501(c)(3) Feature: The Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

New Hampshire native Emily Aho had just purchased her third pony when she received a call from a woman in Michigan.

“She said, ‘Do you know what you have?’ I said, ‘Yeah, they’re Newfoundland Ponies!’” said Aho, who had acquired her first pony, a Newfoundland cross, strictly as a pasture companion for her Clydesdale cross, not knowing much about the Newfoundland breed. “She said, ‘They’re extremely rare, and you need to breed them!’ I thought, ‘What!? Breed? Me?!’”

Aho knew her ponies were special; that’s why she ended up with three ponies from the same family after only intending to purchase one! However, what she didn’t know at the time was that the Newfoundland Ponies are what are considered an original “landrace breed” – and that there are less than 40 Newfoundland Ponies in the United States and a global population of well under 1,000 ponies.

The Newfoundland Pony breed is one made hardy thanks to the pony’s native environment in northeastern Canada.

Upon learning this, Aho knew she had to do something, and in January of 2013, the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center (formerly Villi Poni Farm) was born.

“[My first] little pony stole my heart,” said Aho. “She was just amazing. The connection between her and anyone, actually, was just different than I’d experienced before. It’s very hard to describe.

“We decided that the best way to save this breed was to bring awareness about them and let people meet them,” continued Aho. “I could tell you about them all day long, but until you actually experience what they’re like, you won’t get it. People say, ‘I had a (certain breed) horse that was wonderful and good with kids.’  But when 99 percent of a breed are that way, like the Newfoundland Pony is, it’s mind-boggling. So, we formed the sanctuary. It’s grown and grown.”

Today, Aho and the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center act as stewards of the endangered breed through selective breeding and educational efforts.

Part of the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center’s mission is educating others about the breed.

“Almost all breeds, including types of plants, are traced back to landraces that we’ve taken and adapted for our purposes,” explained Aho of how she immersed herself in learning more about the Newfoundland Ponies. “Nature makes their genetics hardy and able to withstand environmental and biological change, and they’re healthy. We as people; we can’t do that. We can’t say, ‘Okay, this one is going to survive this disease or this type of weather change.’ We look at what’s measurable. What’s measurable is their appearance, their usage, their size and ability, for instance. We can’t see the inside of what we’ve created; we don’t create them with the sole purpose being survival like nature does. So over time as we select out genetics/certain traits, we ultimately weaken species. Never having been “‘improved” or having their breeding altered for one purpose or another, the Newfoundland Pony doesn’t have a single genetic problem.”

With that in mind, the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center carefully breeds Newfoundland Pony to Newfoundland Pony, allowing the breed to continue. However, it’s not solely Aho who is doing the breeding – and it’s not the multi-faceted non-profit’s only focus.

“We don’t want to keep all of these ponies here,” said Aho. “Some of them are permanent residents, but others, we take them into our network. They go to breeding conservation homes that we have mentored and taught about the breed. The concept is that they breed registered ponies to registered ponies only, no irresponsible breeding. If that happens, we pull the animal, and that’s in our contract. We’re very serious about that.”

Presently, there are nine ponies living onsite at the 501(c)(3) rescue’s base in Jaffrey, NH, while there are 22 total ponies under the Conservancy’s program. The additional ponies all reside in adoptive homes within a two-hour radius of Jaffrey, NH, and with approved owners that have received mentorship and education on the ponies, their heritage, their care, and the best conservation breeding practices. Once they’ve undergone mentorship, new adoptive owners are considered “Breed Stewards,” continuing the work of the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center and becoming a part of the organization’s network of conservation breeders who help one another.

With less than 40 Newfoundland Ponies currently in the U.S., the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center is committed to continuing to grow the endangered breed through careful breeding.

“We’re all volunteers,” said Aho, a nurse by trade who serves as the non-profit’s executive director alongside five total board members. “All of our foster homes – everybody’s involved. We all stay connected together. We have quite a little network going and some really impressive people involved. We have loads of volunteers. It’s wonderful; they’re great people. We take people as volunteers that don’t know anything about horses, and we teach them. They’re a good pony to learn on!”

The Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center also offers educational tours to the public to further spread knowledge about the ponies and equine welfare in general, as well as providing Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) programs.

With so much going on, Aho was thankful to have found BarnManager!

“It’s incredible. I’ve never been so excited about a program in my life!” said Aho of BarnManager. “Just recently, it helped me in the greatest way!”

Due to a scheduling error, a veterinarian arrived somewhat unexpectedly to look at a filly while Aho was at work. The horse needed a health certificate in order to travel across state borders, but Aho had not planned on the vet visiting and did not have any of the horse’s necessary coggins and paperwork records prepared at the barn.

“I went into my phone at work, and there [the coggins] was!” said Aho. “I had downloaded everything in BarnManager, so I messaged it to him right then and there. It was amazing!

“It has helped immensely,” continued Aho. “It’s so great that I know who and when they had their hooves trimmed, or dewormed, etc – otherwise it’s hard to keep track of, especially when you’re the chief cook and bottle washer here!”

Aho is not the only one using BarnManager though, she’s now invited the adoptive and foster families to utilize it as well.

“It’s a super way for me to keep track of their records,” said Aho. “They can just put it in there, and we’ve got that for the future. They scan in their vet records, all of that. I know that they’re being taken care of, and I know if there’s a problem without them having to hunt me down.”

To learn more about the Newfoundland Pony Conservancy Center, visit www.newfoundlandponysanctuary.org or find them on Facebook 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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Stress-Free Horse-Free Vacations

Liv Gude gives us some tips on what information to leave your horse sitter this summer.

Aside from the generally obvious things, like your emergency phone numbers, here is some additional information that you should put together for your caretaker:

1. Your horse’s normal vital signs – heart rate, temperature, and respirations.

2. Your horse’s particular way of telling you they don’t feel well. Each horse has their own language.

3. A list of your horse’s medications, as well as administration details – when and how. Most horses have that one way, and one way only, they will take something.

4. Any quirks that might put your horse sitter in danger – like that tickle spot that makes your horse kick out.

5. A detailed plan of what to do in an emergency – colic, hoof issues, not eating, acting weird, lacerations and first aid, etc. Let your horse sitter know where the first aid kit is!

6. A plan if your horse needs a refill of food, fly spray, etc. Do you have an account at your local feed store where your sitter can just zip over?

7. Detailed information about what is safe, and not safe, for your horse to eat as a treat. We so often want our horses to be spoiled when we are away, but not spoiled with something they are allergic to.

8. Instructions on how to handle your horse if they are acting like a fool, won’t be caught, are pawing at the gate, you name it. If you are in the middle of training or un-training a behavior, you want your horse sitter to be able to reinforce the same actions.

Happy Vacationing!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

501(c)(3) Feature: Saint Francis’s Sunny Side Up Farm Animal Rescue

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In 2016, Michele Hughes spent nearly a month in the intensive care unit with a blood clot and pulmonary embolism. When she got out of the hospital, her husband bought her several chicks and brought the young chickens next to her bed.

It was a simple gesture, but for the life-long animal loving Hughes, it was enough to spark an idea. Hughes began raising chickens and taking in animals of all types at what became known as Sunny Side Up Farm in Lecanto, FL. Before long, Hughes’ reputation for helping animals had spread, and she and her husband began receiving calls asking if they could take in animals that were unwanted because of unfortunate situations or moves.

In April 2018, following the continued growth of Hughes’ rescue efforts, and with the help of her husband, mother, and daughter-in-law, Saint Francis’s Sunny Side Up Farm Animal Rescue was officially launched as a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue organization.

“Our goal is to positively change the relationship between people and animals, and one of our main focuses is on teaching children how to care for and have compassion for animals,” explained Hughes, who runs the rescue with the help of three part-time volunteers.

Presently, Saint Francis’s Sunny Side Up Farm Animal Rescue is home to three goats, seven pigs, five rabbits, numerous chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, and cats, and 20 horses – enough that Hughes new she needed to find a solution for managing all of the information and medical records that went along with each horse.

“I was looking for something to help me organize all of the horses; it’s so hard to keep everything written on paper,” explained Hughes, who began looking in the iPhone App Store before coming across BarnManager.

Now, Hughes is able to use the software to manage the horses available for rescue, as well as her own gaited horses that are the backbone of Saint Francis’s Sunny Side Up Farm Animal Rescue’s fundraising efforts.

“We rely on donations, and for fundraising, we have been offering trail rides out in the Withlacoochee Forest,” explained Hughes, who helps oversee up to six riders at a time on the daily trail rides through the beautiful forested landscape surrounding the rescue.

All of the funds raised through the trail rides go directly to helping the horses and the other animals being rehabilitated or available for rescue at Sunny Side Up Farm.

To learn more about supporting Saint Francis’s Sunny Side Up Farm Animal Rescue through trail rides in Lecanto, FL, visit their Facebook page 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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Avoiding Pasture Hazards

Liv Gude gives us some tips on avoiding common pasture hazards.


Now that spring is swinging, your horse’s world may have become a bit greener. Aside from the binge eating risks of all of that fresh salad, you should keep your eyes peeled for some pasture hazards that your horse may, or may not, avoid on his own.

If buttercups are something that cover your land, know that they are toxic to horses. Luckily, they also taste horribly, so most horses avoid them like the plague. However, horses will eat them if they have no other choices. So if you have a barren pasture except for some sparse patches of buttercups, you might want to add some hay for your horse to eat when he’s out.

Dandelions are not toxic, but they are super high in sugars which makes them delicious and tempting. Be wary of your metabolically challenged horse eating them. You might need to switch paddocks, limit turn out, or find another way altogether for your horse to get some turn out.

Also watch out for internal parasites. Pasture piles of previous poops often have worms just waiting to find a new host. If your horse’s pastures are not routinely picked out, you may want to double up on the number of fecal egg counts that you do.

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Fitting a Grazing Muzzle

Liv Gude gives us some tips on fitting your horse’s grazing muzzle


A well fitted grazing muzzle can help your horse stay healthy and trim, all while avoiding an increased risk of laminitis in some cases. But, muzzles can rub your horse bald, and even to the point of sores.

Some horses do best with a soft and fuzzy grazing muzzle that sits closely to their face. Some horses do best with soft and fuzzy, but a bit larger.

If you horse is really sensitive to rubs around the muzzle, look for a style that is made from stiff materials that can be held away from his face.

You must always use a breakaway halter of some style. Nylon halters must have a leather crown piece or some other breakaway option. Leather halters might be your best bet to attach a muzzle to, as they hand help the whole thing stay away from your horse’s face.

Adding fleece to halters is an option also. You don’t have to go for real sheepskin, you can get all sorts of colors and textures for rub protection.

If your horse likes to talk his muzzle off by hooking the nose and flipping the basket under his chin, you can get halters that have a face piece that connects from the crown piece to the basket. If your horse likes to remove everything by getting out of the crownpiece, braid some of his mane around it to see if that helps.

Happy grazing!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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 Masterclass Innovation Series Takeaways Worth Knowing!

10 Masterclass Innovation Series Takeaways Worth Knowing!

For the past several months, our BarnManager team and our Equine Tech Collab partners have wanted to bring to life an event, or a series of events, that would embody the Equine Tech Collab’s mission of supporting the education of equestrians in order to equip them with the knowledge and tools needed for best practices in horse care, welfare, and management.

On Tuesday, March 19, that idea came to fruition in the form of the Equine Tech Collab’s Masterclass Innovation Series: A Mindful Approach to Horse & Rider!

The two-part panel discussion event included conversations on “The Soundness Spectrum: Maintaining Horses’ Soundness Through Proactive Management” and “In Good Company: Top Riders Discuss the Skills and Practices That Help Them with Mental and Emotional Challenges,” with panelists and moderators including:

  • two-time Olympic show jumper, Daniel Bluman
  • FEI groom for Millar Brooke Farm, Danny Ingratta
  • Tonya Johnston, MA, a Mental Skills Coach, author, and A-circuit competitor who specializes in working with equestrian athletes
  • the U.S. Dressage Olympic team bronze medalist currently ranked fifth in the world, Kasey Perry-Glass
  • Dr. Tim Ober, the official veterinarian of the US Equestrian show jumping team
  • Dr. Sheila Schils, an innovator in the field of equine rehabilitation and injury prevention
  • 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) show jumping team gold medalist Adrienne Sternlicht
  • Jennifer Wood, founder of Jennifer Wood Media and Equestrian Businesswomen and co-founder of Jump Media

 

We learned a ton from all of them, but we have narrowed it down to 10 takeaways from the evening to share with you! (For more, you can watch the full evening on demand on USEF Network here!)

1. Keeping your horses sound starts with spending time with them.

Two-time Olympian Daniel Bluman shared: “Nowadays the schedule for the horse and the rider and for the whole team is pretty busy. There’s a lot of traveling; there’s a lot to do. I think it’s very important that you make yourself a good schedule where you get to spend enough time with the horses. I think that’s the base of our sport, the base of our industry, and our passion. I think for every horseman, grooms, veterinarians, or the rest of the team, it’s all about spending many hours with the horses so that you have as much information as you can.”

Danny Ingratta, the head groom for the team at Millar Brooke Farm (home of 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, Olympian Amy Millar, Jonathon Millar, and Kelly Soleau-Millar), added: “For me it’s daily; every day I’m looking at the horse. I’m feeling the horse—everything from acupuncture points to if their legs are a little bit bigger. I like to touch the horse and see what it tells me. You run your hands down it’s legs. Are there bumps? Is their scurf on its legs?”

Daniel also noted that the more time that you spend with your horses, the more likely you are to notice if something is off or unusual: “It makes it easier for me to notice if there are differences. If I normally do circles to the left or to the right and the horse is not reacting or doing what they normally would do, and I know them fairly well, then perhaps it’s important to call the vet and check that there’s not something that’s bothering them.”

2. Educating yourself is important for both you and your horse. 


Educating yourself is another vital step to maximizing your horse’s well-being and soundness. It also goes hand-in-hand with spending time with them – and your vets will appreciate it too!

“Familiarizing yourself with anatomy enough to run your hand down the legs and know where swelling is and that it’s different from one day to the next [is one of the first things you can do to improve soundness]. Most vets appreciate clients who have gone through the process to form an opinion in that manner. Focus on your own education; get what you can from each example.” – Dr. Tim Ober, the official veterinarian of the US Equestrian show jumping team

3. A good relationship with your vet can go a long way. 

“I would say that a grand prix horse showing in an intense schedule down here [in Wellington] should be seen every two weeks. Then I would scale it down and say every two weeks to every six weeks. I think everybody is challenged to figure that out in their own program—what a good rhythm is. But if it’s more than six weeks, it’s difficult to get to know the horse or it takes a much longer time to get to know the horse. I think there’s a big advantage in developing that familiarity with your veterinarian.” – Tim

“I think a close relationship with your vet is really important. If your vet doesn’t know your horses well enough, he or she is prone to making mistakes.” – Daniel

4. Stress is not always a bad thing – at least if you’re a muscle.

While negative connotations generally come to mind when we hear the word “stress,” it can be a positive force, too. In fact, stress is needed for a muscle to grow and rebuild. Dr. Sheila Schils, an innovator in the field of equine rehabilitation and injury prevention and a professor in the pre-vet program at the University of Wisconsin for more than 20 years, explained:

“The only way that you’ll get a stronger muscle is to break down muscle fibers. Often what we see in our horses is they get done with a competition, and we feel their backs and immediately feel, ‘Oh they’re sore.’ In my world, as long as that soreness doesn’t become pathological, I’m in the back going, ‘Yay!’ Because now, next week that horse is going to become stronger.

“We don’t want to over-stress those muscles, but we have to look at this discomfort and pain in a different way. The way that we reduce this stress, so it ends up making a stronger muscle as an outcome rather than resulting in injury, is we use the muscle more.”

5. Just because you may feel like you need a day off following a horse show, it might not actually be what is best for your horse.

In order to move the muscles more and to help them grow and heal, Sheila explained that a day off from riding after a big effort is not really the best solution.

“Even though on Monday, when all of you need a day off, you think, ‘So does my horse.’ Wrong! The brain may need a day off, don’t get me wrong, but the muscle needs to keep on rolling. The worst thing after the muscle has been stressed is to let it sit in the stall and rest, because then it becomes inflamed. If I have my preference, you ride them, because you have such a better sense of when that horse becomes fatigued. You can sit on them and know how far to push them, rather than putting them in something that doesn’t have that idea of how far. If a horse has had a strenuous week, and then you put them on a treadmill, or especially a water treadmill, then you could be not giving them that appropriate recovery time.”

6. You’re not the only one with show ring anxiety; Olympic and World Championship athletes battle it too. 

“Even these big events that you go to, I try to think of it as a very small thing. Because if it becomes too big in my head, it becomes overpowering. Then I can’t focus. Two hours before I start my preparation, I feel sick to my stomach. I’m not nervous; I’m just anxious. Once I start braiding and getting him tacked up and all of that, it goes away. Then after my warm-up I feel pretty secure. I trust my training; I trust my coach, and she sends me in having full confidence.” – Kasey Perry-Glass, the U.S. Dressage Olympic team bronze medalist currently ranked fifth in the world

7. There’s great value in routine.

In fact, Daniel says he thinks it’s the most important tools for any athlete, and Adrienne and Kasey agree! Here’s some of what they had to say about routines and the rituals they utilize themselves:

Daniel: “[Routine] keeps you going in moments when your mind shuts down because you’re just so tired. You have to train your brain to not think about what’s at stake, rather it’s just one more time that you’re going in the ring to do what you practiced. I try to spend a lot of time with the horses before big competitions because I know that that’s going to give me that peace that I like. Part of my routine is actually to ride my horse as close to the competition as possible, so that I already know I’m guaranteed that period of time of peace.”

2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) show jumping team gold medalist Adrienne Sternlicht: “Before a big class, I have a distinct routine, which brings comfort to uncomfortable situations. I was so freaked out the first day at the [WEG]! I had no idea what to expect. I found comfort in being able to a) meditate and b) listen to books. There are certain chapters of certain books that I listen to that I really like. (She often listens to chapters titled “Fear” and “Desire” in the book Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D, as part of her pre-competition routine.)

Kasey: “I’m an overthinker. I think way too much about everything. I look at my husband all the time, and he doesn’t think about anything like ever! I just want to channel that. I’ve tried to simplify my life in any way that I can. The more organized that I can stay in my daily life and my routine, the better I am. My horse is on a very time-sensitive schedule at competitions. I plan everything out. By putting on his bridle, by putting on his saddle, braiding – because I braid myself, it helps me get in the zone.”

8. Daniel Bluman loves a good nap

Through trying different routines, Daniel found that a pre-competition nap is often quite beneficial for him. It’s all about what works best for you!

“Daniel over there, he sleeps often. I see him when he’s really nervous before a big class, where as I like to keep myself super busy.” – Adrienne

“I definitely love sleeping. That’s not a secret to anybody. The class may be going on, and I’m taking a nap before I get on the horse. That’s also something that has worked for me. If the first time I took a nap before competing I went horrible, I probably would have never napped again! But napping has consistently worked well for me. I’m an anxious person by nature, so I go over the plan too many times. Then at some point my brain shuts down, so a little nap is always fantastic to refresh. You just have to have somebody to wake you up in time!” – Daniel

“Sometimes focus comes in many forms…[Olympic dressage rider Adrienne Lyle] loves to sleep. We have to wake her up. So, it’s interesting how everyone can be so different.” – Kasey

9. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember why we all do this in the first place: the horses.

The next time that you’re feeling anxious going into the show ring or find yourself overthinking your last bad ride, try doing what Daniel does:

“I try to focus on the reasons why I do the sport. I didn’t start riding because I wanted to win a five-star grand prix anywhere in the world. I didn’t even know that five-star grand prix existed. I didn’t start riding because I wanted to be the most successful rider in the history of the sport; I really just started riding because I loved horses. In times when I’m really anxious or I feel my head is getting ahead of me, I just really try to remember that thankfully we work with horses and not with motorcycles or with cars. We work with actual animals that have this incredible power to give us that feeling of calm of peace.”

10. We truly are “stronger together.”

”Stronger Together” is the tagline of the Equine Tech Collab for a reason. We knew that together we could do far more to further our shared missions than we could ever do alone, and the first Masterclass Innovation Series was a testament to that. Not only did all of the Equine Tech Collab partners come together, but also the panelists all gave so generously of their time, knowledge, and expertise – something that we are so incredibly thankful for! By working together to share this knowledge and to share resources, we hope that the equestrian community as a whole can become even stronger together!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Winter Fuzz to Summer Slick

Liv Gude gives us some tips on transitioning from winter fuzz through the spring shed and on to summer slick.


Horses shed when the days start to get longer, which begins with the winter solstice around December 21st. Most horses hold on to their coats a bit longer to begin the shedding cycle in February. Here are a few ways you can be prepared to help this transition.

▪ Use specialized grooming tools, like shedding gloves. Please stay away from metal blades and hacksaw blades. These can damage the hair and skin, and definitely can’t be used on legs, faces, bony parts.

▪ Help your horse shed themselves by giving them ample opportunity to roll in sandy stuff.

▪ Bathe your horse when the temperature is comfortable and safe. This helps convince hairs to come out!

▪ Add products to make them shine a bit more as your help transition. Grooming oils are nice to condition dull coats, and sheen products help with slicking up hair coats.

▪ Remember that a horse’s hair coat is ALWAYS shedding and growing – it doesn’t just happen twice a year. This is why a bridle path needs constant touching up, and a horse will regrow hair that you have clipped for wound treatment or some other reason. Therefore, you CAN clip a shedding horse. His summer coat will come in even eventually!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

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 and Tricks from the Best Show Jumping Grooms to the Greats

The warm-up ring of the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is an incredible place to learn. Pull up a chair during a FEI class, and suddenly you have a front row seat to watch many of the top riders in the world at work behind-the-scenes.

Not only is the schooling ring a place to take in valuable riding lessons gleaned from the warm-up rides of the sport’s best showjumpers, it’s also where you can find and learn from many of show jumping’s top grooms, always on hand and attentive to their horses’ needs. So that’s just what we did. Our BarnManager team caught up with grooms from around the world to learn their tips and tricks, and now we’re bringing you insight from four of them!

Meet This Week’s All-Star Grooms


Denise Moriarty
– Originally from Ireland, for the last six years Denise Moriarty has groomed for U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington.

 


Tia Stenman
– For the last three and a half years, Finland native Tia Stenman has groomed for Torrey Pines Stable where she currently cares for the horses of the USA’s Spencer Smith.

 


Ninna Leonoff
– Ninna Leonoff has been a vital part of Markus Beerbaum’s team for more than 20 years after first moving from Finland to Germany to groom for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) gold medalist in the 90s.

 


Josie Eliasson
– A Gothenburg, Sweden native, Josie Eliasson has spent the last three and a half years grooming for the USA’s Jessica Springsteen at Springsteen’s Stone Hill Farm.

 

Q: What’s one thing that you don’t go to the ring without?

Denise: “A towel. You clean your horse; clean your rider. It’s the most useful piece of equipment.”

Tia: “A towel. Often it comes to the rescue for a lot of things.”

Ninna: “A towel.” (We’re sensing a theme!)

Josie: “A towel. It’s so handy for everything – for your rider, for the horse, for everything. It’s just very handy and such a simple thing.” (Okay, it’s unanimous!)

Q: What’s your favorite or the most rewarding part of the job?

Denise (pictured left): Seeing the horses do well in the ring.

Tia: I love my horses; they’re my hairy children. I love the travel. There’s nothing better than when you get to know the horse, and you kind of can read their mind. I couldn’t do it like in a factory way. For me, it’s really important that I know my horses and that I get to be with them as much as I can, because this is the only way I can be the best possible groom.

For sure the most rewarding is when your horses jump great; they perform great, and you see they’re happy. They’re not really made to do this, what we make them do, so when I can see that they actually like what they do – like this guy here [Theodore Manciais], when he jumps around with his ears up, and he’s excited and he feels good and he’s enjoying it – I love that. If I can keep them happy during all of these travels and crazy things that they go through that’s really important for me, and that’s satisfying.

Ninna: When the horses are feeling good; when they are looking good. That’s most important for me. I think these days, to keep them feeling good soundness wise is important and rewarding. I really like to get to know my horses. I like to spend time with them so I know how they feel. Even brushing I can feel if they have sore backs or they’re tired or fresh.

Josie: Just to be with the horses. To be able to travel the world and work with them on a daily basis is just a dream.

Q: What items do you use most often in the barn?

Denise: A broom. Our whiteboard is our go to for any changes that come. Brushes, and the washing machine!

Tia: A broom. I use a lot of lunge line because I’m not big; I’m not strong. I’d rather have a little bit more time to react if my horses are being silly; I don’t like to take stupid risks. A hoof pick. I always have that in my pocket, even when I go to my car. Show Sheen is great because I hate to pull through a tail, even if it’s clean.

Ninna: A pitchfork! The curry comb. That one I use a lot; I like it a lot. Saddle soap. Probably a broom.

Josie: The different brushes, the curry comb for example, I use a lot. Nothing compares to a really good brush of the horse. Cookies! We use a lot of cookies; our different horses like different kinds of cookies.

Q: What is one time saving and/or grooming tip that you would give?

Denise: Just being organized and having your day planned. Being organized is going to make it run a lot smoother and be a lot less stressful. I make surethat my boots are laid out, that my ring bag is packed for that horse, and that I know what bit or bridle or chain and everything that [Kent] wants on the horse so that I’m not last minute panicked trying to figure that stuff out.

Tia: Maybe it’s not time saving for everyone, but I always towel dry my whole horse. After I give them a bath, I do a quick towel dry of the whole body because then they dry faster. If I leave the upper body wet, and I only dry the legs, the water from the top goes back to the legs, so I do a quick towel dry because I don’t like them to be standing wet for hours.

Ninna (pictured right): What I normally do – let’s say now I go back from the ring. I take his tack off and put him back in his stall so he can pee and drink. In the meantime, I normally always clean the tack. Then I go wash him. That way everything stays nice and tidy. I don’t like anything that is on the floor or looks dirty. I like to keep things clean. I always try to stay organized right away so that everything looks nice.

Josie: It’s really good to have the horses used to getting this care. For example, after jumping, we wash them, and we put them in ice and put on the magnetic blanket. Then, if they’re good and used to it, they can stay for a little bit, tied up or not tied up, while you have time to clean tack or do other small things. That really saves time too. Instead of just sitting there watching and waiting, you can get things done.

But also, when they’ve been really good jumping for you, I often also do just want to give them the time to take care of them! I just love to curry them. It does so many good things. It helps them with the blood circulation and everything; it’s a kind of massage. Obviously, it gets them clean, and you spend time with your horse at the same time.

Photos by Jump Media

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!

501(c)(3) Feature: Hapi Trails Horse Adoption Program, Inc

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!


Ten years ago, the communities surrounding Driggs, Idaho, experienced the height of an economic downturn.

Suddenly, many local, rural horse owners found themselves unable to care for their animals, and horses began to be left behind or neglected as their owners lost their incomes and often even their housing.

That’s when horsewomen Jen Carter, Debbie Falber, Gena Howald, Julie Martin, Kim Mills, and Greta Procious decided to together step into action, and HAPI Trails Horse Adoption Program, Inc. was born.

HAPI Trails’ mission became providing a happy, healthy, and nurturing environment for the abused, abandoned, and neglected horses of the area – initially with the idea of simply seeing the horses through the tough time in the economy. However, while the women expected the demand for the organization’s services to decline as the economy improved, it remained the same. Year after year, at least 10 to 12 horses were discovered to be in need of HAPI Trail’s help, and for the greater part of the past decade, HAPI Trails has maintained an “at full capacity” status.

“This is our first winter since 2009 to NOT be a capacity,” said Martin, the executive director of HAPI Trails. “It’s a good feeling, especially since we had our biggest adoption year in 2018. We were able to find new wonderful homes for nine of the horses in our program. We currently have 10 horses in our program, with another six potentially needing our services, and we cannot take care of more than 25 horses at one time due due to space and funding limitations. We are very responsible when it comes to the care of our horses and unfortunately will not take more than our resources allow.

“We work regularly with local law enforcement to collect rogue horses and provide care and housing for impounded, lost, or unclaimed horses,” continued Martin. “We maintain two emergency spaces within our system for these agencies. We have on average, five horses in foster care in our network of volunteers at any given time.”

Today, the Driggs, Idaho, based rescue continues to be run 100 percent by volunteers who spend more than 7,500 cumulative hours each year volunteering their time, money, heart, and soul caring for the horses.

“We have nine board members that are 100 percent hands on, and who I’d consider to be our top volunteers,” explained Martin, who is also certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) and is helping to facilitate the equine-assisted psychotherapy program for HAPI Trails. “We also have, on average, 35 other volunteers who help regularly with the care of horses, property maintenance, and fundraising.”

All of the volunteers are dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming the horses that come to HAPI Trails into a loving, compassionate, lifelong home.

“We advocate for responsible horse ownership and are members of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, working with owners who are capable of keeping their horses, but have deemed their horses ‘unwanted,’” said Martin. “By assessing each horse and matching that animal to an appropriate owner, we can help provide good homes for these wonderful animals. We prefer to place horses in permanent homes; therefore, no HAPI Trails horse may be sold or given away and is always welcome back into the program. HAPI Trails performs follow-up visits and provides continued support for all of our animals and owners.”

With so many horses to keep track of, Kristie Eggebroten, HAPI Trails’ development director, knew that the organization needed a better way to manage all of the horse’s data and information, which led her to finding BarnManager and the free-for-501(c)(3) program.

“BarnManager is helping us organize and connect our horses and our volunteers to what our horses need,” said Martin. “We all have full-time jobs, so making it easier to keep up is always a plus.”

By simplifying their organization and cutting down on the time needed to stay organized, Martin and all of the volunteers are able to spend more time focused on what they love most about HAPI Trails: the horses!

“We love what we do!” concluded Martin. “We give hope for horses and connect horses to good people.”

To learn more about HAPI Trails, visit www.hapitrails.org.

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!