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!

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!

Spring Cleaning Your Barn: The Jobs That Are Often Overlooked

By Emily & Sarah Harris, Sisters Horsing Around

Those of us who live in areas with cold winters look forward to warm weather, sunny days, and more riding. Now that spring is here, it is also time to do some barn cleaning. Even though spring is a great opportunity to get some much-needed deep cleaning done, there are a few jobs that are often overlooked. Some of these jobs can be tedious, others seem unimportant, but either way, they make a big difference in the long run.

Disinfect the Stalls

Thoroughly cleaning the stalls and disinfecting them is a task that is recommended and important but one that not many do. If the stall has a dirt base, then this will be more difficult, but there are ways to work around that. Make sure to empty the stall completely before starting. This includes removing horses, manure, bedding, stall mats, food, water, etc. Kentucky Equine Research suggests washing down the entire stall with a “10% bleach solution first to help remove biofilms that can protect bacteria from disinfectants,” and let it dry. If using stall mats, be sure to thoroughly clean them as well. Then spray the stall with a veterinarian-approved disinfectant and leave it to dry. Once the stall is completely dry, sprinkle the bare floor with some barn lime or a stall absorbent, put everything back in, and add bedding.

Clean the Wash Stall

The wash stall is a place that is used frequently and can easily fall into disarray. Your best bet is to completely strip the area and wash down the surfaces. Remove tripping hazards and anything that can cause entanglements. Throw away any empty bottles, broken tools, tattered sponges, and rags. Then replace all the necessary items neatly. For indoor wash stalls, if space allows, keep everything well-organized by adding a shelf or hanging basket to hold bottles and tools. For outdoor wash stalls, a good barn hack is to use milk crates to keep wash items together. The holes in the milk crates will prevent water from collecting inside.

Clean Stall Fans

Cleaning stall fans is important not only to make the barn look clean but also for safety reasons. Stall fans have become a popular tool used throughout the hot summer and early fall months. Begin by reconsidering the type of fan you are using to keep your beloved equines cool. Some fans are not well-suited for the barn because of the potential risks they pose. For example, light-duty box fans can be purchased practically everywhere, but they can be a major fire hazard in a barn due to their open motor compartment. Agricultural fans are the safest because they have a sealed motor compartment and can withstand dust, dirt, and debris. These fans will only need a quick blow with a leaf blower or air compressor to get them clean. Make sure they are unplugged before starting.

Pressure Wash the Barn

Cleaning the outside of the barn is something that is often overlooked. Using a pressure washer is a quick and efficient way to clean remove dust, dirt, mold, and mildew. Trust us, the results are quite impressive and very satisfying. After a good cleaning, the barn will have a refreshed and like-new appearance. Be sure to clean on a sunny, dry day because pressure washing will result in a lot of water outside the barn.

Managing the Manure Heap/Dump Station

Managing the manure heap is an ongoing task but turning it over at least once will help in composting. If turning it is not an option, cover it with a tarp to speed up the process. The composted manure can be used to fertilize a garden or help with landscaping plants on the property.

Recharge/Replace Fire Extinguisher

Recharging or replacing fire extinguishers is something that should be done regularly. Check each gauge to see what is needed. If the needle is on red, recharge it or replace it right away. If a fire and safety equipment company is not easily accessible, it may be cheaper to replace the fire extinguisher than to recharge it.

Check Gates

This task should never be neglected. A gate that is in good repair not only looks nice, but functions much better than a gate in poor condition. Remember that gates help to keep horses contained and safe, while providing us with access to them. Since many clever equines learn how to manipulate gates as an escape route, make sure that they are all in good condition. Check paddock gates to make sure they do not drag on the ground, tighten up any loose nuts or bolts, fix or replace latches, add a wheel for easier opening, and touch up with paint wherever needed.

Another task to add to your spring-cleaning list is oiling the hinges. Nobody likes creaking hinges and poorly moving doors, so don’t forget to lubricate the hinges to keep the doors and gates working smoothly.

Replace Equine Activity Signs 

Making sure the Equine Activity signs are always visible and easy to read may not seem like that big of a deal but don’t neglect this task. If the sign is dirty, clean it up. If it is broken or missing a piece, replace it. Add extra signs in various places and at multiple entrances to the barn to ensure that people are well informed about equine liability laws and what their responsibilities are as a participant.

It is very easy to get so lost in cleaning up that some jobs will completely fall of your to-do list in the usual scramble to get things done. We hope this list will help tackle those jobs that often escape our minds to do. After completing these tasks, you will be ready to take on the rest of the year with a fresh clean start. Happy cleaning!

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

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

 

Five Tips To Organize Your Tack Room

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

1. Sort Your Tack

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

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

2. Create Sections

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

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

3. Organize Bits

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

4. Give Everything a Home

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

5. Label All Items

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

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

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

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

How to Begin Spring Cleaning Your Barn

The entrance of warmer weather often brings the spark of new life and desire to start fresh. This winter was a tough one in many parts of the country, and it was made even tougher by the ongoing pandemic. With health and sanitation on everyone’s mind and more pleasant weather being ushered in (hopefully), it’s a perfect time to do some spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, especially if your barn is large or is made up of many individuals who have belongings taking up space. BarnManager is here to serve as a guide to tidy up your barn and get everyone to pitch in and do their part.

1. Remove winter gear from sight.

Ask everyone to remove their winter belongings from the barn. Once the weather warms up just enough to know winter won’t be sneaking back in, it’s time to put away the blankets, the heavy gloves, and more bulky items that may be taking up space and collecting more dirt than necessary. Designate a small area for riders to drop their blankets to keep them in one place. If the blankets will just be stored until next winter, put an organization system into place that will keep them out of the way but easily accessible for when temperatures drop again.

 

2. Take everything off the shelves.

Once winter gear is out of the way, it’s time to clean everything else. If you have shelves of stocked with saddle pads, polo wraps, and horse products, take all the items out so you can see the surface below. This way, you can properly dust from the bottom up, getting rid of all the dust that collected during the past year. Also use this step to identify dirty, expired, and damaged items that you can repurpose, dispose of, or repair.

3. Restock the empty, dust-free shelves.

Use a system that makes sense; put the most frequently used products front and center, while less regularly used items can go further back on shelves. You will also notice more easily when items are running low and may need to be replaced.

4. Ask all your clients/students to go through steps two and three with their own trunks.

Ask them to remove all items, get rid of anything unused or unnecessary, and scrub the baseboards of their trunks. While many may not be thrilled, it will help everyone keep their things clean and organized in the long run.

5. Clean all the tack.

Though many riders are responsible for their own tack, every barn has extra tack that may go unused for most of the year. This equipment ends up gathering dust and mold and could easily be refurbished and sold rather than sitting around. Grabbing an old rag and your best tack cleaner and scrub all those extra saddles and bridles that remain will help make your tack room shine. Give all the bits an extra polish to add some sparkle.

6. Sanitize all surfaces.

If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it would be how easily germs can spread. Think of all the surfaces in the barn that multiple people touch on a daily basis. Grab some disinfectant spray and wipe them all down. Kitchen counters, grooming stalls, bathrooms, and other areas should be cleaned regularly.

7. Enjoy the spring weather and your good-as-new barn!

There are few feelings more satisfying than finishing a big cleaning project. Enjoy the fruits of your labor (and the warm weather) by returning to business as usual with a more streamlined and welcoming space.

A Spring Cleaning Checklist

Your Barn Spring Cleaning Checklist

The weather is finally warming up across the country, which means it’s time to open the barn windows and get out the cleaning supplies! The fresh start that spring brings is the perfect opportunity to clean and organize not only your home, but also your barn, your tack, and your horse.

Here are a few things that we recommend checking off your spring cleaning list!

Tack and equipment

Get to the bottom of your tack trunk. When was the last time that you actually took everything out of your trunk? Whether you’re coming off a winter show circuit or just gearing up for your first show of the season, the spring is a great opportunity to take everything out of your trunk, deep clean, re-organize, and maybe even re-locate that glove you thought was long lost!

Evaluate, eliminate, and replace tack as needed. As you’re going through your tack trunk, also evaluate all of your tack and equipment. If there’s something that you no longer need or want, consider donating it to a horse rescue or therapeutic program or taking it to a local equine consignment shop. Now is also the time to replace any broken or overly-used tack or equipment or stock up on new items for the summer.

Send blankets out for cleaning and repair. By the end of the winter, it’s likely that your horse’s sheets and blankets are in need of a deep cleaning! Depending on your area, some exceptional blanket cleaning services are available to clean and repair your blankets and then carefully wrap and pack them for safe keeping until cooler weather returns.

Your horse

Get spring vaccinations. Make sure that your horse is up to date on all vaccines and has a recent coggins test.

Have those teeth checked. While your vet is there for vaccinations, or if you use an equine dentist, now is the time to have them float your horse’s teeth and check for any potential dental issues.

Stock up on fly repellant products. In most parts of the country, the onset of warmer weather also means the onset of more flies! Stock up on fly sprays and any fly masks or sheets.

Around the barn

Check your fire extinguishers. If you have your own barn, your spring cleaning check list can grow immensely! Consider including things like checking your fire extinguishers or

having them serviced. Don’t have a fire extinguisher? Add getting one to your spring list, as every barn should have at least one!

Clean out gutters and downspouts. Clear out any leaves or build-up that may have accumulated over the fall and winter months.

Inspect your pastures. Walk the perimeter of all pastures to check the fencing and locate any weak or broken spots. Thoroughly clean any run-in sheds, and walk your fields and fill in any holes.

Have BarnManager help!

BarnManager makes it easy to simplify your spring cleaning and organization!

After your horse gets its spring vaccines, snap a picture of the shot records, and upload it straight to your horse’s profile in the BarnManager app!

Have a long list of spring cleaning to-dos? Make the list within BarnManager and even share it with fellow barn members, clients, or staff to assign tasks or accomplish the to-do list together!

Plan your spring and summer show schedule directly within BarnManager’s calendar for easy access by everyone within your barn!

Sign up to try a free trial here!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – 8 Spring Cleaning Must-dos for Your Barn

Liv’s Tip of the Month

Time to do a few things around the farm to get ready for warmer weather!

horse rolling in the flowers

  • Have a professional check your electrical wiring, especially if you use fans in warmer weather.
  • Clean, repair, and carefully store your winter blankets.
  • Take your trailer in for yearly service, including tire safety and braking systems checks.
  • Clean out your grooming supply buckets – all of that spring shed hair loves to collect in there!
  • Schedule your spring vaccinations (BarnManager can be very helpful with this!)
  • Implement a tick control program.
  • Collect manure samples for a worm check from your vet’s office.
  • Clean and condition tack, as well as double checking stitching and buckles.

BarnManager can help you make your spring cleaning list, set due dates, and assign tasks to your team members. To try a free trial of our barn management software click here. Then go out and embrace the fact that spring is finally here! Time to celebrate riding without those huge winter jackets!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!