Eight Barn Hacks to Save You Time and Money!

We’ve surveyed barn managers and grooms, scoured the internet, and put some of them into practice: here are eight time or money-saving life hacks that could help make your barn more efficient or your horse habit more cost effective!

Feeding and Watering

1) Add a second water bucket.

If your horses’ stalls each only have one water bucket, it may be time to consider hanging up a second one. By filling up both buckets at the same time, you could save yourself from extra fill up time later in the day.

2) Deliver all of your horses’ meals by wheelbarrow or storage cart to save time and streamline delivery.

Rather than making trips back and forth to a feed room, prepare all of your horses’ meals and place them into a wheelbarrow to drop off along your way down the aisle. Alternatively, filling up a compartmented storage cart with the feeds and supplements that you need and portioning them out accordingly at each stall is another great option for streamlining feeding time.

Tack and Equipment

3) Cut designs into the end of your polo wraps to easily identify matching sets.

This tip from ProEquineGrooms is a great one if you’ve ever found yourself wasting time attempting to roll up and match sets of polo wraps! Instead, cut a small, matching design into the end of all of the polo wraps in a set. This could be a small triangle cut out of the middle of the end, the corners cut off, or something similar – anything that will allow you to easily recognize which polos go together.

4) Make a list of which horse uses which tack and equipment.

Whether this is a physical list hung in the tack room, or a list easily accessible within the BarnManager app, top managers like Courtney Carson recommend creating a list of which horses require which tack, that way, there’s no confusion for any students or staff unsure of what to use. If you’re the barn manager, this could save you a lot of time in answering questions and finding tack!

5) Don’t throw away your old clipper blades just yet.

Even after they’ve past the point of being useful for clipping, your clipper blades could serve a new role as mane thinners or shorteners, so it’s worth holding on to one or two for this use.

Grooming

6) The sweat scraper doesn’t have to be for just after a bath.

You probably only use the sweat scraper when you’re done bathing a horse to get off the extra water, right? Next time try using it mid-bath before you hose of the shampoo suds! By instead scraping some of them off with a sweat scraper, you’ll save yourself both time and water.

Riding Apparel

7) Make your own boot trees using pool noodles!

In need of new boot trees to keep your tall boots in good shape? Rather than purchasing boot trees, cut costs by picking up an inexpensive pool noodle and cutting it to fit inside your boots! By taking care of your boots now they’ll also last longer and save you even more money in the long run.

8) Salvage your white show shirts with lemon juice.

If you’ve ever had sweat stains threaten to ruin your expensive, white show shirts, this one’s for you! Soak them in one part lemon juice and 10 parts water to eliminate the stains and save you money in not having to purchase new shirts!

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 Ways to Make Your Barn Manager Your Best Friend

A good barn manager can be the backbone of any large boarding operation or show barn, and a good relationship with your barn manager can go a long way in creating an enjoyable barn atmosphere!

While many barn managers have suggested baking them delicious food or bringing them snacks as ways to get on their good side, here are five other ways that you could make your barn manager your best friend – or at least be a better boarder and client!

1) Know and follow the rules.

Perhaps your barn does not allow dogs; maybe there are certain areas of lawn that horses aren’t to be walked or grazed on, and no one is to be mounted on a horse without a helmet. Whatever they may be, your barn likely has rules that allow it to run smoothly, and your barn manager is likely partially responsible for enforcing those rules. Having to reprimand you for not following the barn guidelines or continually having to remind you of the rules isn’t fun for them, and it’s no way to build a good relationship.

2) Communicate.

Not able to make it out to the barn at all this week due to a hectic work schedule? Notice a small cut on your horse’s leg? Have a question about the way something is being done? Communicate with your barn manager!

3) Trust them.

Good barn managers are often extremely knowledgeable horsemen and women with your horse’s best interest at heart. (Read what makes a great barn manager here!) If you see a problem or really don’t like the way something is being done, revisit point No. 2 and consider properly communicating that to them; otherwise, trust that they are doing their job well. Coming to your barn manager with 10 different ways of doing things or an idea that you read online that you think may be better than how they do something likely isn’t going to sit very well and isn’t going to help your friendship.

4) Stay neat and organized.

At home, keeping your space in the tack room neat and orderly and cleaning up after yourself when you’re done can go a long way in making your barn manager’s life easier (and in making them think more highly of you)! And the same applies if you’re headed to a horse show. Make a list,  check it twice, and ensure that everything that you need for both you and your horse is packed so that you or your barn manager aren’t left scrambling.

5) Be kind.

If only this one could go without saying, but in any barn boarding situation, it’s important to remember to be kind and polite, not only to your barn manager but also to your fellow barn mates and the entire barn staff.

A smile, a hello, and a thank you can go a long way in making you the kind of boarder or client that everyone loves to have around and a barn manager’s best friend!

 

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 Ways to Make Horse Showing More Affordable

Horse show entry and office fees, transportation and travel expenses, tack and equipment costs, training fees, and grooming and braiding charges can be enough to make many an adult amateur – no matter the discipline – contemplate a second job or a steady diet of ramen noodles to offset expenses.

Fortunately, while the entirely inexpensive horse show may remain elusive, there are ways to greatly reduce your expenses and make horse showing more affordable.

Here are six tips that could help you decrease your costs this show season!

1) Identify your goals.

 Before heading to a horse show, think realistically about you and your horse’s level of competitiveness and what you hope to accomplish throughout the show season.

If your aim is to use horse shows simply as a way to test all that you have been practicing at home, to enjoy the competition with your horse, or to gain experience or exposure, unrecognized or schooling horse shows could be a great cost saver. These shows generally have much less expensive entry and office fees, paid memberships to governing organizations such as US Equestrian or the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) are typically not required, and US Equestrian fees are not imposed.

If your aim is to earn rated points, awards, or titles or to qualify for prestigious year-end finals and championships, you can still be smart and save money when it comes to selecting which horse shows you attend. Consider your travel expenses and what is realistic for you. While that beautiful horse show in Kentucky might look fun, perhaps the one of equal rating and just an hour drive from your home in Pennsylvania could be far more affordable for you and offer you the same opportunity to accrue points.

By identifying your goals in advance and selecting horse shows that fit those goals, you could save a great deal of money!

2) Submit your entries on time – or even well in advance.

Many horse shows penalize riders with an added fee for entering a horse show beyond a set entry date, while some others even offer reduced rates for early entries. Submitting your entries on time or in advance is a simple way to save money.

3) Be well organized and prepared for horse show day.

No one wants to have to purchase new gloves or spurs at a horse show when they know that they have perfectly good ones sitting at home, and having to purchase any tack or equipment at the horse show can be a good way to quickly exceed your budget! Instead, get organized and ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Make a thorough packing check list (fun fact: you can do this within BarnManager!). Be sure to include any items that you might need at a horse show that you might not typically use at home like ear plugs, Show Sheen or other show grooming products, rain gear just in case, and yarn or rubber bands.

Review your packing list a few days in advance of the show to make sure that you have everything that you need and that everything is in good repair. You don’t want to be left scrambling to get to the tack shop the night before the show!

As you’re packing and getting organized, it’s also wise to clearly label all of your belongings. That way, nothing gets inadvertently put in someone else’s tack trunk at the show or left behind at the ring with no identifier.

4) BYOS – Bring Your Own Stuff.

Much like it’s cheaper to ensure that you have all of your tack and equipment with you rather than purchasing anything new at the show, it’s also cheaper to “bring your own stuff.” That could include packing your own shavings to avoid paying more for them at the horse shows and bringing your own snacks and lunches to avoid paying expensive food vendors. If you’re going with a group from your barn, consider working together to organize who can bring food items to share.

5) Learn to groom and band or braid for yourself – or have friends and family help.

Whether your show requires that your horse’s mane be banded, braided in hunter style, or put into button braids, learning to do it yourself can save a ton of money – especially if you are horse showing frequently!

You can find numerous great tutorials on YouTube and on equestrian websites to help get you started on learning to braid or band before getting into the barn to practice. If you get good enough at mane or tail braiding, and if time at horse shows allows, you could even braid or band for others at the show to help you recoup your horse show costs.

Similarly, if you are able to groom, tack up, and care for your horse and your stall area yourself at the show – while still having the energy and focus needed to ride well – doing so is a great way to cut costs.

If you are fortunate enough to have friends, family members, or a significant other willing to help you out, don’t be afraid to take them up on the offer! Having an extra hand to hold your horse or an extra body to run back to the stalls for that forgotten item can go a long way and can help eliminate grooming costs.

6) Take good care of your belongings.

At the end of the horse show, again consult your packing list, this time to ensure that nothing gets left behind. It’s easy to head home from the horse show with a crop, glove, or girth missing from your tack trunk; ensuring that you have everything is an easy way to avoid having to purchase the item again.

While cleaning and organizing may be the last thing that you want to do when you get home from a horse show, it’s important to take good care of your belongings to prolong their lifespan and avoid having to spend money on new tack or clothing. Try to hang up your show clothes as soon as possible instead of leaving them crumpled in a bag or in the back of your car. (If you take good enough care of your show coat, you may even be able to avoid a dry-cleaning bill until after the next show!) Clean all of your tack and equipment as soon as possible after the show, and re-organize your belongings to keep everything ready to go for next time!

What are your horse show cost-reducing tricks!? We want to hear from you in the comments below!

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!

Equine Technology Collaboration

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford  

Competition moves us forward, but collaboration transforms us.

It is a very exciting time to be working in the equine technology space. New companies seem to be launching almost daily, and we all share common goals of moving the equine industry forward, improving horse care, and making the lives of horse people easier, safer, better, and more efficient.

However, the launch of new equine tech companies also means that we are all competing for the same resources and attention within an already hectic niche industry. I know that, through BarnManager, we have built a great tool for barn managers, horse owners, riders, and other equine enthusiasts, but with so many new companies, how can we make sure that we aren’t getting lost in the noise? And more importantly, how can we make sure that we are continuing to deliver a product that makes our customer’s lives easier? My answer is through collaboration.

Equine Tech Collaboration

As more and more companies seek to use technology to solve the equine industry’s problems and close the gaps, we need to be aware of what impact we are going to have on potential customers and what impact we are having on one another.

This is the foundation for the collaboration between BarnManager and our equine technology partners, currently including Equo, JumpFax, Stableguard and Electronic Vet. We as equine tech founders and owners want to communicate with each other, grow together, and work to bring better solutions to our customers than any individual startup can do on its own.

So what does this all mean?

Integration and Inter-operability

We are committed to looking for ways to integrate our services and offerings and to make them compatible with other products and services. Each equine tech company is creating value for its customers in its own unique and specific way. Maintaining that focus on a specific problem or challenge enables each company to perfect their approach and to continue to evolve and improve over time. However, many of our customers are shared, so it is on us to make the use of all of our products seamless.

Our software and applications should communicate with one another and enable you to get the most of each product. They should minimize data entry so that you are not entering the same information in multiple places and programs. And they should work together to identify opportunities that arise from working together, opportunities that neither individual may have been able to identify or achieve on their own.

 

Cross-Promotion

No one wants to be constantly bombarded by salespeople, advertisements, sponsored posts, and e-mails. As start-up tech companies though, we must all utilize these channels in order to grow our businesses, reach new people, and share our stories. We want to tell you how our products can help you with that thing that drives you crazy, that thing you know you could do better, or that thing that you love but never have the time for.

If we as equine tech companies work together, we can have more meaningful conversations and create greater long-term value, while also taking less of your time. We can be in more places, learn more, share more and grow more as a team.

 

 

Innovation

It is no secret that the greatest innovations come from diversity of opinions, perspectives, backgrounds and thought processes. As we work together, we hope to bring you new ideas, discoveries, and inventions. Creativity is born from collaboration, and the best creations often come when you least expect it.

We at BarnManager look forward to serving our customers alongside our equine tech collaboration partners! Together, we are stronger than we are apart!

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! Sign up to start your free trial and to find out more here!

 

Managing Horses in Multiple Locations with Laura Kraut

A month ago, Laura Kraut rode on the U.S. Nations Cup team at the CSIO5* Ocala in Ocala, FL. Three weeks ago she was contesting the Sunshine Tour in Spain, and this week, she is back in Wellington, FL, to compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) – only to go back to Spain again on Sunday, March 18.

It’s a busy travel and horse show schedule that could feel difficult by anyone’s standards. For Kraut however, it’s made easier – and even what she describes as
(almost) somewhat relaxing – thanks to the team behind her that understands and exhibits a few key components and characteristics. She shared with BarnManager what a team needs to make managing horses across continents a simpler task.

Compatibility

“You’ve got to be compatible with your team first of all no matter what. I’m very fortunate in that I have my sister who is like having me. I know that what she’s doing is what I would want done. When she’s at a different location than I am, I don’t really have any worries.”

Kraut’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Kent, is the one on the ground in Wellington, FL, where she oversees the approximately 14 horses that they currently have competing at WEF. In Spain, it’s Kraut’s lead rider, Julie Welles, who is in charge of the 18 horses there when Kraut is back in the States.

“They have to be people that you want to work with. I think that’s one of the reasons that Julie has worked really well – because we are all compatible.”

Credentials

“They’ve got to have the credentials. If they’re going to be a rider than you’ve got to respect the way they ride, and if they’re going to manage, you have to have the basic same philosophy of how things are done.

“You’ve got to have people riding your horses that you feel will, at the very least, keep them where you left them or for the better improve them and keep their condition good and their flatwork good.”

For Kraut, she can trust that her horses will all receive the constructive, positive rides that they need from her sister and Welles, who rides the horses in Spain and many of the young horses throughout the year.

Care

In addition to having Kent and Welles at the wheel when Kraut is not on site, the horses are all under the care of well-qualified and knowledgeable grooms.

“It works perfectly. We’ve got enough grooms in each location to help keep the horses looked after the way that they need to be”

And whether it’s a groom, Kent, or Welles, there’s one thing that it is crucial for all of them: “The health of that horse. They’ve got to be on top of that. They have to be paying attention to whether they feel good or whether they feel a little stiff or if one is lame, and they have to be able to make a decision about that. Obviously they consult with me, or my sister, but at the end, you have to rely on them to make a good decision.”

Making those decisions, consulting one another, and all staying on the same page leads to one of the most important components that make everything possible:
communication.

Communication

Kraut, Kent, Welles, and the entire team stay closely connected no matter what location they each are in, and they are constantly communicating and consulting with one another on the day-to- day, what is best for each horse, and how each horse is
performing.

“You asked me about what the difficulties are with managing horses in different locations, and I think the struggle would be if you didn’t have the staff in place to communicate with and to execute the whole thing. For me, I’m very fortunate in that I have that, so it eliminates any worries.”

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! Sign up to start your free trial and to find out more here!

501(c)(3) Feature: A HEART for Equine Aid

A HEART for Equine Aid

If you travel the hunter/jumper horse show circuit – like many of our BarnManager users do – you may have noticed an eye-catching red and orange horse trailer situated somewhere not far from the main ring. That specially outfitted horse trailer belongs to the Humane Equine Aid and Rapid Transport (HEART) equine ambulance service.

Initially founded in conjunction with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, HEART was created to provide emergency transportation services for injured or ill horses, and today, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization is an important part of horse shows up and down the East Coast, including many frequented by BarnManager users, such as the Old Salem Horse Shows, the Kentucky Horse Shows, the Devon Horse Show, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Capital Challenge, the Washington International Horse Show, and numerous others.

The BarnManager team had the privilege of catching up with HEART employee Erick Nagy at a recent horse show, and Nagy gave great insight into how HEART works, how and why you can support the non-profit, and how having BarnManager as a tool could be extremely helpful should you ever need to utilize HEART or a similar service!

How HEART Helps

Each year, HEART is hired by more than 40 horse shows throughout the country to be on site and ready to properly transport horses in the case of an emergency illness or injury. In the case of an injury where the horse is unable to stand, HEART’s highly-trained staff is able to utilize a specially-designed sled to load the horse into the customized HEART trailer that then allows the attending veterinarian ample room to consider treatment options.  

“Everyone that works for HEART has taken a technical large animal rescue class,” explained Nagy, who has worked within the equine industry for more than three decades and is now one of HEART’s regular part-time employees. “We learn to properly put them on the sled, to safely hobble them, to safely transport them when they’re down – everything for their own safety and well-being.”

Nagy was also quick to point out that when at a horse show, the HEART ambulance and staff are not only available during the competition hours, but rather are on call 24/7 and readily able to assist in the case of colics or other after hours emergencies – a valuable resource that has proved vital in several unfortunate situations.

 

How BarnManager Can Help

In the case of an emergency situation, the HEART staff member or members assisting the horse will require the horse’s basic information. Additionally, should the horse be transported with the HEART team and without an accompanying owner, rider, or trainer, as is often the case, the HEART staff will need further additional information on the horse upon arrival to the veterinary hospital or clinic.

That’s where BarnManager is able to provide a resource that simplifies the process amidst a stressful situation! With all of the horse’s information stored within the BarnManager application, the user can quickly pull up the records and show or send them to the HEART driver, saving valuable time in an emergency.  

How You Can Help HEART

And while BarnManager can help those who must use HEART’s services, there is more that can be done to help HEART.

Horse shows pay HEART for the onsite services that they provide, but, as a 501(c)3 organization, HEART is not able to make a profit. Instead, the funds received from horse show’s simply cover the HEART ambulances operating costs – not additional equipment, upgrades, or education.

“We’re trying to get the funding together to buy a third rig,” said Nagy. “Buying a truck and trailer is not cheap at all, and by the time we get done with all of the specializations and the equipment that we need inside, it’s even more costly.”

HEART is also developing a program to educate the general equestrian public on thecare of competition-level horses with presentations on topics such as “What to do Until the Vet Arrives” and “A Complete First Aid Kit For Your Trailer.” 

To learn more about HEART and how you can make a tax deductible donation, visit   www.equineambulance.com/donate.html  

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

Protected: What’s In Your Tack Truck? – with Lillie Keenan

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