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!

The BarnManager Q&A With: KJ Pearson

The BarnManager Q&A With:

KJ Pearson, Manager and Rider at Hunt Tosh Inc, located in Milton, GA

What are three things that are always in your ring bag?

I normally do not have a ring bag, however my dirt bike always comes to the ring with me. Three essentials that are in my trunk are Advil, hairnets, and candy that Maddie Tosh and I always keep close by.

What is the most helpful habit that you practice at the barn?

Photo by ESI Photography

The most helpful habit that I practice at the barn is starting early. I like everything super organized. Getting the horses ready and the barn organized early helps the day go a lot more smoothly.

How do you foster a great team environment in your business?

We do a lot of things together as a team. Whether it’s going to a horse show, or finishing up daily barn chores at home, everyone always pitches in. The Toshes are like family to me, so we are a very close team. Maddie and I do things like getting everyone lunch or having ice cream parties and game nights when we are at home to show how much we appreciate all that our team does.

What’s your best tip or hack for grooming and horse care? Where did you learn it?

The best hack I have is probably for fixing blemishes such as a spur rub or covering up stained white knees and socks. White chalk, black chalk, and baby powder can make magic happen when you are trying to cover up a stain or rub. Ruben Cruz, who is Bobby Braswell’s head groom, taught me that a few years back and I still do it to this day.

What is your favorite equestrian competition and why?

Photo by Jump Media

My favorite horse show hands down is the Bluegrass Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park where the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and Green Hunter Incentive Championships take place. It’s my favorite week of the year, and the entire team looks forward to it. USHJA puts on such a good show for the young horses and asks them all the right questions. “Derby Finals” has such a special place in my heart; there’s no feeling like walking down the ramp during the final round at night.

If you were a horse, what would you be and why?

If I was a horse, I would for sure be an endurance horse. My friends all joke with me that I am the energizer bunny because I’m always going.

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!

The BarnManager Q&A With: Kimberly Graves

The BarnManager Q&A With:

Kimberly Graves, Manager and Flat Rider at Hesslink Williams, located in Wellington, FL

What are three things that are always in your ring bag?

Click above to learn about what Kimberly Graves keeps in her ring bag.

That’s a hard one because I practically have a whole wall box in my backpack. I have everything from hairspray, zip ties, and seam rippers to lip balm, sunscreen, and Band-Aids.

Click below for a closer look at what is in Kimberly’s ring bag.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CaP_1XxpdMp/

What is the most helpful habit that you practice at the barn?

I think one of the most helpful habits is organization. I love when everything has a place. I’m a big fan of containers and label makers. I want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to know where everything is. It really helps with efficiency in the barn, especially on show days.

How do you foster a great team environment in your business?

Kimberly Graves and Babylon at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show. Photo by Jump Media

I think that communication is key to a happy and successful team. Making sure that everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on leads to fewer mistakes and more success. I also believe that equality is very important in creating a great team, especially in the horse world. You’re never too good to help with the horses or daily chores.

What’s your best tip or hack for grooming and horse care? Where did you learn it?

I’m a big believer in “no hoof no horse.” I like to keep the horses’ feet dry and as hard as possible. I don’t like to use hoof oil because it softens the feet. Instead, I use a hoof sealer called Kevlar Tuff. The farrier that I used for my personal horses for more than 15 years instilled his philosophy on hoof care in me when I was young. He always told me to keep the horses’ feet dry and hard to protect them inside and out against all the elements and surfaces our horses face. Stronger hooves equal better hoof growth.

What is your favorite equestrian competition and why?

I would have to say the Capital Challenge Horse Show is my favorite because it brings out the best hunters in the country. I love that hunters really get to take center stage, especially with the World Championship Hunter Rider classes. The ribbons and awards are always beautiful. I enjoy the pomp and circumstance.

If you were a horse, what would you be and why?

I would definitely be a hunter. A chestnut hunter with chrome to be exact. Chestnuts have been my favorite color since I was a child. I like the jumpers, but my heart truly lies with the hunters. I obsessively follow the discipline.

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!

Things To Check For in Your Horse’s Paddock

Turning horses out is an important part of their everyday routine. During this time outside, horses can eat, graze, walk around, and just be horses. Since turnout is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time for your horse, it is important to routinely inspect their paddock or field to ensure it is safe.

Holes

Holes in paddocks can be dangerous for horses and also difficult to notice from a distance. Large holes can definitely be a problem, although sometimes the smaller ones are actually more of a hazard. Holes that are large are easy for people to see and horses to avoid. The most dangerous holes are those that are hidden or smaller because horses can easily misstep into them and get injured. For this reason, it is best to walk your paddocks regularly searching for holes so they can be filled in. If you have grass paddocks, it helps to keep them mowed so holes are easier to see.

Fencing

Horses often itch on or lean over the fence boards in their paddock. This can lead to broken fence boards that are dangerous for several reasons. If a horse continues rubbing on a broken fence board, they could cut themselves on the splintered wood or an exposed nail. If any of the nails fall, there is the possibility that a horse could step on one. A broken fence board may also create a place where a horse could escape. To avoid these issues, make it a practice to walk the fence lines of your turnout areas frequently to examine them. Also, keep an eye out for rotting fence boards that could break and become a hazard.

Toxic Weeds

Toxic weeds can be a concern when your horse is turned out in a grass field. If you are unsure which weeds are toxic, check with a professional weed specialist. Horses are not always inclined to eat toxic weeds, but it is better to be on the safe side. Take good care of your pasture areas to prevent weeds from overtaking the grass. Your routine can include mowing frequently and rotating the fields that are used for turnout. Resting the grass, keeping it healthy, and giving it time to regrow will help keep weeds at bay.

Rocks

A rocky paddock is not ideal footing for a horse, especially if they are barefoot. If a horse steps the wrong way on a sharp rock, it can lead to a stone bruise. Depending on the location and terrain of the farm, it can be difficult to completely avoid rocks in paddocks. Instead, make it a habit to examine the turnout areas a couple of times a year and remove any large or sharp rocks that have surfaced. This can be a difficult task in large paddocks, so begin by focusing on the areas where the horses tend to stand the most. Most likely these areas will be by the gate and where there is food, water, or shade.

Weather

The weather during different seasons can affect the conditions of your paddocks. For example, ice can be a major issue in the winter. Icy areas can be dangerous for both the horse and the person who is walking the horse to the field. Rain is often problematic for paddocks in the spring, summer, and fall. A muddy paddock can be slippery and hazardous if your horse starts to play or run. There is also a higher chance of a horse pulling a shoe in the mud, which could lead to them accidentally stepping on a nail. Additionally, turning a horse out in a grass paddock after the rain can tear up the field, especially if the horse starts running. No matter the season, when possible it is best to avoid icy or wet paddocks for a little until they are thawed, dry, and safe.

Although pasture examination and maintenance might be a tedious and dull task at times, it is necessary to ensure that your horses are in a safe environment when they are in turnout so find a way to include it in your maintenance schedule throughout the year.

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!