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 similar 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 full of horses 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 and the air gets a little cooler. The best part of decorating for fall is that decorations can stay up from September 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 with a costume contest to get the whole barn involved in a fun activity.

 

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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