How To Prepare for Indoor Finals

Qualifying for and attending indoor finals is a popular year-end goal for many riders. There are several ways you can prepare for these high-pressure events as a rider, trainer, manager, and groom to ensure a positive experience.

Pack Extra Layers for Your Horse and Yourself

It can be difficult to plan for fall weather as the temperatures tend to fluctuate. Oftentimes, especially at the beginning of the season, it is cold at night and fairly warm during the day. For this reason, you should bring lots of layers when packing for indoor finals. This is true for both you and your horse. Also, before packing your horse’s stable sheet and blanket, it is a good idea to make sure they have been washed recently and are in good repair.

(Did you know? BarnManager has a list feature so you can create packing lists and share them with your team.)

Focus on Flatwork

Photo by Jump Media

After spending all summer showing in large outdoor arenas it can be difficult to switch to smaller indoor rings. Making sure your horse is adjustable and really listening to your aids is important not just for equitation finals, but also for showing in the hunters and jumpers. Be sure to emphasize flatwork and adjustability in your rides to ensure you are ready to perform at your best in a tighter space.

Practice Past Courses

Practicing what you might see at indoor finals can help you feel more confident walking into the show ring. This can be helpful for equitation, hunters, and jumpers. Setting up equitation or jumper courses in your indoor similar to those from past years will help prepare you for the challenges the course designer might present at the show. For hunters, try to recreate the types of jumps and fill used in previous years in your own ring to familiarize both you and your horse with obstacles that are out of the ordinary.

Make a Schedule

Indoor finals take place during a busy time of year. Unlike the summer, kids are back in school, everyone is working, and the holidays are coming up. Also, indoor finals shows do not last for several weeks like some summer or winter circuits. This means they involve a lot of traveling, packing, and unpacking for both horses and riders. Planning out a detailed schedule can be extremely beneficial to managing all the moving parts required for these shows. Whether you are a rider, trainer, manager, or groom, having a plan of what your week will look like is essential.

For nonprofessional riders, it is also useful to map out specific parts of your day. For example, schedule times where you will concentrate on school or work in addition to parts of the day where you will focus on watching the competition and helping care for your horse and yourself. It is important to give yourself time to get into the right frame of mind to successfully compete. If you plan out a detailed daily schedule, you will feel more relaxed when it is time to compete.

Although trainers, managers, and grooms always create a daily plan when horse showing, this schedule is critical at indoor finals. The pressure and nerves at these shows run high so the more prepared you are, the more at ease and confident your riders will feel. For example, at indoor finals shows there are strict set orders of go. You should not only include the specific times that horses are showing in your schedule, but also build in times throughout the day to check in at the ring to see if everything is still running on time. These horse show days are often very long and exhausting, especially when they include night classes, so it can be easy to forget to do certain tasks. For this reason, be sure to plan out when horses will be lunged, ridden, prepared, bathed, dressed to go to the ring, and taken care of afterward so nothing is missed.

(Did you know? BarnManager has a digital whiteboard feature so you can easily create a daily schedule and share it. Users can also use the messaging feature to update the entire team on any schedule changes.)

Plan Out Your Goals

Photo by Jump Media

The indoor finals horse shows are very prestigious events that come with a lot of pressure. As a rider, trainer, manager, or groom, it is important to decide on a few specific and realistic goals. It is easy to get a little awestruck and overwhelmed at these events while you are surrounded by many of the country’s top riders, horses, trainers, managers, and grooms. Having defined goals in mind can help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish.

Indoor finals require a lot of practicing, scheduling, and preparing both leading up to the show and at the event. Although this time of year can be stressful, try to remember to have fun and view the shows as a learning experience.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Things To Check For in Your Horse’s Paddock

Turning horses out is an important part of their everyday routine. During this time outside, horses can eat, graze, walk around, and just be horses. Since turnout is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time for your horse, it is important to routinely inspect their paddock or field to ensure it is safe.

Holes

Holes in paddocks can be dangerous for horses and also difficult to notice from a distance. Large holes can definitely be a problem, although sometimes the smaller ones are actually more of a hazard. Holes that are large are easy for people to see and horses to avoid. The most dangerous holes are those that are hidden or smaller because horses can easily misstep into them and get injured. For this reason, it is best to walk your paddocks regularly searching for holes so they can be filled in. If you have grass paddocks, it helps to keep them mowed so holes are easier to see.

Fencing

Horses often itch on or lean over the fence boards in their paddock. This can lead to broken fence boards that are dangerous for several reasons. If a horse continues rubbing on a broken fence board, they could cut themselves on the splintered wood or an exposed nail. If any of the nails fall, there is the possibility that a horse could step on one. A broken fence board may also create a place where a horse could escape. To avoid these issues, make it a practice to walk the fence lines of your turnout areas frequently to examine them. Also, keep an eye out for rotting fence boards that could break and become a hazard.

Toxic Weeds

Toxic weeds can be a concern when your horse is turned out in a grass field. If you are unsure which weeds are toxic, check with a professional weed specialist. Horses are not always inclined to eat toxic weeds, but it is better to be on the safe side. Take good care of your pasture areas to prevent weeds from overtaking the grass. Your routine can include mowing frequently and rotating the fields that are used for turnout. Resting the grass, keeping it healthy, and giving it time to regrow will help keep weeds at bay.

Rocks

A rocky paddock is not ideal footing for a horse, especially if they are barefoot. If a horse steps the wrong way on a sharp rock, it can lead to a stone bruise. Depending on the location and terrain of the farm, it can be difficult to completely avoid rocks in paddocks. Instead, make it a habit to examine the turnout areas a couple of times a year and remove any large or sharp rocks that have surfaced. This can be a difficult task in large paddocks, so begin by focusing on the areas where the horses tend to stand the most. Most likely these areas will be by the gate and where there is food, water, or shade.

Weather

The weather during different seasons can affect the conditions of your paddocks. For example, ice can be a major issue in the winter. Icy areas can be dangerous for both the horse and the person who is walking the horse to the field. Rain is often problematic for paddocks in the spring, summer, and fall. A muddy paddock can be slippery and hazardous if your horse starts to play or run. There is also a higher chance of a horse pulling a shoe in the mud, which could lead to them accidentally stepping on a nail. Additionally, turning a horse out in a grass paddock after the rain can tear up the field, especially if the horse starts running. No matter the season, when possible it is best to avoid icy or wet paddocks for a little until they are thawed, dry, and safe.

Although pasture examination and maintenance might be a tedious and dull task at times, it is necessary to ensure that your horses are in a safe environment when they are in turnout so find a way to include it in your maintenance schedule throughout the year.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

What To Know at an FEI Show: The Warm-Up

A successful warm-up is the key to a winning performance in the competition ring no matter what discipline. At the international level in a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) show, there are particularities to be aware of when warming up. Being mindful of the specifics will ensure your warm-up goes smoothly and according to plan. For more information about regulations in the FEI stabling area, read part one of BarnManager’s What to Know at an FEI Show blog here.

10-Minute Area

For international dressage competitions, there is a 10-minute area, which is a designated space in the larger warm-up ring. This area serves as the last practice ring before entering the competition arena. Though riders are not required to use this space, there is only one athlete permitted in the 10-minute area at a time. This allows the next competing rider space to prepare any movements without the interference of other horses.

Order of Go

Since there is a set order of go, warm-up obstacles for cross-country and jumping are made available according to that list. If there are four warm-up jumps available, the next four riders to compete will be using those obstacles. When you are with the fifth horse in the order, you should plan to use the jump that the first horse is using once they are finished. An FEI steward in the warm-up area can help you if you are unsure of the order.

Jump Setting

The FEI stewards monitor show jumping and cross-country warm-ups. They ensure that all jumps being set are compliant with FEI rules. In all cases, obstacles being jumped must be marked with a white flag and a red flag. The red flag represents the right side of the obstacle, while the white flag represents the left side. The jump must be approached in the direction the flags indicate. If a rider wishes to approach the obstacle in the opposite direction, the flags must be changed with approval from the Chief FEI Steward.

In cross-country, the show’s organizers must provide jumps that can be knocked down as well as fixed obstacles to use to warm-up. Keep in mind that for the obstacles that can be knocked down, there are guidelines for how the poles must be used depending on the height and style of the jump.

Photo by Jump Media

Use of Extra Jumping Material and a Liverpool

In any FEI warm-up, you cannot cover the warm-up obstacles with extra materials like a scrim sheet, cooler, or towel. You also cannot bring any additional jumping materials to the warm-up. The show’s organizers must provide at least one liverpool that can be used if the athlete chooses.

If you are setting jumps for the warm-up and your rider would like to use the liverpool, be sure to keep an eye on it in the warm-up area. Typically, there are only one or two liverpools that are shared between all the riders. You’ll have to see when someone is finished using it before being able to use it yourself. Keep in mind other riders are warming up too. It’s also important to remember to pay attention to the other horses when you pass the warm-up fences. This is especially necessary when you are carrying a larger, spookier object like a liverpool.

Pre-Competition Boot Check

Both international eventing cross-country and show jumping competitions have pre-competition boot checks. Previously, riders could ask an FEI steward to conduct the boot check in the middle of the warm-up ring during their warm-up. Now, for safety reasons, the FEI steward(s) who are conducting the pre-competition boot check are located just outside the warm-up area or in a corner of the arena off to the side. Riders can still pause their warm-up routine to complete the boot check. However, it is important to note that doing so requires a little more planning since the horse likely needs to leave the ring to be checked before returning to finish their warm-up and head into the competition arena.

The FEI stewards conducting the boot check use walkie-talkies to communicate with the other FEI stewards in and around the warm-up. They keep track of everyone who completes the boot check by referencing the horse’s competition number. The competition number should be clearly displayed on the horse. It is helpful to also say the number aloud to the steward. In addition to checking all leg and footwear on the horse, the FEI steward will physically examine the competition hind boots to confirm they are compliant with the rules. They then will observe the groom or rider put the competition hind boots on the horse and fasten them to be sure this has been done correctly. Once the boot check has been completed, the boots cannot be changed or adjusted in any way without the supervision of an FEI steward.

Remember that every horse must complete the boot check. It is possible for multiple riders to want their horses checked at the same time. The boot check typically only lasts a few minutes. The FEI steward will try to prioritize horses depending on the order of go. Even still, having a plan for when you will complete your boot check is essential for a smooth, unrushed warm-up.

Special Cases

Some horses get nervous with a lot of horse traffic. If there is an additional warm-up area besides the one being generally used, the rider can ask an FEI steward for permission to use the other arena. An FEI steward must be available to monitor that warm-up area in order to make the request possible. A rider can also ask to go first in the class for a quieter warm-up experience for the horse. Any concessions made will be on a case-by-case basis and up to the Chief FEI Steward. What might be possible one time, might not be another.

Keeping track of the little nuances of the warm-up will help your competition preparation run smoothly. Make sure your whole team understands the plan and rules, so they are ready to execute their individual responsibilities. For more information about entering an FEI show, read BarnManager’s FEI Paperwork blogs with part one about horse passports here, part two regarding registrations and entries here, and part three pertaining to the check-in and jog here.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

What You Need To Know About Flying with Horses

While the concept of flying with horses is pretty straightforward, the specifics of how the horses get from one place to the other smoothly are less obvious. Understanding more about the process can help you be relaxed and prepared when the day comes. It is always essential to check with your veterinarian regarding any preventative measures or in-flight health concerns. While these are general guidelines, you will need to check with the appropriate authorities and companies for exact details.

Types of Flights

If your horse needs to go a long distance such as across the country, or from the U.S. to Europe, flying can actually be less stressful. There are two kinds of flights with horses. One is a cargo flight where the plane does not have passengers beyond the horse-affiliated personnel. The other is a commercial flight with a passenger cabin at the front and a cargo-style section for the horses in the back.

A horse in the container, on the plane, and ready to go.

Arranging a Flight

There are several flight companies to help you arrange and prepare for your horse’s trip. Unlike organizing human flights, you cannot always pick exactly which day you want your horses to fly. If you give the flight company an idea of when you would like to depart, they can help find a flight around that date. The flight companies also complete the necessary paperwork for the horses to travel and will inform you of any health documents and other details they might need to confirm the reservation. As with human flights, delays and cancellations are always possible, so the flight companies will keep you updated on timing.

At the Airport

There are different importation and exportation laws depending on which country you are coming from or going to. Generally, horses need to arrive at the designated airport at least several hours ahead of their scheduled flight. For this reason, these airports have stalls for the horses to wait in when they get off the trailer.

The horses can stay at the airport for a couple of days if they are laying over from a horse show or other type of outing, so it is helpful to prepare plastic baggies with grain meals. You can help keep your horse hydrated by including electrolytes and adding water to their feed. It’s also a good idea to feed smaller meals ahead of air travel to help minimize the risk of any digestive issues. Like preparing your horse for a long drive, a stomach and ulcer support supplement can help keep your horse comfortable for the trip.

Once your equipment is checked in by airport staff and loaded, you will not have access to it until it is released either directly after the flight or after the horse exits a required quarantine. Each horse gets a flight bag in which you can put anything they might need during the flight.

Getting On the Plane

A container with horses getting loaded onto the plane.

Horses travel on the plane in large containers. Picture being able to pick up a box stall and move it with a giant forklift. The containers can be divided into straight stalls to fit either two or three horses, similar to a trailer. The container has a space for the horses with a low wall separating them from a compartment in the front where hay, buckets, and the flight bags are stored. Water and hay are hung for the horses too.

Staff at the airport will guide you to walk your horse into their spot in the container. Some horses find the container intimidating especially if they are new to flying, so having a treat handy can help. When everything is set, the containers are driven to the plane and loaded one by one such that the containers form a grid in the plane with small walkways between them.

If you are on a commercial flight, the flight staff will then help you get to the normal airport check-in and through security. You will usually be able to board ahead of other passengers to make your way to the back of the plane. Where you might ordinarily be looking for a bathroom, there is a small door to access the horse containers. Once you have passed through the door, you can walk around to find the container with your horse inside.

The Flight

Regardless of what type of flight it is, there will always be at least one flight staff member with the containers at all times. Since there can be more than twenty horses on a flight, it is still a good idea to check on your horse every couple of hours during the trip. Keeping them hydrated throughout is always important. You can encourage your horse to drink by holding carrots for them in their water buckets. The horse will have to go through the water to get the carrot, so it can help them drink a little extra.

Take-off and landing are generally the most stressful parts of the flight, so it’s good to make sure your horse doesn’t have any trouble. Though regulations can vary between flights and flight companies, you can ask the flight staff to request permission from the pilot to allow you to be with the containers during take-off and landing. There are no seats in the containers, so you will need to try and secure yourself comfortably in the front part of the container amongst the hay and flight bags. Keep in mind, flights can always experience turbulence, so it is important to be cautious any time you are moving around the containers.

Prepared for takeoff!

Getting Off the Plane

On commercial flights, first you will have to deplane as usual and claim any checked baggage. Then you will be guided to the horse arrival area of the airport, where you can wait for the containers to be removed from the plane. Once the horses are unloaded from the containers, staff at the airport will check each horse in accordance with country regulations. Some countries require a quarantine while others do not. Be sure to confirm your arrival with any follow-up shippers, so you can get picked up on time and make it smoothly to your final destination.

In addition to simply transporting you and your horse from one place to another, the flight company staff is also responsible for ensuring the experience is safe and pleasant. Ask any questions you might have so you can feel confident every step of the way. You are now free to move about the cabin.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Must-Watch Live Streams in August

As the summer show season begins to wrap up, there are several exciting events slated for August. Continue reading to find out where you can watch the top show jumping, hunter, equitation, dressage, and eventing competitions this month.

ECCO Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) World Championships:

August 6-14, 2022 – This year’s FEI World Championships will take place at EquiPark in Herning, Denmark. The championship will showcase dressage, show jumping, vaulting, and para dressage competition. The best horse-and-rider combinations from close to 70 nations will provide top-level competition. The event schedule for each discipline can be found on Longines Timing.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

FEI North American Youth Championships:

August 8-13, 2022 – The 2022 FEI North American Youth Championsships will take place during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival week VI at Flintfields Horse Park in Williamsburg, MI. The horse show will feature both show jumping and dressage competition. Children, juniors, and young riders will have the opportunity to compete in a championship format. During this show, riders are able to show in a team event as well as individually.

Where to watch: USEF Network or ClipMyHorse.TV

US Equestrian (USEF) Pony Finals Presented by Honor Hill Farm:

August 9-14, 2022 – Watch the country’s best ponies compete at the 2022 USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farm. The event takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The competition will feature the Regular Pony Hunter USEF Championship, the Green Pony Hunter USEF Championship, and the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals.

Where to watch: USEF Network

Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) London:

August 19-21, 2022 – LGCT London will take place at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, England. The show will include two-star, five-star, and Global Champions League show jumping competition. The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of London will be the highlight event, taking place on Saturday, August 20.

Where to watch: GCTV

United States Dressage Festival of Champions:

August 22-28, 2022 – The 2022 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will take place at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian in Wayne, IL. The event showcases top dressage horse-and-rider combinations in 16 different divisions, including the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals.

Where to watch: USEF Network

World Equestrian Center – Ocala Dressage XV:

August 27-28, 2022 – Dressage riders will take center stage at World Equestrian Center – Ocala during the Dressage XV show in Ocala, FL. This event will be a national show and also serve as an official qualifying competition for the 2022 Great American/United States Dressage Federation Regional Championship.

Where to watch: ClipMyHorse.TV

MARS Great Meadow International:

August 26-28, 2022 – The MARS Great Meadow International event is held at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA. This competition highlights high-performance eventing and has been selected as the final preparatory trial for the team representing the United States at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Italy on September 14-18, 2022.

Where to watch: Horse & Country

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Six Tips To Spruce Up Your Barn

There is no better feeling than walking into a clean and well-kept barn. Although everyone appreciates a neat and organized stable, it is a lot of work to maintain. While you may not have time to scrub stall walls every day, there are several simple tasks you can fit into your routine to keep your barn looking top notch.

1. Wipe Off Tack Trunks

One of the most noticeable places that dust builds up is on tack trunks, especially if they are located on the aisle. Morning chores of giving hay, cleaning stalls, putting in shavings, and sweeping can create a lot of dust, which settles on tack trunks and wall boxes in grooming stalls. After finishing morning chores, use a towel to dust off trunks and wall boxes in the aisle, grooming stalls, and tack room. If they are made of wood, consider purchasing a cleaner or polish to spray on them for a little extra shine. Customers will appreciate opening a clean and dust-free trunk when they arrive at the barn.

2. Clean the Stall Bars

If your barn has bars on the stall fronts you know they quickly become covered in dust and grime. Cleaning these bars regularly can make a big difference in how clean the entire aisleway looks. Depending on how many stalls you have, this task can be a little time-consuming. Try to clean the stall bars three to four times a week to avoid too much buildup. Clean the bars with a wet towel or sponge, and if some have a lot of grime scrub them with a hard brush to remove the dirt. Hand-held dust wands can also be useful for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

3. Water Down the Aisle

A trick to keep the dust down and make your barn smell good is to sprinkle a mix of water and multi-surface cleaner along the aisleway. After you have finished sweeping, fill a watering can with water and a little bit of multi-surface cleaner, such as Pine-Sol or Fabuloso. Then sprinkle it down the aisle, in the grooming or wash stalls, and in any other open areas. Do this quick and easy task several times a day so your barn always looks nice and smells fresh.

4. Remove Cobwebs

Cobwebs are a common problem in most barns. Allowing cobwebs to build up can make a barn look older and dirtier than it is. One solution is to spend a little time every day or so using a broom or long-handled dust wand to pull down the cobwebs from the stalls, tack room, feed room, and aisle. This is a good task to do when the horses are turned out or not in their stalls so that you do not scare them.

5. Sweep All Rooms

Make an effort to sweep out rooms such as the tack room, feed room, or laundry room once or twice a day. People are constantly walking in and out of these areas after being in the ring, stalls, or paddocks, so dirt, dust, and footing can start to build up on the floor. Sweeping these rooms regularly will go a long way toward keeping the stable’s overall appearance looking tidy.

6. Fold Everything Neatly

Messy blankets and towels strewn around on the aisle or in grooming stalls can make an otherwise clean barn look messy. If you keep stable sheets and blankets on each horse’s stall, take time to fold them neatly. Consider storing turnout sheets in a separate room rather than on stall doors because they tend to be dirty. If you have coolers or anti-sweats in your grooming stalls, be sure they are neatly hung or nicely folded. Similarly, make sure towels are folded or hanging to dry in an organized way.

By adding a few simple tidying tasks to your daily to-do list, you can easily keep your barn looking first-rate. Even if your facility is a little older or not the fanciest, prioritizing cleanliness and organization can help bring your stable to the next level.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Six Tips To Organize Your Feed Room

One of the most frequently used places in a barn is the feed room. Keeping this area organized is necessary to ensure that horses are receiving the correct grain and supplements. Keep reading for some tips from BarnManager on how to keep this room clean and neat.

1. Keep an Updated Feed List

One of the most important parts of a feed room is an updated list of what grain, supplements, and medications each horse is getting. Although most barns usually have one or two people who make the grain, it is crucial to keep a list in case they are away or not able to do the job that day. Providing horses with correct grain, supplements, and medication consistently is key, so start with a well-written feed chart or list. White boards are often useful for these types of lists because they make it easy to add, change, or remove items; however, whiteboards can make it more difficult to keep track of any changes being made. You should also include important special circumstances on this board such as a note about a horse needing water added to their grain or if the supply of a certain item is running low.

(Did You Know? BarnManager allows you to create, download, and print a feed chart! BarnManager also creates a Feed Change Log to document all changes made to a horse’s feed, supplements and medications over time.)

2. Put Grain in Bins

If you are feeding a large number of horses and have multiple types of grain, consider putting the grain in large bins instead of keeping it in the original bags. This can help make your feed room look neat and tidy. Also, multiple grain bags often fit into one bin so it can help save space. Invest in bins or containers that are sturdy and have lids to keep animals and insects out. When refilling the containers make sure that they are completely empty before adding in a new bag so the grain at the bottom does not stay there too long and go bad.

3. Label Everything

The next step in organizing your feed room is to label everything. If you do put your grain in bins, make sure to clearly label each lid. If a horse has a specific medication, it is helpful to write the horse’s name on the bottle or box along with the administration instructions. Some clients may have certain supplements or medications for their horses, so you should write their name on those containers as well. Also, label all the grain buckets. Clearly write the horse’s name along with the time of day the grain should be given on each one. Another tip is to have buckets in specific colors for each feeding time such as morning, lunch, and night grain.

4. Organize Medications and Medical Supplies

Keep extra medications and medical supplies like syringes and needles in a separate trunk, wall box, or container in the feed room. Storing these items separately from day-to-day supplements can help avoid confusion. Although these items are stored separately, make sure that they are still easily accessible and organized in case of an emergency.

5. Keep Medications Properly Sealed

It is important to make sure that any medications or supplements that would show up on a drug test are well-sealed and securely stored. These types of medications and supplements may include regumate, flunixin meglumine, acepromazine, or methocarbomol. Keeping these items isolated will help prevent accidentally contaminating the grain of a horse that is not receiving those medications or supplements. While contaminating grain can be a major problem in a show barn where the horses might get drug tested at a competition, it can also be an issue at any stable. Accidentally contaminating a horse’s grain with medication or supplements that they are not on can sometimes be dangerous. Keeping these items well-sealed and organized can help prevent this problem from happening.

6. Sweep and Wipe Surfaces

Another way to prevent contaminating feed with supplements or medications is to thoroughly sweep and wipe down surfaces every day. Making grain can be a messy task, so cleaning the room afterward is key. Along with preventing contamination, cleaning the feed room will keep the area neat, pleasant to work in, and also reduce the likelihood of insects or animals entering.

When organizing your feed room, it is important to make everything as clear, obvious, and simple as possible so you can rest assured that the feed is made correctly. When a good system is in place all employees can feel confident about successfully preparing the feed, even if it is not part of their daily routine.

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Getting Paperwork Organized for an FEI Competition: Registrations and Entries

You’re excited to participate in your upcoming Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) designated competition, whether that be as a rider, groom, manager, or owner, and you’ve been charged with making sure the paperwork is organized. The horse’s passport is ready to go, so what do you need to do now to actually enter the show? Entering an FEI show is a bit more complicated than a national-level competition, so it requires a little organization and some advanced planning of your team’s show schedule. Read the first part of our FEI Paperwork blog HERE.

Registrations

Rider USEF:

Similar to national competitions, it’s important to make sure the rider’s US Equestrian (USEF) membership is up to date. You should also be sure that they have completed their annual SafeSport training. Both items can be handled through USEF’s website.

Rider FEI:

If the rider has never competed in an FEI designated show, they will need to apply for an FEI registration number. This usually takes a few business days to process but is an important step to handle well in advance of the show in order to accomplish the other parts of the entry process. A rider’s initial FEI registration and annual renewal can be completed through the USEF portal’s Membership Dashboard. Be sure to look out for the confirmation email, so you can be certain everything is in order.

Horse USEF:

Horses with U.S. ownership must have lifetime USEF memberships (not just annual recordings) in order to be eligible for FEI competitions. You should make sure to confirm this status on USEF’s website.

Horse FEI:

Horses also need to be registered annually with the FEI. Like rider registrations and renewals, this can be handled through the rider’s Membership Dashboard on USEF’s website. Once a horse is registered, you will need to add it to the “Commonly Ridden Horses” list through the rider’s Athlete Dashboard in order to be able to enter it in any competitions.

Entries:

Horse Show Entry:

Just as for any national competition, horses and riders competing in FEI classes must fill out the show’s entry form. This can be done either by paper or online. In addition, FEI entries must be accepted by both the rider’s National Federation and the show’s Organizing Committee.

USEF Portal Entry System:

In order to be accepted by the National Federation to compete at any FEI designated show, riders need to declare their intention to show with their chosen horse(s) through USEF’s Athlete Dashboard. There, you can select nationally and internationally hosted shows to enter. The submitted entry request then must be approved by USEF. If the request is accepted, the National Federation submits all horse and rider entries to the FEI.

If the level of competition being entered is interpreted by the USEF representatives as too advanced for the rider, they will not permit the intended entry. While a trainer’s note of explanation can help overturn an initial rejection, the USEF representatives ultimately make the final decision. An entry for a rider that is not in good standing also will not be permitted.

FEI Wish List:

The FEI invitation system, or “wish list” as it’s referred to, is only used for show jumping, but is an important step for those events. When a rider places in FEI competition, they earn ranking points in the Longines Global Ranking. Once a rider has a high enough rank, they are required to express their intention to compete in desired shows through the FEI SportsManager application or the FEI online portal. While all riders can view the entry system, only riders with ranking status can submit wishes. This is to allow a show’s Organizing Committee to accept higher-ranked athletes first and then see how many available spots there are to include lower-ranked and unranked athletes. Riders can be automatically accepted based on ranking if there is no entry limit to the show. However, if there is a limit, the show’s Organizing Committee can issue an acceptance manually based on the rider’s ranking and how many entries they receive overall.

With these “wishes,” riders specify which shows they would like to enter and with how many horses. As plans develop, they can change the selected horses at a later date if they so choose. Adding more than one horse to a wish reflects how many horses the rider wants to compete at the show. Wishes are made during the four-week period taking place eight to five weeks before the week of the competition. For this reason, you need to have your intended schedule planned out ahead of time.

Entry Acceptance:

It’s always good to have a backup plan in mind in the event your FEI entry is rejected by the Organizing Committee or National Federation. Your team might decide to enter national level classes at the same competition instead, or a different show altogether. For show jumping, the wish list helps enable riders to rank multiple wishes for competitions occurring during the same week in order of preference. Therefore, if the rider does not get accepted to a particular FEI competition, they might be admitted to a different FEI show taking place at another venue during the same week.

Entry Withdrawals:

Once the rider’s entry is accepted, it is important to remember that should anything change necessitating an entry scratch, there is a deadline to withdraw an FEI entry without financial consequence. Typically, this is the week before the veterinary inspection jog–which signifies the beginning of the competition–but it is always good to double-check for deadline dates in order to avoid an unnecessary fee. If the entry has already been accepted by both USEF and the horse show organizers, you must contact both parties to completely withdraw your entry.

Planning ahead and organizing your show schedule will help you keep track of which competitions you want to attend at the FEI level. Although it may seem overwhelming, creating a detailed calendar with deadlines will help. Having a system in place will ensure that you arrive at the veterinary inspection jog ready for competition!

(Did you know? BarnManager has a calendar feature with reminders so you do not have to worry about missing important dates!)

Handy Links:

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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

Tips To Balance Work and Horse Showing

Horse showing with a full-time job is a challenging task that requires a lot of commitment and planning ahead. Keep reading for a few tips from amateur riders who are professionals at balancing their work with a busy competition schedule.

Julia Weiss

Senior Director, Media at Giant Spoon

Photo by Elegant Equus Photography

What divisions do you compete in currently, and who do you train with?

I show in the Amateur-Owner Hunter and Jumper divisions. Right now I am in between horses but aspire to get back to competing in the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers again. I ride with Findlay’s Ridge based in North Salem, NY, and Wellington, FL.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in balancing work with horse showing?

Time management! I always want to make sure I am doing the best I can in my professional and personal lives. My job is just that – my job – so I never want my riding to take me away from work in a way where someone has to pick up the slack. It’s tough to manage time working and riding, let alone time for yourself outside of those two pillars.

Finding the time to practice is another challenge. Most of what happens during a show is a result of the work that’s been put in before you get to the show ring. As an amateur, my time in the saddle is limited, which means I may make mistakes in the show ring due to a lack of practice at home. It’s hard when your competition didn’t go as you wanted it to, but you have to remember that in this sport what you get out is largely a reflection of what you put in.

What are your three favorite tips for successfully managing work and horse showing?

Photo by Sportfot

Open communication and transparency with your teams

Whenever I have a competition, I always let my team at work know when I may or may not be available so I can give them as much of a heads-up as possible. I’m lucky to work in an industry that allows me to step away from my computer and work from my phone to take calls and meetings as needed, and that my client deliverables and presentations are scheduled ahead of time. I’m also transparent with my trainer and barn managers about when I am unavailable, and when I need to be flexible. For example, if I have a call at a certain time, I’ll make sure they know that I need to go early or late in the order. If I have a client presentation on Thursday afternoon, we’ll look at the show schedule together to see if there’s a class earlier in the day that could better avoid potential conflicts.

You should know and understand what you are willing to be flexible on and what you are not flexible on. I try to make concessions with my riding schedule instead of my work schedule because, well, I get paid to work, not ride! I’ve been lucky enough to have missed neither an important client presentation nor a big competition. This is because of the support I receive from both of my teams.

Try to keep work separate from the ring and vice versa

There are times when I’ve walked up to the ring on my horse while on a work call and have had to hang up and warm-up for my class immediately. Obviously, it’s better to space out work and showing but if you have to do them back-to-back (or even more tricky, simultaneously), try to be fully present for the task at hand. Do your best not to take your client follow-ups into the ring with you. Similarly, keep your bad round out of your next Zoom meeting.

Take your competitions seriously, but not too seriously

With limited practice, you’re bound to make mistakes, and that’s fine. Remember why you’re doing it. For me, it’s about the mental challenge and the fun of competition. I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be able to ride at all with a full-time job. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes but it’s critical to realize it in order to maintain your sanity and also continue to enjoy the full experience.

Alexandra Murray

Senior Associate in Business and Program Development at the Milken Institute

Photo by Sportfot

What divisions do you compete in currently, and who do you train with?

I compete in the High Amateur-Owner Jumper division and occasionally show in the regional grands prix. My current goal is to compete at the two-star level in the near future. I train with Lionshare Farm based in Bedford, NY, and Wellington, FL.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in balancing work with horse showing?

Time management is my biggest challenge, and unfortunately, I have found that it is more an art than a science. With a full-time job, time in the saddle is limited and marginal compared to most of my competitors. I’m not deterred by this fact, mostly because I’m blessed to even be able to ride and compete, but also because I’ve found it motivating. Knowing this limitation, I put 110% of my effort into each ride and learn as much as possible.

What are your three favorite tips for successfully managing work and horse showing?

Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Plan ahead

This is definitely the “science” part of time management. My schedule for the week is always made by Sunday night. I like to arrange work calls during my commute to and from the barn, participate in competitions during quieter work months (when we are not hosting conferences), and plan calls or meetings around my classes during show weeks.

Stay flexible

Classes run late, people cancel, and sometimes there is traffic. Not everything goes according to plan, but don’t let that derail you. Depending on your prioritizations for the day, respond accordingly and move on.

Enjoy the ride, both literally and figuratively!

It is a privilege to live in New York City, ride with Lionshare Farm, and work at the Milken Institute. Though my calendar gets crazy, and at times it feels overwhelming, I am grateful for these opportunities. We are so lucky to work alongside such amazing animals, so we should savor and appreciate it!

Have questions about utilizing BarnManager or want to give it a try for yourself? Request a live demo here!

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