Liv’s Tip of the Month – Keeping Your Horse’s Skin Healthy in Winter

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Keeping Your Horse’s Skin Healthy in Winter
It’s cold. Your fingers are numb. You just want to tack up and ride and go home – but you might be skipping some steps to help your horse’s winter skin stay healthy. Here’s what to do:
  • Take off blankets daily. Look for rubs. Look for sore spots. Look for pinched skin from buckles and straps. Also, inspect horses for tack rubs. On clipped horses they are easy to develop and see, and in some unclipped horses the extra hair under tack causes sores and rubs.
  • Groom your horse daily – you won’t be so cold after a good curry session! And you will be able to find weird new itchy places, scabs, hair loss, mites, lice, scaly skin, and dandruff – the list goes on. Anything new or weird warrants a quick text (and maybe a photo) to the Vet for further investigation.
  • Take sweat seriously in winter. A fuzzy horse that sweats is more likely to overheat during exercise, get skin infections from the sweat, and to take a long time to dry, possibly risking getting too cold in the process. Use coolers to help dry, feed electrolytes before you ride if your horse is sweating, and be diligent in your daily skin inspections.
  • Be prepared for stain accumulation. You won’t be bathing as often, so take advantage of dry shampoos and spot removers for those stains that pop up in winter.
  • Keep your grooming tools exclusive to your horse. Rain rot and other bacterial skin infections are easily transmitted from horse to horse with brushes, grooming gloves, blankets, and saddle pads.
BarnManager makes it super easy to jot down notes about each horse while you are grooming in our mobile app. To signup for a Free Trial of our equine management software and see how it can help you click here.
Happy grooming, and spring is coming soon!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded 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!

Picture of Bits on a Wall

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Warming Up Your Bits

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Do your horse a favor in cold weather and warm his bit up for him! It’s easy and makes bridling comfortable. Depending on your barn’s tack room set up, you might have a lot of options to make this happen!

One easy way to warm the bit is to hang it in a window of the tack room. Of course, this only works if this tack room is relatively warm, but the sun through a glass window can work wonders.

You can also wear the bridle under your jacket as you do barn chores and groom. This might take a bit of practice to not get totally tangled up though!

The bit can also be warmed up by using any sort of warm compress. There are two types you can buy – some use the microwave to heat up and some need an outlet.

Dunk that bit in some hot water for a quick second! If you have hot water from the faucet you can use that, or invest in an instant hot water kettle to create super hot water quickly.  Make sure to test the bit to be sure it’s not too hot.

Have a great winter ride!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded 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!

501(c)(3) Feature: Heart of Phoenix

One of the greatest parts of our work with BarnManager is getting to know and learn from incredible horsemen and women across the globe. Everyone has a unique and powerful story of what horses mean to them and why they continue to dedicate themselves to the equines in their life.

One such story comes to us from Tinia Creamer of Heart of Phoenix, an equine rescue facility in West Virginia. In 2010, Tinia and her family came across one of the most horrific examples of abuse and neglect they have ever seen. This is the day that changed everything for the Creamers.

A mare was found tied to a tree with no shelter from the sun or any inclement weather. Her hooves were overgrown and curled up to her fetlocks, and her face and ankles were covered in lacerations. Prior to being tied to a tree, she had been confined to a stall for 5 years with little to no time outside. Her skeletal frame suggested years of starvation, malnutrition, and dehydration.

This unimaginable cruelty left the mare with very little chances of survival. But Tinia and her team worked feverishly to give her the best chance to heal and recover. They fought for her with hopes of giving her a future until it became clear that letting her go was the kindest and most humane thing that they could do.

Tinia gave the mare a name, Phoenix. The phoenix in Greek mythology carries a lot of meaning. The death of a phoenix is not the end of its life. A phoenix is cyclically regenerated or reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. With a heavy heart, Tinia said goodbye to Phoenix, but their short time together would not end in vain.

Born from the loss of the mare they could not save, the Creamer’s created an equine rescue, Heart of Phoenix, that has grown into an organization comprised of volunteers, offices and board members spread across 4 states. This team works tirelessly to rescue as many horses as possible from dire circumstances. Their mission is to save, rehabilitate and place as many horses as possible in adoptive homes, and they have successfully done so for hundreds of horses.

Heart of Phoenix specializes in horses that are seized by Animal Control and who often require substantial medical care and groundwork to regain their health, well-being, and trust. Once a horse is healthy and happy, they seek to match each and every horse with the best home. The organization works to thoroughly screen all applicants for adoption and to ensure that each horse is given a fresh start with an owner who can properly care for them.

BarnManager is incredibly proud to have Heart of Phoenix as part of our Free for 501(c)(3) program. We are thrilled that we are able to offer tools to aid in their mission to provide exemplary care and management of their horses. And we look forward to supporting them for years to come.

For more information about Heart of Phoenix, visit their website:

Preparing the Barn for Winter Weather

The time to get ready is before it gets cold! This includes getting your barn spic and span, and your horse all squared away for the cold weather. Focus your winter barn prep energy on making sure these systems are a go:

  • Electrical: Exposed wiring is a fire hazard. Have an electrician inspect your barn and fix any issues. Metal conduit is one of the best ways to protect the barn’s wiring from rodents, curious horses, and dust.
  • Plumbing: Are water lines deep and freeze proof? Add insulation to exposed lines, and invest in bucket warmers. For outside areas, consider trough warmers.
  • Ventilation:  Even though it’s cold – keep the air flowing. Use products to absorb ammonia, and keep windows open. Most horses LOVE the cold weather, so resist the urge to lock up everything to make it warmer.
  • Hay:  Is your storage area waterproof? Can your winter hay supply be lifted on pallets or tires so the damp ground doesn’t mold the hay? Do you have enough, and then some, for the winter?
  • Blankets: Time for a deep clean and re-waterproofing. Most horse blanket repair pros can do this for you to save some time. Also, double check buckles and straps.
  • Your horse’s feet: Fall is the time to talk to your Farrier about winter weather changes. Are snow pads in order? What about leather pads to protect from the hard and frozen ground?
  • Your horse’s health: Fall is also the time that rising ACTH levels in your horse’s blood can lead to laminitis. Work with your Vet and perhaps run some simple blood tests to make sure your horse’s metabolism is within normal ranges.

And last but not least, enjoy the chill in the air! Spend lots of time currying that winter coat, ride in the crisp air that gives your horse some pep to his step, and enjoy the changing seasons with your horse!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded 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!

A Visit to The Peeps Foundation

On a recent trip to Lexington, Kentucky, all of my childhood dreams came true when I was invited to visit The Peeps Foundation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this organization or its namesake, Peeps, it’s time for you to become familiar.

As I pulled onto the lovely Kentucky farm, I was immediately greeted by the Foundation’s fearless and talented leader, Josh Dolan; a free roaming dwarf miniature pony named Toasty; and a miniature fainting goat. Josh kindly let me step into his world and get a better understanding of the work that he and his team are doing to find safe and loving homes for these tiny equids and to put a stop to the abuse and neglect that has befallen so many of these adorable creatures.

The Peeps Foundation started in the spring of 2014 when Alex Granato of Mad Season LLC and Josh Dolan were on their way to a hunter/jumper show in Lexington, Kentucky.

Along their drive, they spotted a dwarf miniature pony out in a field. Josh was familiar with miniatures and with dwarfism, a rare genetic condition that causes deformation, weakness in the limbs, and many more long-term health issues. Feeling curious, they pulled over and found that the entrance to the property was locked and chained. Out of concern for the little guy in the paddock, they walked down a neighboring driveway. To their shock and distress, Josh and Alex discovered a field full of miniature ponies that appeared to be malnourished and in extremely poor health. Alex hopped the fence to find an additional mini starved in the barn aisle and many others in extremely dire conditions.

While working with the authorities to try to remedy this sad situation, Josh returned daily to find their condition worsening. Determined to do something, Josh left a note on the fence for the owner, who was nowhere to be found. To his surprise, the owner called that very night and offered to sell him the minis for a good price.

The Mad Season crew completely rearranged their nearly full show barn to accommodate the 35 miniature ponies that they rescued and nurtured back to health before finding them forever homes. One of the minis that they had rescued that day was the one they first saw in the field, Peeps. Peeps was diagnosed with Rhodococcus, a very serious and often deadly disease, but after four strenuous months of antibiotics, around-the-clock care, and a custom box stall to ship from Lexington to Wellington, Peeps was back to her spirited and sassy self.

Shortly after regaining her health, Peeps became an instant celebrity. She accompanied Josh on Chick-fil-A runs and regular visits to the WEF show grounds for Saturday Night Lights.

Since their initial rescue mission, Josh and Alex founded The Peeps Foundation to continue to help minis in need. Since its inception, The Peeps Foundation has helped hundreds of minis find loving homes. Notably, many of these adorable animals have found forever homes with some familiar faces, including actress Kaley Cuoco and riders Jessica Springsteen, Jennifer Gates, and Ben Maher, just to name a few.

During my visit (and while I fell in love and wanted to take every single one of the minis home with me), Josh spoke to me about some of the challenges he has in keeping paperwork in order for all of the minis coming in and out of their farm. They constantly have to dig through hundreds of file folders to locate various health documents, adoption records, and applications. He also has to spend a lot of time documenting all of the health treatments that they administer and instructions for new families to continue to care for their adopted minis.

Josh was hopeful that BarnManager could help him to simplify all of this work so that he could focus on the animals rather than the paperwork. Each time a new rescue comes to the farm, Josh can quickly snap photos of all of their documents and create a profile for them. As the new rescues are assessed and monitored, Josh and his team can keep records and store any reports from their vet or farrier in each pony’s profile. And when it is time for a mini to move to their new home, Josh can download and print or e-mail these records to their new family. He can also store copies of all adoption applications and contracts for his records and archive the adopted ponies so that their histories are saved, but they are no longer included in his active planning.

With the help of Josh, Peeps, and the rest of The Peeps Foundation team, we realized that we have a huge opportunity and a duty to support more organizations. That is why we have decided to offer Free Subscriptions for 501(c)(3) Organizations. All equine rescues and equine therapy centers with 501(c)(3) Charity Status are eligible to receive a FREE BarnManager subscription.

BarnManager was created to support managers and horse owners in providing the best care and management of their horses. And with Free for 501(c)(3), we want to further our mission to support all of the incredible organizations that work tirelessly to give horses a second chance, to improve the lives of others, and to bring happiness and well-being to people in need.

And there are so many other great equestrian companies who feel the same way!  After sharing our idea with Steven Bluman, CEO and Co-Founder of Equo, an instant collaboration was born.

Equo, the company that is redefining horse transportation, was founded with the mission of making the entire horse industry more reachable and accessible by connecting owners, trainers, and riders with shippers all around the country. With that in mind, being able to help those in need of a better home fits right in with their mission and core values. The Equo team is honored to help The Peeps Foundation to provide transportation for minis coming to the Foundation and then moving on to their forever homes.

If you own or operate a 501(c)(3) rescue or therapy organization and would like to sign up for a Free Subscription, click here for more information and to find out if you qualify.

For more information about the Peeps Foundation or how you can get involved, check out their website and follow them on Instagram (@mylittlepeepers) and Facebook.

And for all of your horse transport needs, head over to Equo to learn more about their services.

The Plaid Horse Blog: Nicole Lakin’s Barn Management Brain Child

“When it comes to horses, there’s nothing that can replace the feeling that you have whether you’re on the horse or on the ground with them,” Lakin said. “That’s irreplaceable and technology will never change that. What technology can do is to automate business side of things, and that’s what we’re doing with BarnManager. Nobody gets into the horse industry to be an accountant! Our mission that drives all of our design and development is to enable the incredibly hard working managers, grooms, riders, trainers, and all equestrians to spend more time getting to do the things that technology cannot.”

Check out The Plaid Horse Blog for more from a great interview with our founder, Nicole Lakin!

Nicole Lakin’s Barn Management Brain Child