501(c)(3) Feature: Hapi Trails Horse Adoption Program, Inc

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

Ten years ago, the communities surrounding Driggs, Idaho, experienced the height of an economic downturn.

Suddenly, many local, rural horse owners found themselves unable to care for their animals, and horses began to be left behind or neglected as their owners lost their incomes and often even their housing.

That’s when horsewomen Jen Carter, Debbie Falber, Gena Howald, Julie Martin, Kim Mills, and Greta Procious decided to together step into action, and HAPI Trails Horse Adoption Program, Inc. was born.

HAPI Trails’ mission became providing a happy, healthy, and nurturing environment for the abused, abandoned, and neglected horses of the area – initially with the idea of simply seeing the horses through the tough time in the economy. However, while the women expected the demand for the organization’s services to decline as the economy improved, it remained the same. Year after year, at least 10 to 12 horses were discovered to be in need of HAPI Trail’s help, and for the greater part of the past decade, HAPI Trails has maintained an “at full capacity” status.

“This is our first winter since 2009 to NOT be a capacity,” said Martin, the executive director of HAPI Trails. “It’s a good feeling, especially since we had our biggest adoption year in 2018. We were able to find new wonderful homes for nine of the horses in our program. We currently have 10 horses in our program, with another six potentially needing our services, and we cannot take care of more than 25 horses at one time due due to space and funding limitations. We are very responsible when it comes to the care of our horses and unfortunately will not take more than our resources allow.

“We work regularly with local law enforcement to collect rogue horses and provide care and housing for impounded, lost, or unclaimed horses,” continued Martin. “We maintain two emergency spaces within our system for these agencies. We have on average, five horses in foster care in our network of volunteers at any given time.”

Today, the Driggs, Idaho, based rescue continues to be run 100 percent by volunteers who spend more than 7,500 cumulative hours each year volunteering their time, money, heart, and soul caring for the horses.

“We have nine board members that are 100 percent hands on, and who I’d consider to be our top volunteers,” explained Martin, who is also certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) and is helping to facilitate the equine-assisted psychotherapy program for HAPI Trails. “We also have, on average, 35 other volunteers who help regularly with the care of horses, property maintenance, and fundraising.”

All of the volunteers are dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming the horses that come to HAPI Trails into a loving, compassionate, lifelong home.

“We advocate for responsible horse ownership and are members of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, working with owners who are capable of keeping their horses, but have deemed their horses ‘unwanted,’” said Martin. “By assessing each horse and matching that animal to an appropriate owner, we can help provide good homes for these wonderful animals. We prefer to place horses in permanent homes; therefore, no HAPI Trails horse may be sold or given away and is always welcome back into the program. HAPI Trails performs follow-up visits and provides continued support for all of our animals and owners.”

With so many horses to keep track of, Kristie Eggebroten, HAPI Trails’ development director, knew that the organization needed a better way to manage all of the horse’s data and information, which led her to finding BarnManager and the free-for-501(c)(3) program.

“BarnManager is helping us organize and connect our horses and our volunteers to what our horses need,” said Martin. “We all have full-time jobs, so making it easier to keep up is always a plus.”

By simplifying their organization and cutting down on the time needed to stay organized, Martin and all of the volunteers are able to spend more time focused on what they love most about HAPI Trails: the horses!

“We love what we do!” concluded Martin. “We give hope for horses and connect horses to good people.”

To learn more about HAPI Trails, visit www.hapitrails.org.

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!

501(c)(3) Feature: Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc.

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

Wisconsin native Cindy Prince was attending law school and preparing for her First-Year Law Students Exam (commonly called the “Baby Bar Exam”) with her sights firmly set on a successful career as an attorney, until suddenly fate and a half-blind horse intervened.

In September 2013, Prince got word of a one-eyed Arabian being given away for free from a rescue that was closing its doors for the winter.

“Who, I asked myself, is going to take in a two-year-old, one-eyed Arabian? Well, the obvious answer was me!” said Prince, who was 40 at the time. “The entire series of events that this decision kicked off was not at all what anyone saw coming.”

Prince contacted the rescue on a Friday, and by Saturday, she was approved to adopt, with plans made to pick up the gelding Sunday morning after Prince attended a wedding on Saturday evening. That Saturday night however, while dancing at the wedding reception, Prince dislocated her knee cap.

“It was excruciating, and I ended up in the emergency room, not getting back home until close to 3 in the morning when we were to be on the road by 8 a.m.,” said Prince. “Plus, I was now in a leg immobilizer and on crutches. Regardless, we hopped in a borrowed truck pulling a borrowed trailer, and off we went to pick him up!”

The Arabian, now named Kirby, came home with Prince and in the months that followed Prince recovered from her injury – and from a blood clot that developed in her calf immediately following–  she passed the Baby Bar Exam, and the idea of starting a horse rescue began to be lightly tossed around between her and her close friends.

“A couple of friends and I declared Thursdays to be horse night; they would come over, and we would spend time with the horses and each other,” explained Prince. “Everything was going so well. We talked of wanting to start our own rescues, but also about how hard that would be as there is no money to be made in rescue. How could I go from planning a future career as an attorney to running a non-profit that provides no income?”

For Prince, fate already had that one figured out. Two days before the start of 2014, Prince learned that she had stage two breast cancer, and everything came crashing down around her.

“My body did not tolerate the treatment well at all,” said Prince. “It was 10 months of hell, to say the least. I could barely get out of bed most of the time, much less care for the horses. I was often too drugged to even think straight, but when I could, all I could think about was Kirby. This horse I took in to care for and now I was unable too.”

Throughout treatment, Prince spent much of her time thinking, dreaming, crying, and misplacing her anger on those caring for her, until suddenly everything made sense.  Something or someone was telling her that she was on the wrong path. Her heart had always been with horses, and suddenly she knew what she was meant to do. 

“I began researching other horse rescues and talking with my husband. I no longer had any interest in law school. There was only one thing I wanted to do when my treatment was over – help more horses in need like Kirby,” said Prince.

By August 2014, before Prince was even completely done with treatment, Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc. was born with the mission of rescuing equines from abandonment, abuse, neglect, and slaughter.

Prince and Pony Tales took in their first two “official” rescue horses in October 2014, and since then, the refuge and rehab has rescued more than 150 equines and, to date, has found homes for 96 of them.

Presently, the Colfax, WI-based rescue is home to 40 equines and specializes in unhandled, feral equines and nurse mare orphan foals, while continuing to take in equines from all walks of life – and while running a special program, known as the Trainer’s Challenge.

Started five years ago, shortly after Pony Tales initial creation, the Trainer’s Challenge welcomes trainers and riders of all ages and training experience to apply to be partnered with one of the rescue horses. If accepted, the trainer is able to pick up their designated rescue horse in February, working with the horse until June when the horse and trainer together show off their hard work and vie for prizes in the Trainer’s Challenge, before the horse is returned to the rescue and ultimately rehomed.

“The past Challenges have made it possible for more than 30 equines to get the training they needed to be able to find homes,” explained Prince. “This year, if each of the 27 available horses get paired with a suitable trainer, we will almost double that number!” 

With so many horses at Pony Tales, some of them leaving the property to be involved in the Trainer’s Challenge, and some finding new homes, organization is vital. That’s where BarnManager comes in.

“We heard about Barn Manager in 2017 when we became verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS),” said Prince. “They asked us to find an electronic storage system for our data in case of a fire or other disaster that could destroy our paper files. We began researching programs and initially wanted to try BarnManager.

“We thought it was out of our budget at the time and tried other programs over the next year and a half. None of them were quite what we were looking for though. When we learned a few months ago that BarnManager offered free services to 501(c)(3) non-profits, we signed up right away!

“BarnManager not only helps us keep our ‘verified’ status with the GFAS, but it is so user-friendly. I personally struggle with technology at times, and it’s so easy to use that my mom – who is very tech-challenged – is even able to work with it,” continued Prince. “I also very much love being able to scan in our documents, and I greatly enjoy throwing away the ones we don’t need to keep as the documents are stored safely in the program and accessible from any device. We had stacks and stacks of papers, records, and binders everywhere, and we were beginning to run out of room to keep them all! It became quite a task to just track down the location of a certain document.”

Whether its importing information into BarnManager and handling organization, updating the Pony Tales’ website, or caring for the horses themselves, volunteers, including a team of board members and four additional reliable and trustworthy volunteers, do the majority of the work at Pony Tales. Prince says she would be lost without them. 

“Every day is a learning experience,” said Prince. “We do not have any full-time volunteers. Our website has been a thorn in my side since day one, but we now have two wonderful volunteers working on getting it in shape and maintaining it. We do our best and our first priority every day, all day, is the horses. The horse always comes first.”

To learn more about Pony Tales and how you can support the 501(c)(3), visit www.ponytaleswi.org.


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!

Winter Equestrian Festival 2019 Destination Guide

With the start of the new year comes the start of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in one of the BarnManager team’s favorite places: Wellington, FL!

For the Wellington first-timer, it can be hard to know where to begin your visit. (There are just so many beautiful horses everywhere!) That’s why we’ve compiled a few of our Wellington favorites into this destination guide to help you plan your next weekend visit or your full-season stay in the ‘winter equestrian capital of the world.’


Where to Eat

Agliolio – Agliolio’s pasta is made in house and, by our vote, is the best in Wellington! They also offer a number of gluten-free pasta options, delicious bread, tasty signature drinks, and even convenient carry-out for when you’re in the mood to carbo load at home. Check out www.Agliolio.com/menu.

Buccan – While not located in Wellington, Buccan is a favorite for WEF and AGDF goers looking to enjoy an evening on Palm Beach! Buccan is known for its delicious small plates full of big flavor that range from warm octopus salad to spicy pork tacos. Buccan offers communal seating or individual tables, but be sure to make a reservation as the restaurant fills up quickly during the winter season! Visit www.buccanpalmbeach.com.

The Farm Stand – The Farm Stand is one of the newest food additions to the WEF showgrounds – and it’s one of the healthiest! Located on the walk between the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring and Pony Island, The Farm Stand offers craft coffee from Pumphouse Coffee Roasters, plant-based cuisine and juices made by Meraki Juice Kitchen, and clean, nutritious food from Tess & Co. Visit www.farmstand-pb.com to learn more.



Field of Greens – If you’re looking to grab a salad or smoothie on the go or for a quick lunch, look no further than Field of Greens. The Wellington location is just minutes from the show grounds, and packed with healthy options including acai bowls, protein shakes, and juices in addition to the delicious salads! View the full menu at www.fieldofgreensonline.com.

The Oasis Café, Tiki Hut, or Tito’s Tacos – There are a number of additional dining options located onsite at the WEF showgrounds for those looking to grab a quick burger, sandwich, salad, or taco while enjoying the show or before their next round. For salads, wings, burgers, and more, visit the Tiki Hut located next to the International Arena. For a wide variety of options for breakfast or lunch, visit the Oasis Café, located in the Vendor Village, and for Mexican cuisine, stop in to Tito’s Tacos, open Thursday through Sunday just across the bridge from the Tiki Hut.


The Tiki Hut is a perfect place to catch the jumping action


Oli’s Fashion Cuisine – Oli’s is a popular hotspot for horse show goers, located just a short drive from the show grounds. The menu features an array of beautifully presented entrees and salads, as well as flatbreads, sandwiches, and more. If you’re enjoying a Monday off from the horse show, consider Oli’s for a boozy brunch or an enjoyable evening with friends, as all bottles of wine are half-off on Mondays. Visit www.olisfashioncuisine.com.

What to Do

Watch the Horse Show of Course! – WEF and AGDF run from January 9 through March 31, with a wide range of hunter, jumper, equitation, and dressage competition ongoing every Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free each day with the exception of Friday nights at AGDF and Saturday nights at WEF.


The International Ring lit up for Saturday Night is a sight that can’t be missed!


‘Saturday Night Lights’ – Parking admission to WEF is charged on Saturday nights ($20/car, with free parking also available across the street at the AGDF) because it’s the most anticipated night of the week, ‘Saturday Night Lights’! Throughout the 12 weeks of WEF, each Saturday night features a FEI-rated grand prix or a special, featured event, including the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes during the show’s opening week. Come early to enjoy the carousel, petting zoo, shopping, and dozens of food vendors offering delicious dinner options and treats ranging from kettle corn to crepes to cheesecake on a stick!

‘Friday Night Stars’ Freestyle – Much like Saturday nights host WEF’s largest, featured events each week, Friday night is the night to be at AGDF! During Friday Night Stars spectators are able to watch some of the best dressage horses and riders in the world perform their freestyle tests! Find the full AGDF schedule online here at gdf.coth.com.


The AGDF Derby Field is a another great place to soak up the Florida sun


Go to a Polo Match – In addition to many of the world’s best hunter, jumper, and dressage competitors, Wellington, FL, hosts the finest international polo players each winter at the International Polo Club (IPC)! For a Sunday afternoon of high-level sport and high-level socializing, put on your Sunday best and head over to IPC for a match, beginning each week at 3 p.m. A wide variety of tickets, including brunch options, box seats, and more, are available for purchase online at ipc.coth.com.

Go for a Drive – When you’re done at the horse show, continue down South Shore Boulevard or Pierson Road to take in some of the stunning properties and horse farms for which Wellington is known!

Where to Shop

Dover Saddlery – A popular, nationwide source for equestrian tack, supplies, and apparel, Dover Saddlery opened a Wellington, FL, location in 2014, offering just about any and everything you may need from a tack shop. In 2018, they also unveiled a location onsite at WEF for even greater convenience – and for another place for us to spend lots of money on our horses! Visit www.DoverSaddlery.com for more information.

Onsite at WEF – WEF hosts more than 100 food and retail vendors onsite each season in locations including Vendor Village in the middle of the showgrounds, Hunter Hill just above the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, the Shoppes at the International Club inside the large International Club, and more. Be sure to check out some of our favorites including EquiFit, Equo, Hermès, Hunt Ltd., and Fab Finds by Sarah!



The Tackeria – Located directly across from both WEF and AGDF, The Tackeria has been a Wellington equestrian staple for years! The spacious store offers not only tack and supplies, but also a large selection of equestrian gift items and home décor pieces.

Worth Avenue – After you’ve visited Hermès at WEF, if you’re looking to continue your high-end shopping spree, be sure to continue to downtown Palm Beach to shop along the iconic Worth Avenue, home to unique boutiques, Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, and much, much more. Find a full directory online at https://worth-avenue.com/.


Have other Wellington favorites and recommendations that we missed? We’d love to hear your favorites in the comments!

Enjoy your next visit or stay in the ‘winter equestrian capital of the world!’

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 Achieving Your Equestrian Goals in 2019

It’s about to be that time of year again: that time where we suddenly go from consuming approximately a dozen cookies a day and possibly one too many glasses of wine to vowing that we’re only eating kale salads and drinking green juice for the whole next week. And also, we’re giving up the sleeping in and instead starting all of our days at 5 a.m. And we’re not buying Starbucks every day or any more pairs of breeches because 2019 is going to be the year we start really saving lots of money.

Maybe that’s not quite accurate for you, but we can bet that you’ve been there too—looking back over what you did or didn’t accomplish in the past year and swearing that you’re going to do things differently in the year ahead!

If you feel like you’ve been saying, “Now THIS year is really going to be my year,” every year since 2002 and nothing has changed – or even if you feel like 2018 was a really great year, and you’re on exactly the track that you want to be on – we have a few tips that could help you accomplish your goals in the year ahead and make 2019 one of your best years yet!

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

It’s said that “if your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough,” and we agree that it’s important to set big goals and to have high aspirations. However, you also want them to be realistic and attainable so that you don’t get discouraged on your way to achieving your goals and dreams!

One great tip for avoiding that sort of 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.”

If you’ve been competing in the 0.80m jumpers, odds are that it is not realistic or attainable to make your goal competing on the same horse in the 1.40m in 2019. Instead, your S.M.A.R.T. goal may be something like: “Move up to the 1.10m on Sherlock by the end of the Vermont Summer Festival.” This gives you a very clear objective and a timeframe to aim toward.

2. Develop an action plan by breaking your large goal down to smaller steps.

Suppose your 2019 goal is to qualify your amateur-owner hunter for indoors or maybe it’s to lose 20 pounds in the process of improving your riding fitness and performance. Depending on where you are currently, either of those could seem pretty daunting.

In order to not get overwhelmed and to have a realistic chance at achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish, break down those large goals into smaller steps and map out an action plan to make the big goals happen.

For instance, qualifying for indoors goal could get broken down to a large number of baby steps, starting with a weekly goal such as: “Aim to ride three to four times a week so that I’m in better riding shape and ready for the show ring.” Then you can set goals of which shows you are aiming for and an action plan of how many shows you can realistically attend and how many may be needed to achieve your qualifying points.

For the weight loss and fitness goal, maybe you start somewhere such as: “Do physical activity outside of the saddle three times a week,” – a smaller, attainable step that will ultimately point you in the right direction of your larger, overarching objective.

3. 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. For equestrian goals and riding and competition journaling, check out View Halloo!

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

That brings us to the next point: use your resources and the tools available to you! Planning out your competition year and your horse show goals? Check out Jumpfax. Striving to achieve your barn management organization in 2019? 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.

5. 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 2019 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!

501(c)(3) Feature: Southern Redhead Farms Rescue

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!


Dr. Susan Spivey had just graduated from the London School of Economics when she received a call from a friend, congratulating her on completing her dissertation and asking her a question – a question that would ultimately end up changing the course of Spivey’s life over the last two years.
“She said, ‘Have you ever heard of these things called kill pens?’” explained Spivey, who, in addition to her degree from the London School of Economics, has a master’s degree in Pharmacoeconomics from the University of Florida. “I said, ‘No I have not.’ She said, ‘You just need to go on this website and look. Just be prepared because your heart will break.’”
By that very same evening in September 2016, Spivey had rescued her first two horses, and that week, Brego and Arwen arrived at Spivey and her husband, Pat O’Neal’s Southern Redhead Farms in Bronson, FL.
“We had bought a farm, literally only about nine months previous,” explained Spivey, who grew up on a cattle ranch and whose goal had been to raise a few cows on the property. “I’d said, ‘I’d love to have cows and chickens.’ There has been a little bit of a digression from that as you can see.”
While her dad had had a few horses on their family ranch, Spivey had never intended to have a horse of her own, let alone two horses – which would soon turn into three horses, and then five horses…
“We had Brego and Arwen, and then this little colt popped up on my Facebook feed; he looked absolutely just terrified,” said Spivey, who next rescued that colt, Phoenix, and then George and Gracie, a wagon-pulling team destined to be killed as George had broken his leg.
As Spivey realized the ongoing need for rescue of these horses, the Southern Redhead Farms Rescue was officially born, with the name sharing that of Spivey’s farm and honoring Spivey’s mother, a redhead from South Carolina who lost her battle with cancer.
“We just started growing from there,” said Spivey. “The sheriff’s office started calling, so I’ve partnered with the local livestock deputies and have helped in a couple of horse seizures – or rather I call it rescuing horses who had fallen on hard times, of no fault of their own.”

Since its inception two years ago, Southern Redhead Farms Rescue’s mission has remained saving abused, abandoned, and neglected horses, rehabbing them, and then finding them new, safe forever homes. Today, it’s grown exponentially and is currently home to 37 equines, ranging from Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds to miniature horses and donkeys.
With so many horses to love, care for, rehabilitate, and adopt out, Spivey has turned to BarnManager as a resource to keep track of all the horses’ paperwork and records.
“We would leave notes for each other; if somebody was on antibiotics or we were going to increase the feed for somebody, we’d put that in the notebook, and we’d date it,” explained Spivey, who also continues to work full-time as an associate director of medical sciences for a biotechnological and pharmaceutical company.
“Now BarnManager helps us with that. It’s a place for me to stockpile those notes on each particular horse,” continued Spivey. “It also helps in our adoption process, because now I’ve got all of those records together for the horse. So when they’re adopted out, I can say, ‘This is the last farrier appointment. This is the last time they received their shots. There’s the date of the coggins.’
“All of that information is together, instead of me having to run around and find loose pieces of paper. Now they can get a continuous record of what’s happened to that horse from the day they step foot on this rescue until the day they were adopted out to go to their new home. Then I can keep a copy of that record as well, along with a picture.”

In addition to the benefit of BarnManager for streamlined organization and paperwork, the rescue has significantly benefited from the support of a knowledgeable and well-rounded board of directors.
“I’ve got a board of directors that is just awesome,” said Spivey. “One woman, Karen Putnam, just came to our board, and she has really helped me immensely. I didn’t have a lot of contacts within the horse industry, and she does have that. So, it’s been a Godsend since the day that she showed up here at this rescue to look at a mini!
“Some of the people that have been on our board are much better at marketing than I am, so I allow them to kind of run with that area,” continued Spivey. “I have somebody on the board who works at the University of Florida as a grant writer, so she helps us facilitate grants. I’ve surrounded myself with people who have a love of horses and also help us keep this rescue afloat.”
Through the efforts and the effort of her husband, the board of directors, and the staff that helps care for the horses, Spivey hopes to place more horses into loving, adoptive families and garner additional support to cover the expenses of rehabilitating and caring for the animals during their time at the rescue.
“I do work full-time and part of that is to be able to put feed in these horses’ mouths,” said Spivey. “I’ll be honest and say that I probably fund 60 to 70 percent of the day-to-day expenses of running this rescue. I would like to eventually flip that and say that I’m only funding about 30 percent of the rescue, and 70 percent we have coming from donations and fundraising. Eventually!
“This was not a path that I sought out, and it’s not a path that I ever really thought that I would be on,” concluded Spivey. “But I don’t regret that I’m on it. There are moments where you’re like ‘This is too much!’ Then I can go out and look at some of these faces. My husband usually says, ‘If you hadn’t done this, these horses would be dead.’ Then it kind of puts my perspective back where it needs to be. When you see start to see those horses trust people again, it is just an awesome feeling.”
To learn more about Southern Redhead Farms Rescue, to view the horses currently available for adoption, and to find out how you can help, find the rescue on Facebook here. For questions or for additional information, Dr. Susan Spivey and the team at Southern Redhead Farms Rescue can be contacted at southernredheadfarmsrescue@yahoo.com.

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!

501(c)(3) Feature: The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!



In 1980, the Fairfax 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program was launched with one borrowed horse and a handful of riders.
Today, 38 years later, that program has evolved into the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP), with a herd of 15 horses, four full-time and eight part-time staff, and a team of up to 250 weekly volunteers that serve approximately 115 riders each week.

With an ever-growing team, the need for organization is paramount—that’s why NVTRP Equine & Facilities Manager Christina Duffy found herself searching online for a horse management tool. In her Googling, she came across BarnManager.
BarnManager seemed to best fit our program needs and was the most user-friendly option,” explained Duffy. “BarnManager has helped to keep all of our files in one place and helped keep track of any events or illnesses that arise with a specific horse; it is much easier to remember to type something up then write it down! It has also made information about our horses more accessible to instructors and staff.”
This streamlined organization makes it easier for NVTRP to continue to focus on fulfilling its mission of providing equine-assisted therapeutic services to children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk, military service personnel, and their families in an inclusive, community-based setting.
NVTRP’s number one goal is to use equestrian-based services to provide a range of physical, social, and emotional benefits, and to help riders attain the healthiest, most independent lives possible.
Today, in order to meet the growing demand for NVTRP’s services, the organization has begun construction and a capital improvement project. Part of the project includes a new, larger, lighted outdoor riding ring, an accessible playground, and improved parking and access. To learn more about NVTRP and to get involved in the capital campaign, visit http://nvtrp.org/capital-campaign.

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!

Managing for McLain Ward: An Interview with Erica McKeever

On September 21, spectators and show jumping fans from around the globe watched as McLain Ward and Clinta delivered an incredible jump-off performance to anchor the U.S. team and clinch the USA’s first World Equestrian Games (WEG) team gold medal.

What most spectators did not see however, was Lee McKeever outside of the ring, overseeing every last detail of Clinta’s care or McKeever’s wife, Erica McKeever, coordinating all of the logistics involved with Ward and Clinta’s WEG appearance and managing the 30 additional horses back home at Castle Hill Farm in Brewster, NY.

Behind every great rider is an equally great barn and horse management team, and while they might not be the ones atop the podium, for the last 30 years, Erica and Lee McKeever have been an essential part of that team at Castle Hill.

With more than three decades spent overseeing horses at one of the top show jumping barns in the country, there are few with more ongoing, high-level barn management experience than the McKeevers, so we asked Erica to share more about her own management career!

Q: How did you get started at Castle Hill?

When I came to the U.S., I was working for Tim Grubb in New Jersey, and Brigette that was working for Tim’s barn brought me to Castle Hill during the horse show at Old Salem.

I first met Barney Ward that night. It just seemed like a really fun place. Everyone was hanging out together, and he called everybody his family several times while we were there. I felt like, “Whoa what a really neat place that is to work.”

Then I guess he must have called Brigette shortly after and said that he was looking for someone who could manage the show horses and go on the road with him. She asked me if I thought it was something that I was interested in doing. I said, “Oh I don’t think I could.” I had experience but not being in sole control of the horses. She said, “Well I think you could do it.” I did a trial, and we kind of hit it off right from the go. He was awesome. He taught me so much about horses and horsemanship. It was really special. I figured it out, and I never looked back.

I went on the road with him for a lot of years. McLain and Lee kind of went their way, and we went our way. I pretty much ran the show side of this barn. He had his managers at home, and that’s kind of how it started.

Q: You had your son, Bradlee, in 2002, and your daughter, Baylee, in 2004. How did your role at Castle Hill change after having kids?

I took care of Sapphire when we first got her. I’d just had Bradlee, so I tried to go on the road and still be a mom, and it actually was about virtually impossible. We had a fabulous babysitter who was with us from when Bradlee was six months old, so I tried to still go on the road and keep the same role, but it was really hard. I couldn’t do it.

Then I started to stay at home and run that side of it. Instead of having a bookkeeper or a secretary, I did it myself. I still tried to occasionally go with Sapphire. I still traveled to Florida, and I still tried to do the barn as well because that’s really important to me. That’s what I love to do. Then I had my second child, and it became very difficult to do it all. So, I stayed home, and I run things at home. It’s great because now there are so many horse shows, you constantly have horses getting ready for the next event, which makes it really exciting at home too.

Q: What’s a typical day like at home now?

I like to be home until my kids leave for school on the bus, and then I go to the barn. I usually do a couple of hours in the office. We do a plan for the day of what horses are going to be doing–who’s riding which horse, who needs clipping, who needs the vet. We plan all that early in the morning.

The key to this is to surround yourself with great people, and then it’s easy. If you have good people in the barn that you trust and are good at what they do, it makes our jobs really easy too. You have to find good people that really want to do this and love the animals.

Q: What do you think it takes to be a good barn manager?

I think you have to be responsible. You can’t leave it for someone else to do. You have to do it. I think managing is the perfect word – you have to pretty much manage everything from the help to the horses to the farrier. It’s a huge role, and it’s a huge responsibility. I love it because I like to be in control a little bit.

Organization is important. We have a plan in place because McLain’s a huge planner. The horses are planned where they’re going now through week 12 of Florida.

Again, I think the most important thing is that you have good people around you that care as much as we do, and they do this not for a job but because it’s what they love. We try to encourage the people to be a huge part of each and every horse. They all ride; they all take care of them. When McLain wins, we all win. Everybody contributes to that.

Q: What are the challenges of the job?

It can be a little stressful; sometimes it’s a little overwhelming because there’s always something going on,

Now my daughter shows. She does the ponies. That’s become stressful in itself! I feel like I’m managing a whole other operation; I don’t know what’s going to happen when she’s doing the equitation! I just spent some time at the [ASPCA Maclay] Regionals last week, and that looks more stressful than ever. We just did the world championships, and that didn’t seem as stressful as some of those kids!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for Castle Hill?

The family aspect. To be appreciated by McLain as much as he does. It’s so special the way he involves our children in the whole thing – his father was the same. It was always about family. McLain’s really, really kept up with that. I would think he would make his dad very proud with how he is. I think giving the appreciation to the people around him, that’s huge for everybody. Not just for me, but for my husband, and Virginie [Casterman] who took care of Clinta at WEG. That’s so important to be appreciated.

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 Quick Conversation: Laura Graves

Each month, the BarnManager team is sitting down with accomplished riders from across equestrian disciplines to learn more about how they got their start, their typical days, their biggest advice, and more! We’re asking the same five questions and sharing their answers with you!

Dressage rider Laura Graves is fresh off an incredible individual silver medal win at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (which she adds to her 2016 Rio Olympic team bronze medal), and we had the privilege of catching up with her before WEG at the BarnManager-sponsored “Dressage for Jumping” clinic! (Read more about that here.) She took the time to talk to us about everything from her 4-H beginnings to the hardest part of making your career out of riding.

Graves and Verdades

Q: What was the first horse or pony that got you started?
There were actually two of them. My parents ended up trading our old, used washer and dryer for these two ponies. One of them was jet black, really handsome, and some sort of cob mix. His name was Rafter. Then we had a little Appaloosa whose name was Spanky.

It started out with just those two, but then you know, you have a barn, and you have property – I don’t think my dad really understood that then my mom would just start collecting horses! Anything free or if it didn’t have a home or if it had some sort of tough situation needing rehabbing – there were a lot of horses that had mental issues. They were either really nervous or they wouldn’t get on trailers or for some reason or another people didn’t want them. So, we ended up with all of these free horses.

I have two sisters, and we were all members of our local 4-H club and my mom ended up being one of the leaders. I just wanted to be a part of the presenting of the horses. I didn’t even want to ride. I just liked to groom them and present them. They judge you on how clean your tack is and your own turnout. Then it wasn’t until years and years later that I decided that I really wanted to ride.

The other 4-H leader would give me some lessons. It didn’t really turn into dressage until that 4-H leader said, “You know, if she really wants to ride, she needs to get some real lessons,” and sent us on to a woman who also taught lower level eventing but focused mostly on dressage.

Q: You’ve had a lot of incredible success, but what’s your favorite riding moment or memory?
I have probably two stand-out moments. One was the [FEI World Cup Dressage Final] in Omaha. We had tweaked my final centerline for my freestyle a little bit. I remember the crowd cheering so loud that I couldn’t even hear when my music was supposed to stop. That was pretty amazing.

But probably the biggest stand-out moment for me was in Rio. I had just finished my Grand Prix Special, and we were discussing how not many people came to watch the dressage. With jumping at the end you know how many rails you had down; you know how fast you went. You can look up at the clock. But in dressage, you don’t know for a minute. You kind of count on, “Well that felt pretty good,” and then if the crowd is loud, you go, “Okay, that must have been really good.”

In Rio, I was thinking, “We just delivered the ride of our lives!” and it was like crickets. I heard maybe four people clapping. I was so confused. But I said, “Good boy. I think you were pretty good.’”And then when we turned around to leave the stadium, my three teammates came rushing down because they could see the score, and they knew that we had just won the bronze medal! That moment was amazing.

Q: What’s your number one goal right now?
The World Equestrian Games.

Graves and her WEG mount, Verdades

Q: On a typical day at home, what’s your schedule?
I’m not a morning person. If I don’t have any wrenches thrown in, which is unusual, I get up around 7 a.m. I try to get the dogs out of bed – that’s usually the hardest part of my morning. They like to sleep in also.

I’m always at the barn and on a horse by 8 a.m. Then I schedule my day so that the girls and I are getting barn chores done and horses turned out, and we just go through the riding schedule. Maybe I ride five or six in the morning, and then after lunch, it’s just teaching. I have three clients that have horses in the barn or trailer in. Then the horses are all done by 4 p.m. The barn is totally closed up, tucked in, lights off by 5 p.m.

I just think the quiet time is so important for them. And if I can keep the part of their day where they’re being bothered shorter, I think all together they’re much happier. It’s something that I’m pretty strict about.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to young, up-and-coming riders?
We fall in love with this sport for the horses, but when you decide to turn it into a serious career, you have to be really prepared to fail. I say nobody else cares that you take down a rail. Nobody else cares that you missed a flying change. And that sounds a little bit mean, but it really can be very isolating.

Even the people around you, your parents or your spouse, they’ll say, “Oh I’m so sorry that you missed the flying change.” But nobody gets it the way that you do, and you have to be prepared to deal with that totally by yourself. I think that’s the hardest part of what we 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!

501(c)(3) Feature: The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In the mid-1980s, one Alabama girl, Marianna Greene Henry, begged her parents to start a therapeutic riding program on their farm near the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) in Talladega, AL.

Henry had been volunteering with a therapeutic riding program in Birmingham, AL, and she was amazed at the positive impact that the horses had on the children with disabilities. Knowing that just down the road from her family’s farm, the AIDB was helping so many similar children, Henry thought it would be the perfect fit and could make an incredible difference for those children. 

Sadly, in 1989, Henry was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a heart disease that only a heart transplant could cure – and she died that March as surgeons tried to implant an artificial heart and before her therapeutic riding program dream could come to fruition.

Soon after their daughter’s death, Pat and Marilyn Greene founded the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrians program (MGH) as part of The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind in memory of their daughter.

“We just looked at each other,” recalls Marilyn Greene, “and said, ‘She really wanted this.’”

The Greenes started modestly with a few horses and a ring in their side yard. However, within months the program had blossomed into something greater than they ever imagined.

Today, the program at their farm is housed inside a 39,000-square foot arena and serves 350 to 400 children per year, making it the largest program in the country serving deaf, blind, and multi-disabled riders.

MGH’s mission is to maximize the potential and well-being for the students by providing equine-facilitated activities in the areas of therapy, sport, and recreation to enhance physical and mental skills, aid in mobilization, and promote socialization and communication. To fulfill that mission, MGH offers therapeutic riding, hippotherapy (physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement), equine-facilitated mental health, equine-facilitated psychotherapy, equine-facilitated learning, and a work experience program.

In the last fiscal year alone, MGH provided more than 3,000 rides to students at AIDB.

With so many rides and generally around a dozen horses in the barn, MGH now utilizes BarnManager to stay organized.

“It’s an awesome program,” said MGH barn manager, Callie Smelley. “It makes filing paperwork quick and easy. It allows you to have all your information in one place, and it’s easily accessible by all MGH employees. Personal profiles for each horse allow you to pinpoint what each horse requires, and we can also share with veterinarians and farriers to keep up with equine maintenance.”

Keeping the horses well cared-for allows for the magic that exists between a horse and rider with sensory or physical disabilities that transcends all language and physical barriers – something that is so evident at MGH.

Presently, Marianna Greene’s younger brother, Tim Greene, serves as the program administrator and Pat Greene sits as the president of the MGH Foundation. Marilyn and Pat Greene continue to volunteer at MGH every Tuesday, where they’ve seen first-hand the miraculous transformation of many of the students and the joy and self-esteem that the riders gain.

“It wasn’t until I started working with these children that I saw what Marianna saw,” said Marilyn Greene. “It saved our lives.”

Click here to learn more about MGH and to find out how you can help make a difference!

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