Five Activities To Do When It’s Too Cold To Ride

For most people, the winter months include some days when the temperatures are too cold to safely ride your horse. Below are some equestrian-related activities to keep you busy during those ice-cold days.

1. Watch Live Streams

If you are stuck inside because of freezing temperatures or several feet of snow, check out coverage from some of the horse shows happening elsewhere. Live streams are available for both World Equestrian Center locations, the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Desert International Horse Park. USEF Network also offers educational content and horse shows on demand. If you want to learn more from top equestrians, watch a Masterclass or a Barn Talk from Horse & Country. You may not be able to have a lesson that day, but you can still grow your knowledge and skills remotely.

2. Clean Tack

If your barn has a heated tack room, consider taking the time to deep clean and condition all of your tack. It’s difficult to find the time to do this during a regular busy day when you are riding. Go the extra step and take apart your bridle, clean your bits, condition your saddle, and polish your boots. Make sure to clean all the tiny leather pieces that often get skimmed over in day-to-day cleaning. This is a good time to make note of any equipment that might need to be replaced or fixed. You could also bring your tack home if you prefer to work while watching a movie or live stream of a horse show.

3. Make Homemade Horse Cookies

Baking when it’s cold or snowing is always a fun way to keep you busy. After making a batch of cookies for yourself, consider baking some homemade treats for your favorite horse. Although it’s no longer the holiday season, check out BarnManager’s DIY Holiday Horse Treat Recipes for some fun ideas. This is an activity your horse will definitely appreciate, no matter what time of year.

4. Organize Your Tack Trunk

Cleaning out your tack trunk can be a daunting task depending on how much equipment you acquire over time. It’s a good idea to go through and reorganize every once in a while, especially if you struggle to find things in a pinch. Buy baskets or clear containers that easily fit into your trunk and use them to store gear such as bits, extra pieces of tack, spurs, and gloves. Create separate piles of equipment to throw out if well-worn or donate if still in good condition. Empty out your entire trunk and use the barn vacuum or a hand-held one from home to really get ready for a clean start. When you put everything back in, try to put your most used items at the top of the trunk for easy access.

5. Clean Out Your Closet

Equestrians have a habit of collecting shirts and breeches throughout the years and then not wearing most of them. Take advantage of those cold days when you are stuck inside to go through your closet and decide what clothes you actually wear and what you really don’t need. You can also do this with boots, half chaps, show jackets, and other equipment that have accumulated over time. If the items are still in good condition, consider donating to an organization that makes gently-used riding clothes available to other horse lovers who need them, such as The Rider’s Closet.

Although nobody wants to spend a day inside away from their horse, try to make the most of that time with these fun and productive activities from BarnManager.

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 Tips for Horse Showing in the Winter

While some lucky riders get to escape to warmer climates during the winter, others remain up north to horse show in indoor rings and freezing temperatures. Read some of BarnManager’s tips to successfully compete in the cold weather.

1. Pack Extra Layers for Your Horse

Extra layers are extremely important when it comes to horse showing in cold temperatures. One cooler and one anti-sweat may not be enough, especially if your horse gets warm or sweaty while working. If one of the coolers gets wet or your horse needs an extra layer, it is always good to have a backup. Additional layers will guarantee that your horse will not catch a chill while waiting at the ring or after showing. If your horse is not using one of the coolers, they are also perfect to wrap around yourself to stay warm.

2. Pack Extra Layers for Yourself

Dressing in several layers is key to keeping warm during a long day at the show. Instead of just one thick jacket, try to wear multiple shirts and sweaters under your jacket to fight the cold. Since most show shirts are made for the summer, wear an additional shirt underneath. This will give you an extra layer of clothing when you are in the show ring wearing only your show coat on top. While horse showing in the cold weather, you may go from hot to cold multiple times during the day. If you get warm while riding, it is easy to take off a top layer and then put it back on when you are finished to avoid a chill. Bring extra clothing to change into in case some layers get sweaty from your work in the ring.

3. Stock Up on Spot Remover

Keeping your horse clean before a horse show is always a tricky task and when it is extremely cold a bath is not always an option. Spot remover can come in handy at these times, especially if you have a grey horse. Spray a little spot remover on any dirty area of your horse and use a wet towel to rub it off. Using warm water will help get rid of the dirt and make it a more pleasant experience for your horse. This process may require a little elbow grease, but it is an easier option than a full bath in the cold.

Another trick to keep your horse clean if they have white socks is to wrap their legs the night before. This will help those areas stay clean overnight, even if they lay down. To add a little brightness to white socks, apply baby powder before heading to the show ring.

4. Warm Up Before You Ride

Standing in the cold for multiple hours can cause stiff muscles, which is not what you want to feel when getting in the saddle. Before you get on, try to find a place to warm up for a few minutes, like a heated car or bathroom. If possible, do a few stretches to loosen up so you are not stiff when you get on your horse. Plan ahead so you have time to walk your horse a few extra laps in the warm-up area so they can properly loosen up as well. Remember to keep the cooler on your horse while walking them and wrap it around your legs to help you both stay warm for as long as possible.

5. Stay Hydrated

When it’s cold outside it’s easy to forget to drink water. Staying hydrated is important for exercising and keeping warm. Remind yourself to take a couple of sips of water every half hour and pack a hot beverage in a thermos to provide some extra warmth. Make sure to offer your horse water throughout the day because the same holds true for keeping them hydrated.

Horse shows can be challenging in any weather, but the cold winter months add an extra level of difficulty. Test out these tips at your next show for a warmer and more enjoyable day.

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

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

Six Household Items To Use at the Barn This Winter

Riding or working in a barn during cold winter weather is never an easy task. Read about some of BarnManager’s favorite winter hacks using products you can find in your own home.

1. Crockpot

A crockpot or slow cooker is very helpful to have at the barn when the temperatures are below freezing. They do a great job of keeping water warm for grooming or cleaning tack if you do not have access to hot water. You can also dip your horse’s bit into the crockpot before putting the bridle on to make it more comfortable for your horse.

2. Hairdryer

Even if your horse is clipped, they can often get sweaty after a ride. You always want to make sure your horse is dry before putting their blanket on, which sometimes can take a while. Bring your hairdryer from home to speed up the process. If you do a combination of blow-drying and toweling, your horse will be dry in no time.

 

3. Rubbing Alcohol

This winter hack is also for quickly drying your horse’s coat after a ride so they do not catch a chill. Put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, apply it to your horse’s coat, and then towel off the area. Alcohol evaporates quickly and also takes the water with it so your horse will dry off a lot faster. By the time you finish cleaning your tack, your horse will be dry and ready for their blanket.

4. Cooking Spray

If you live in an area where it snows a lot, you might want to bring some cooking spray to the barn. Horses often have balls of snow and ice form on the bottoms of their feet when they are turned out in the snow, which can make walking uncomfortable. Apply cooking spray to your horse’s feet after picking them out to prevent the ice balls from forming.

5. Vacuum

Since giving a bath during the winter is often not an option, getting your horse clean can be a difficult task, especially if you are trying to get ready for a horse show. Some barns have horse vacuums to help, but if your barn does not you can always use your vacuum from home. This hack may not be for every horse, but if your mount is brave enough then you can run a vacuum over them using the brush attachment to get rid of dirt and hair.

6. Dryer Sheets

Accidentally shocking your horse because of static electricity during the winter is never a pleasant experience. Before you put the blanket back on your horse, rub them and the liner of their blanket with a dryer sheet to get rid of static electricity. You can also rub it through their mane and tail to prevent any shocking.

Start searching your house for some of these useful items to bring to the barn for an easier and more enjoyable winter 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!

Eight Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Equestrian Friends

Eight Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Equestrian Friends

Wondering what types of gifts your equestrian friends will enjoy the most this holiday season? Read below for our list of this year’s most wanted presents.

1. Belts

Equestrians can never have too many belts. There are so many styles, colors, and materials to choose from when seeking the perfect fit for your friend. You can opt for classic leather for the show ring or a colorful, stretchy-material style for schooling days at home. Both traditional and online tack shops carry lots of options, and some offer personalization with their horse’s name. You could even get a matching one for yourself!

2. Horse Treats

Every horse owner enjoys receiving a bag of treats give to their favorite mount. This is an easy gift to pair with a card and maybe a chocolate treat for your friend. Go a step further and make homemade horse cookies yourself and put them in a decorative container with a bow.

3. Socks

Socks are a great stocking-stuffer gift, especially for your friends who stay north during the winter. Having frozen feet while riding is never fun, so a few good pairs of warm socks for cold days at the barn are always appreciated. You can also add a set of toe warmers for those extra cold days. For friends who do not have deal with freezing temperatures, there are boot socks that come in lots of fun colors and patterns.

4. Gloves

Multiple pairs of gloves are a necessity during the busy show season and cold winter months. They often get lost or worn out, so it’s always handy to have extra pairs around. If your friend is staying up north this winter, considering buying them a pair of winter riding gloves. Nothing is worse than not being able to feel your hands while you’re tacking up your horse or riding. You can throw in a set of hand warmers with this gift as well.

5. Personalized Gifts

There are several websites that allow you to personalize products with pictures, which is perfect for any horse-obsessed owner. Gather a couple photos of your friend with their horse and customize coffee mugs, phone cases, pillows, water bottles, and more. Choose a different picture for each item and maybe even include a photo of you and your friend.

6. Photography Session

Equestrians love photo shoots with their favorite equine partner. Although photography sessions can be expensive, photographers often offer lower-priced options. You could even go behind the camera yourself and capture those special moments for your friend if you have the equipment – these days, even iPhones can take amazing photos with proper editing.

7. Magazine Subscription

Allow your friends to stay up to date on their favorite equestrian interests and disciplines with a magazine subscription. Find out if they are interested in lifestyle or sport and treat them to a print or online subscription that they can enjoy throughout the year.

8. Gift Card

Some friends are very difficult to shop for, which is why a gift card to their favorite tack shop is a perfect present. You can give this present in a festive way by putting it in a holiday-themed card or coffee mug.

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!

Winterizing the Barn

10 Tips for Winterizing the Barn from US Equestrian

From US Equestrian

Even if you and your horses live in an area where the climate is balmy year ‘round, the changing of the season from fall to winter marks a good time to take care of important annual or semi-annual tasks. This includes cleaning out the dust of summer, changing lightbulbs, inspecting stall and gate latches and more. But many equestrians are located in a place that Jack Frost regularly visits between now and spring. For cold-weather folks, getting battened down for the winter takes on an extra urgency.

Dr. Bob Coleman, who managed horse operations in his native Manitoba, Canada, before becoming an associate extension professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal & Food Sciences, knows better than most that pre-winter preparation can make the season easier on both horses and humans. Coleman and his University of Kentucky colleague, assistant extension professor Morgan Hayes, say it’s important to plan in advance. That way, when the weather turns bitter and conditions might deteriorate, you’re already prepared.

Winterizing the Barn

Photo by Leslie Potter.

Read more in the US Equestrian Magazine Winter 2020 edition.

5 Tips for Riding Your Horse Early in the Day

The clocks just fell back, as they do for most of us every fall, bringing darkness at an hour earlier than we are ready to fathom. For equestrians with day jobs, this means riding after work can get tricky, especially if the farm is not equipped with an indoor arena or outdoor lighting. The bright side (literally) is that daylight emerges earlier than it used to. So there is more time in the mornings to devote to riding. If your schedule allows, consider waking up early to ride your horse before work. That way, you can start your day in an enjoyable way and not have to worry about riding in the dark or foregoing your trip to the barn when you are needed late at work. If that’s a new concept for you, here are some tips to help make morning rides a routine.

 

1. Go to bed early.

This may seem obvious, but it’s easier to get up and get rolling when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. If you make it a habit to go to bed earlier on the nights before you ride, waking up at a new time will get easier. Turn off your screens earlier in the evening before your head hits the pillow. Blue light from your devices is proven to keep you awake. Try picking up a book so your eyes and mind can relax and help you fall asleep sooner.

2. Give yourself something to look forward to when your alarm goes off.

Maybe it’s your favorite breakfast on the way there or a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. While your horse may be enough to coax you out of bed, it’s nice to have an extra little boost to get you excited about the morning’s activities.

3. Dress in warm clothes because it may be chilly.

Usually, the coolest temperatures hit right before daybreak. Waking up before the sun has risen means you might be subjected to some pretty freezing temperatures. This is especially important if you have to fetch your horse from the pasture or do a significant amount of work on the ground before getting in the saddle. Once you’re riding, your blood will start circulating and your body temperature will rise. That means that you may need to shed some layers, but you’ll be glad you had them for the beginning.

4. Map out the best route to avoid traffic.

Though traffic is lighter now than it may have been this time last year, early morning commuters can often cause traffic jams, so use apps like Google Maps and Waze to identify the quickest routes to and from the barn each day. You don’t want to get stuck in traffic or come across a surprise slow down due to an accident when you know the rest of your day is waiting for you at home.

5. Be efficient so you can get on with your day.

We all know riding is time-consuming and it’s easy to spend longer at the barn than we intend. There is always more to do and things can come up unexpectedly to delay your departure. Try to stick to a plan and don’t spend any unnecessary time between tasks. If you don’t clean your tack every day, save that for days you aren’t on a time crunch. Don’t lose track of time talking to your trainer or friends. Save the long chats and tedious organizational projects for the weekend. Anything you can do to stay focused and not stray from your timeline is crucial for efficiency.

 

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!

7 Ways to Keep Warm at the Barn This Winter

Winter is upon us in many parts of the country, and while we would all love to cozy up indoors with a fireplace and a blanket, we have horses that need to be ridden and cared for, so we must face the elements. Here are some tips to stay warm while you’re at the barn on those frigid winter days to come.

1. LAYERS:

Picking the right layers for ultimate warmth is an art. Start by choosing the right base layer – something that can eliminate the need for extra layers, since it’ll trap your body’s heat and warm you up better than less effective sweatshirts may. Depending on what level of cold you’re dealing with, plan your next layers according to temperature forecasts. A great middle layer is the Patagonia Better Sweater or a similar quarter zip with a collar. Avoid crewneck sweatshirts if possible, because they allow for more cold air to creep in. Next, pick your outer layer. Equestrian brands have you covered on insulated jackets, but don’t hesitate to shop mainstream brands for equally warm options.

2. Hats or headbands:

Your ears can be subject to some serious cold if you don’t properly cover them while you’re riding. While a fluffy hat is great for barn chores, it likely can’t fit under your helmet. Many sporting goods stores offer ear covers that are quite thin but provide a great deal of warmth. Many runners use headbands like these in the winter, but they can also be great for riding since they are just small enough to fit comfortably in most helmets. Just be sure you can still hear well enough while wearing one.

3. Insulated socks:

Rather than pile on layers of socks and risk cutting off circulation to your toes, find an effective option that traps heat well. Often just one layer is the best route if that layer is made for cold weather. Additionally, try to keep your riding boots somewhere warm while you’re not wearing them so you don’t start off with the cold seeping through to your toes.

4. Neck scarves:

Scarves can be tricky since they don’t always stay put while we’re riding and often get in the way of what we’re trying to do either on a horse or on the ground. The equestrian brand Botori makes very compact but warm neck scarves that don’t fly everywhere while you’re riding and do a great job keeping your face and neck warm. They tuck right inside your jacket and stay in place on your face with a warm, fuzzy side to keep you extra snug.

5. Hand warmers:

Because our extremities are often the first things to go numb from the cold, grab yourself a pair of winter riding gloves for those chilly winter months. If even the warmest gloves don’t quite cut it, buy a large box of hand warmers and stuff a pair of them down each glove for your ride. Since your hand will be in a fist, your fingers will feel the heat too while you’re riding. We are much less effective at the barn when our hands are numb!

6. Ski pants:

This may sound like a strange outer garment to wear at the barn, but ski pants will actually be life savers for the time you spend not riding. They are baggy enough to be worn over your breeches and will provide serious warmth prior to or following a ride, or while you do barn chores.

7. Hot chocolate:

Most barns have microwaves somewhere, so pick up a big box of instant hot chocolate to sip on if nothing else can keep you warm!

 

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!