Father’s Day Gift Ideas for the Ultimate Horse Show Dad

If you’re one of the many who delays Father’s Day shopping until the last minute, BarnManager is here to provide gift ideas for dads who support their kids at horse shows. We all know horse shows can be frustrating and boring at times for parents, who invest a great deal of time in support of their kids’ hopes and dreams in the competition ring, so express your gratitude and give him something he can use while cheering you on from the sidelines. Even if your dad rarely makes it to a horse show in person, but is extremely supportive from afar, these gifts can be enjoyed away from the showgrounds, as well.

1. A Yeti cooler

Often horse shows are full-day commitments, so packing snacks and drinks is a must. Help your dad keep all the food and beverages cold with a high-tech cooler from Yeti or a similar brand. These coolers are easy to transport, look super cool, and are stellar at their job of keeping things cold on hot days.

2. Drink holder

No matter what your dad likes to drink at horse shows, there are surely koozies or tumblers that can keep his beverage of choice cold (or hot) all day while he’s on the move. There’s nothing worse than getting a cold drink on a hot show day that turns lukewarm only 20 minutes later. This will help dad enjoy his beverage all day long while he waits for you to show!

3. Sunglasses

The sun can be annoying when trying to watch horse show rounds, especially early in the morning. Find a cool style from your dad’s favorite sunglass brand and maybe opt for something trendy he hasn’t considered yet. He will likely trust his kids’ expertise about what styles are “in” these days, so this will help keep him looking good while being able to enjoy all your rounds without the sun getting in the way.

4. Branded gear from the horse show

Some competitions sell branded merchandise in a variety of styles, so you can get your dad a hat or golf polo that he can sport both at and away from the show. If he golfs, he can wear these items out on the links to show that he’s a proud horse show dad. Think about what your dad likes to do in his free time and choose your branded gift accordingly.

5. Lawn chair

Not every horse show offers extensive seating, so give your dad a comfy place to sit no matter where you are competing. Go for one that’s easily portable so he can pack it up and toss it in the car, and consider the extras, such as cupholders and built-in umbrellas for shade.

6. A funny t-shirt

We all appreciate a good dad joke, so you can help him up his sense of humor by gifting a comical t-shirt that pokes fun at being a horse show dad. He may only wear it around the house, but everyone’s sure to laugh when they see it.

7. Fitness tracker

Horse shows involve quite a bit of physical activity, so buy him a fitness tracker that rewards him for the number of steps he takes following you around the show grounds all day. These typically double as wristwatches, as well, so he won’t be late for your class start time if he wanders off somewhere!

8. Travel duffle or overnight bag

If your horse shows are typically out of town and overnight stays are required, maybe upgrade his travel gear by buying him a cool duffle or overnight bag to pack all his things and be ready to hit the road.

9. Portable grill

Is your dad a big-time griller? Get him a portable grill and he can be the life of the party at all horse shows. When lunch time rolls around, he’ll be so excited to whip out this fancy portable grill and make lunch for everyone in the barn. Grilling at the horse show is a great way to bond and also guarantee you’ll have good food, instead of relying on whatever vendors are available.

No matter the gift you choose, be sure to express how grateful you are that your dad supports your horse showing, whether it’s in person or from afar. Above all, if you can, try to spend some extra time with your dad this Father’s Day. No gift can beat quality time together, so try to focus on him and create some new memories.

7 Tips for Navigating the Warm-Up Ring

Arguably the most terrifying part of horse showing, the warm-up ring somehow always manages to stress out competitors, no matter the age, experience, or riding level. There is no order, the space is usually too small, and chaos inevitably ensues.

Here are some tips to help make the warm-up a more pleasant experience so you can focus on yourself and your horse and not let the pandemonium affect your performance in the ring.

1. Go with the flow.

Whenever possible, work in the same direction that most horses are going. Many horses struggle with oncoming traffic in warm-up rings, so try to eliminate that stress for both you and your horse if you can.

2. Be vocal.

Let other riders know where you are going by vocalizing your intention. If you’re passing someone, call “outside” or “inside,” and give a heads up every time you approach a jump so no one will step into your path unexpectedly. Communication is key for a proper warm-up flow. Don’t assume anything; you will only guarantee safety for yourself and others if you make your voice heard about your intentions. If everyone in the schooling ring spoke up about their plan of action for the next few strides, there would be much less confusion and limited close calls.

3. Look ten strides ahead.

Think about driving a car; you have to think far ahead and anticipate other drivers’ actions in order to best avoid catastrophe. This takes a high level of focus, but if you are actively looking ten strides ahead at all times, you can see how other riders’ actions can impact your plan, and you’ll have time to adapt and change your path to avoid a bad situation.

4. Follow warm-up ring etiquette.

Always pass left-to-left when traveling in opposite directions. If you’re jumping, try not to hog the rail where riders may be warming up on the flat. If you’re flatting, don’t cut across the arena without checking for riders who may be coming to the jumps. Avoid circling if you can, as this can cut off other riders. If you’re done riding or just out for a schooling ride, make the competitors’ lives easier by minimizing your time in the ring; don’t use it as a place to walk around chatting with friends.

5. Keep calm and ride on.

This sounds obvious, but the more stressed you are about the warm-up ring, the more likely things will go poorly. Our horses often feed off our emotions, making occasions like the warm-up ring stressful for both of you. Keep a strong and positive mindset, and you are more likely to get through the warm-up experience without any added anxiety.

6. Find a less crowded arena to warm up in.

Sometimes the warm-up options are limited at competitions, but many properties have numerous rings that may be quieter. Before you show, look around for other rings that may be less crowded than your designated warm-up. If there are fewer horses, you can focus on yourself and not worry about what the other riders are doing. Also remember to avoid jumper warm-ups if you are riding a hunter, and vice versa.

7. Practice warm-up scenarios at home.

Find times to ride at home when the ring is busier, like during group lessons. This may take some planning ahead to coordinate when most people will be riding. You and your horse will become less nervous in large groups if you practice it in a safe way. If you have friends at the barn, plan to hack at the same time every now and then to practice riding in a crowd.

Tips to Create Your Ideal Show Schedule

1. Identify your competition goals.

What do you want to accomplish with your horse this year? If you just want to get into the show ring and have fun, maybe you don’t need to go to the highest-rated competition. You can simply look for well-run events in your area. If you are trying to earn points for a specific year-end award, set your sights on shows that include those classes. It’s also important to look at the level of competition you’ll be facing. If you know your jumper isn’t the fastest, aim for smaller shows with fewer entries per division so your results can be better. If you are trying to sell your horse, aim for some larger horse shows where you’ll be seen by more people, including those watching on livestream.

2. Set your travel parameters.

How far are you willing to travel to show? If you know you don’t want to go further than two hours from home by car, map out all the potential shows that meet that criteria and then compare other factors. If your travel radius is wider, identify what destinations you’d most like to visit and look at the shows in those areas.

3. Break down your budget.

Horse shows are expensive, no matter how you go about them. But some are costlier than others, so break down where your money will be going for each horse show you are interested in attending. Try to identify ahead of time what your costs will be so you can weigh your options. For example, stall fees are not the same at every show, but it’s a fixed cost so you can count on it whenever you travel to show. Braiding, hotels, food, entry fees, and transportation costs are also important line items you can estimate for each show you are considering.

4. Know your priorities as an exhibitor.

Not all horse shows are equal experiences for the exhibitor. Some may not match your personal comfort level regarding COVID-19 procedures at the present time. Others may not offer state-of-the-art facilities or healthy, on-site food choices or convenient high-quality hotels and lodging, all of which can be big factors for some people. There are lots of important experience-related items to consider when choosing a horse show.

5. Talk with your family.

When you are horse showing, it will likely impact the schedules of those in your close circle. If family members depend on you for certain responsibilities, make sure you arrange for those to be taken care of in your absence. It’s also important to compare family schedules to avoid missing an important event while away at a show. Often schedules will conflict, so it’s crucial to plan ahead and prioritize.

6. Know where your friends are showing!

Though it’s not the most important thing, you spend most of your time at a horse show not riding. For some, it’s important to be in good company during your down time. See where your friends—whether they ride at your barn or not—are planning to compete. Then you can hang out ringside and meet up for dinner, when it’s safe to do so again.

5 Tips for Keeping Calm Under Pressure

As we near the end of the year, although 2020 looks different than previous years, equestrian sports are in the midst of “finals” season. If you are participating in any of the finals this year, whether it be your first time or you’re a seasoned finals veteran, you probably know firsthand how easy it is to succumb to the high pressure the environment fosters. These only come once a year, they’re expensive to participate in, and most finals only give you one shot, which means if you make a mistake you’re toast. Here are some tips to help deal with the pressure that comes along with competing, no matter how high the stakes are.

1. Breathe deeply.

Have you ever heard about the breathing trick that helps you fall asleep faster? The science behind it is that it helps slow your heart rate so you can fully relax and fall asleep. Though you don’t want to fall asleep at the in-gate, breathing can still come into play with slowing your heart rate and thus calming nerves. Try taking a deep breath in for about four seconds, then exhale for eight seconds, then repeat a few times.

2. Imagine it going well.

Often our nerves are heightened by thoughts of everything that could go wrong. While it can be hard to push these things out of your mind, it’s much more beneficial to picture the experience being a success and to think through what is needed on your part in order to achieve that. Visualize yourself on the other side having succeeded. If you dwell on what could go poorly, you’re allowing space in your mind for failure. If you only allow positive thoughts and sentiments in moments like these, your stress will ease and there will be a higher likelihood for the event to go well.

3. Make a plan and focus on it.

If your plan is detailed and thorough, you won’t have time or space in your mind to let negative thoughts creep in. Talk with your trainer, walk your course, and make the most comprehensive plan for you and your horse, with appropriate back-up plans where needed. A strong plan of action is the best preparation for a big class or final, and if you place it top of mind, the stress will seem to fade.

4. Think of everything you’re grateful for.

In the moment, this class causing stress can seem huge. But in the grand scheme of life, it’s just one day and there is so much more to being a horseman than competing. Think of the horse beneath you and how grateful you are for what your horse does for you. Think of your trainer, who has put in countless hours to help you prepare for moments like these. Remember your loved ones who support this crazy dream we all share. When you think about things in life for which you’re grateful, you minimize the pressure from the situation and fill your mind with happy thoughts. Know that you will still have all of these things, regardless of the outcome of any given final.

5. Use positive affirmations.

You’ve put in the hours and hours of hard work to arrive at this moment, so you know, deep down, you are ready and capable. Echo that to yourself until you fully embody it. Know that you are strong and that you can rise to this challenge. Trust that your horse will be there for you and you will give it the best ride you can. Above all, go in determined to enjoy the experience, no matter the outcome.

 

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!

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What To Include In Your Horse’s First Aid Kit

If you’ve owned horses for any length of time, you’re likely well aware that accidents and injuries can happen all too often, so it’s important to be prepared!

If you own or operate your own barn, that includes having a thoroughly well-stocked equine first aid kit on hand. If you board your horse, it likely means having many of those same first-aid items in your tack trunk and ensuring that the barn has the others on hand. But what are those first-aid items and what should be in your first-aid kit?

Thermometer – for taking your horse’s rectal temperature. (It’s important to also know what a horses’ regular temperature should be. Hint: It’s 99 – 101 degrees Fahrenheit.) It can also be helpful to have a small jar of Vaseline within your first aid kit to aid in inserting the thermometer.

– Stethoscope – for checking your horse’s heart rate and gut sounds.

– Scissors – It’s wise to have blunt-end bandage cutting scissors as well as sharper scissors.

– Tweezers – for pulling out splinters or ticks.

– Epsom Salts – for soaking abscesses.

– Bute and Banamine -Phenylbutazone and Flunixin Meglumine, better known as Bute and Banamine, are both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers that you should have on hand. Bute acts much like aspirin does for humans and is common for pain relief and fevers. Banamine is more aggressive and is often used in treating colic pain.

– Twitch – In the case of emergency, there are a number of things that your horse may not want to willing participate in, so it’s a good idea to have a twitch on hand.

– A Variety of Leg Wraps, Bandages, and Guaze – including polo bandages, vet wrap, standing bandages, gauze bandages, roll cotton, leg wraps, and non-stick gauze.

– Diapers – diapers may not be the first thing that come to mind for a first aid kit, but they’re great for covering a bandaged foot and also provide extra padding for large wounds.

– Duct Tape – you’ll need this to secure bandages or the aforementioned diapers.

– Latex Surgical Gloves – wear these to help prevent wound contamination.

– Disinfectants and Wound-Flushing Liquids – including rubbing alcohol, saline, gentle iodine such as Betadine, pre-moistened alcohol swabs, and hydrogen peroxide.

– Wound Powder  or Spray-On Treatment – when a wound needs to be left open to heal a powder or spray can encourage healing, keep flies off the injury site, and dry up the wound. (Note that after cleaning up a wound, it’s wise to seek veterinary advice before applying a wound powder or spray to ensure that the injury doesn’t need any further care or treatment.)

– Flashlight – with working batteries!

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

What’s in Their Ring Bags? With Show Jumpers Martin Fuchs and Paris Sellon

Whether it’s used by the rider, the groom, or both, a ring bag full of show necessities is one thing that nearly all show jumping riders have in common. What varies though, is what riders and grooms keep in those ring bags.

Martin Fuchs

In the case of top show jumpers (and equestrian power couple) Paris Sellon and Martin Fuchs, their bag contents are strictly practical; while Martin may be the number-two ranked show jumper in the world, you won’t necessarily find the secret to his great success in his ring bag – but you will find a few of the vital tools that he uses on his way to that success!

Here’s a look at what Paris and Martin don’t go to the ring without.

Paris Sellon. Photo by Jump Media

Gloves and more gloves – Both Martin and Paris keep gloves in their bags, but Paris may have Martin beat on the number of pairs of gloves.

“I usually have about five pairs of gloves because sometimes I can misplace them,” said Paris, who rides in uvex as her glove of choice.

Three pairs of spurs a piece – “I like the wheeled spurs, so I have them in three different sizes,” said Martin of the three spur options you’ll find in his bag.

And while Paris also carries three different choices of spurs in her ring bag, her selections are different.

“I have really small ones that I use for Cassandra,” said Paris of the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare that has been one of her top horses. “I have a pair that look bigger, but they’re actually nice and definitely not sharp, and I have something kind of in between.”

The shared necessities – A helmet, crop, and a towel are common-place among most rider ring bags – and Martin and Paris’s are no exception.

That’s where Martin’s bag list ends, as he elects to keep his uvex bag lightweight, but Paris has a few extra essentials!

The extras – “You never know what might come up,” said Paris. “I have a wrench in case I need studs, and I also have some tape for the horses’ feet in case they need coverage if they get a small cut or anything.”

Paris also carries boot polish, a sticky spray (similar to this one), extra hairnets, and Neutrogena Sport Face sunscreen.

What riders or grooms would you most like to hear from regarding what’s in their ring bag? Drop your suggestions in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have them featured 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 Packing List

While your specific horse show packing list will vary depending on your discipline, the type of competition, and the classes that you’re entering, there are a number of things that are universal: like grooming brushes and the possibility of forgetting something!

That’s why we’ve put together our comprehensive horse show packing list. Download the packing list as a printable PDF here, or use the list tool within BarnManager to customize your own horse show packing list, available at your fingertips and shareable with others on your team! (Learn how with a free BarnManger live demo here.)

For the Horse Show Office
*Tip!: Store all of your horses’ health records and show paperwork directly within the BarnManager app so you never have to worry about leaving them behind. 

– Proof of negative coggins
– Horse health certificate
– Registration papers
– Membership papers

For the Feed Stall

– Hay
– Hay nets
– Grain
– Supplements

For the Rider

– Boots
– Belt
– Helmet
– Gloves
– Spurs
– Rain gear
– Show shirt
– Show jacket
– Small mirror
– First aid kit
– Sunscreen
– Lint roller
– Small sewing kit
– Snacks
– Boot polish or boot cleaning kit
– Safety vest, if needed
– Breeches (a spare pair or two is always a good idea!)
– Hair accessories (Hair net, spare hair ties, bobby pins)

For the Grooming Box

– Body brushes
– Curry comb
– Hoof pick
– Mane and tail brush
– Mane comb
– Detangler
– Waterless shampoo/spot remover
– Hoof dressing or polish
– Baby powder or corn starch
– Fly spray
– Scissors
– Baby wipes
– Clippers
– Spray-on conditioner or shine enhancer
– Seam ripper for removing braids
– Lots of towels

For the Wash Rack

– Shampoo
– Sweat scraper
– Sponges or scrubbers
– Towels
– Bucket designated for washing
– Liniment

For the Stalls

– Bedding
– Duct tape
– Pliers
– Zip ties
– Safety release clip
– Double-ended snaps
– Water buckets
– Feed bucket(s)
– Hammer
– Staple gun
– Screwdriver
– Bailing twine
– Cross ties
– Tack hooks
– Saddle racks
– Pitchfork
– Hose
– Broom
– Rake
– Wheelbarrow
– Extension cords
– Locks
– Spare batteries
– Fans
– Step stool
– Dry erase board and markers
– Trash bags

For the Horse
– Saddle
– Girth
– Schooling saddle pads
– Show saddle pads
– Bridle(s)
– Schooling boots
– Ear plugs
– Ear bonnets
– Cooler
– Scrim sheet
– Blankets, as needed
– Halter
– Polo wraps
– Lunge line and lunge whip
– Martingale
– Studs and stud removal kit
– Ice boots
– Tack soap and sponge
– Poultice and poultice paper
– Safety pins for attaching numbers to saddle pads

Happy horse showing!

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!

Four Ways to Streamline Your Barn Management

Whether you are managing a large show barn or boarding operation or taking care of your own mounts, chances are good that you got into the role for one primary reason: because you enjoy spending time with horses.

Unfortunately, if you’re in one of the aforementioned positions, you also know that far too often time spent enjoying the horses can get overshadowed by the scheduling of lessons, and farrier visits, and veterinary appointments, and the horse show entries, and the feeding, and the record keeping, and the tack and equipment organization and maintenance, and the planning of each day, and… well, you get the idea!

While you can’t eliminate these things entirely – they’re important to keeping the horses happy and healthy and the business running smoothly – there are several ways that you can streamline your paperwork and simplify your barn management to get you out of the office or away from the white board and back with the horses more often!

1) Take advantage of time-saving barn hacks.

Want to save time watering horses? Add a second water bucket to each stall and fill them up simultaneously to last longer and save you a refill trip.

Using polo wraps? ProEquineGrooms recommends using a pair of scissors to cut a design, like a notch or zig-zag, into the ends of matching polo wraps to save time matching up pairs. Do you have to make multiple trips to the feed room at dinner time? Instead of going back and forth, prepare all horses’ meals and put them into a wheelbarrow or add feed and supplements to a wheeled cart with compartments so that you can roll down the aisle way, stopping at each stall as you go. Peruse our blog, and you’ll find lots more tips and tricks like these!

2) Go digital with BarnManager! 

Of course, we think one of the best and most all-encompassing ways to streamline your management responsibilities is to cut back on the paperwork and binders of information by using BarnManager!

With BarnManager, you can house all of your horses’ health records, feed schedules, and training notes in one location rather than in binders, file folders, and notes on a white board. You can also grant access to any additional members of your team so that they can be kept in the loop and receive notifications should anything, such as a horse’s feed or supplements, change.

Within the app, you are also able to schedule lessons, send searchable barn-wide conversations and private messages, make customizable tables and lists such as horse show packing lists, snap photos of your horses’ records to directly attach them to their records, and even create “discharge reports” that quickly compile all of a horse’s key information and veterinary records so that you could pass them along to a new owner or caretaker as needed.

3) Get organized and plan ahead.

By staying organized, continually looking ahead to the next day, and planning in advance, you can save yourself a great deal of time in the long run! In speaking to many of the industry’s top barn managers and grooms, the top two time-saving tips that were repeatedly given were setting yourself up for the next day the night before and staying organized.

 Some managers recommended creating lists of what tack and equipment is used with each horse (either within an app like BarnManager or a physical list hung in the tack room), so there is no question for any students or other staff unsure of what to use – and it will save you time having to answer questions.

Others suggested putting tack or equipment away as soon as you are done with it so that there isn’t a pile to clean and organize at the end of the day. Almost all managers asked agreed that leaving the barn unorganized at the end of the night only sets you up for disappointment and a harder day the next morning! Particularly if you are at show, it can be wise to think about what equipment you will be using the next day and in what order and put it away in a manner that makes it most accessible in that order.

4) Maximize your down time.

If you are managing a barn full-time, take advantage of any free time to squeeze in tasks that will make your life simpler later. This could be picking stalls so that the piles don’t add up and make the full stall cleaning more difficult later, or topping off water buckets, or polishing tack, or maybe just squeezing in a little bit of extra one-on-one time with your favorite horse to remind you why you’re doing this in the first place!

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!