Help Wanted: How To Decide if the Working Student Position Is Right for You

Written by Emily and Sarah Harris

If you scroll through social media, you have probably seen a post seeking applications from anyone interested in becoming a working student at a barn, stable, or training facility. Perhaps your trainer or someone you know has offered you the position of a working student. If it’s something you’ve considered, we are here to educate you on what this title means and what a golden opportunity it can be. Working students are always needed, no matter the riding discipline or operation level.

What Is a Working Student?

A working student is a young person, typically a junior, who works in exchange for lessons and training. Responsibilities will typically include feeding, mucking stalls, cleaning up around the barn, cleaning tack, taking care of the horses, helping with lessons, and helping the staff, trainers, boarders, and students. Some positions may also include being capable of administering shots and medications, assisting the farrier when needed, operating farm equipment, farm-sitting, and helping out at horse shows, where you might be braiding, tacking up, grooming horses, holding horses, and more.

The job sounds like a lot, and it can be. But the benefits are endless. Some facilities might offer board for your horse or allow you the use of farm vehicles. Also, depending on the size and amenities available at the facility, you might be provided housing on the premises.

Overall, a working student position can be the perfect opportunity for learning and growth. You will get to work with different horses and be able to ride under the instruction of an expert. Doesn’t that sound great?

We have had the opportunity to be working students for several trainers in different disciplines as we’ve learned the ins and outs of the sport. Each trainer had different methods, so we learned something new with each opportunity.

If you are considering becoming a working student, here are some tips and advice to help you get the most out of your experience. We also want to be honest about the challenges so you are well prepared for what you may encounter.

Prioritize Communication 

Communication is number one, not just as a working student but in all aspects of a training operation. Make sure that expectations are clear on both ends in the beginning and discuss all the details of the position before accepting the role. This is a great time to sort out things like job responsibilities and how often things like lessons will be provided in exchange for your work. It may be difficult to approach this subject because your excitement to accept can often overshadow the details, but you don’t want to accept a position and work hard and then receive less in return than you expected. This initial conversation about the details and benefits is also good because it helps you decide if this is a role that you will want to accept.

Also, once you know what the job responsibilities are, consider your abilities and limitations. Be upfront with yourself and the person for whom you will be working.

If you choose to accept the position, be sure to maintain open communication throughout your time of employment. If you are unsure about something or have concerns, speak up; don’t ignore the issue. It is better to discuss the issue than to push past your feelings and end up with a bad experience.

We can’t stress enough how important communication is, and good communication skills will serve you in all your equestrian endeavors for your entire life.

Consider the Cost

Always consider the cost of accepting a role as a working student. Your excitement might make you want to jump at the opportunity to get lessons without paying cash, but don’t rush into a position without carefully considering if it is worth your time and money.

Consider how much a lesson with that particular trainer would be. Also consider all the work you will be doing at the barn. In your opinion, is the input you give the same value as the output you receive? Think about commuting time and associated costs; they can both add up. Keep in mind any other possible benefits, such as the knowledge and experience you might not get otherwise. If you have any horses, is it better to bring them or leave them at home since you won’t have as much time to dedicate to them with your new responsibilities.

Everyone values the costs and benefits differently, so there is no “right” answer. The best-case scenario is that both you and the trainer will benefit from you joining the team, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

Make a Decision

If you need some time to think it over, don’t be afraid to ask if you can get back to the trainer with your answer. Be sure to give them a reasonable time frame for your decision and stick to it. You don’t want to keep your potential employer waiting because then he or she might ask someone else. After you have considered everything, talked it all over, and weighed both the advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to make an informed decision. Contemplate how this position may or may not be to your benefit, then tell the trainer your decision.

Moving forward

Stay tuned for our next blog post about what happens once you’ve been hired; that’s when the work truly starts. There are lots of things to keep in mind once you begin a working student position. Next, we will outline all of them for you!

Head to the Sisters Horsing Around website for more blogs, videos, and tips.

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

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!

 

Four Ways Learning from Human Sports Can Up Your Game in the Ring

By Dr. Tim Worden

As equestrians, we know our sport is tremendously different from most other sports out there, and it can be hard to draw comparisons between other athletes and ourselves. However, there is a lot we can learn from other sports to help us gain a deeper understanding of equestrian sports. Like a basketball player or a long-distance runner, horses are incredible athletes, and they need to be cared for as such.

As riders, we are athletes, too, and the way we treat our bodies is equally crucial to top performance. Dr. Tim Worden of the Equine High Performance Sports Group shared with us some of the ways that learning from human sports can help equestrians up our game:

1. Study how other athletes prepare for competition.

Understanding the similarities and differences between how humans and horses prepare for competition gives you a deeper sense of why we train horses the way we do and how you can improve your own methods to benefit the horse. Top athletes don’t skip the most important steps that are beneficial to their health or overall performance, such as rest and proper nutrition. Many professional athletes also take career longevity into consideration, which is a top priority for sport horses. There could be a lot to learn about how they preserve their bodies for the long haul, despite the high level of impact caused by performance.

2. Ask the experts in other sports.

Do you know a college coach or a current or former professional athlete? Ask them for tips on training, recovery, gearing up for competition, and other topics that could be applied to equestrian sports. Learning from human coaches and athletes who have had prolonged success can provide you with new strategies for handling pressure, managing relationships with sponsors, prioritizing health, and more. You can also gather information from a personal trainer, sports therapist, or nutritionist to learn even more about how other kinds of athletes care for their bodies both pre- and post-competition.

3. Do the research.

For every research article examining sport horses there are more than 100 studies published on human athletes. While there are certainly differences between humans and horses, there are also many similarities, so read up on how human coaches apply the latest research to their own athletes to get that winning edge. The Sport Horse Series, presented by the Equine High Performance Sports Group, does just that, pairing renowned experts from human sports with equestrian thought leaders to discuss the application of human sports focused research to equine athletes.

4. Study the change over time.

Human-centric sport training methods have evolved rapidly over the last forty years while some aspects of equestrian training have moved more slowly. By learning from human sports, you can apply some of today’s frameworks to manage equine athletes. Many modern sports medicine practices have resulted in far fewer injuries and have pushed the boundaries of human athletic potential, and the same could be accomplished in equestrian sports.

Learning from the top competitors across various sports is a great way to learn about optimum performance and how it can apply to equine athletes. Look at your favorite athletes from other sports competing at the top of their game. Research how they take care of their bodies, physically, mentally, and emotionally before, during, and after competition. While equestrian sports may still be its own world with unique practices and methods, all sports have the common goal of healthy, top-performing athletes.

If you want to learn more about the parallels between human and equestrian sports, and learn about applying the research and methods from human sports to equine sports, check out the library of courses in the Sport Horse Series. And be sure to follow the Equine High Performance Sports Group as they announce new topics, new speakers, and new discussions each month.

 

What to Get the Horse Mom in Your Life This Mother’s Day

Horse moms are still moms, right? While you’re out searching for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for all the mothers in your life, here is a list of things that horse moms everywhere would love to receive this Mother’s Day.

1. Photography session.

Contact a local photographer and schedule a photo session, whether it be horse and rider or just the horse on a black or white background. Professional photos are something a horse mom treasures forever, and photographers can be quite brilliant when it comes to capturing the unique bond between a horse and its person.

2. Subscription box.

These have taken the world by storm, and the equestrian world has caught the bug lately. Give the gift that keeps on giving by having a subscription box sent every quarter with fun surprises in it each time. These often include items you can’t find in stores, so she’ll be getting something unique in the mail for herself or her horse.

3. Graphic tee.

Lots of up-and-coming brands in the equestrian world are making fun tee shirts with horse lingo and creative designs. Find one that you think will really speak to your favorite horse mom and that best matches her style. Some brands also offer other items, like socks, stickers, and mugs that can complement a tee.

4. Custom artwork.

This one takes some planning ahead, but there is something so special about receiving a piece custom art depicting the animal you love most in the world. Contact an artist to have an equine portrait made. Different artistic media are usually different price points, depending on how much you want to invest. You can let the horse mom in your life choose the photo she likes best to have turned into a portrait, or you can surprise her by choosing yourself and gifting the finished product.

5. Engraved jewelry.

Many tack websites will make custom leather bracelets with a horse’s name on it, or you can go the Etsy route and have a piece of fine jewelry custom made with a horse’s name or initial engraved on it. Either way, this is a great way to gift something special that holds more meaning than just another piece of pretty jewelry.

6. Horse treats.

Because every horse mom needs horse treats. How else are we supposed to spoil our horses? You can find horse treats in all shapes and flavors, and they’re the perfect way for horse moms to reward horses for a great day of riding or just a fun surprise. There’s nothing quite like the way a horse looks at you when it knows you have a treat.

7. New tack or apparel.

There is probably something the horse mom in your life needs or wants around the barn. Pay attention to whether she complains about any tack that breaks or is on its last leg. Or go on a whim and buy her something new and trendy she may not otherwise try. Just remember to save receipts in case it isn’t the right size or her style.

8. Horse show photo.

If the horse mom in your life competes, visit official photographers’ websites to find competition photos from the year. Choose a favorite to have enlarged and framed for her home. This will serve as a fun reminder of a great competition or a great memory with her horse and will be a conversation piece to hang in her house, as well as something to be proud of when guests come over.

You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts, but if you came up with something not listed, let us know in the comments. We would love to hear about special gifts horse moms received this year, and you might encourage someone reading this to follow suit.

 

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!

Appreciating the Cultural Differences in Equestrian Sports

Written by Emily & Sarah Harris, Sisters Horsing Around

What is Culture?

Simply put, culture is a way of life for a particular group of people that can encompass shared beliefs, practices, behaviors, and values. It can include how they talk, how they dress, their appearance, and other things that are unique to the group. We understand that there are different cultures based on race, such as black culture and Hispanic culture; cultures based on religion, including Christian culture and Hindu culture; ones based on geographic location, such as western culture and eastern culture; some based on interests, like gaming culture and biker culture; and so on. There are even cultures based on music, like hip hop culture and rock culture.

Just like in the rest of society, culture variation exists in the horse world among equestrians. The equestrian world is beautifully diverse with lots of different disciplines and areas of interest. There are English riding disciplines and Western riding disciplines, and there are various others like horse racing, vaulting, trail riding, and driving, just to name a few.

There are a lot of people that participate in each and each has its own culture. These cultural differences include myriad ways of dressing, language, cultural norms, traditions, and even etiquette. But despite those differences, we all have one thing in common, which is our love for the horse.

Who Are We?

We – Emily and Sarah – are multi-discipline riders and as such we are part of multiple “cultures” in the equestrian world. Through our experiences as members of these different cultures, we have heard some things that concern us. Our concerns relate to the unfair stereotypes, biases, and prejudices that exist between the different disciplines.

We have heard disparaging comments made by those in one group of equestrians about other groups of equestrians. English riders have labeled Western riders as “rednecks.” Western riders have called English riders “sissies.” Eventers refer to hunters as “snobs” and hunters see eventers as “slobs.”

We have heard Saddle Seat riders called out for being “abusive” to their horses. We have heard riders who train with trainers condescendingly look down on riders without trainers as “backyard” riders. You may be familiar with hearing these stereotypes yourself.

Why Stereotyping is Dangerous

Stereotyping equestrians like this is a dangerous thing because it is counter-productive and divisive. It limits the growth of one’s perspective and creates misunderstanding. It also fosters attitudes of supremacism, where one group of equestrians think they are better than another group. This is what we should guard against.

Instead, we should be willing to listen and learn, broaden our viewpoints, and open our minds to understanding. In order to counteract negativity and push towards change, we need to demonstrate and promote a positive cultural appreciation for the different equestrian sports. There are a lot of good and admirable things that we could learn from each discipline.

What Should We Do?

So, how should we go about creating and promoting appreciation across different disciplines? First, we need to recognize that the people within each discipline are more than just a group; they are individuals, just like me and you. Then we need to set aside our biases. Be willing and open to listen and learn from others about what they do and why they do it. Try to gain an understanding, ask questions in a non-demeaning way, and be humble. Glean what information you can from multiple sources. There are so many different viewpoints, and not one is the same. People within the different disciplines typically enjoy sharing with others why they love what they do and will be ecstatic to answer your questions.

To put this into practice is only the beginning. The journey towards building a cultural appreciation for the different disciplines will never end because we will never stop learning. But the benefits we will get as a result of our efforts will be tremendous. As you gain a better appreciation for the disciplines, encourage others to learn as well. Don’t stop at accomplishing this for yourself; get others involved so that we all can work toward making the equestrian world a better place for everyone involved.

In future posts, we will share more details about the cultural differences that exist in various equestrian disciplines and we will explain what makes each one unique and exciting. Be sure to keep a lookout!

How You, as an Equestrian, Can Save the Planet

Written by Anna Zygadlo for Green Is the New Blue

April 22, 2021, marks the 51st annual Earth Day. Earth Day serves as a day of education and environmental awareness around the world in more than 140 nations. Following the first Earth Day back in 1970, environmental concerns rose to become a top national priority. As a result, a number of national environmental acts were passed including the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. To celebrate Earth Day in the equestrian community, Green Is the New Blue has identified a few impactful ways to support the movement for a sustainable sport.

For Earth Day 2021, the teams at BarnManager and Green Is the New Blue are inviting you to make an impact through the Equestrian Earth Day Challenge. Complete one of the following items, then document it with a photo, and tag us, DM us, or use the hashtag #EquestrianEarthDay. We will pick our favorites to be featured.

1. Create a Green Team

Create a Green Team with your barn mates and organize scheduled meetings to create meaningful conversation around sustainable action. Together, research and address environmental issues including waste management, energy efficiency, and water use. We recommend developing a calendar with environmental field trips or community service projects. Try to build a “Living Jump” as a team using native plant species to promote biodiversity, or design a jump course using upcycled materials.

2. Contact Your Representatives

Connect with the representatives of organizing bodies within the equestrian sport. Reach out to the board of your local horse show series or take it to the national level of our sport. Express your interest in a Sustainability Action Plan. Design it to address environmental issues at their affiliated horse shows. For inspiration, check out the FEI Sustainability Handbook.

3. Attend Eco-Conscious Horse Shows

As riders, we are the consumers who control demand. Support horse shows that enthusiastically exhibit a commitment to sustainability. Visit GITNB’s website for a list of partner horse shows. If your favorite horse show hasn’t yet gone green, reach out to the manager and share your desire to see sustainability initiatives put into place. Share Green Is the New Blue’s “Refuse to Use” and “Living Jump” campaigns for inspiration. Express interest in sustainable food vendors such as Perks with A Twist, whose owners use fresh local ingredients served in compostable packaging.

We hope that you are inspired you to join us on our mission to create a sustainable equestrian sport. We would love to see your Earth Day projects, please share with us via email (azygadlo@greenisthenewblue.com),  Instagram, or Facebook.

7 Ways To Keep Flies at Bay

As temperatures begin to rise across the country, legions of dreaded house flies make their return to the barn to terrorize our horses. While it may seem like a force we can’t compete against, there are certainly ways to cut down on the number of flies and their impact on horses in the barn. Warmer weather makes it more enjoyable to spend time at the barn with our horses hacking in the fields, grazing, trail riding, and even just grooming, but we have to be aware of the annoyance flies can be for both humans and horses and help protect them from being bitten. Follow some of these tips to cut down on the fly population both inside and outside of your barn.

1. Have an effective manure disposal system.

Manure attracts flies by the dozens, so pick your horses’ stalls frequently and dispose of the manure often. If you have too much manure lying around, even if it’s out of horses’ stalls, flies will be more attracted to your barn.

2. Eliminate standing water.

Although not much can be done about ponds on the property, try to fix spots where standing water gathers, as these are places where flies can reproduce. Install a drainage system if this problem occurs when it rains, and make adjustments around the farm as necessary to help the standing water clear after a storm, such as repaving and angling surfaces.

3. Replace damaged fly sheets.

Fly sheets can protect our horses’ entire bodies while they’re outside grazing, keeping them from being bitten and developing rashes or sore spots from flies. But with time comes usual wear and tear, so be sure to look over and repair or replace any fly sheets that have significant holes.

4. Choose a fly spray you trust.

Fly repellant can often irritate horses’ skin or cause other issues, so try to find a brand with natural ingredients designed to provide only positive effects. Spray your horse before it goes outside, before a ride, and when it goes back into its stall. Keep the bottle at least a foot away from the horse as you spray to avoid causing skin irritations.

5. Implement a fly-spray system in your barn.

If you’ve tried everything and flies still won’t leave, install a system that sprays automatically into the barn aisle and stalls. It can be a worthwhile investment.

6. Seal all food containers.

Treats, open feed bags, and snacks left out can lure flies into the barn. Eliminate food smells by sealing containers, throwing away scraps, and cleaning up crumbs. Don’t skimp on giving your horses treats just to avoid flies, but be sure to clean up after your horse if they drop any bites on the floor.

7. Treat problem areas.

As always, keep a close eye on your horses’ skin to catch areas that might become more sensitive to flies. Often these areas may require a daily fly repellant ointment along with routine fly spray.

 

While many are grateful for warmer weather (horses included), we are less thrilled to welcome back the flies that disappeared during the cold winter months. They are a part of life for horse owners and managers, so we simply have to learn to lessen their impact so our horses can live comfortably in the warm spring and summer months.

How to Begin Spring Cleaning Your Barn

The entrance of warmer weather often brings the spark of new life and desire to start fresh. This winter was a tough one in many parts of the country, and it was made even tougher by the ongoing pandemic. With health and sanitation on everyone’s mind and more pleasant weather being ushered in (hopefully), it’s a perfect time to do some spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, especially if your barn is large or is made up of many individuals who have belongings taking up space. BarnManager is here to serve as a guide to tidy up your barn and get everyone to pitch in and do their part.

1. Remove winter gear from sight.

Ask everyone to remove their winter belongings from the barn. Once the weather warms up just enough to know winter won’t be sneaking back in, it’s time to put away the blankets, the heavy gloves, and more bulky items that may be taking up space and collecting more dirt than necessary. Designate a small area for riders to drop their blankets to keep them in one place. If the blankets will just be stored until next winter, put an organization system into place that will keep them out of the way but easily accessible for when temperatures drop again.

 

2. Take everything off the shelves.

Once winter gear is out of the way, it’s time to clean everything else. If you have shelves of stocked with saddle pads, polo wraps, and horse products, take all the items out so you can see the surface below. This way, you can properly dust from the bottom up, getting rid of all the dust that collected during the past year. Also use this step to identify dirty, expired, and damaged items that you can repurpose, dispose of, or repair.

3. Restock the empty, dust-free shelves.

Use a system that makes sense; put the most frequently used products front and center, while less regularly used items can go further back on shelves. You will also notice more easily when items are running low and may need to be replaced.

4. Ask all your clients/students to go through steps two and three with their own trunks.

Ask them to remove all items, get rid of anything unused or unnecessary, and scrub the baseboards of their trunks. While many may not be thrilled, it will help everyone keep their things clean and organized in the long run.

5. Clean all the tack.

Though many riders are responsible for their own tack, every barn has extra tack that may go unused for most of the year. This equipment ends up gathering dust and mold and could easily be refurbished and sold rather than sitting around. Grabbing an old rag and your best tack cleaner and scrub all those extra saddles and bridles that remain will help make your tack room shine. Give all the bits an extra polish to add some sparkle.

6. Sanitize all surfaces.

If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it would be how easily germs can spread. Think of all the surfaces in the barn that multiple people touch on a daily basis. Grab some disinfectant spray and wipe them all down. Kitchen counters, grooming stalls, bathrooms, and other areas should be cleaned regularly.

7. Enjoy the spring weather and your good-as-new barn!

There are few feelings more satisfying than finishing a big cleaning project. Enjoy the fruits of your labor (and the warm weather) by returning to business as usual with a more streamlined and welcoming space.

“Refuse To Use” with Green Is the New Blue

Written by Anna Zygadlo for Green Is the New Blue

Green Is the New Blue is a non-profit dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of horse shows, educating equestrians, and supporting the movement for a sustainable sport.  Our “Refuse to Use” campaign highlights the necessity of refusing to use single-use plastics, sourcing alternative products, and reusing material whenever possible.

Bill Rube of Gleneayre Equestrian Program n Lumerton, NJ, practices recycling with GITNB. Photo courtesy of GITNB

“It’s so important to not just recycle but to reduce the need for recycling,” explained R. Scot Evans, the creative director for Green is the New Blue. “The chilling facts are real: there are eight trillion pieces of single-use plastic currently circulating in the oceans around the world. It’s no longer about just picking up a piece of plastic and recycling it, it’s about refusing to use it.” The harsh reality is that many plastic bottles never actually get recycled, even if placed into recycling bins.

What We’re Doing

In order to combat single-use plastics on the showgrounds, Green Is the New Blue implemented touch-free water refill stations, allowing riders to bring their own reusable water bottles and safely fill them with clean water. In a modified effort to combat Covid-19, our partners have provided Boxed Water Is Better™ at select horse shows around the country. We know that plastic and other recyclable materials may still find a way onto the showgrounds, so recycling bins are strategically placed next to all trash cans at our partner events.

At Green Is the New Blue, we also work with vendors at our partner horse shows to minimize waste and switch to more environmentally friendly product packaging. There are many affordable alternatives to single-use plastics that can be incorporated into equestrian and restaurant business practices. At the Aiken Horse Park, we collaborated with Angela and Kory Merrill of Perks With a Twist, now one of the horse show world’s leaders in sustainable food service. Every serving product (think to-go boxes, plasticware, and napkins) used in the café is now compostable, using materials such as sugar cane, eliminating the waste the business sends out into the world after use.

Compostable food packaging at the Aiken Horse Park by Perks With A Twist. Photo by Split Rock Jumping Tour

As individuals, what can we do to reduce plastic use on a day-to-day basis? At Green Is the New Blue, we have a list of some of the ways you can reduce plastic in your daily life as an equestrian.

  1. Implement a recycling program.

    No matter how hard you try, plastics are going to make it onto the property. Maximize participation with easy access to recycling bins and very clear labeling. Ensure items placed in bins are clean and do not contaminate other materials.

  2. Repair items before replacing.

    Repair wheelbarrows, reinforce broken pitchforks with twine, and replace a single zipper rather than the whole pair of boots. Over time, many items will break with use. Repair what you can and keep items in circulation as long as possible. When purchasing tools, choose products with easily replaceable parts so you can repair the broken piece rather than replace the whole item. Avoid planned obsolescence, or consumer goods intended to be replaced and disposed of quickly.

  3. Repurpose items when possible.

    Skip the trash bag and line your bins with a grain or shavings bag that may otherwise be sent straight to a landfill. Grain bags are recyclable, although very few recycling facilities currently accept this type of plastic. Supplement buckets can be repurposed for bathing and storage.

  4. If there is an alternative to plastic, choose it.

    Purchase aluminum instead of plastic when possible, such as sweat scrapers, curry combs, tail combs, and grain scoops. Source hay baled with steel wire as opposed to plastic twine.

  5. Upcycle Jumps and Avoid PVC.

    PVC contains harmful chemicals, making it difficult and dangerous to recycle. Avoid using it for fencing and jumps. Instead, create your jump course using upcycled materials, such as pallets, rowboats, and doors. For more course design inspiration, check out our new monthly column “JumpCycled: Setting Greener Standards.”

  6. Purchase fly spray and other items in bulk.

    If you need to purchase solutions bottled in single-use plastics, choose higher concentrations in large containers. Save plastic by diluting the concentrate and refilling the same spray bottle.

  7. Purchase and store shavings in bulk.

    If you have the storage space, skip the individually bagged shavings and choose bulk shavings, which is generally more cost effective. If you must use bags, try to choose paper rather than plastic. Paper shavings bags can be repurposed as poultice paper. Many plastic shavings bags are recyclable, so check if your local facility will accept that plastic type and deposit in bulk. Make sure to shake out the bags well, as they will not be accepted if they are contaminated with shavings.

  8. Install a water refill station at the barn.

    Encourage riders to bring their own reusable water bottles and refill them at the barn. If you do supply single-use cups, choose compostable materials and small sizes.

  9. Reusable containers and bags are your friend.

    Pack your lunch in a reusable container to reduce plastic use. Take-out often involves single-use plastics and foam containers. If you do get takeout, save the takeout container for meal prep. There is no need to purchase your own containers when you can repurpose things like capped yogurt cups and sauce jars. And of course, don’t forget your reusable bag when grocery shopping or heading to the tack shop.

  10. Equestrians love coffee and need the caffeine.

    Add a coffee maker to your tack room and encourage others to refill a cup, rather than leave the barn and purchase coffee in single-use cups. Also, choose your coffee brand strategically. Choose shade-grown options and opt for a reusable filter or French press to minimize the environmental impact of your coffee habit.

Don’t forget to reduce and reuse first to lessen the need for recycling. To learn more about our “Refuse to Use” campaign and read more educational articles, visit our website and social media.

Recycling bins at the ingate of Split Rock Jumping Tour.
Photo by Split Rock Jumping Tour

Time Management: How To Make the Most of Your Time

Written by Sisters Horsing Around

Time.

There are so many expressions and sayings about time, but most boil down to the fact that time is a precious part of life. Life is measured in the passage of time. But how do you “race against time” and “beat the clock” to get everything done, when there is so much to do, and so little time? Well, we wanted to share with you something that our Mom has talked to us about all of our lives and that is time management.

Our mom taught us a practice that she called “POD.” POD, in her mother wit, was a little acronym which stands for Prioritize, Organize, and Discipline. We call it a “practice” because it is something that we are always having to practice doing. She broke down time management like this:

P: Prioritize.

Prioritize the things you need to do in order of importance. Mama would always get on us for what she calls “doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.” The basic concept is to learn to take care of the most important things first. Prioritization can keep you on the right track if you maintain the mindfulness of what needs to be done in order of importance.

Evaluate your life, identify your responsibilities and the things that you need to do, and write these things down, listing them in the order that they need to be done. Making to-do lists is a simple and helpful way to gather your thoughts and focus your attention on the tasks at hand.  This is where you start with knowing how to manage your time. Prioritize first. That’s the P.

O: Organize.

After you have identified your priorities and listed them in order of importance, then organize everything needed for each priority. For instance, say you need to pack for a horse show that you know is tomorrow, but when you go to pack, you have everything everywhere. You are having a devil of a time finding what you need because everything is disorganized.

Being disorganized slows progress because you have to spend extra time trying to find things. Often this can result in getting stuck and not being able to move on to your next priority. Organizing can help you streamline and get right to what you need when you need it.

Additionally, organizing can also mean realizing when you need to get rid of clutter. Organize your life to transition smoothly between your priorities and help you get things done in the smallest amount of time.

D: Discipline.

Discipline simply means training. Just like in our horse world, where we have equestrian disciplines and train our horses for a specific activity, we must discipline, or train ourselves, to prioritize our lives and get organized. Do this until it becomes habit.

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. The best-trained horses can do their jobs without allowing themselves to be distracted. Be like that and stay focused. Then periodically reassess your life and decide the adjustments that need to be made. Perhaps something that was high on your priority list before needs to readjust to allow for something else to take its place because something else needs more attention at that time. Once your priorities change, repeat the process of prioritizing, organizing, and disciplining yourself to stay on target and make the most of your time.

There are 24 hours in a day, which equates to 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds to accomplish everything you need to get done. That time can disappear in what seems like an instant, so we have to make the most of the time we are given. We hope these basic tips will help you get everything done in no time!

If you are in charge of managing horses and seeking ways to better manage your time, BarnManager is a great time management and organization resource to help you keep your sanity and save your precious time. For those seeking organization in other aspects of life, there are tons of apps and online resources to help simplify your hectic life and organize things all in one platform, such as Trello, Todoist, and even the Reminders app on iPhones.