The BarnManager Q&A With: Samantha Lyster

The BarnManager Q&A With:

Samantha Lyster, Head Groom at Artemis Equestrian Farm, located in Wellington, FL, and Greenwich, CT

What are three things that are always in your ring bag?

I always have a leather hole punch, a pair of scissors, and Band-Aids. They seem a little silly, but they are the things I’m most often asked for at the ring, both by the people I work for and by other grooms who don’t have them handy.

What is the most helpful habit that you practice at the barn?

Patience. It is still something I struggle with, and it is often easy to forget. It can be applied in all situations, with both horses and humans.

Samantha Lyster with her own Dame Amour. Photo by Ashley Neuhof Photography

How do you foster a great team environment in your business?

This can be difficult unless you’re lucky enough to have a group of people that get along instantly. I think it is important to keep everyone informed of the day’s plan, even if it doesn’t necessarily apply to them, because it keeps the whole team feeling involved. Also, make sure to be aware of how everyone does things a little differently and make an effort to include their ideas.

What’s your best tip or hack for grooming and horse care? Where did you learn it?

If you think you’ve curried enough you haven’t, and you should keep going. Also, try to use different types of curry combs. The best way to get a horse to shine is to really stimulate their skin, get those natural oils working to your advantage, and remove all that dead hair and dirt. I learned that from my coworker, Jose Rios. He also pointed out the importance of having multiple curry combs like a mitt, a thick rubber one, and a metal one. They all have their own job.

 What is your favorite equestrian competition and why?

I’ve only been once, but I really liked Lake Placid. The show itself had a great atmosphere, and the town was super neat. The surrounding areas had lots of places to explore!

If you were a horse, what would you be and why?

If I were a horse, I would probably be someone’s quarter horse they trail ride. I really like to be out and about and explore new areas and sights!

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 in May

Before some of the major summer horse shows begin, the month of May includes several exciting hunter, jumper, equitation, eventing, and dressage competitions both nationally and internationally. Learn about some of BarnManager’s favorite upcoming horse shows and where to watch them no matter where you find yourself this month.

Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championship: May 5-8, 2022 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship takes place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, PA. Collegiate riders who have qualified for the championship will compete in Hunter Seat and Western classes.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

International Jumping de La Baule: May 5-8, 2022 – This international competition takes place in La Baule, France, and includes five-star show jumping competition. The two main classes will be the Nations Cup – Ville de La Baule on Friday, May 6, and the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule on Sunday, May 8.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

Marbach International Horse Trials: May 8-10, 2022 – The Marbach International Horse Trials are held in Marbach, Germany, at one of the oldest stud farms in the world, The Marbach Stud. This event will have both four-star and two-star eventing competition.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

I.C.E. Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival: May 11-14, 2022 – The I.C.E. Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival will take place in Hickstead, England. The show has three arenas featuring international top-level dressage competition.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Madrid: May 13-15, 2022 – The Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Madrid is the first European event on the circuit. The show is held at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. LGCT Madrid will have an international field of show jumping horse and rider combinations and feature Global Champions League competition on a beautiful grass arena.

Where to watch: GCTV

Old Salem Farm Spring Show Week II: May 17-22, 2022 – The second week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Show in North Salem, NY, includes hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. The show will be a World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) event and also offer four-star show jumping classes. Junior equitation riders will compete for the top prize in the Governor’s Perpetual Hunt Seat Cup.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair: May 26-June 5, 2022 – The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is one of the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competitions in the United States. Located in Devon, PA, this event will showcase some of the best hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the country. Thursday, June 2, will feature two highlight classes, the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby as well as the Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon.

Where to watch: USEF Network

 

 

 

Five Tips for a Shiny Summer Coat

As an equestrian, nothing beats someone telling you that your horse has a beautiful coat. Now that spring is here and horses are beginning to shed out, it is time to start thinking about how to get their coat looking healthy and shiny for the summer. Keep reading for a few of BarnManager’s favorite tips for a fantastic summer coat.

1. Groom Properly

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to give your horse a shiny coat is to groom them properly. This is especially important if they were not clipped during the winter and are shedding out. Grooming your horse is not only good exercise and helpful for their coat, but it also gives you time to check for any new bumps or scratches. Start with currying your horse, which loosens all the dirt and dead hair and brings out the natural oils. This step is essential for a healthy-looking coat. Next, use a hard brush to get all of the dirt and dead hair off of your horse and also distribute the oils. Going over your horse afterwards with a towel will grab any dirt or dust that was left behind and ensure that your horse’s coat is lying flat. It is also important to clean your grooming tools regularly because dirt builds up quickly, and you do not want to spread it while brushing your horse.

2. Good Diet

A shiny coat often starts from within. A balanced diet is key to making sure your horse has a gleaming coat this summer. It is important to feed good hay that has a nice green color and is not dried out or dusty. Hay is an extremely important part of a horse’s diet because it provides nutrients. Adding supplements into your horse’s feed can also be beneficial. For example, Vitamin E and selenium are two supplements that can help your horse’s coat. If you are not sure your horse has a balanced diet or is getting proper nutrients, consider talking with a nutritionist.

3. Do Not Over Bathe

When it gets warmer it is easy to bathe horses too frequently, especially if they are grey. While it may seem like a good idea to keep them clean, it can dry out their skin and coat. Also, legs that are are not dried properly can be susceptible to scratches and other skin conditions. If your horse does get warm after exercise, try sponging and toweling off where they are sweaty or putting fans in front of them so they dry faster. For owners of grey horses, spot removers are useful for removing stained areas without doing a full bath. If you must bathe your horse during the hot months of summer, consider using conditioner instead of shampoo. This will help moisturize the coat instead of drying it out. When applying, avoid the saddle area as this will make it very slippery. Also, do not put conditioner in the mane or tail if you plan on braiding your horse for a competition in the near future.

4. Protect From the Sun

During the spring, summer, and early fall a horse’s coat can often get sun bleached from being turned out, especially if the paddock is not well-shaded. This can be solved by either doing night turnout or getting a fly sheet to protect your horse from the sun as well as flies. A fly sheet may also help keep your horse a little cleaner so you can avoid daily baths.

5. Invest in a Coat Shine Product

To add a little extra gleam to your horse’s coat, purchase a coat shine product. There are many options that can help make your horse’s coat soft, shiny, and healthy. These sprays often contain conditioner that moisturizes the coat. Make sure to check the ingredients and avoid any products containing silicone, which can actually dry out the coat. Similar to applying conditioner during a bath, be careful about avoiding the area where the saddle goes.

Whether or not you plan on showing, a beautiful, healthy, and shiny coat is something that all horse owners can achieve. Test out these tips this spring to get your horse’s coat looking its best.

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 Tips To Organize Your Tack Room

A tack room can be a busy area where people are constantly in and out, looking for items, or socializing. For these reasons, keeping a tack room clean and organized is no easy task. Read about a few of BarnManager’s favorite tips on how to keep this area neat throughout the day.

1. Sort Your Tack

The first step in organizing your tack room is to sort all of your equipment. Extra pieces of tack can pile up over time, so it is helpful to go through and decide what you actually need every once in a while. Make several piles for tack that you currently use, extra items you may need, leather that needs to get fixed, equipment that can be donated, and tack that has to be thrown away. During this cleanout, look for items that do not actually need to be there and are taking up useful space. This is the perfect time to take those things out and put them in their correct spot somewhere else.

While you are organizing your tack, you should take inventory of what you have. It is always nice to know how many extra sets of reins, stirrup leathers, or nosebands you have, especially if something breaks. Make a note of where you store the equipment, so it is easy to find when you need it. You can use BarnManager’s list function to write down where the extra tack is kept and share it with all employees.

2. Create Sections

Depending on the size of your tack room and how many horses and clients you have, it is helpful to create different sections within the tack room. To do this, make sure you have a lot of extra hooks and bridle racks. If you attend a lot of horse shows, think about designating one wall for horse show bridles and a separate wall for schooling tack. This will make packing for a horse show very simple and help keep everything organized. Another option is to separate tack by client or horse. This gives each client their own spot, so it is easier to keep things neat and reduce confusion. Separating tack by client will also make it easier for all employees to easily understand which equipment goes with each horse and rider.

Create a separate spot for extra equipment so it does not accidentally get mixed in with the everyday tack. If your tack room does not have cabinets or storage spots, you may want to invest in a couple of drawers or bins where these items can go. Putting your extra tack away in storage containers will help keep the room looking less cluttered and make things easy to find. If possible, try to stay away from open shelving that can get disorganized and messy looking throughout the day.

3. Organize Bits

Similar to leather tack, bit collections can also grow over the years. If you have extra bridle racks or hooks, consider keeping a few useful bits out so that you can quickly switch to them if needed. Organize the rest of your bits by type and then store them away in a tack trunk or cabinet. Large metal binder rings can be used to keep bits of the same style all together so when you are looking for a certain type it is easy to find. If you are keeping your bits in a cabinet, it may be helpful to create hooks or sections to separate the bits.

4. Give Everything a Home

One of the most important steps to ensure that everything is returned properly and stays organized is to give all items a home. While it may be easy to keep the tack organized, make sure smaller items like saddle pads, bandages, veterinary creams, and any other supplies have a specific spot where they are stored as well. Creating a system like this will help keep things from getting left in random places or piling up in a certain spot throughout the day, especially if there are multiple people using the same supplies.

5. Label All Items

Once your equipment is in place, the final step is to label everything. This will give people a clear idea about where items are stored and help make sure that everything is returned properly. You can label bridles, saddles, bits, cabinets, and bins. Having all equipment labeled will also be beneficial when you have a new employee or client because they will immediately understand where all the supplies belong.

Organizing your tack room may seem like a daunting job, but it is worth it in the long run. A neat tack room can help make equipment easier to find while also keeping your barn looking orderly and tidy.

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 That Make a Good Barn Manager

Barn managers are a key component to running a successful barn. Keep reading to learn about some of the essential traits of a good barn manager.

1. The Ability to Multi-Task

Barn managers must be able to handle switching between several different tasks in a short period of time. They have to know how to prioritize their projects so the most important tasks are done quickly and efficiently. A medical emergency might happen right when a manager is in the middle of packing for a horse show, so they must know how to change gears and attend to the more important job without losing track of other things. It is also necessary for managers to balance several activities at once, keeping each one on track throughout a busy day. For example, managers often need to build the schedule for the next day while also helping the visiting vet, ordering grain, getting the rides done, or checking in with other staff.

2. Planning Ahead

Managers have to be two steps ahead of everyone else. For this reason, the ability to make both long-term and short-term schedules is critical. For long-term scheduling, managers should know key dates such as when horse show entries are due, which weeks the farrier is coming, and when health papers are needed. Knowing when each horse is scheduled for various procedures is a lot to keep straight, but it is the manager’s job to know when a client inquires.

At horse shows, the ability to make daily short-term schedules is essential. Managers are responsible for knowing which groom is taking each horse to the ring, making sure every horse has the right equipment, and being sure that all the correct aftercare is done. This requires managers to be able to plan out each day almost to the minute.

3. Communication Skills

Managers must effectively communicate with all staff members as well as clients, vets, farriers, and more. During a busy day, especially at a horse show, clear communication is crucial. Managers need to be positive that grooms, clients, riders, and trainers are all on the same page and understand the plan. Additionally, if the plan changes, managers are often in charge of making sure everyone is aware of the alterations.

When talking with coworkers, it is very helpful to keep a positive attitude. Managers are seen as the leaders. If they have a negative attitude, it will most likely transfer to other employees. If a problem arises between two coworkers, barn managers need to know how to remain calm, listen to both sides, and work with each employee to come up with a solution.

In order to successfully communicate and work with vets and farriers, managers must understand basic horse knowledge. It is their job to tell the vet or farrier what is going on with the horse when there is an issue. They are often responsible for relaying the diagnosis or treatment plan to the trainer, rider, and client.

4. An Open Mind

For most jobs in the equestrian industry, having an open mind is key. Even if someone has been a manager for 10 years, there is always something new they can learn. Every horse has something to teach, and coworkers also have new tips or tricks that are helpful. Having a positive attitude and always being willing to learn can help managers constantly improve their skills.

5. Love of the Horse

The most necessary quality in a good barn manager is to love the horses. The job requires long hours and can be physically and mentally tiring. A commitment to the animals makes it all worth it. A manager that has a passion for horses will always be fully committed to the job and make sure the horses’ care comes first.

Barn managers may not always be the ones riding and training. Their dedication to the barn behind the scenes allows for happy, healthy, and successful horses and riders.

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 Activities To Do When It’s Too Cold To Ride

For most people, the winter months include some days when the temperatures are too cold to safely ride your horse. Below are some equestrian-related activities to keep you busy during those ice-cold days.

1. Watch Live Streams

If you are stuck inside because of freezing temperatures or several feet of snow, check out coverage from some of the horse shows happening elsewhere. Live streams are available for both World Equestrian Center locations, the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Desert International Horse Park. USEF Network also offers educational content and horse shows on demand. If you want to learn more from top equestrians, watch a Masterclass or a Barn Talk from Horse & Country. You may not be able to have a lesson that day, but you can still grow your knowledge and skills remotely.

2. Clean Tack

If your barn has a heated tack room, consider taking the time to deep clean and condition all of your tack. It’s difficult to find the time to do this during a regular busy day when you are riding. Go the extra step and take apart your bridle, clean your bits, condition your saddle, and polish your boots. Make sure to clean all the tiny leather pieces that often get skimmed over in day-to-day cleaning. This is a good time to make note of any equipment that might need to be replaced or fixed. You could also bring your tack home if you prefer to work while watching a movie or live stream of a horse show.

3. Make Homemade Horse Cookies

Baking when it’s cold or snowing is always a fun way to keep you busy. After making a batch of cookies for yourself, consider baking some homemade treats for your favorite horse. Although it’s no longer the holiday season, check out BarnManager’s DIY Holiday Horse Treat Recipes for some fun ideas. This is an activity your horse will definitely appreciate, no matter what time of year.

4. Organize Your Tack Trunk

Cleaning out your tack trunk can be a daunting task depending on how much equipment you acquire over time. It’s a good idea to go through and reorganize every once in a while, especially if you struggle to find things in a pinch. Buy baskets or clear containers that easily fit into your trunk and use them to store gear such as bits, extra pieces of tack, spurs, and gloves. Create separate piles of equipment to throw out if well-worn or donate if still in good condition. Empty out your entire trunk and use the barn vacuum or a hand-held one from home to really get ready for a clean start. When you put everything back in, try to put your most used items at the top of the trunk for easy access.

5. Clean Out Your Closet

Equestrians have a habit of collecting shirts and breeches throughout the years and then not wearing most of them. Take advantage of those cold days when you are stuck inside to go through your closet and decide what clothes you actually wear and what you really don’t need. You can also do this with boots, half chaps, show jackets, and other equipment that have accumulated over time. If the items are still in good condition, consider donating to an organization that makes gently-used riding clothes available to other horse lovers who need them, such as The Rider’s Closet.

Although nobody wants to spend a day inside away from their horse, try to make the most of that time with these fun and productive activities from BarnManager.

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!

5 Tips for Riding Your Horse Early in the Day

The clocks just fell back, as they do for most of us every fall, bringing darkness at an hour earlier than we are ready to fathom. For equestrians with day jobs, this means riding after work can get tricky, especially if the farm is not equipped with an indoor arena or outdoor lighting. The bright side (literally) is that daylight emerges earlier than it used to. So there is more time in the mornings to devote to riding. If your schedule allows, consider waking up early to ride your horse before work. That way, you can start your day in an enjoyable way and not have to worry about riding in the dark or foregoing your trip to the barn when you are needed late at work. If that’s a new concept for you, here are some tips to help make morning rides a routine.

 

1. Go to bed early.

This may seem obvious, but it’s easier to get up and get rolling when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. If you make it a habit to go to bed earlier on the nights before you ride, waking up at a new time will get easier. Turn off your screens earlier in the evening before your head hits the pillow. Blue light from your devices is proven to keep you awake. Try picking up a book so your eyes and mind can relax and help you fall asleep sooner.

2. Give yourself something to look forward to when your alarm goes off.

Maybe it’s your favorite breakfast on the way there or a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. While your horse may be enough to coax you out of bed, it’s nice to have an extra little boost to get you excited about the morning’s activities.

3. Dress in warm clothes because it may be chilly.

Usually, the coolest temperatures hit right before daybreak. Waking up before the sun has risen means you might be subjected to some pretty freezing temperatures. This is especially important if you have to fetch your horse from the pasture or do a significant amount of work on the ground before getting in the saddle. Once you’re riding, your blood will start circulating and your body temperature will rise. That means that you may need to shed some layers, but you’ll be glad you had them for the beginning.

4. Map out the best route to avoid traffic.

Though traffic is lighter now than it may have been this time last year, early morning commuters can often cause traffic jams, so use apps like Google Maps and Waze to identify the quickest routes to and from the barn each day. You don’t want to get stuck in traffic or come across a surprise slow down due to an accident when you know the rest of your day is waiting for you at home.

5. Be efficient so you can get on with your day.

We all know riding is time-consuming and it’s easy to spend longer at the barn than we intend. There is always more to do and things can come up unexpectedly to delay your departure. Try to stick to a plan and don’t spend any unnecessary time between tasks. If you don’t clean your tack every day, save that for days you aren’t on a time crunch. Don’t lose track of time talking to your trainer or friends. Save the long chats and tedious organizational projects for the weekend. Anything you can do to stay focused and not stray from your timeline is crucial for efficiency.

 

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!

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

4 Ways to Bring Your Horse with You Everywhere You Go

There are endless ways to honor the horses that leave prominent marks on our hearts and in our lives. You can spend a small fortune on commemorative items that showcase just how much you love your horse. But sometimes you just want something small you can keep with you at all times to always remember your heart horse(s), whether they’re still with you or they’ve moved on.

1. Keychains

There are so many ways to carry a piece of your horse with you jingling on your key ring everywhere you go. Some companies will make a keychain or jewelry out of your horse’s tail, so you can, quite literally, carry a piece of him and her. Others will make beautiful gold-plated name tags or acrylic imagery depicting your horse so you can see his or her face all the time.

2. Jewelry

Whether your jewelry style is minimalist or not-so-minimalist, you can always find a piece of jewelry that suits your taste to honor your beloved horse. You can even find something as simple as a charm for a bracelet or necklace with your horse’s first initial to wear every day. Equine-specific brands can put your horse’s full name on a bracelet to wear, and you can find even more options for unique jewelry customization just by searching marketplaces such as Etsy.

3. Belts

We’ve all seen the riders, both young and old, with belts that have more plates than belt loops featuring all the horses they’ve ridden and/or owned. This is a great way to carry each horse with you all the time, and could even help you remember all the valuable lessons they each taught every time you step into the show ring.

4. Phone cases

Growing increasingly popular are custom phone cases, depicting subject matter such as initials, imagery, and even custom artwork. If you’

re looking for something more subtle, some companies sell phone cases with a single initial, and others go all out by turning a photo of your beloved horse into digital art for the case. Nothing is more unique than putting your own horse’s face on the back of your phone!

 

 

 

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 Tips for Digitally Organizing Your Horses’ Vet Records

Whether you are a leaser or a leesee, the buyer or the seller, you want your next horse transaction to be a positive experience for all involved, including the horse.