Tips for Being a Working Student

Becoming a working student is an exciting step in a young equestrian’s riding career. These positions provide great opportunities to learn both in and out of the saddle. As in any new job you may be a little nervous at first, so BarnManager came up with some helpful suggestions.

Have an Open Mind

The two most important things you can do as a working student are to have an open mind and be willing to learn. The main goal of being a working student is to absorb as much information as you can about the equestrian industry. Whether you are riding, grooming, helping with horse show entries, cleaning stalls, or turning out horses there is always something to learn. You should also be open to learning new ways of doing tasks you may already know how to do. Even if a procedure is different than you are used to, learn the new way and understand why the barn prefers it. Also, never be afraid to ask questions. Working students are not expected to be experts so questions are expected, especially when you are still learning the routine of the barn.

Watch Everything

Watching is one of the best ways to learn in a barn. You can gather so much information by watching people ride, lunge, and do tasks such as bathing, grooming, or putting on polo wraps. This is a great way to pick up on small details about how the barn prefers tasks to be completed.

Photo by Jump Media

Keep a Positive Attitude

Working student positions can involve a lot of physical work and include long hours. During those extra-long and tiring days, remember to keep a positive attitude. Remaining upbeat at all times does not go unnoticed and can also help encourage other employees to act the same way.

Go the Extra Mile

Always aim to go above and beyond in your work. For example, if you are asked to sweep the barn aisle, go ahead and wipe off the tack trunks and wall boxes and remove visible cobwebs. Make sure you complete every task to the best of your ability, and if possible, do a little extra. This may mean applying hoof oil and wetting over the mane with a brush when you tack up a horse. Going the extra mile could also mean being the first person at the barn in the morning and the last to leave, ensuring daily tasks have been completed.

Manage Your Time

Although it is important to go the extra mile, it is also necessary to understand time constraints. While you definitely want a horse to be beautifully turned out when you groom it, you cannot spend hours cleaning one horse. If you are given several tasks to complete, you should prioritize each job in order of importance and also have a general idea of how long each chore will take. Additionally, if you finish your tasks early, be proactive and jump in on other tasks or ask for additional jobs.

Although working student positions require hard work and dedication, they are a terrific way to gain insight into the equestrian industry and what it takes to run a barn. If you are planning to be a working student, try to soak up as much information as you can while also having fun and enjoying the experience.

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

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

Tips for Clipping Your Horse

As winter weather approaches it is time to start thinking about clipping your horse. Whether you are in a colder climate for the season or travel south with your horse, clipping is a good option if you plan to keep them in consistent work. Completing the task yourself can be a big undertaking so make sure you are fully prepared. Read on to learn about BarnManager’s top tips for a smooth and successful clipping job.

Check Your Blades

The first step in clipping your horse is to check your blades. Make sure the blades are new or newly sharpened, so it is easier to cut through the hair. Dull or dirty blades will not only make clipping more difficult and time-consuming but can also cause a poorer-looking result. It’s also a good idea to have an extra pair of blades handy just in case.

Prepare Your Horse

If the weather allows it, bathing your horse beforehand will make the task much easier. Clipping a dirty horse dulls your blades more quickly and can also result in more visible lines in the horse’s coat. After bathing your horse, spray a mane detangler on their coat to help the blades go through the hair more smoothly. Be sure to wait until your horse is completely dry before starting to clip. Clipping a horse while they are still wet can clog the blades. If bathing is not an option, spot-clean and brush your horse as well as you can and use a vacuum if you have one to remove extra dirt from their coat. Another way to clean up your horse without giving them a bath is to rub them down with a warm damp towel. This can remove a lot of extra dirt without soaking them to the skin.

Another tip is to braid your horse’s mane to one side. This makes it easier to clip that area of their neck, especially if your horse has an unruly mane. Use elastics to tie up the braid when you start clipping the side of the neck that their mane lays on.

If you are doing a trace clip or leaving a saddle or spur patch, start by using chalk to outline where you want to clip. This will help ensure that everything will look even on both sides of the horse’s body when you are done.

Time To Clip

The first rule of thumb is to clip against hair growth. Adjust the angle and direction you are clipping as you go depending on the area you are working on. It is also important to remember that horses can be sensitive when you clip certain sections of their body. Many horses do not like their legs, ears, stifle areas, or stomachs clipped so it is helpful to have someone hold them during that process. Clipping a horse’s face can also be tricky especially if they are sensitive or fidgety.

Take Your Time

One of the most important things to remember while clipping your horse is to take your time. This is especially important if your horse is sensitive to clippers or is not accustomed to the process. If clipping is new to your horse go extra slow, keep an eye on how they are reacting, and give them short breaks. It’s just as important to make it a positive experience for the horse as it is to do a good job clipping.

Oil and Cool Your Blades

Oil your blades every five to 10 minutes while you clip to ensure they continue to run smoothly. Also spray your blades regularly with an aerosol cooling product as you work. Depending on how thick and dirty your horse’s hair is, blades can heat up quickly so make sure to check them often. If they are getting too warm, turn them off for a couple of minutes and spray a cooling product on them. Before you resume clipping, double-check that they have returned to a cooler temperature. Clipper blades that are too warm can be uncomfortable for your horse. Using a long-bristled brush to remove hair from the blades when you take a break will also make the process go more smoothly.

Go Over Your Work

As you are clipping be sure to go over your work and reclip certain sections multiple times. This will reduce lines or any missed areas. As you reclip, slightly change the angle of your clipping to help get rid of lines. Once you are finished, brush your horse off and wipe their body with a warm damp towel. This will get rid of any loose hair clippings and allow you to see any areas that need more work. You may have to run your clippers over certain areas several times to successfully remove lines.

Clipping your horse can be a daunting task at first but becomes much easier as you get the hang of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your barn friend for help or company to make the time go by faster. And remember, practice makes perfect!

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

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

A Day in the Life of Eliza Heyl

Eliza Heyl is a groom for Coco Fath of Hillside Farm LLC, located in Wellington, FL, and Greenwich, CT. Keep reading for a day in Eliza’s life during Tryon Fall 6 show at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC.

6 a.m.

I have a few alarms go off in the morning starting around six a.m. I’m not the type of person who gets up early with plenty of time to work out, make breakfast, and get going. I usually roll out of bed with just enough time to brush my teeth, get ready, and head out the door with my dog Penny.

7 a.m.

This week we are at Tryon where I have three horses showing at the FEI level and one horse at the national level. Gaucho is the national horse and Aventador 5, Chellasco Z, and Exotik Sitte are the three FEI horses. Coco’s trainer Vasco Flores of Highport Stables is showing Exotik Sitte, or “Scotty,” today and Coco is showing Aventador 5, or “Avi.” I start my day by giving all the horses their stomach pastes and beginning chores. We wait 30 minutes after giving their paste to feed them hay, and then wait another 15 minutes before giving their grain. After I give our national horse, Gaucho, his paste I head to the FEI stabling to start chores there. My manager, Lauren, helps me when the horses are split up like this. She will do Gaucho’s chores and get him out for a hand walk while I focus on the FEI horses. Once I get to the FEI stabling, I clean stalls, dump and refill waters, and sweep the aisle.

8:30 a.m.

Photo by Shelby Phillips Photography

After chores are completed, I tack up Avi for Coco to ride before his class. Chellasco Z, known in the barn as “Chewy,” isn’t showing today so he will just hand walk before being ridden later. Vasco will ride Scotty around 11:30 a.m. After Avi and Scotty are finished being ridden, they will each get a bath so they are extra beautiful for their classes, and Chewy will just get groomed again.

I don’t like to wash manes on the days that horses are showing because it makes them too slippery to braid. My grooming routine is simple but thorough. Before pulling the horses out of their stall I always pick their feet to minimize the mess in the aisle and grooming stall. I start by spraying show sheen in their tail and letting it sit while I do everything else. I like to curry them with a grooming mitt because it allows me to get every inch of their body while also being gentle. After currying, I comb the mane before brushing the body so any sort of dirt or shavings in the mane does not fall on a clean coat. I then use a thick flick brush to get dust and dirt off followed by a soft face brush to bring out the shine. Lastly, I gently comb out the tail and clean the nostrils and eye area with a baby wipe.

11 a.m.

We feed lunch hay at 11 a.m. so I head over to feed the three boys in FEI and check their water. Lauren is over in National stabling getting Gaucho ready for Coco to ride so she will take care of his lunch for me.

Avi and Scotty are both showing in the $37,000 Welcome Stake CSI2* today and that starts at 1 p.m. Both horses are clean after their baths, but I still need to braid Avi and put flipped bands in Scotty’s mane. Avi’s neck is quite long with a thick mane, so I like to give myself as much time as possible to braid him so it looks neat and tidy. Before Vasco gets on Scotty at 11:30 I quickly band his mane and flip it so that all I need to do is quickly bathe him before he shows.

1 p.m.

Photo by Shelby Phillips Photography

The welcome class starts and Avi goes early in the order, so I bring him to the ring about 15 minutes before the start of the class. For Avi, I do the boot check as soon as we get up to the ring. I also readjust the saddle, put Coco’s stirrups to jumping length, and remove the cooler so he is all ready for her to get on. I like to keep those last few minutes at the ring quiet and calm so both horse and rider are relaxed and focused going into the warm-up.

After I put Coco on Avi, I go back to the barn to get Scotty ready for Vasco. Lauren will stay with Coco to help in the warm-up and bring Avi back to the barn for me. Before I left with Avi, I made sure that Scotty already had grab boots and front boots on to save a little time. All I need to do is quickly brush any last-minute dust off, put the tack on him, and head to the ring.

Avi and Coco did not make it to the jump-off so when Lauren brings him back to the barn she quickly pulls his tack and boots off, puts him in his stall with a cooler, and wraps him in four ice boots before coming back up to the ring.

Vasco likes to warm up on Scotty before doing the boot check, so I wait a bit before asking a steward to watch while we put hind boots on him. Scotty jumped great but unfortunately had the last fence down, so he does not make it to the jump-off either. When my horses come out of the ring, I always give them a cookie and a pat. I then hold them while the stewards perform the post-boot check.

2 p.m.

By the time I come back to the barn it’s time to take off Avi’s ice boots. While Scotty relaxes in his stall with ice boots, I take care of Avi. It’s chilly today and he didn’t get very sweaty, so I just groom him really well and wipe in between his hind legs with alcohol to remove any sweat and sand. Next, I apply Tendonil to all four legs and wrap them. On their final day of jumping for the week, my horses will be wrapped with poultice up over their hocks, but for today Tendonil and wraps are all they need. I then remove his braids, wet his mane, and comb it out so it dries straight. I apply the same process to taking care of Scotty. My last step is to pick out their feet to remove any ring sand and pack them with hoof packing.

Once I’m finished with Avi and Scotty’s care, I groom Chewy and take him out for a hand walk. Normally I like to give them all time to have a bit more of a relaxed walk where they can graze but unfortunately there’s no grass at Tryon this time of year that’s available to the FEI horses.

3 p.m.

Photo by Ashley Neuhof Photography

Now that all of my horses are put away, I start afternoon chores. Everybody gets hay at 3 p.m. and then I clean their stalls, top off water buckets, and sweep the aisle. Dinner is fed at 3:30 p.m. While they are eating I clean tack, tidy up the grooming stall, and make sure everything is neat and in order.

4:30 p.m.

Today I am heading home around 4:30 p.m., which isn’t so bad for having two horses in an afternoon class! Some days I can finish up as early as 3:30 p.m. but some days it can be much later. It all just depends on our schedule.

8:30 p.m.

Once I’ve been home to shower, eat dinner, and decompress with some Netflix while snuggling my dog, I head back to the barn for night check. Tonight the temperature will drop to the mid-30s so my freshly clipped horses will get heavy and medium-weight stable blankets and the furrier ones will just get heavies. They all get a hefty flake of hay at night check, and I top off their water again. Before leaving I double check their doors are locked and wish them all a good night’s sleep!

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

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

DIY Recipes for Fall-Themed Horse Treats

One of the best parts about fall is all of the pumpkin spice-flavored beverages and goodies. Since you may not want to give your horse flavored coffee or donuts, BarnManager created a list of recipes for DIY fall-themed treats you can easily whip up for your favorite equine partner.

Oatmeal Horse Treats

From: LittleHouseLiving.com

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Shred the carrot and the apple into a large bowl.
  3. Add in the oil, oats, and molasses. Stir to combine well so that all the oats are covered in molasses.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 9-by-13 baking dish. Pat the mixture down with a spoon or with your fingers so it is flattened into the pan.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the mixture begins to get crispy.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool and harden slightly.
  7. Cut into individual treats and remove from the pan.

Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Crunchy Pumpkin Horse Treats

From: Lighthoof

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup alfalfa pellets
  • 1/4 cup flax meal

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Soak the alfalfa pellets in just enough warm water until they are completely soft. Drain any excess water.
  3. Mix in the pumpkin and flax meal.
  4. Spoon into quarter-sized lumps about 1” apart on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until they are crunchy but not burned. The idea is to dehydrate them more than to bake them. If they are starting to burn just turn the heat down.

Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Horse Cookies

From: HorseGirl Blog

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole oats
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoons honey or molasses (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly mix the pumpkin puree and water together.
  3. Add the flour, oats, and spices.
  4. If desired, mix in the honey or molasses.
  5. Put spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.

Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Let your horse enjoy the pumpkin spice season with you by testing out one of these DIY treat recipes.

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

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

Six Halloween Costume Ideas for You and Your Horse

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to finalize a fun costume with your horse. Whether you are attending a Halloween-themed horse show, dressing up with friends at your barn, or just putting on a costume for fun, BarnManager has you covered with easy and creative ideas.

101 Dalmatians

Photo by Jump Media

If you have a grey horse, dressing up in a 101 Dalmatians-themed costume is a perfect option. All you need to do is paint black spots on your horse or go to a craft store and purchase big felt dots with adhesive on the backside that you can stick on your horse’s body. Also, you can put a red ribbon around their neck as a collar. The rider can put a wig on under their helmet and wear black, red, and white to be Cruella De Vil.

Harry Potter

Dressing up as Harry Potter is a classic and fun costume choice. If your horse is a light color you can paint a lightning bolt scar on their forehead. Your horse can also wear a red and gold scarf around their neck. If you want to get creative, you can make glasses for your horse out of wire or pipe cleaners. The rider can wear a cloak, tie, and use a crop as a wand if your horse is not too sensitive for that.

Winne the Pooh

Photo by Jump Media

Winnie the Pooh is a cute and comfy costume. The rider can wear a Pooh or bear costume with a red t-shirt. Your horse could dress up like Tigger or even Piglet. There are plenty of horse Spandex that come in a variety of colors and patterns such as tiger stripe for Tigger or pink for Piglet. Your horse can also wear a matching saddle pad and ear bonnet. For Piglet, you could put a pink ribbon in their tail as well.

Unicorn

Although dressing your horse up as a unicorn for Halloween may seem like an obvious option, there is plenty of room for creativity. Start with a unicorn horn and lots of glitter. You can put glitter in the mane and tail, on your horse’s body, and also on their hooves. Purchase a few fake flowers to braid or tie into your horse’s mane and tail. Add in a few pink and purple ribbons as well. Your horse could also wear a pink or purple horse Spandex to really boost up the look. The rider’s outfit can be decorated with glitter along with a flower crown attached to their helmet.

Ghostbusters

Dressing up as a ghostbuster is a great costume for fans of classic movies. You can purchase Ecto Goggles to put on your horse’s browband and tan horse Spandex if they are not palomino. The rider can purchase a ghostbuster jumper from a costume store or wear all tan and add on a Proton Pack.

Photo by Jump Media

Wicked Witch of the West

If you prefer to dress up as a villain, the Wicked Witch of the West costume might be for you. The horse can wear green and black polos and horse Spandex. Find long green and black striped socks, cut holes at the ends, and pull them over your horse’s legs. You can also put green and black ribbons in your horse’s mane and tail. The rider can wear a witch’s hat on their helmet along with green and black clothing.

Photo by Jump Media

Dressing up for Halloween is even more enjoyable when you can do it with your horse. Although these are only a few of the many options out there, they will hopefully give you a creative costume idea to try out with your horse this spooky season.

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

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

Must-Watch Live Streams This Fall

There are lots of notable competitions lined up as the end of the year approaches. Keep reading to find out where you can watch a few of the most exciting show jumping, hunter, equitation, dressage, and eventing shows this fall.

The Event at TerraNova:

October 21-23, 2022 – The Event at TerraNova takes place in Myakka City, FL, at the TerraNova Equestrian Center. The competition will showcase three-day eventing from the beginner level through CCI4*S.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

TerraNova Dressage II:

October 22, 2022 – Terra Nova Dressage II will feature top dressage competition at the TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, FL. Viewers can tune in and watch the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W on Saturday, October 22.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

Washington International Horse Show:

October 24-30, 2022 – The 2022 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) will take place at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The country’s best show jumping, hunter, and equitation riders will attend the prestigious event. Highlights include the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W, presented by Experience Prince George’s for the President’s Cup as well as the WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday, October 29.

Where to watch: USEF Network

Where to the $75,000 Welcome Stake CSI5*, the $75,000 Speed Final CSI5*, and the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W, presented by Experience Prince George’s for the President’s Cup: ClipMyHorse.TV

Les 5 Étoiles de Pau:

October 26-30, 2022 – Les 5 Étoiles de Pau is one of the seven five-star events in the world. The competition will take place in Domaine de Sers in Pau, France, and will feature some of the world’s best eventing riders and horses.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

National Horse Show:

October 26-November 6, 2022 – Watch the country’s best show jumping, hunter, and equitation horse-and-rider combinations compete at the National Horse Show. The competition takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Viewers can enjoy the $215,900 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W taking place on Saturday, November 5. On Sunday, November 6, junior equitation riders will take center stage in the ASPCA Maclay Finals.

Where to watch: National Horse Show

Where to watch the $215,900 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W: ClipMyHorse.TV

Major League Show Jumping at Monterrey:

November 3-6, November 10-13, 2022 – Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) at Monterrey takes place at the Club Hípico La Silla in Monterrey, Mexico. Enjoy both two-star and five-star show jumping as well as MLSJ Team Competition. Tune in on Saturday, November 5, for the CSI5* Grand Prix and Sunday, November 6, for CSI5* Team Competition.

Where to watch: MLSJ TV

The Royal Horse Show:

November 4-13, 2022 – The 100th anniversary of the Royal Horse Show will take place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada, as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The event will highlight hunter classes as well as top international show jumping competition. The main event of the week will be the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto CSI5*-W on Saturday, November 12.

Where to watch: The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Where to watch the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto CSI5*-W: ClipMyHorse.TV

World Equestrian Center – Ocala Fall November Show Series:

November 9-13, and November 16-20, 2022 – Don’t miss out on the Fall November Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in Ocala, FL. Watch hunter, jumper, and equitation competition including hunter derbies of all levels and a grand prix class every week.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Prague:

November 17-20, 2022 – LGCT Prague is the ultimate event of the Global Champions Tour circuit. The show will take place in the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Top international show jumping athletes will compete for coveted titles with the main events being the LGCT Super Grand Prix and the Global Champions League Super Cup.

Where to watch: GCTV

World Equestrian Center – Ocala November Dressage CDI3*:

 November 17-20, 2022 – Dressage competition will take the spotlight at World Equestrian Center – Ocala during the November Dressage CDI3* show in Ocala, FL. In addition to offering three-star dressage competition, the event will also be a qualifying show for the Great American/United States Dressage Federation Regional Championships.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

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

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

What To Know at an FEI Show: Post Competition Examinations

Stepping up from the national level to the international level at a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) show comes with additional checks to insure the fairness of sport and welfare of the horses. In all disciplines, the post-competition inspection of the horse and equipment is mandatory for the result to be made official. Understanding this process will help you feel more prepared at the show. For more information about regulations in the warm-up arena read part two of BarnManager’s What To Know at an FEI Show blog here. Part one regarding the FEI stabling area can be found here.

Post-Competition Procedure

Immediately after competing, the rider must stay on their horse and walk over to the post-competition horse examination. This is true for international dressage, show jumping, and eventing competitions. A steward uses a gloved hand to check the equipment on the horse to ensure all tack is legal to use, changing the glove for each competitor to avoid any cross-contamination.

Dressage

For dressage, the FEI steward looks over the horse’s body with special attention to a few key areas. The steward looks at the athlete’s spurs and the horse’s side to make sure the spurs are legal to use and that they have not drawn blood. They also use their fingers to confirm the noseband is not too tight. If the horse is using a bonnet, the steward will ask for it to be removed or remove it themselves. This allows them to check in the horse’s ears to make sure the athlete has not used earplugs, which are not permitted in a dressage test. Blood in the horse’s mouth or on the body as caused by the rider results in immediate elimination of the athlete.

Show Jumping and Cross-Country

In addition to the body examination and checking of the noseband, the use of boots or bandages in show jumping and cross-country presents an additional measure that needs to be checked carefully by the FEI stewards. The steward will remove boots and/or bandages on the legs and make sure they are compliant with FEI regulations. They will also check the horse’s legs to make sure they have not been injured or scraped by the equipment. Once the steward gives the “okay,” the boots or bandages can be reapplied, if desired, before the horse finishes cooling out and heads back to the stabling area.

For show jumping and cross-country, if a steward sees blood in the horse’s mouth, they can authorize wiping of the mouth. This is to help determine if the horse has bitten itself in or on the mouth accidentally or if there is a bigger issue. If the bleeding persists, the athlete will be eliminated. When a steward finds blood on the body caused by the evident overuse of spurs or a whip, the athlete is eliminated in this case as well.

Being aware of the intricacies of participating in an FEI show from arriving at the stabling area to completing competition will ensure you and your team are well prepared for a smooth and successful week. While it might seem like a lot to manage at first, knowing the rules, having a plan, and delegating responsibilities will help keep everything on track. For more information about entering an FEI show, read BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blogs with part one about horse passports here, part two regarding registrations and entries here, and part three pertaining to the check-in and jog here.

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

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

A Day in the Life of Jessica Leto

Jessica Leto is a professional rider who runs JS Equine Ventures, LLC, a boutique sales and training operation based in Wellington, FL, with her partner Stephen Hirsh. Jessica graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Sports Administration and Business. Currently, Jessica competes at the five-star level with her mount Cimbura and also works with Stephen to maintain a strong group of hunter, jumper, and equitation sales horses. She takes particular pride in managing her business with a hands-on approach, investing time attending to all aspects of her horses’ care and training.

Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at a day in this professional rider’s life at the HITS Saugerties Horse Show Week VIII in Saugerties, NY, during the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

5 a.m.

I’m typically an early riser so my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I like to make sure I have time in the morning so I don’t have to rush. I drink my coffee while thinking about my plan for the day and getting any administrative work for the business done while it’s fresh in my mind.

6:30 a.m.

I walk Monday, my Jack Russell terrier, and feed her breakfast before heading to the show. We also have a German shepherd named Cali, but we find it hard to bring her everywhere as not all Airbnb options at shows are pet friendly.

7 a.m.

I get to the show, feed the horses, and help clean stalls. I also do other morning chores such as recording temperatures for the FEI horses and checking the legs and backs of all the horses. I’m very hands-on, as is Stephen, so every morning we like to take time to check for anything out of the ordinary in all our horses’ bodies. We look for both skin issues and areas of soreness from training or competition then take that into account when making our plan for the day. My horse Cimbura, or “Cimba,” gets his magnetic massage blanket every morning while eating breakfast to help warm up and relax his muscles before being ridden.

8 a.m.

I have two horses in FEI at this show. My morning is spent focusing on working them both. I am showing Cimba in the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix later today. My horse Frosty HD, or “Frosty,” is done showing for the week. I ride Frosty first, and he gets to be a bit of a practice horse to help me prepare for the class later today. I focus on myself and play over some poles to get my eye working. Stephen gives me feedback on what he sees from the ground. I also do a bit of no-stirrup work to warm up my leg muscles. During this time my FEI groom is hand walking Cimba and cleaning him up so I can ride him around 10:30.

Jessica Leto and Cimba competing at HITS Saugerties. Photo by ESI Photography

10:30 a.m.

When I flat Cimba I like to take my time and give him a long warm-up walk because he is a very high-energy horse. I do some transitions and lateral work to make sure all the buttons are working for the class this afternoon. My flatwork is based on how my horse feels after his classes from earlier in the week, how I want him listening, and how I want him energy wise for peak performance. I usually flat Cimba for about 45 minutes to an hour but today is a little chilly so I give myself some extra time in case he feels frisky.

12 p.m.

At this time the horses get lunch and Cimba gets ice boots and relaxes for a bit before his class. I also get lunch and some coffee. I make sure all my equipment and pre-show preparations are in order and being done on time.

1:30 p.m.

I walk the grand prix course and go over the plan in detail for the first round and jump-off with Stephen. I go later in the order so I choose a few riders who may have a similar course plan or a similar-strided horse to watch in the lineup. Then during the opening ceremonies, I take a walk wearing my headphones and listen to some inspiring or energy-lifting music. I give Cimba one last check over at his stall and make sure he has what he needs before getting into my head space for competition.

2:30 p.m.

The first horse is on course. Will Simpson was first in the order, and he was clear. Amanda Derbyshire and Hunter Holloway also go clear before I even get on my horse.

3:30 p.m.

So far, only three of the 20 or so combinations have put in a clear round within the allotted time. I do the boot check with FEI stewards and then my groom helps me with a leg up. I usually get on and warm up when I am around 10 horses out. I start jumping around four or five out. We do not do too many jumps, just a few fences to get Cimba’s legs warmed up and his eyes open and thinking. Then we head into the ring to pre-load and give him a little tour before the start buzzer sends us off to try our luck at the track that has shown itself to be pretty difficult this afternoon.

We jump clear and within the time allowed to become the fourth and final combination to qualify for the jump-off.

Jessica Leto and Cimba after earning fourth in the CSI5* $405,300 Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Jessica Leto

4:00 p.m.

I return last for the jump-off, which is prime real estate since I’ll know how the other riders have done and what time I’ll need. Will and Amanda are fast, but both have a rail. Hunter goes before me and puts in a swift clear round so now I know I have to be fast and clear. Cimba and I were fast but had eight faults. We end up fourth, and we’re all very happy with the result and how Cimba jumped. Cimba and I get our ribbons and head in for the victory gallop. They play the “Top Gun: Maverick” theme song for the victory gallop, which I love.

4:30 p.m.

I got to attend my first press conference and sit among top riders to discuss our jump-off and what we thought of the class.

5 p.m.

Cimba got a bath, ice boots, and bandages while I was at the press conference. I am very into our feed program, so I make all the horses a celebratory bran mash with apples and bananas. I spend some time discussing my round and enjoying the results of the day with our team and horses before heading to get some Italian food. Monday gets to run loose and is very happy as well!

8 p.m.

Every evening we do night check to give hay, water, and take one more look at the horses before heading to bed. We also give them a lot of treats. It was a great day for our team, and I’m very proud of myself. Cimba is definitely one to remember!

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

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

 

How To Prepare for Indoor Finals

Qualifying for and attending indoor finals is a popular year-end goal for many riders. There are several ways you can prepare for these high-pressure events as a rider, trainer, manager, and groom to ensure a positive experience.

Pack Extra Layers for Your Horse and Yourself

It can be difficult to plan for fall weather as the temperatures tend to fluctuate. Oftentimes, especially at the beginning of the season, it is cold at night and fairly warm during the day. For this reason, you should bring lots of layers when packing for indoor finals. This is true for both you and your horse. Also, before packing your horse’s stable sheet and blanket, it is a good idea to make sure they have been washed recently and are in good repair.

(Did you know? BarnManager has a list feature so you can create packing lists and share them with your team.)

Focus on Flatwork

Photo by Jump Media

After spending all summer showing in large outdoor arenas it can be difficult to switch to smaller indoor rings. Making sure your horse is adjustable and really listening to your aids is important not just for equitation finals, but also for showing in the hunters and jumpers. Be sure to emphasize flatwork and adjustability in your rides to ensure you are ready to perform at your best in a tighter space.

Practice Past Courses

Practicing what you might see at indoor finals can help you feel more confident walking into the show ring. This can be helpful for equitation, hunters, and jumpers. Setting up equitation or jumper courses in your indoor similar to those from past years will help prepare you for the challenges the course designer might present at the show. For hunters, try to recreate the types of jumps and fill used in previous years in your own ring to familiarize both you and your horse with obstacles that are out of the ordinary.

Make a Schedule

Indoor finals take place during a busy time of year. Unlike the summer, kids are back in school, everyone is working, and the holidays are coming up. Also, indoor finals shows do not last for several weeks like some summer or winter circuits. This means they involve a lot of traveling, packing, and unpacking for both horses and riders. Planning out a detailed schedule can be extremely beneficial to managing all the moving parts required for these shows. Whether you are a rider, trainer, manager, or groom, having a plan of what your week will look like is essential.

For nonprofessional riders, it is also useful to map out specific parts of your day. For example, schedule times where you will concentrate on school or work in addition to parts of the day where you will focus on watching the competition and helping care for your horse and yourself. It is important to give yourself time to get into the right frame of mind to successfully compete. If you plan out a detailed daily schedule, you will feel more relaxed when it is time to compete.

Although trainers, managers, and grooms always create a daily plan when horse showing, this schedule is critical at indoor finals. The pressure and nerves at these shows run high so the more prepared you are, the more at ease and confident your riders will feel. For example, at indoor finals shows there are strict set orders of go. You should not only include the specific times that horses are showing in your schedule, but also build in times throughout the day to check in at the ring to see if everything is still running on time. These horse show days are often very long and exhausting, especially when they include night classes, so it can be easy to forget to do certain tasks. For this reason, be sure to plan out when horses will be lunged, ridden, prepared, bathed, dressed to go to the ring, and taken care of afterward so nothing is missed.

(Did you know? BarnManager has a digital whiteboard feature so you can easily create a daily schedule and share it. Users can also use the messaging feature to update the entire team on any schedule changes.)

Plan Out Your Goals

Photo by Jump Media

The indoor finals horse shows are very prestigious events that come with a lot of pressure. As a rider, trainer, manager, or groom, it is important to decide on a few specific and realistic goals. It is easy to get a little awestruck and overwhelmed at these events while you are surrounded by many of the country’s top riders, horses, trainers, managers, and grooms. Having defined goals in mind can help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish.

Indoor finals require a lot of practicing, scheduling, and preparing both leading up to the show and at the event. Although this time of year can be stressful, try to remember to have fun and view the shows as a learning experience.

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

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