4 Lessons From the Equestrian Businesswomen Summit

On Wednesday, January 9, we attended the first ever Equestrian Businesswomen Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was a day of inspiration, learning, networking, and an overall sense of excitement. If you weren’t able to make it this year, we highly recommend you penciling it in for next year. Whether you were there or not, here are a few takeaways that we wanted to share with all of you.

1) Equestrian women are insanely resilient.

Many of the amazing women who spoke at the EQBW Summit have attained a great deal of success, but that didn’t come without challenge and adversity. The honesty and openness of many of these women lent itself to genuine and authentic conversations. We heard from Tracey Noonan, founder of Wicked Good Cupcakes, about her struggles with mental health and family while managing a growing business. We learned about the ways in which women like Donna Brothers shattered glass ceilings and found success in the male dominated Thoroughbred racing world. And we were brought to tears by the story of Bea de Lavalette and how her horse helped her to find herself after nearly losing her life in the Brussels Airport bombing.

Moral of the story: equestrian women are incredibly resilient. There is nothing that we can’t handle.

2) “How you do anything is how you do everything.” 

During a panel on jobs in the equestrian industry that are not riding or training, Donna Brothers of NBC sports shared this great motto that was passed down to her from her mother, Patti Barton, and it really resonated. Impressions matter. While none of us are perfect, it is important to show the world who you are. You do this through your appearance, through your treatment of others, through your preparedness for situations that you get yourself into, and by the decisions that you make.

3) You’re not in anything alone.

Good people want to help good people. Nothing was clearer in that room on Wednesday than the excitement and compassion that women felt toward one another. There were women offering their personal contact information to anyone who wanted to continue the conversation offline. There were questions asked and genuine interest in others on display. There were coffee dates set and friendships forged.

When women come together to support each other, it becomes clear that many of us share common experiences. So when you find yourself feeling alone, look around. There is usually someone there who is happy to help or to support you in whatever big or small way that they can. With that said, none of us are mind readers. You cannot be afraid to ask for help or support or to offer it when you see someone in need.

4) Equestrian women are awesome!

There was something really special about the group of women who came together for this inaugural event. The energy in the room was fantastic from thestart of the day through to the very end. Every single speaker spoke eloquently and shared truly interesting insights and advice. I have been to a lot of summits, speakers, lectures, conventions, etc., and I have never experienced something quite like it. Sure, sometimes a truly talented and electrifying speaker can command a room and make everyone feel their passion and excitement. But we are not talking about one rock-star personality saving the day. Every single woman was fantastic.

I can only attribute this phenomenon to equestrian women. Everyone from the organizers to the speakers and the attendees shared a spirit of excitement, empathy, compassion, and curiosity. These four emotions, no doubt ingrained in us through our love of horses, culminated in an experience that was authentic. Each speaker, no matter their comfort level with public speaking, felt comfortable and safe. Each attendee felt seen and heard. It was truly an experience that I will not soon forget.

Conclusion:

This event was one that I had been excited for since I first learned about it just under a year ago. I have the pleasure of working with the Equestrian Businesswomen founder Jennifer Wood, so I am admittedly a bit biased. But I truly have nothing but pure joy and excitement for the future of this initiative. And if you don’t trust my assessment, I encourage you to do your research, check out their Digital Ticket to hear from panelists and speakers, and then sign up for next year’s event and see for yourself.

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!

Four Things We Learned from Laura Graves’ “Dressage for Jumping” Clinic

At BarnManager, we place a strong emphasis on the importance of ongoing education in order to become better riders and horsemen and women, and when it comes to furthering your dressage education, what’s better than learning from Laura Graves!?

The U.S. Olympic dressage team bronze medalist and 2018 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final runner-up represents so much of what we at BarnManager believe in and stand for – she’s truly connected with her horses and is so passionate about their care and their well-being. So, it was an absolute privilege to sponsor a “Dressage for Jumping” clinic with Graves on Tuesday, August 14, at the Ohana Equestrian Preserve in Virginia!

The riders of Kama Godek LLC, were awarded the clinic as the winners of the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Barn Night video contest, sponsored by BarnManager, and it was open to auditors to attend at no cost. For those not able to be in Virginia on Tuesday, it was also available to watch (and to re-watch here!) on USEF Network. We were in attendance and loved meeting so many great people and learning so much from Graves!

Here are just four of the takeaways that we came home with:

1) Dressage riders and jumpers – we’re not that different.

The “Dressage for Jumping” clinic was the first time that Graves had taught exclusively jumpers, but she herself said, “Whether you’re jumpers, or eventers, or dressage people – everyone struggles with all of the same things.”
What are some of the struggles that we all face? Most notably, according to Graves, getting horses in front of the leg and straight – two of the fundamental flatwork concepts that were emphasized throughout the clinic.

2) You should only work as hard as you want to.

Okay, this doesn’t mean that you should quit your day job and just go watch Netflix because you don’t like working. Instead, what Graves reiterated throughout the clinic was creating a level of responsiveness from your horse that allows you to not exert more effort in the saddle than what you want to be exerting.

As she explained, “If you’re using all of your energy to get a mediocre performance, your odds of getting a better performance are slim to none. You have to get more by doing less.”

Graves started each rider’s one-on-one session by asking, once they had moved into a trot, how hard they were working on a scale of one to 10. Graves joked that she is “lazy” and likes to only work at a one or a two when the horse is trotting.

“The first thing I ask when I get on a horse is, ‘Can I ride 10 of these in a day?’ ” said Graves. “If I can’t ride 10 in a day with breaking very little of a sweat, then for me it’s too much work.”

So, how do you make it so that you’re doing less? You have to make the horse care about what you’re doing and respond to it. If the horse isn’t moving forward in front of the rider’s leg for instance, rather than continually kicking and squeezing and working at an eight or nine on the one to 10 scale, you have to deliver something more.

“If he doesn’t care, you have to say, ‘How far do to I have to take my leg, hand or whip to make him care?’ ” explained Graves. “He has to mind your leg more than he would want. You have to find a place where you can surprise them enough that you make your point.”

By doing this, Graves hopes to create the situation where “if your leg is away, the pressure of the air of your leg coming toward his side should be enough to speed him up again.” This responsiveness allows the rider to only work as much as they want to be working, ideally at a one or a two.

3) It’s okay to make mistakes. You shouldn’t work just to cover them up.

“The main thing that I find holds people back is that we’re afraid of mistakes. Nobody’s more afraid of mistakes than dressage people,” said Graves. That may be true, but as Graves also shared on Tuesday, “horses making mistakes does not mean we’re bad riders,” and it’s extremely important to embrace mistakes rather than working to cover them up.

As an example, Graves had the very first rider of the day, 14-year-old beginning rider Piper Tyrrell, allow her horse to break from the trot down to the walk when Tyrrell took her leg off. Breaking to the walk was a mistake; Tyrrell wanted the horse to keep trotting even with less leg encouraging her forward. However, until Tyrrell let the mistake happen and was able to then correct it, the horse likely would not have been cognizant of the error.

“If you don’t let the mistake happen, he doesn’t even know if he’s doing the right thing or the wrong thing because your leg is always on,” said Graves.

4) Laura Graves is awesome.

We had a good hunch about this one going into Tuesday, but our conversations and the clinic with Graves only confirmed it! We loved her message:

“My number one goal is to make sure that the rider understands something that will hopefully change the way that they ride for the rest of their life. I really try to make sure that I deliver a clear message to every person so they say, ‘I really learned something today.’ ”

From her attitude toward teaching and her desire to truly instill her knowledge in the participating riders to her true passion and love for her horses and the sport, Laura Graves created fans for life in the BarnManager team!

We sat down with Graves to talk about her beginnings in dressage, her typical day at home, and managing the mental aspect of the sport, and we can’t wait to share more!

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!