I feel so lucky that I can help people,” said Blasko. “Combining all of my passions has been amazing, and that’s similar to the idea behind offering free telehealth consults with eVet or BarnManager subscriptions. We’re combining the opportunity to help both horse and human, particularly during this difficult time.”

To learn more about Electronic Vet and to start your subscription, visit www.electronicvet.com. To begin a BarnManager subscription, click here. All new subscriptions receive a telehealth consultation with Dr. Barbara Blasko, MD, to be used within 60 days of subscription sign-up.

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!

Organizing and Spring Cleaning Your Barn During COVID-19

Each year about this time, we like to share a new barn spring cleaning blog post. This year though, things are a bit different, and the checklist of tasks that we typically recommend may not be entirely advisable.

Cleaning out your old riding clothes and taking them to your local tack shop to consign? Not an option during stay at home orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting your horses’ annual Coggins test or having their teeth checked? If it’s not an emergency, it may be best to wait another month or two.

However, with many of us finding ourselves with a bit more time on our hands as we stay safe at home and at our barns, there’s perhaps no better time for getting organized and doing some deep cleaning.

Here are our suggestions and ideas for maximizing this time and handling this year’s barn spring cleaning!

In the Barn  

If you own or manage your farm, live onsite, or are still able to safely visit while practicing social distancing, here are a few tasks to tackle.

– Scrub and disinfect all surfaces, particularly those that are frequently touched. – Now is the time to continually sanitize and clean common surfaces such as stall doors, doorknobs, light switches, sink faucets, gates, and crossties.

– Clean out gutters and downspouts. – Clear out any leaves or build-up that may have accumulated over the fall and winter months.

– Clean your fans and check the wiring. – If you live in a cooler climate, your fans have likely been packed away for the winter. Now is a good time to get them out of storage, clean them, and ensure that all is in working order. ProEquineGrooms suggests using a leave blower to blow any dust and debris out of the fan.

– Inspect your pastures. – Walk the perimeter of all pastures to check the fencing and locate any weak or broken spots. Thoroughly clean any run-in sheds, and walk your fields and fill in any holes.

– Send blankets out for cleaning and repair.By the end of the winter, it’s likely that your horse’s sheets and blankets are in need of a deep cleaning! There are many services available that allow you to ship your blankets to them for repair, and some local services, like Horse Duds & Suds in New Jersey, offer free pickup and delivery from your farm (while maintaining safe distancing!). If you’d rather clean or fix minor repairs yourself, check out this blanket care kit from Schneiders.

– Thoroughly clean your tack. – When was the last time you took your bridle completely apart? Or scrubbed your stirrup irons with a toothbrush? Now is the time to give everything a really thorough cleaning and conditioning.

– Scrub your brushes. – As with your tack, now is the time to really scrub your brushes, and, if you haven’t already, to make it a habit of cleaning them routinely. We shared steps and tips for cleaning brushes here.

– Check your horses’ medicine cabinets and restock your vet kits. – Go through any medicines and ensure that none of them are expired, and, if they are looking into getting them replaced or refilled if needed. Review your horses’ first aid kit (that you hopefully have on hand!) and make sure it’s well-stocked and any previously used items have been replenished. Not sure what should be included in your first aid kit? Here are a few of our suggestions.

While You’re at Home

– Go through your closet. – By cleaning out and organizing your riding clothes, you could turn your breeches that no longer fit (because they’re too big, and you lost weight, obviously! ?), into cash toward a new pair. While supporting your local consignment tack shop isn’t presently an option, there are lots of ways to sell your used riding apparel online, like the Grazers app.

– Eliminate paper clutter and organize your horses’ records. – If you currently store your horses’ medical records, farrier invoices, and barn paperwork in binders, folders, or in a giant stack on your desk, now is a great time to consider consolidating them and going digital! With BarnManager, you can snap photos of your records to easily add them to each horse’s profile, and you can sync each profile to the horse’s US Equestrian records to easily pull in other data. Setup a live demo meeting to see how it works, here.

– Order those horse show photos you’ve been meaning to hang in your house. This is also a great way to support equine photographers during this time. Check out a few other suggested ways to support fellow equestrians throughout COVID-19 here.

– Make your own horse treats. – This may not help with cleaning or organizing, but it will win you brownie points with your horse and provide you with a fun activity for the time at home! Check out a few of our treat recipe ideas 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!

Five Ways to Support Your Fellow Equestrians During COVID-19

From competitions being canceled further into the spring to many boarding barns now closing their doors to customers, the non-health-related effects of the global coronavirus pandemic continue to increase.

For many within our equestrian industry, that means the loss of their livelihood, and for almost all of us, it means significant changes to our daily lives and less time spent in the saddle or enjoying our horses. While it’s important to remain physically distant from one another, now is a time to figuratively come together as a community.

Here are just five ways that you can support your fellow equestrians during this time.

1. Make purchases from equestrian professionals. – Your trainer has likely had to limit or entirely cancel teaching lessons or clinics; your favorite horse show photographer no longer has spring events to shoot, and your braider is temporarily out of a job (and that’s to name just three of the many types of equestrian professionals directly impacted by COVID-19). 

If you are financially able, now is a great time to pre-purchase training or lesson packages or gift certificates to gift a friend or family member with riding lessons. If your trainer or other professionals offer digital seminars, take advantage of them as you’re able. This not only supports their businesses, but it allows you to continue to learn and grow during this down time.

Have you been considering ordering prints or a large canvas of your favorite show photos? Now is the perfect time to place that order and support horse show photographers!

2. Give what you can to help those in need. – The cancellation of horse shows means a lack of work for the support staff that make them possible: the ring crew, grooms, ingate guys, stewards, judges, security, office staff, and more. We know many reading this likely have been financially affected by COVID-19 as well, but for those who are able, giving what you can to those out of work can go a long way. Check out the Show Jumping Relief Fund for one way to give.

3. Be understanding that many may struggle to afford their horses during this time – and don’t be afraid to seek help if you are among them. – Many people are struggling to figure out how to cover their own living expenses, let alone those of their horses.

4. Check in on each other and encourage group “hang outs.”   – The current circumstances can be stressful, and the reduced social interaction can be tough for anyone’s mental health. Check in on your friends and barn mates and come up with new ways to “get together.” Try group FaceTime calls or perhaps pick a horse book (fiction or non-fiction) and start your own virtual book club. Need some motivation and encouragement to workout? Why not do video workouts together virtually with your barn mates?

5. Stay home.  – One of the most important things that you can do for the benefit of not only the equestrian community, but the country as a whole, is to adhere to the advised social distancing guidelines. The sooner we can stop the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can return to the horses that we love!

Wishing everyone health and safety during this time!

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!

Handling Social Distancing and Horses: How Equestrians Can Safely Make the Most of It

This time of social distancing and quarantine can feel scary, confusing, and strange – but it’s also important to adhere to these measures in order to keep yourself and those that you love and care about safe and healthy.

By self-quarantining, we are able to help protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus, and it allows us to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases. However, self-quarantining can also lead to a far lesser problem: boredom. And a serious one for many equestrians facing cancelled shows, events, and lessons: financial loss.

In order to help combat both of these, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to help you safely make the most of this time.

1. Spend quality time with your horse(s). – If you keep your horse at home or if your boarding facility is still allowing visitors, take advantage of the extra time to ride, get outside in the sunshine, love on, groom, and care for your horse.

There is currently no evidence that horses can spread or contract CO-VID19, which Palm Beach Equine Clinic explains further in this blog post.

2. Implement new cleaning and social distancing protocols at the barn in order to allow operations to safely continue. – While we do advise spending as much time with your horse as possible during this time, we also recommend only doing it safely. Now isn’t the time to organize a trail ride with 10 of your barn friends or to plan a clinic since your spring horse show was cancelled. Instead, whether you’re a barn owner, boarder, or lesson student, it’s important to implement or follow some important new protocols.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Adhere to the CDC’s recommended six to nine feet of social distancing between you and others. That means limiting riding close together and not stopping to chat closely in the tack room or barn aisle. For barn owners or trainers continuing to provide lessons, Tara Swersie from Event Clinics recommends scheduling 15-minute blocks between lessons to help limit the number of people present at any time.
  • Along the same vein, group lessons should be limited to no more than four people – and possibly fewer depending on the size of the ring.
  • Clean and sanitize! Wherever you can, try to greatly reduce the number of shared items or surfaces such as whiteboard markers, pitchforks, and brooms. For places where it’s more difficult to reduce common contact, such as door knobs, crossties, light switches, or stall doors, incorporate frequent sanitization of these surfaces into your daily routine.

3. Try a new workout. – While going to the public gym isn’t advised (and currently in most areas isn’t allowed), there’s no reason not to work on your fitness during this time. Many fitness trainers and programs are currently offering free or greatly discounted online workouts, and YouTube workouts – like this Yoga For Equestrians routine with Yoga With Adriene – are always a great option.

If yoga is your thing (or if you’d like to try to make it your thing during self-quarantine), Yoga With Adriene has a great, free 30-day program, and CorePower is offering free yoga on demand.

If yoga isn’t your thing, Les Mills is also offering a 30-day free trial of all workouts on demand, like the program’s popular Body Pump class.

Here are a few easy-to-try-at-home CrossFit workout ideas, and the Fit Equestrian has programs specifically tailored to riders available for purchase here. The US Equestrian Learning Center even has a few workout videos!

4. Expand your equestrian knowledge. – While you may not be horse showing or riding with friends for a bit, now is a great time to expand your equestrian knowledge. Check out USEF Network to watch clinics and learn from experts for free, and go to the US Equestrian Learning Center for topics covering everything from horse care and breeding to riding a winning jump-off with Laura Kraut.

Order a new equestrian book to learn more about the sport, like the USET Foundation’s Riding for the Team, or about horsemanship and riding, like Anne Kursinski’s Riding and Jumping Clinic or Helen Crabtree’s Saddle Seat Equitation. Check out this great reading list, compiled by eventer Jim Wofford.

5. Tackle tasks that you’ve been avoiding. – Been putting off cleaning out that storage area or sorting through your old tack? Or maybe you have old show clothes to list for sale online? Now is the time to tackle these projects! For more ideas of these sorts of tasks and things to do during quarantine, check out My Equestrian Style’s list here.

Stay safe!

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 Coronavirus Vs. COVID-19: Two Distinctly Different Diseases

This Notice was originally posted by Palm Beach Equine Clinic

The recent spread of the novel coronavirus has raised serious concerns as the status continues to evolve. As equine veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to address the questions and concern raised by horse owners regarding the potential impact of this disease on the equine industry.

Coronaviruses include a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory and enteric symptoms, and have been reported in domestic and wild animals. Equine Enteric Coronavirus and COVID-19 are both coronaviruses, however, they are distinctly different viruses.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infectious disease experts, and multiple international and national human and animal health organizations have stated that at this time there is NO EVIDENCE to indicate that horses could contract COVID-19 or that horses would be able to spread the disease to other animals or humans. Equine enteric coronavirus and COVID-19 are NOT the same strain, and there is no indication that either are transmissible between species.

Therefore, it is important to concentrate on the health of our equestrians by being precautious and following recommendations from public health officials. Palm Beach Equine Clinic will continue to make every effort to stay informed on the developments with COVID-19, and will continue to provide expert veterinary care to all horses regardless of the status of this disease.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic is equipped with secure isolation stalls and follows strict biosecurity measures. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography

 

A Profile of Equine Enteric Coronavirus

Equine coronavirus is an enteric, or gastrointestinal, disease in the horse. There is NO EVIDENCE that equine enteric coronavirus poses a threat to humans or other species of animals.

Photo by Jump Media LLC

  • Transmission: Equine coronavirus is transmitted between horses when manure from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission), or if a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected manure.
  • Common Clinical Signs: Typically mild signs that may include anorexia, lethargy, fever, colic or diarrhea.
  • Diagnosis: Veterinarians diagnose equine enteric coronavirus by testing fecal samples, and the frequency of this disease is low.
  • Treatment and Prevention: If diagnosed, treatment is supportive care, such as fluid therapy and anti-inflammatories, and establishing good biosecurity precautions of quarantining the infected horse. Keeping facilities as clean as possible by properly disposing of manure will help decrease chances of horses contracting the virus.

INFORMATION FOR THIS NOTICE WAS COMPILED USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES:

Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/animal-health-diagnostic-center/veterinary-support/disease-information/equine-enteric-coronavirus

American Association of Equine Practitioners, Equine Disease Communication Center: https://aaep.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Outside%20Linked%20Documents/DiseaseFactsheet_Coronavirus.pdf

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!

Six Ways to Reduce Horse Show Stress

It may feel like there have been a number of things to stress about recently, but your horse show experience shouldn’t have to be one of them!

The more relaxed you are able to be while competing, the more likely you are to be successful (and to enjoy the horse show). With that in mind, here are six tips to practice to help prevent horse show nerves and anxiety even before they happen!

1) Get prepared long in advance  It’s more than making packing lists and practicing your braiding skills, it’s about going to schooling shows, getting out to ride in a clinic, or exposing your horse in low pressure situations to all of the things he might see at a horse show.

While it’s good to push yourself, it’s also best to only compete at a level that you feel prepared for and comfortable with. Going into the show feeling overwhelmed or extremely unconfident in your ability to jump a certain height or perform certain movements isn’t a good feeling and will greatly increase stress levels. Particularly if horse show anxiety is already something that you struggle with, it may be best to focus on building confidence at a level that you’re more comfortable with.

2) If you’re doing it yourself, have your grooming, braiding, and tack cleaning game down pat – Put in lots of practice at home, and make note of how long it takes you. Then, add a big time cushion when you get to the show so that you’re not rushed.

3) Eat well, sleep well, breathe well – One surefire way to obtain this is to have a regular exercise routine for YOU.  Learn some mediation techniques, some easy breathing exercises, and notice your stress level before it starts to escalate.

4) Have a support system in place– If you don’t like to drive the horse trailer, hire someone to take this stress away. Make sure your trainer can be there to help you warm up. Bring a friend or loved one. They don’t even have to be a horse person, simply having a close friend around to talk to can help calm your nerves.

5) Don’t try and cram it all in – If you think that a few classes over a weekend might be too much, then opt for one or two classes on one day. Most horse shows will let you trailer in for a day. Aim to give yourself time to walk around, watch your friends, and let your horse chill out.

6) Think about the bigger picture –  At the end of the day, one bad round, test, or class, is just a small part of the bigger picture. Maybe you didn’t get a ribbon, but your performance was a marginal improvement from your last show. Perhaps it didn’t go your way at all, but you still have the privilege of riding and competing and trying again another time.

Want more great advice on mastering your show ring mental game? Read 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!

How to Be a Good Boarder (and Your Barn Manager’s Favorite!)

You count on your boarding stable’s staff and barn manager to be good to your horse, but what about being good to them in return? Here are seven tips to help you to be the kind of boarder any barn owner or manager is glad to have in their barn!

1) Know and follow the rules.

When was the last time that you reviewed your boarding contract or the barn rules? These rules and regulations are in place for a reason, and it’s important to know and follow them. If your barn has set hours, adhere to them. Perhaps your barn does not allow dogs; maybe there are certain areas of lawn that horses aren’t to be walked or grazed on, and no one is to be mounted on a horse without a helmet. Whatever the rules may be, if barn management has to reprimand you for not abiding to them, you’re likely not on your way to being fast friends.

2) Communicate.

Not able to make it out to the barn at all this week due to a hectic work schedule? Notice a small cut on your horse’s leg? Have a question about the way something is being done? Communicate with your barn manager!

3) Pay your bills on time.

Keeping horses is expensive, and your boarding stable depends on your on-time payment to order hay, shavings, grain, and other necessities, as well as to keep the barn running smoothly and in good repair.

4) Trust your barn manager.

Good barn managers are often extremely knowledgeable horsemen and women with your horse’s best interest at heart.  If you see a problem or really don’t like the way something is being done, revisit point number two and consider properly communicating that to them; otherwise, trust that they are doing their job well. Coming to your barn manager with 10 different ways of doing things or an idea that you read online that you think may be better than how they do something likely isn’t going to sit very well and isn’t going to help your friendship.

5) Don’t use anything without permission.

Just because you forgot something or wanted to try out a different bridle, doesn’t mean it’s alright to simply borrow someone else’s without permission. Always ask, and if someone is willing to share, make sure you put the equipment back where you found it and in the same or better shape than it was.

6) Clean up after yourself.

When you’re done at the barn, ensure that all of your tack and equipment is put away. Depending on your barn rules and the division of responsibilities, it may also be important to sweep your aisle area after grooming or to clean up any manure left in the ring by your horse. Being neat and organized can go a long way in earning respect in your barn manager’s eyes. And the same applies if you’re headed to a horse show. Make a list, check it twice, and ensure that everything that you need for both you and your horse is packed so that you or your barn manager aren’t left scrambling.

7) Be kind.

If only this one could go without saying, but in any barn boarding situation, it’s important to remember to be kind and polite, not only to your barn manager but also to your fellow barn mates and the entire barn staff.

A smile, a hello, and a thank you can go a long way in making you the kind of boarder or client that everyone loves to have around!

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!

What To Include In Your Horse’s First Aid Kit

If you’ve owned horses for any length of time, you’re likely well aware that accidents and injuries can happen all too often, so it’s important to be prepared!

If you own or operate your own barn, that includes having a thoroughly well-stocked equine first aid kit on hand. If you board your horse, it likely means having many of those same first-aid items in your tack trunk and ensuring that the barn has the others on hand. But what are those first-aid items and what should be in your first-aid kit?

Thermometer – for taking your horse’s rectal temperature. (It’s important to also know what a horses’ regular temperature should be. Hint: It’s 99 – 101 degrees Fahrenheit.) It can also be helpful to have a small jar of Vaseline within your first aid kit to aid in inserting the thermometer.

– Stethoscope – for checking your horse’s heart rate and gut sounds.

– Scissors – It’s wise to have blunt-end bandage cutting scissors as well as sharper scissors.

– Tweezers – for pulling out splinters or ticks.

– Epsom Salts – for soaking abscesses.

– Bute and Banamine -Phenylbutazone and Flunixin Meglumine, better known as Bute and Banamine, are both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers that you should have on hand. Bute acts much like aspirin does for humans and is common for pain relief and fevers. Banamine is more aggressive and is often used in treating colic pain.

– Twitch – In the case of emergency, there are a number of things that your horse may not want to willing participate in, so it’s a good idea to have a twitch on hand.

– A Variety of Leg Wraps, Bandages, and Guaze – including polo bandages, vet wrap, standing bandages, gauze bandages, roll cotton, leg wraps, and non-stick gauze.

– Diapers – diapers may not be the first thing that come to mind for a first aid kit, but they’re great for covering a bandaged foot and also provide extra padding for large wounds.

– Duct Tape – you’ll need this to secure bandages or the aforementioned diapers.

– Latex Surgical Gloves – wear these to help prevent wound contamination.

– Disinfectants and Wound-Flushing Liquids – including rubbing alcohol, saline, gentle iodine such as Betadine, pre-moistened alcohol swabs, and hydrogen peroxide.

– Wound Powder  or Spray-On Treatment – when a wound needs to be left open to heal a powder or spray can encourage healing, keep flies off the injury site, and dry up the wound. (Note that after cleaning up a wound, it’s wise to seek veterinary advice before applying a wound powder or spray to ensure that the injury doesn’t need any further care or treatment.)

– Flashlight – with working batteries!

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!