How to Be a Good Boarder (and Your Barn Manager’s Favorite!)

You count on your boarding stable’s staff and barn manager to be good to your horse, but what about being good to them in return? Here are seven tips to help you to be the kind of boarder any barn owner or manager is glad to have in their barn!

1) Know and follow the rules.

When was the last time that you reviewed your boarding contract or the barn rules? These rules and regulations are in place for a reason, and it’s important to know and follow them. If your barn has set hours, adhere to them. 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 the rules may be, if barn management has to reprimand you for not abiding to them, you’re likely not on your way to being fast friends.

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) Pay your bills on time.

Keeping horses is expensive, and your boarding stable depends on your on-time payment to order hay, shavings, grain, and other necessities, as well as to keep the barn running smoothly and in good repair.

4) Trust your barn manager.

Good barn managers are often extremely knowledgeable horsemen and women with your horse’s best interest at heart.  If you see a problem or really don’t like the way something is being done, revisit point number two 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.

5) Don’t use anything without permission.

Just because you forgot something or wanted to try out a different bridle, doesn’t mean it’s alright to simply borrow someone else’s without permission. Always ask, and if someone is willing to share, make sure you put the equipment back where you found it and in the same or better shape than it was.

6) Clean up after yourself.

When you’re done at the barn, ensure that all of your tack and equipment is put away. Depending on your barn rules and the division of responsibilities, it may also be important to sweep your aisle area after grooming or to clean up any manure left in the ring by your horse. Being neat and organized can go a long way in earning respect in your barn manager’s eyes. 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.

7) 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!

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

What To Include In Your Horse’s First Aid Kit

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

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

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

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

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

– Tweezers – for pulling out splinters or ticks.

– Epsom Salts – for soaking abscesses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Flashlight – with working batteries!

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

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

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

Martin Fuchs

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

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

Paris Sellon. Photo by Jump Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emma Ford’s Cold Weather Grooming Tips

Winter weather can prove difficult for horse’s skin. Decreased daylight, mud, sweat, and blankets create various challenges for horses and riders during the colder months.

Event Clinics caught up with Emma Ford, head groom for Phillip Dutton Eventing and co-author of World Class Grooming for Horses for some ways to keep your equine partner’s skin happy & healthy this season, and now Event Clinics and Emma are sharing their tips with us!

1.  Use witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to wipe down a damp horse after exercise. 

“These products are help to dry the area quicker but also clean off sweat and dirt. I use Witch Hazel, especially when I know the horse has dry, sensitive skin,” says Emma.

#HelpfulHint: Use a spray bottle to apply to any sweaty areas after your horse is untacked, then rub down with a towel

2. Re-hydrate your horse’s skin. 

If your horse gets extra sweaty after a challenging winter workout, sponge off any affected areas with a bucket of warm water mixed with one cup of Witch Hazel and a tablespoon of Shapley’s #1 Light Oil.

#HelpfulHint: Emma tells EC, “This combination to help lift off dirt whilst adding a bit of oil back to the skin.”

3.  Swap and layer coolers for a quick-dry effect. 

If possible have on hand an Irish Knit or Waffle Cooler as well as a Wool or Fleece Cooler.

After wiping/sponging your horse off; layer the coolers, using the Irish Knit as the bottom layer. This will create the wicking effect to help dry your horse quicker.

#HelpfulHint: Keep extra layers handy if at all possible. That way, if you see condensation on the top layer, you can swap that layer out to help your horse dry.

4. Only re-apply blankets to a properly cooled-out horse, 

Before you put on your regular blankets, whether stable or turn outs, make sure your horse is thoroughly cooled out.

Sweating under non-breathable blankets can result in a chill, and lead to sore, stiff muscles. Or, for those more susceptible horses, even illness. This can all be easily avoided by ensuring that your horse is sufficiently cool prior to blanketing.

#HelpfulHint: If he is dry but still warm, he could continue to heat up under less breathable layers resulting in sweating.

ABOUT EMMA FORD: Emma Ford has been Head Groom for Phillip Dutton Eventing for 15 years, ensuring top quality care for equine athletes both at home and at the world’s most prestigious international competitions. In 2015, Ford published World Class Grooming for Horses alongside Professional Groom Cat Hill, who formerly managed Olympian and Five-Star Eventer Mara DePuy’s program.

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

Horse Show Packing List

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

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

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

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

For the Feed Stall

– Hay
– Hay nets
– Grain
– Supplements

For the Rider

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

For the Grooming Box

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

For the Wash Rack

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

For the Stalls

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

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

Happy horse showing!

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

Playing it Safe: 10 Barn Safety Tips

When it comes to riding and keeping horses, accidents and injuries are not uncommon, and tragedy can sometimes strike. With a little bit of preparation andattention to safety however, you can make your barn a safer place to be for both horses and humans.

1.) Use breakaway crossties. 

Crossties can be dangerous if a horse panics and isn’t able to break the ties. Make sure that your crossties have safety snaps or easy-break ties. To create these easy break ties, run a loop of baling twine through a screw eye in the wall and attach the crossties to the baling twine rather than directly to the wall. This will allow the twine to snap, freeing the horse in the case of an emergency.

2.) Keep hay and shavings away from the main barn whenever possible.

While it may not be realistic for all barn setups, keeping hay and shavings in a separate, dry location away from the main barn area is a great way to reduce fire risks. ProEquineGrooms gives great advice on hay storage here, explaining that “Combustion can occur if the hay just right – sometimes too hot and too dry, or even or too hot and still moist inside!”

3.) Dust and remove cobwebs on a regular basis.

Much like hay and shavings, dust and cobwebs can act like kindling in the case of a barn fire. Routine dusting can prevent fire from spreading quickly should tragedy ever strike.

4.) Keep first aid kits on hand for both horses and humans.

Accidents inevitably happen, but having first aid kits on hand can help you reduce risks and address issues quickly. Not sure what to include in your equine first aid kit? Check out this thorough list from TheHorse.com!

5.) Have a landline phone at your barn.

Landline phones are becoming harder to come by, but for safety reasons, it’s a good idea to maintain one at your barn. Cell service can often be disrupted, and in many barn locations it’s spotty at best. In case of an emergency and in any weather, you want to be sure to have a reliable phone on hand.

6.) Check your electric.

Electricity is not something we often pay much attention to in the barn – until it isn’t working or something goes wrong. To prevent electrical risks, make sure that all outlets and switches are recessed with protective covers to keep dust out. If you have conventional light bulbs or light strips, have cages over them for protection. If there are certain things that are always on or plugged in, like a refrigerator, be sure that they are plugged into a surge protector. Make sure that all wiring is covered by metal and not by PVC tubing, as small animals and birds can destroy the tubing and begin to chew on wires.

7.) Keep barn aisles clean and clear.

Rakes, pitchforks, tack, grooming boxes, or halters left out in the barn aisle way can easily be tripped over by humans or cause incident for horses. Be sure to clean up after yourself and keep your aisle way tidy to prevent injury or accident.

8.) Lock up any potentially hazardous materials including medications, fly sprays, and cleaning supplies.

Any such materials should be kept locked and out of access by children or pets who could wrongly use or swallow them.

9.) Make needed repairs as soon as you notice something amiss.

If you notice a loose fence board, a faulty latch, a protruding nail, or any other potential hazard, act on it quickly, rather than waiting for it to become a larger issue – even if the repair seems like something that could be overlooked for a time.

10.) Post barn rules, emergency contacts, and emergency instructions in a prominent location.

It can also be beneficial to go over emergency instructions and action plans with everyone in your barn.

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!

Eating Healthy at Horse Shows: Five Ways to Stay (or Get) on Track

We carefully plan our horses’ meals, weigh their feed, and provide them supplements and the proper nutrition that they need as equine athletes.

But what about our own nutrition and needs as an athlete? That often looks more like a skipped breakfast as we’re rushing out the door, whatever burger or fries we’re able to scarf down at the horse show food stand, or that delicious Nutella-filled crepe calling our name from the crepe stand.

The fact is though, as riders, we’re athletes too! If we expect our horses to perform their best, it’s important for us to fuel our bodies in a way that allows us to ride our best.

We know it’s not always easy with busy show days and tempting, convenient food vendors, but here are five tips to help you stay (or get) on track.

1.) Don’t Skip Breakfast! 

It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for horseman and women, it’s often the most skipped meal of the day! Our days start early, and we’re often in a hurry to get to the barn or the show ring. However, by skipping breakfast, we’re only setting ourselves up for failure.

To get the most of your breakfast, try to include a combination of protein, carbs, and fats to give you energy and to keep you satisfied until lunch time.

“If you start with a good breakfast, you’re geared up for the day,” said amateur equestrian Michelle Durpetti, who trains with True North Stables. “I’m not as hungry; I’m not as inclined to go get fries or something like that. It’s so easy to forget at horse shows that you are also an athlete.”

Durpetti recently began placing more of an emphasis on her own nutrition while at horse shows, and she and trainer Caitlyn Shiels start most days with their own smoothie blend.

“I heat up almond milk every morning, and I use a superfood greens powder,” said Durpetti. “I add in probiotics and prebiotics, and it has an apple and cinnamon taste. It kind of tastes like old-school oatmeal.”

Show jumper Hannah Selleck of Descanso Farm is another rider who has made her own health and fitness a priority, alongside that of her horses, and even on her busiest mornings, she ensures that she doesn’t skip a protein-filled morning meal.

“Sometimes I’ll have a coffee, ride a few, but then make sure that I get protein and eat breakfast,” said Selleck. “I never want to skip a meal or feel like I don’t have energy, so I make sure that I’m eating throughout the day when I’m showing.”

2.) Plan Ahead 

It’s no secret that you’re more likely to grab a sugary snack or order that convenient burger and fries when you let yourself get to the point that you’re starving or don’t have other alternatives readily available, so it’s important to plan ahead.

By the end of a long show day, it’s normal to be exhausted and to want to reach for whatever is available or to grab a quick (likely, unhealthy) dinner on your way home. Instead, try to meal plan or prep your meals in advance if you know you’re not going to feel up to cooking after you’ve finished riding and showing. Pre-made meal services are also a great option if they’re within your meal budget, and Pinterest is a great resource if you’re looking for meal prep recipes like these or these.

3.) Keep Snacks on Hand

Planning ahead and packing snacks go hand-in-hand! As a professional hunter/jumper rider and trainer riding a number of a horses a day and going from ring-to-ring, Shiels relies on pre-packed snacks, so she always tries to keep a banana, dried fruit, and almonds in her ring backpack for a quick pick me up when needed. For Selleck, turkey jerky sticks and RX Bars are her go-tos.

Apples and carrots also make great snack options (for you and your horse!), as does trail mix or a pre-prepared protein shake. Other protein sources like hard-boiled eggs, tuna packets, or no-bake protein bites also travel well and can make for a great pick-me-up. (Google “no-bake protein bites” or “no-bake protein energy bites” for a number of quick, easy recipes!)

4.) Stay Hydrated 

Keeping your body hydrated while showing is just as important for your health as proper nutrition.

Try keeping a cooler packed with ice, small water bottles, and sports drinks at your stalls, on your golf cart, or near your horse trailer so that you never have to worry about finding something to drink at the show. (As an added bonus, packing your own drinks will save you money at the horse show, where drinks are often more expensive!) Thirst is also often mistaken as hunger, so by quenching your thirst, you may be less likely to go looking for something unhealthy to eat! Try to steer clear of sugary, caffeinated sodas during the day, as they won’t do the job to keep you hydrated and will only give you a temporary boost before your blood sugar drops.

5.) Make It a Group Effort

Keep yourself on a healthy track by encouraging your barn mates to do the same. Hold each other accountable to healthy eating and offer to take turns providing healthy snacks or filling up the barn cooler with waters and sports drinks for the team. Consider swapping recipe ideas, packing group lunches, or even creating fun challenges like all trying to drink a certain amount of water each day of the show. Have fun with it, and enjoy feeling better as the group of athletes that you are!

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

How to Clean Your Grooming Brushes

When was the last time you really cleaned your horses’ brushes? If you’re like many of us, we venture to guess it’s been longer than the recommended every week to two weeks!

The good news is, washing your brushes is quick and easy to do, and it goes a long way in helping your horse be as clean and healthy as possible. (It’s tough to have a clean horse if you’re using dirty tools!) Consider setting aside 10 to 15 minutes every other week for washing your brushes, and then follow these simple steps!:

– Fill a bucket with warm water and a drop or two of shampoo. It’s best to stick to the shampoo that you would usually use on your horse, and it’s important to avoid using any rough household cleaners that could cause irritation to your horse or that could potentially contain harmful ingredients.

– After any loose hair has been removed from the brushes, add them to the bucket, and swish them around, allowing the loosest dirt and debris to come off. Then, work the shampoo into the bristles thoroughly.

– Once you’ve shampooed the brushes, allow them to sit and “marinate” in the bucket for five to 10 minutes to really get clean.

– After the brushes have had time to soak, rinse them out with clean water from a house. Then rinse again. And possibly again. It’s important to make sure that any and all shampoo is rinsed out of the brushes so that it doesn’t dry within the brushes later.

– When you’re sure the brushes have been well rinsed, shake them out, and lay them out to dry on clean ground or grass or on a shelf or similar. Be sure to leave the brushes laying on their sides so the water doesn’t consolidate at the bottom of the bristles and end up damaging the brush handle. And viola! Clean brushes!

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

Horse Care Hacks: Best Barn Items to Find at a Dollar Store

It’s no secret that horses are expensive – so why not save money when and where you can? Here are 12 barn items to pick up at the dollar store (usually for only $1!) to save you money, and possibly to provide a more affordable, alternative option!

Artificial flowers – These are perfect for inexpensively decorating jumps or dressage letter boxes, and you’re not likely to find them cheaper anywhere else!

Baby wipes – From cleaning your own hands to bits to your horse itself, cost-effective baby wipes can be extremely handy to have around the barn.

Diapers  – Did you know diapers are great as wraps for hoof poultice or hoof packing? It never hurts to have one or two on hand or in your barn’s first-aid kit.

Epsom salts – Epsom salts are also great to have on hand for soaking abscessed hoofs.

Peppermint – You can usually find multiple types of peppermints available in bulk packages for your whole barn!

Leather wipes – Inexpensive containers of leather wipes are great for the quick wipe of your boots or saddle or to keep in your truck or trailer for easy cleaning at horse shows.

– Rubber bands – You can find the small rubber bands that you need for braiding or banding at the dollar store for much less than what you might pay at a tack shop.

– Sponges – Large sponges designed for car washing are perfect for bathing horses, and small packs of kitchen sponges are great for cleaning tack.

– Storage containers – You’ll find storage containers of all shapes and sizes at the dollar store! Small craft supply containers are perfect for storing studs and stud kits or braiding supplies.

– Spray bottles – Grab a few plain spray bottles for fly spray, detanglers, water, or anything else you may need!

– Toilet brushes – Cheap toilet brushes are great for scrubbing out water buckets!

– Towels You can never have enough towels around the barn, so why not get them as inexpensively as possible?

What other useful items have you found at the dollar store?

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!