Tips for Building a Course at Home

Setting a course in your home ring is no easy task. To do it well, this skill requires planning and practice. Keep reading for tips from BarnManager on how to successfully set a course at your farm.

Know Your Ring

An important part of coming up with a course is understanding the size and shape of your ring. For example, you will build a different style of course for a long and narrow ring than you would for a square-shaped arena. It is important to acknowledge these differences so you can set a track that rides well and makes good use of the shape of your particular ring.

Consider Your Goals for Your Horse

When setting a course, think about what skills you are working on improving with your horse. Try to add those types of fences or tracks into your course so you can practice them regularly. This could be a trot jump, one stride, skinny fence off of a tight turn, or bending line on the right lead.

Find Inspiration

Course maps from previous hunter, jumper, and equitation classes or finals are often available online. Although your arena may not fit all of the jumps or allow the same number of strides in a line, pick certain interesting parts to recreate. Also, if you are at a horse show and see a course you like, take a picture of the course map to save for later.

Map Out Your Ideas

Before you start moving standards and flower boxes around, draw out your plan on a piece of paper. Even if you have a solid idea in your head, writing it down will help you visualize the entire course and ensure you have the correct number of standards and poles required. List the types of standards and fill, objects such as flower boxes, walls, or gates, you want for each jump so when it’s time to start doing the heavy lifting things will go more quickly.

Make Sure Your Jumps Match

When designing your course plan, think about the types of standards, poles, and fill you have. Try to make the standards and colored poles match in each line, similar to what you would find at a horse show. Although you may not have enough paired standards or colored rails to coordinate everywhere, it is nice to make the course as appealing as possible.

Build a Versatile Course

Most barns cater to a variety of disciplines and have a mix of riders and horses at different levels of experience. When building a course, try to include options that work for hunter, jumper, and equitation riders. Aim to create courses that can be adjusted to accommodate beginners as well as those that are more advanced. When you build a challenging course, include a few welcoming fences that are easy to make small for horse-and-rider combinations of all levels.

Include a Gymnastic

If your ring is large enough, consider adding a gymnastic line somewhere. This is a nice option that gives you the ability to mix it up so horses and riders are doing more than practicing courses. Gymnastics are an excellent way to work on straightness and adjustability. Depending on the difficulty of the gymnastic, it can be a great exercise for riders of multiple levels and disciplines.

Setting an effective course requires both planning and heavy lifting so make sure to recruit some barn friends to help!

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 New Year’s Resolutions for Equestrians

Have you chosen your New Year’s resolution for 2023? If you are considering any equestrian-focused goals this year, keep reading for a few ideas from BarnManager.

Fix One Habit

Every rider has one bad habit they are always being reminded about during lessons. Instead of having a broad goal to become a better rider, try focusing on improving that one flaw. It may be something small like lowering your hands, not leaning to the right, or keeping your shoulders tall. Every time you ride, keep that one habit in mind, rather than a long list of things, and before long you will see progress.

Add More No-Stirrups Work to Your Routine

This year, try to make every month “No Stirrup November.” Begin with small steps, like adding it in for 5 minutes once a ride and then build from there instead of torturing yourself once a month or only doing it when your trainer asks for it in a lesson.

Take Care of Your Tack

Photo by Jump Media

Cleaning, oiling, and conditioning tack are extremely important tasks that often get skipped. Leather tack is expensive and the more regularly you take care of it, the longer it lasts. This year, make a plan to clean your saddle, bridle, martingale, boots, and other leather equipment after every ride and oil and condition the leather once a week.

Organize Your Paperwork

Organizing your horse’s or barn’s paperwork is a daunting task, but a necessary one. Making sure paperwork like health certificates and lease agreements are up to date and in an organized location is key. If you are organizing your barn’s paperwork, set aside time once a month to confirm all information is current, new horses have been added, and everything is still in the correct place.

(Did you know? BarnManager can help you organize all of your paperwork so that it is in digital form, easy to access, and readily available.)

Spend More Quality Time With Your Horse

Whether you are a professional, junior, or amateur rider, you probably have a busy schedule that makes it hard to spend time with your horse. Between riding, showing, work, and school, finding free time to just be with your horse can be tricky. Promise yourself you will carve out a little time during most visits to the barn to groom, graze, or simply hang out with your horse. Even if it’s only for an extra 10 minutes, this quality time will give you both a well-deserved break to relax together.

Photo by Jump Media

Be Grateful

It is all too easy to compare yourself to other riders, owners, or trainers in this sport. This year, make a point to be grateful for the opportunities and horses you have instead of focusing on what others are doing. Everyone has their own path so make the most of yours and take time to be thankful for the horses and the people you have in your life.

For 2023, stick with a few simple, specific resolutions rather than big, overwhelming ones that are difficult to maintain. Before long, you will find your new year becoming more enjoyable!

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!

Horse Show Highlights From 2022

As the year comes to a close, many enjoy the tradition of reflecting back on favorite moments. BarnManager caught up with three grooms and managers to share their highlights from the 2022 horse show season.

Caroline McLeese

Rider, Manager, and Assistant Trainer for Double H Farm, located in Ridgefield, CT, and Wellington, FL

Photo courtesy of Caroline McLeese

What was your favorite memory of 2022?
I had the opportunity to show one of Quentin Judge’s horses, HH Qualido, in a national grand prix at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, this spring. We ended up double clear and third, which was an exciting result for our first bigger class together. McLain Ward won, and Rodrigo Pessoa was second, and being in the ring for awards with two riders who I have looked up to for my entire riding career made it even more special. On top of that, the whole Double H team had quite a busy day between showing and getting a few horses to the airport, and I was super impressed with how everyone kept things moving. It was one of those rare days where everything came together just how it was meant to!

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
I have a horse to jump some two-star FEI classes with this year, Moncler van Overis. I’m really excited to keep getting to know him and see where we go together.

Stephanie Nell

Groom for Amethyst Equestrian, located in North Salem, NY, and Wellington, FL

Photo by Sportfot

What was your favorite memory of 2022?
My favorite horse show memory from 2022 was from the beginning of the year when Rodrigo Pessoa and Lord Lucio finished seventh in the $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* during Saturday Night Lights at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Lord Lucio is one of my favorite horses to take care of, so it was a very special night. I also love the exciting atmosphere during the Saturday Night Light classes.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
I am excited to now be grooming for Rodrigo and Alexa Pessoa’s student, Maison McIntyre. Maison is a junior rider who has a lovely string of horses ranging in different competition levels. This summer we are going to Europe to compete, so I’m really looking forward to that trip.

Kimberly Graves

Former Groom for John French, located in Wellington, FL

Photo by Jump Media

What was your favorite memory of 2022?
My favorite memory of 2022 would definitely be World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The $100,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association/WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular night class lived up to its name. It was truly spectacular. I had two horses in the class, Babylon and Milagro. They are both young and promising horses. It was my first time grooming horses for the class. I have watched this class in person and on live stream since it was available, and I have followed the sport and hunters since I was nine years old. I always dreamed of being a part of this night with a special horse or rider, and this year that dream came true. John French rode Babylon to an eighth-place finish that night for owners Ariana Marnell and Marnell Sport Horses. Just taking care of a special horse that qualified for that class was a check off my bucket list. I also had the honor of accepting the Mark Gregory Award for the best-conditioned horse of the first round of the class for Babylon and Marnell Sport Horses. That was the icing on the cake. I always take great pride in making sure the horses I care for are healthy, happy, and shiny!

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in 2023. I’ll be looking to find a new team to join in the new year. I’m also looking forward to checking more boxes off my bucket list like going to Devon and all of the indoor shows.

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!

Must-Watch Live Streams This Fall

There are lots of notable competitions lined up as the end of the year approaches. Keep reading to find out where you can watch a few of the most exciting show jumping, hunter, equitation, dressage, and eventing shows this fall.

The Event at TerraNova:

October 21-23, 2022 – The Event at TerraNova takes place in Myakka City, FL, at the TerraNova Equestrian Center. The competition will showcase three-day eventing from the beginner level through CCI4*S.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

TerraNova Dressage II:

October 22, 2022 – Terra Nova Dressage II will feature top dressage competition at the TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, FL. Viewers can tune in and watch the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W on Saturday, October 22.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

Washington International Horse Show:

October 24-30, 2022 – The 2022 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) will take place at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The country’s best show jumping, hunter, and equitation riders will attend the prestigious event. Highlights include the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W, presented by Experience Prince George’s for the President’s Cup as well as the WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday, October 29.

Where to watch: USEF Network

Where to the $75,000 Welcome Stake CSI5*, the $75,000 Speed Final CSI5*, and the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W, presented by Experience Prince George’s for the President’s Cup: ClipMyHorse.TV

Les 5 Étoiles de Pau:

October 26-30, 2022 – Les 5 Étoiles de Pau is one of the seven five-star events in the world. The competition will take place in Domaine de Sers in Pau, France, and will feature some of the world’s best eventing riders and horses.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

National Horse Show:

October 26-November 6, 2022 – Watch the country’s best show jumping, hunter, and equitation horse-and-rider combinations compete at the National Horse Show. The competition takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Viewers can enjoy the $215,900 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W taking place on Saturday, November 5. On Sunday, November 6, junior equitation riders will take center stage in the ASPCA Maclay Finals.

Where to watch: National Horse Show

Where to watch the $215,900 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W: ClipMyHorse.TV

Major League Show Jumping at Monterrey:

November 3-6, November 10-13, 2022 – Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) at Monterrey takes place at the Club Hípico La Silla in Monterrey, Mexico. Enjoy both two-star and five-star show jumping as well as MLSJ Team Competition. Tune in on Saturday, November 5, for the CSI5* Grand Prix and Sunday, November 6, for CSI5* Team Competition.

Where to watch: MLSJ TV

The Royal Horse Show:

November 4-13, 2022 – The 100th anniversary of the Royal Horse Show will take place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada, as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The event will highlight hunter classes as well as top international show jumping competition. The main event of the week will be the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto CSI5*-W on Saturday, November 12.

Where to watch: The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Where to watch the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto CSI5*-W: ClipMyHorse.TV

World Equestrian Center – Ocala Fall November Show Series:

November 9-13, and November 16-20, 2022 – Don’t miss out on the Fall November Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in Ocala, FL. Watch hunter, jumper, and equitation competition including hunter derbies of all levels and a grand prix class every week.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Prague:

November 17-20, 2022 – LGCT Prague is the ultimate event of the Global Champions Tour circuit. The show will take place in the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Top international show jumping athletes will compete for coveted titles with the main events being the LGCT Super Grand Prix and the Global Champions League Super Cup.

Where to watch: GCTV

World Equestrian Center – Ocala November Dressage CDI3*:

 November 17-20, 2022 – Dressage competition will take the spotlight at World Equestrian Center – Ocala during the November Dressage CDI3* show in Ocala, FL. In addition to offering three-star dressage competition, the event will also be a qualifying show for the Great American/United States Dressage Federation Regional Championships.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

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!

A Day in the Life of Stephanie Kramer

Stephanie Kramer works as a head groom for top amateur jumper rider Vanessa Hood and U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington. Keep reading for a day in Stephanie’s life at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week 5 during the CSI5* Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Team Competition in Williamsburg, MI.

Friday, August 5, 2022

6 a.m.

My first alarm goes off around six in the morning when we are starting at the barn at seven. I like to give myself time in the mornings, so I don’t feel rushed or stressed starting out the day. I usually make myself a coffee to go and grab some sort of granola bar or something light to get my day started.

Photo by Boss Mare Media

7 a.m.

I have three horses in FEI this week. I have one horse showing in two-star classes and two horses competing at the five-star level. No matter how many horses I have showing every day starts the same. We begin by feeding hay, then grain, and then moving on to the chores. When I have horses showing, they wear the Sport Innovations magnetic blanket in the morning.

8 a.m.

Once chores are done, I start getting my horses out for a hand walk and some grass. One by one I groom them and hand walk or graze them for 15-20 minutes to let them stretch their legs before they go to work. Cascalretto is the only horse I have showing today in the MLSJ Team Competition at 5:30 so when I take the first horse out I put the magnetic blanket on him and set the program and massage to run as I walk the other horse.

11 a.m.

My two other horses, Easy Girl and Conner, aren’t showing today so they will just flat. Once Vanessa is ready to ride one, I pull them back out and fully groom them again. I start with a good curry, then a flick brush, and I finish with some Santa Fe spray and a soft brush to protect their coat from the sun and keep them nice and shiny. As they go out, I like to keep their stalls picked as well so they’re always coming back to a clean stall.

12 p.m.

We feed lunch hay and top off water buckets at noon. Since Cascalretto will not get ridden until later in the day, I take him out for another quick walk and some grass between the two others getting ridden. Cascalretto will also get a short flat to loosen up a bit before the class tonight. As the other two come back from being ridden they both go for baths and grass. Before going for grass, I like to bring them back to the barn and towel dry them, brush their manes down, and put conditioner in their tails if I washed them that day. Then we are off to the FEI grazing area until they are dry and can go back to their stalls.

2 p.m.

At this time, I usually like to start my afternoon chores depending on what my day looks like. I get my stalls cleaned one last time and top off their water buckets. Then it is time to get Cascalretto ready for his quick flat before the class. He gets a full groom again before getting tacked up. He then heads out to loosen up. Once he’s back I give him a few minutes in his stall to get a drink and go to the bathroom before I pull him back out to get cleaned up.

3:30 p.m.

Photo by Boss Mare Media

The horses get dinner hay and then I like to tidy up the barn one last time before the end of the day. I usually sweep, dust, and all of that fun stuff. Today after they get their grain and are finished eating it is time for Cascalretto to come out and start getting ready for the ring. Vanessa’s team, which is Team Lugano Diamonds, is going first so that means he needs to be ready and at the ring by 4:45. The first thing I do is braid him. He doesn’t have the best mane for braids, so it always takes me a bit to get them to look good. Then I groom him one last time before tacking him up with his show tack. I put on his jump boots and grab boots, I double-check that my ring bag is ready, and then we head to the ring.

5 p.m.

I get Vanessa on, we do our pre-boot check, and I go grab a jump so we can warm up. Today wasn’t the best day for Team Lugano Diamonds but that just comes with the sport.

6 p.m.

Once Cascalretto is finished showing we go back to the barn and he gets untacked. I like to ice him in his stall so he has time to relax by himself before I continue with his aftercare. I leave the ice on for 20 minutes. Once he is done icing, he gets a good liniment bath to cool his muscles down. I take him out for a bit of grass to help him dry more quickly. Then I bring him back to the grooming stall to get wrapped. I poultice all four legs and pack his feet. Once that is done, I run a brush through his mane and tail and brush him off one last time before letting him go in his stall for the night. After he is put away, I quickly check over my other horses before heading out.

7:30 p.m.

When I get home, no matter how late it is, I always try my best to give myself a bit of time to decompress before going to bed. I’ll usually shower first, then make myself something for dinner, and then either watch an episode of a show or scroll through my phone to give myself a little “me time” before going to sleep and starting all over!

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 Qualities of a Well-Managed Barn

If you are a rider looking for a new place to keep your horse or a manager thinking about how to improve your barn, there are certain qualities that stick out at a well-run stable. Keep reading for five important characteristics of a well-managed barn.

1. Cleanliness

Overall cleanliness is an important detail to look for at a barn. Obviously, no barn will ever be spotless but the aisle, tack room, grooming stalls, and feed room should be swept and neat. It is also important to consider how clean the stalls are kept. Check stalls to see if they have been mucked recently and if the shavings are clean. Inspect water buckets and grain tubs to see if they have been cleaned recently. A dirty water bucket is never a good sign and can have a negative impact on your horse’s health. In the tack room, make sure there is no moldy tack. Bridles that are used less might not look freshly cleaned, but you do not want to see tack that has not been cared for in a long time.

2. Organization

Beyond cleanliness, a definite sign of a well-run barn is organization. You should be able to get a feel of how organized the barn is by simply walking around. Details such as labels in the tack room, a well laid out feed room, and tidy grooming stalls can reveal how important organization is at the barn. If blankets or stable sheets are piled in random places, the barn may not be as organized as one where they are neatly folded on doors or in a specific room or area.

3. Teamwork

A barn where all staff members are communicating and working as a team is always a good sign. This is a must, even at a smaller local barn that does not attend horse shows. When employees are not working together, it can result in issues such as the wrong medication being given to a horse, turning out a horse that is supposed to stay in, or daily tasks being missed or forgotten. To get a feel for the level of communication and teamwork at a barn, try asking different employees a couple of questions about topics like turnout, medication, or feeding times. By spending a little time at the barn, you can observe whether people are only working on their own or if there is a solid flow of communication among employees.

4. Healthy Horses

The care of the horses should always be the top priority. Their condition is often a reflection of how well the barn is managed. Some horses are naturally leaner while others are easy keepers and retired horses will have less muscle than a top-level jumper, but their overall condition should be good no matter what. The horses should not be severely underweight or overweight, they should have a healthy-looking coat whether or not they are clipped, and they should have a bright demeanor.

When a barn has healthy looking horses, it shows that the staff is observant and able to come up with a routine that works for each horse. Especially with feeding, it is important that the barn allows for horses to have individualized programs with differing amounts of hay and grain, types of grain, and supplements depending on specific needs.

5. Reliable Routine and Schedule

A well-run barn should have a fairly clear daily schedule. Grain and hay should be given around the same general times every day. Lesson times should also be clearly written down so that, depending on the type of barn, boarders can schedule a time to ride. Certain instances are difficult to predict, such as timing for a veterinarian coming to check a horse, but overall there should be a schedule for everyone to see and plan around.

Running a well-managed barn is no easy job and an undertaking that should definitely be praised. It is important to see the signs as a rider so you can be sure your horse is in the best care. Understanding the qualities of a well-run barn as a manager can help you up your game and provide top care for the horses at your facility.

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!

7 Tips to Effectively Manage Horses and School

The school year may look different in the fall of 2020, but it doesn’t mean students are any less busy than during a typical school year. From classes and assignments to college applications and outside tutoring sessions, it can be hard to find time to ride and care for horses. BarnManager is here to help you navigate the transition back to school while ensuring your horses’ care and programs don’t slip through the cracks.

1. Enlist a team you trust.

Everyone knows that behind every successful duo in the show ring is a knowledgeable, capable, and devoted team. We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village,” and with horses, it’s no different. From the trainer, to the groom, vet, parent, chiropractor, sibling, and everyone in between, it’s crucial to develop relationships with the team surrounding you and your horse to know he or she is in the best of hands when school gets too demanding. Trusting individuals with your horse’s care will allow you the peace of mind to devote yourself to the most important task at any given moment and not worry about your horse’s care or training.

2. Maintain regular communication.

Even with your team in place, you still need to communicate among all team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and nothing gets overlooked. If you can only come ride two days per week, let the trainer know when you will be there and when you expect your horse to be ridden by someone else. This way, you avoid mix-ups and assumptions that can leave everyone frustrated. Communicate about all the little things, as well, including supplements, vet visits, and other details about which you would like to stay informed.

3. Keep it digital.

We live in a constantly evolving digital world, but we can use technology to our advantage to better track what’s going on with our horses. Using a platform like BarnManager allows for consistent messaging and communication. The advantage to a digital space for communicating is to be able to refer back to a conversation that happened. This way, you won’t wonder if you forgot to mention something to your trainer or groom about your horse, and you will be able to review what your trainer may have already relayed to you.

4. Stay on top of your (and your horse’s) goals.

Have a conversation with your team at the beginning of the school year about your upcoming riding goals. Whether it’s wanting to move up, qualify for finals, or just have a good time getting to know your horse in the show ring, this will adequately prepare everyone to manage time and resources most effectively to accomplish these goals. If you have specific goals in mind for your horse, make sure your trainer knows this from the get-go and be sure to check in on how those goals are progressing throughout the year, even if you can’t be there to see for yourself.

5. Keep watching the sport.

Another benefit of the digital world coming to life in horse sports is the utilization of live streams at competitions across the country. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to ride or compete as frequently, be sure to tune into some live streams when you have time. You can learn so much from watching others navigate a course, and most platforms let you watch for free and even allow replays. If you’re a good multi-tasker, have a competition on in the background while you finish schoolwork; if not, reward yourself for finishing a daunting task by turning on a horse show.

6. Prioritize.

Perhaps the most important, yet most difficult aspect of being a horse owner or rider is prioritizing tasks. Begin each month and each week by analyzing what you have to do and what is most important to you and your personal goals. Do you want to make good grades and get into the college of your dreams? Maybe riding needs to take a back seat. Do you want to qualify for indoors and maybe ride in college one day? Then perhaps riding should play a bigger role in your everyday life. Of course, prioritizing your time is a conversation that must happen with your family and everyone involved in your efforts, both riding-related and academic, but it is important to know what matters most to you, so you can know how to effectively allocate your time.

7. Manage your time.

Perhaps the most important tactic in maintaining good grades while also riding and competing is effective time management. Make every hour count by scheduling your ride times and making efficiency a top priority as you go about your day. If you have a solid grasp on your time and don’t let it slip away chatting with barn friends or scrolling through social media, you’ll have more time in your day to devote to schoolwork and riding. Being a student also requires creative solutions for getting your work done, whether it’s in transit to or from a horse show, in between classes at a show, during free periods at school, or any other pockets of time you can use to your advantage.

Above all, this year is a time to emphasize safety while navigating both school and riding, so be sure not to forget safety protocols when going about your busy days. Focusing on safety, studying, and riding is a tough balance to achieve, but keeping all these factors in mind will help you on the path to accomplishing goals in everything you do.


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!

Setting Riding Goals for 2020

The start of a new year is the ideal time to step back and look at your goals and plans for the year and to map out what you need to do to achieve them. Whether you’re reading this in January or June however, there is always benefit in taking time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and hope to accomplish.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when doing so and a few things to consider when setting your riding, training, and competition goals for 2020.

1. Reflect on the past year.

Look back on the past 12 months. What worked? What did you accomplish that you are proud of? What didn’t work? What do you feel needs the most improvement? What did you learn? Draw from your answers as you begin to make your plan for the year ahead.

Look back on the past year to help you plan your year ahead.

2. Make S.M.A.R.T. goals.

One great way to avoid defeat on the way to accomplishing your goals is to make them “S.M.A.R.T.” or “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timeline-able.” Here are some examples of what that looks like:

Specific – Focus on making your goals precise. For instance, a goal such as “improve my riding” is rather ambiguous and could be made more precise, such as “improve my scores in the equitation ring.”

Measurable – Goals like approving scores, completing a competition, jumping a new height, or finishing all of your cross-county rides within the optimum time are all examples of measurable goals.

Attainable and Realistic – These two go hand-in-hand. If you were competing in the 0.80m Jumpers last year, the 1.40m may not be an attainable or realistic goal for you or your horse. Understand you and your horse’s capabilities and avoid setting yourself up to fail.

Timeline-able – Put a time frame on your goals. With horses things are often bound to change, so give yourself the flexibility to adjust your timeline if needed, but try to keep your eyes on a goal date.

3. Set short-term goals that lead to the long-term goal.

In order to not get overwhelmed and to have a realistic chance at achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish, break down your large goals into smaller steps and map out an action plan to make the big goals happen. Short-term goals can even take as short as a day to complete, such as “confidently jump a 3’6” course at home.”

Take small steps toward your larger goal.

4. Record your progress.

It’s inevitable that you’re going to have ups and downs throughout the year on the road to your goals, no matter what they may be. When you hit a low, it can be encouraging to look back at where you started! Track or journal your activity, such as your workouts or rides, that relates toward your goals. There are a number of goal-tracking journals, worksheets, and applications, specifically designed for this purpose.

5. Take advantage of available, value resources and those around you.

Planning out your competition year and your horse show goals? Check out Jumpfax. Striving to achieve your barn management organization in 2020? We might have an idea of an extremely helpful tool for you! (Hint: It’s BarnManager! ;))  For more specific ways that BarnManager can help you achieve your equestrian goals, be sure to check out this list we compiled!

No matter what your goal may be, there is likely to be a tool available aimed at helping you achieve it. In that same vein, there are likely going to be people who want to see you succeed! Connect with others who can hold you accountable, have similar goals, or can help mentor you or steer you in the right direction.

6. Celebrate your successes!

As you achieve even the baby steps along the way toward your big goal, take a moment to recognize your progress and celebrate the fact that you’re making headway – even if it feels like you have quite a way to go! Recognizing your accomplishments, no matter how big or small, can go a long way in building your confidence and commitment toward achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish!

Good luck as you go after your goals this year! Let’s make 2020 the best year yet!

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!