7 Ways to Showcase Your Style at Horse Shows

Our sport is unique in that we require a standard uniform for competition, but we are allowed freedom within that uniform to choose the clothing items we’d like. No matter the discipline, there are multiple ways you can show off your personal style while still adhering to the rules of the dress code. Here are a few ways you can personalize your horse show wardrobe according to your own taste.

1. Show Shirts.

The shirts we wear under show coats need to be light and breathable on hot horse show days, but it also doesn’t hurt if they look sharp for the time spent not wearing your coat. Designs are changing by the minute. You can get show shirts in various patterns, colors, and cuts, while still only showing the white portion when you button up your collar and coat. Get some shirts that you feel good in so you can rock the look when you’re done showing.

2. Socks.

Everyone loves a good boot sock, and there are so many brands taking advantage of the real estate underneath boots by designing unique and fun patterns to choose from. Find some patterns and fabrics you like best to accompany your barn shoes when you aren’t wearing your boots. If your style is more classic, many brands offer plain black socks that look good with horse show outfits as well.

3. Belts.

Your belt can say a lot about your style. Some are sophisticated, some are understated, and some are vibrant and attention-grabbing. Mixing and matching belts with your competition uniform can be a fun way to show off your style and keep your pants in place at the same time.

4. Jewelry.

Many sports don’t permit you to wear jewelry while competing, but most equestrian disciplines will allow it, so if you are comfortable and can perform without distraction, jewelry is a great way to accessorize. Sometimes it’s fun to throw on some cute stud earrings that sparkle from below your helmet or a bracelet that serves as a good luck charm. When you’re done riding, you can flaunt your bracelets and necklaces as you roll up your sleeves and unbutton your collar.

5. Outerwear.

If it’s a brisk horse show day, there is an endless variety of sweaters and jackets to keep warm. Many onsite vendors sell unique and trendy options if you find yourself without one. Vests, sweatshirts, and puffer coats are also popular choices that allow you the freedom to show off your favorite patterns and colors beyond the limits of any show ring requirements.

6. Handbags.

There are lots of things you need to keep on hand while walking around at a show. So why not carry them in style? Use a catch-all, cross-body bag so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off your shoulder. If you go with something more neutral, you can carry the bag with a variety of outfits, or you can get a few different bags to match different riding clothes. Some brands offer interchangeable straps for bags, as well!

7. Hats.

Even though we often forget how many long hours we spend in the sun at a horse show, it’s always important to protect your skin from the sun. Right now, sunhats are a wildly popular way to keep your head and shoulders protected. Not only do wide-brimmed hats prevent any sun damage to your skin, but they also show off your style! Pretty much any horse show will have vendors with sunhats of different kinds. You can even buy them with colored accents and broches to make them one-of-a-kind. Once you buy a horse show hat, you surely won’t go to any show without it.

 

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!

6 Tips to Organize Your Tack Trunk

Tack trunk organizing may only happen once in a blue moon, but if you are going to take the time, you want to do it effectively. Follow these tips to give your trunk a thorough cleaning and re-vamp to save yourself unnecessary trouble down the road.

1. Begin by emptying your trunk out completely. Being at the barn and around horse shows, tack trunks can collect a large amount of dirt without you even realizing. Take everything out and thoroughly clean the base and walls of your trunk.

2. Weed out what you don’t need or use. If you don’t routinely clean out your trunk, odds are you have a few things that aren’t of use anymore. Ask yourself if you will use it in the next year and if not, donate or toss it. The same goes for older items – if something is too worn or too old to be effective, it’s probably time to let go.

3. Clean the items that are left. If your trunk is newly cleaned, you don’t want to toss dirt-covered items right back into it. Give everything a thorough cleaning before finding a place for it back in the trunk.

4. Prioritize your most used items. Not everything needs to be taking up space in your trunk. Set aside items you only use seasonally or a few times a year, such as fly sheets or winter gloves. Find a closet in your barn or house to store these items so they don’t spend the year gathering dust and dirt in your trunk. When the seasons change, or you find a need for a rarely used item, you can make the necessary swaps.

5. Organize for convenience. When putting your trunk back together, do yourself a favor down the road. While it may be tempting to play a game of Tetris to see how nicely things fit together, this may not be the most practical strategy. Make sure the items you use daily are the easiest to access. The last thing you want is to dig for your gloves and crop as you walk your impatient horse to the mounting block.

6. Use storage containers and dividers. Often trunks don’t have dividers built in, so head to Amazon or The Container Store to find some appropriately sized baskets, drawers, and boxes to fit certain items to prevent them from disappearing, especially the small ones. You can even save money by reusing containers from other sources, rather than buying them new. Trunks can get tossed around in transit to and from horse shows, so storage dividers will help keep things in place and make your organization efforts worthwhile.

 

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!

10 Tips for Fall Photo Shoots with Your Horse

Fall is a great time of year for photo shoots with your beloved horse. Not only is the weather such a nice temperature in most parts of the country, but the foliage is so beautiful it just demands to be photographed. Follow these tips if you want to schedule a photo shoot this fall!

1. Head to social media to find a great photographer near you.

Photographers like to share their best content on their social accounts, so browse through a few to pick the style you like best, choosing from those who can easily come to you. Asking in Facebook groups is another good strategy; photographers will often comment, and you can quickly check out their work to see what you like best.

2. Look at the weather for the week to minimize your chance of rain.

This can get tricky if you plan too far in advance. The worst thing is to schedule a photo session and have the rain come pouring down at that exact time. It doesn’t need to be bright and sunny, but try to look ahead as best you can to avoid rainstorms when scheduling your session. Most photographers will gladly reschedule in the case of rain.

3. Do your research to find out when the foliage will be at its peak where you live.

Each area starts showing signs of fall at different times. If the reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall season are important to you, look up online when your area’s fall colors will be the brightest and try to schedule in that time frame. If the leaves don’t change color in your area, you have much more flexibility.

4. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!

Not only will you be subject to the dirt that comes with being around horses, but sometimes photo shoots can be laborious, especially if your horse is a handful. Wear something easily washable, as you may end up with some green slobber or a little sweat on your clothes.

5. Try to stick with solid-colored clothes.

This is important if you’re aiming for a colorful background, but often busy, patterned clothing can overwhelm an image. Pick a hue that complements your horse’s coat, and avoid bright hues, as sometimes these can become oversaturated if you want to enhance the background colors.

6. Groom your horse really well.

This may seem obvious, but arrive early to make sure your horse is as clean as possible. This is especially important for white and grey horses; try to clean them up as if they’re going to a horse show.

7. Aim for late evening for the best lighting.

The sun will be setting earlier in the fall, so pay attention to what time the sun starts to dip behind the trees each evening. You can still take lovely pictures even after the sun has set.

8. Identify the prettiest spots around your farm ahead of time.

The light won’t last long, so you don’t want to waste any time pondering where to head next for more photos. Pay attention to the way the light hits in certain locations on your farm during the later evening hours. Your photographer can also help you determine which spots are best but try to have a few in mind before the session begins.

9. Bring peppermints with you.

Not every horse is going to naturally find something to occupy its attention while you take pictures. If your horse tends to be more difficult to entertain, give the photographer (or a third person) peppermints in wrappers to crinkle to get your horse’s attention and ears forward.

10. Lastly, smile!

The best horse portrait sessions really capture the unique bond between horse and rider, so try to show off your love for your horse and how happy he or she makes you. Go for some cute poses, funny shots, and affectionate ones, as well. Hopefully, it will be a fun experience with beautiful photos you can treasure forever!

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

There are endless ways to honor the horses that leave prominent marks on our hearts and in our lives. You can spend a small fortune on commemorative items that showcase just how much you love your horse. But sometimes you just want something small you can keep with you at all times to always remember your heart horse(s), whether they’re still with you or they’ve moved on.

1. Keychains

There are so many ways to carry a piece of your horse with you jingling on your key ring everywhere you go. Some companies will make a keychain or jewelry out of your horse’s tail, so you can, quite literally, carry a piece of him and her. Others will make beautiful gold-plated name tags or acrylic imagery depicting your horse so you can see his or her face all the time.

2. Jewelry

Whether your jewelry style is minimalist or not-so-minimalist, you can always find a piece of jewelry that suits your taste to honor your beloved horse. You can even find something as simple as a charm for a bracelet or necklace with your horse’s first initial to wear every day. Equine-specific brands can put your horse’s full name on a bracelet to wear, and you can find even more options for unique jewelry customization just by searching marketplaces such as Etsy.

3. Belts

We’ve all seen the riders, both young and old, with belts that have more plates than belt loops featuring all the horses they’ve ridden and/or owned. This is a great way to carry each horse with you all the time, and could even help you remember all the valuable lessons they each taught every time you step into the show ring.

4. Phone cases

Growing increasingly popular are custom phone cases, depicting subject matter such as initials, imagery, and even custom artwork. If you’

re looking for something more subtle, some companies sell phone cases with a single initial, and others go all out by turning a photo of your beloved horse into digital art for the case. Nothing is more unique than putting your own horse’s face on the back of your phone!

 

 

 

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!

Five Alternative Fitness Ideas for Riders

5 Alternative Fitness Routines for Riders

Five Alternative Fitness Ideas for Riders

Anyone who has ridden a sport horse can make the powerful argument that what we do is, in fact, a sport. We laugh off those who say the horse does all the work because we truly know what a full-body workout it can be and the strength and conditioning required to execute the sport successfully.

But even the fittest of riders need to complement their riding with other forms of exercise. Football players do yoga to keep them balanced and focused. Why shouldn’t riders work on outside exercises that aid them in their riding? Many riders already know their preferred workout method, but if you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas to expand your fitness routine outside of the saddle.

1. Pilates

Known for targeting specific muscles and utilizing smaller movements in order to strengthen the whole body, Pilates can be a great workout option for riders looking to gain strength all over. Small, repetitive movements can help solidify muscle memory and help stabilize your muscles to be a stronger and steadier rider. Many Pilates studios are offering online classes. You can also find outdoor pop-up classes near you that foster social distancing and follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

2. HIIT

Any hunter/jumper rider knows the feeling of exiting the show ring completely winded, after a very intense, but short, two-minute workout. It’s hard to build endurance for those high-intensity moments since we can’t really replicate them outside of a show environment. That’s where High Intensity Interval Training can be your best friend (or worst enemy, depending on your workout style). Many gyms and trainers are offering virtual HIIT classes that help athletes get their heart rate up, recover, and repeat. These exercises feel like a ton of work. But they will increase your fitness level to a point where those jumping rounds will feel like light work.

3. Yoga

Though the exercises in yoga don’t translate directly to what you do when riding, the benefits of yoga are evident in many aspects of the sport. Riding is a mental sport, and being strong mentally is often equally as important as being strong physically. Yoga helps to center your focus, relax your body, and prepare you to take on challenges that lie ahead. It also focuses on strength and stretching, leaving you more nimble and easing any pain or tension that may keep you from performing your best. Yoga can improve your balance as a rider, as well, keeping you centered during tough situations. Horses also benefit from balanced riders, helping to resolve any imbalances the horses may have themselves.

4. Cycling

We all know the value of a strong leg and solid core for helping your horse effectively use its hind end and jump clear rounds. Cycling is an excellent exercise to help strengthen your leg muscles and engage your core at the same time. Because it’s such a high-intensity workout, cycling is a great way to get your cardio in. This will also help to increase your endurance in the saddle. Though cycling studios are mostly closed due to COVID-19, there are many ways to get stationary bikes set up in your own home, or you can buy a street bike that you can ride (safely, of course) through the hills of your city or town. Pro tip: after an intense cycling session, practice stretching deeply down through your heels with your feet in the “stirrups.” This will loosen your calf muscles and help you keep your heels stretched down next time you sit in the (real) saddle.

5. A personal fitness trainer

Doing the same workout every day or not knowing what workouts are best for your goals are common issues for athletes working without supervision. Personal fitness trainers are now more accessible than ever, so if you have specific goals that you’re not sure how to achieve, look into working with an expert. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment; many trainers will teach you work-out circuits to implement on your own, after learning how to do them properly and safely. Though personal trainers are on the more expensive end of workout options, their expertise can be priceless. So if overall fitness is an ultimate goal of yours, do some research about personal fitness trainers that have experience in training equestrian athletes.

 

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!

Giving Thanks for Our Horses

We strive to practice gratitude and thankfulness all-year round, but each year as we head toward Thanksgiving, all that we have to give thanks for is even more prominently at the forefront of our minds.

We have so many people and experiences to be thankful for, and, of course, we have our horses. These four-legged friends and family members give us endless reasons to be thankful all year, including these six that we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving

1. They relieve our stress. 

At the end of a long workday or amidst the chaos of life, our horses can be better than any therapist. They provide us with a safe place to leave the rest of the world behind and focus only on the horse beside or underneath us. A study from Washington State University even showed that children who spent time grooming and working with horses saw a significant reduction in stress. (Be right back as we head back to the barn!)

Photo by Vicci Valenti

2. They teach us. 

Some days our horses teach us patience or what happens when you miss a distance to a fence. Most days, they teach us responsibility; they teach us to forgive like they forgave us for the poor ride the day before. They also teach us love, trust, compassion, and what it means to experience great joy.

3. They help us to be our best. 

When it’s hard to get out of bed at 5 a.m., it helps to know that it’s because there is a horse out there waiting for you to care for it to ride or to show. They give us motivation to show up every day, and they drive us to work hard to continue the privilege of having them in our lives.

Photo by Caroline Adams

Through hours spent in the saddle, leading horses, lifting hay bales, cleaning stalls, or filling water buckets, they guide us to be the best physical version of ourselves. Through their companionship, they help us to be the best mentally healthy version of ourselves.

4. They’ve brought us together with friends and family. 

We owe many of our closest friendships to the bonds formed on the back of a horse. Our horse friends know us and understand when and why we would rather be in the barn. They get it when you say you would rather buy your horse a new blanket than go out to eat this week, and for that we are thankful.

Photo by Jump Media

5. They allow us to experience some of our greatest moments. 

Whether it’s a major victory in the show ring, a trail ride in a spectacular location, a fulfilling job that we love in the equestrian industry, or a special time spent with just our horses and our friends, many of our greatest moments in life are because of these animals that we love.

Photo by Jump Media

6. They’re our best friends.

Our horses love us unconditionally (but especially when we have treats). They never judge us. They accept us as we are. They lend us an ear when we need someone to talk to and a shoulder when we need one to cry on. At the end of a good day or a bad day, our horses are the ones that we want 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!

Recognizing the Grooms Behind the Horse Show Halloween Costumes

At BarnManager, we know how hard barn managers and grooms work. (That’s why we introduced BarnManager: to help make their lives easier!)

At the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), Lynne Stephens also recognized how hard the grooms work, including when it comes to putting together horses’ costumes for the show’s annual – and highly popular –$36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

With that in mind, Lynne – who works on the WIHS staff during the horse show – decided to introduce a new Best Costume Award for 2019, with a special catch. The $3,500 prize, presented by the Stephens Family, awards $1,000 to the winning rider and $2,500 to the winning groom! Kudos to Lynne and WIHS on the great idea!

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Jump Media

After this year’s class, held on Thursday, October 24, we caught up with the inaugural winners, rider Kristen Vanderveen and her groom of 12 years, Luis Salazar, on what went into turning Kristen into Cruella de Vil and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili into a Dalmatian!

“I’ve never actually gotten to show [in the costume class at WIHS], and I love looking at the pictures,” said Kristen. “I always think the horses that are dressed up look the coolest, so I was thinking of all the things that you could do with a white horse. I came up with a cow, which I thought would be offensive to Frosty, or the Dalmatian.”


Luis Salazar and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Jump Media

To pull off “Frosty’s” Dalmatian look, Kristen ordered felt dots of various sizes off of Amazon, and Luis went to work!

“Luis did everything with Frosty,” said Kristen. “He actually helped tape my [Cruella de Vil] hair onto my helmet too!”

“It took a long time – about 40 minutes – because the dots are sticky!” said Luis of the process to transform Frosty into a Dalmatian. “I was a little nervous we weren’t going to make it in time.”

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

In addition to the dots, Luis added special black paint on Frosty’s muzzle and a sash that served as the collar before sending Kristen and Frosty off to the ring!

“He’s an amazing horse; he’s easy for everything,” said Luis. “He likes winning in everything!” – presumably even costume contests!

Congrats to Kristen and Luis on the great costume and to all of the grooms and riders who put together great costumes for WIHS this year!

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 Tech Companies Form Collaboration

Wellington, FL – Equine technology companies BarnManager, Equo, Jumpfax, and StableGuard have come together to form the first equine technology collaboration of its kind, aimed at supporting one another, better serving the equestrian industry as a whole, and ultimately creating greater inter-operability between the equine applications and software.

Watch more on the equine technology collaboration here!

 

Launched by BarnManager founder and CEO, Nicole Lakin, the innovators working together on the equine tech collaboration include Lakin, Equo’s Steven Bluman, Alicia Heiniger of Jumpfax, and Alexa Anthony of StableGuard.

With the formation of the equine tech collaboration, the four companies are able to work together to develop improved solutions for the equestrian community, while also each continuing to provide a unique service and value to the equine industry. 

 For BarnManager, that service is a cloud-based software that offers digitized record keeping for the many facets of horse care, as well as intuitive and simple business tools to make small business management easier and more accessible. For Equo, it is offering what has been described as a “mix between Uber and Expedia for horses,” taking horse transportation to the next level by connecting riders, owners, and trainers with certified drivers through the Equo mobile app.

 For competitors, Jumpfax offers a complete, dynamic calendar of events, a comprehensive horse show guide that includes programs, start lists, results, key contacts, and more, as well as a sports data center updated daily with show jumping’s statistics. And StableGuard is often compared to the “Nest home security camera for horses.” Through the StableGuard mobile app, users can watch live-stream feed of the horse in their stall, receive emergency alerts, watch event play-back, and track human interaction. Unlike other equine monitoring devices, StableGuard constantly tracks the horses’ well-being without needing additional wearable devices such as smart blankets, Bluetooth halters, etc.

 “They are all very complimentary, and they all really could be used on a daily basis by any show jumping rider,” said Jumpfax founder Alicia Heiniger.  “I’m a rider myself, so I’m a natural user of these apps, and we all really share a vision, a passion, and a wish to make our industry better and stronger.”

 Lakin added, “We’re all trying to improve and advance our own specific area of the industry, but ultimately, we’re all using technology to help horse people have peace of mind at the end of the day and to allow them to focus on why we’re all really doing this in the first place: the horses.”

 Lakin studied entrepreneurship and received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Babson College, and it was her experience there that sparked the idea for the equine tech collaboration.

 “At Babson, I was constantly surrounded by other entrepreneurs,” explained Lakin, whose BarnManager application is now the Official Barn Management Software of US Equestrian. “It was a really inspiring atmosphere, and we were constantly thinking of ways that we could help each other – even though we were in completely different industries. It was a really great way to integrate together and to support each other, and I find it extremely important to have community like that.”

 

Steven Bluman of Equo, Alicia Heiniger of Jumpfax, Nicole Lakin of BarnManager, and Alexa Anthony of StableGuard have partnered to form a new equine tech collaboration. 

Photo by Jump Media

In addition to forming their own community to help one another as equine technology start-up founders and better serving the equestrian industry, Anthony, Bluman, Heiniger, and Lakin hope that their collaborative effort will encourage equestrians to embrace how technology can help them navigate in their industry.

 “It’s really an exciting time,” said Anthony, CEO of Magic AI, the company behind StableGuard. “Now is a great opportunity for all of us to join together and create awareness surrounding technology in a traditional industry. I believe it will make the adoption a little bit easier if all four of us work together – we’re stronger that way.”

 Equo CEO Bluman echoed Anthony’s sentiments: “Just like in any other life aspect, when Uber came out and Airbnb came out, everybody said, ‘No way! I will never get in a car with someone that I don’t know,’ and, ‘I would never go in an apartment that I don’t even know who owns the place.’ Now, people are realizing they’re both great options. It’s the same with us. People are a little bit skeptical when it comes to using apps for whatever it is for their horses. By our companies coming together and acting as a force, people are going to begin to pay more attention to what’s happening. We’re trying to update the horse industry and really bring it into the 21st century.”

 In addition to collaborating to grow and improve together and to introduce equestrians to applications to simplify their daily responsibilities, Lakin hopes that the equine tech collaboration will ultimately lead to greater inter-operability between the applications.

 “We all are cognizant of thinking about how the applications are talking to each other, because at the end of the day, if we’re all making a million different products for people, and they have to have 17 apps on their phone, you’re not improving anything, you’re making it worse,” explained Lakin. “If we can work together and make our products work together, we’re not only better together for ourselves, we’re delivering better products for the end user.

 “When each company can focus on their own specific piece of the puzzle, but then we can all also put those pieces together, we’re really able to create something great for the consumer,” concluded Lakin. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Learn more about BarnManager, Equo, Jumpfax, and Stableguard by visiting each of their websites, and watch here to hear more about the equine tech collaboration.

To sign up for a free trial of BarnManager click here!

 The “Stronger Together” equine tech collaboration video was produced by the new Creative Studio by Jumpfax.