Tips and Tricks from the Best Hunter Barn Managers in the Business! – Part Two

Our BarnManager team recently caught up with some of the best hunter barn managers in the business to learn their tips and tricks, and now we’re back with more insight from two women working hard in the saddle and behind the scenes to help their hunter operations run smoothly!

Meet This Week’s Managers

 

Karli Postel – Karli Postel rides and assistant trains for Archie Cox at Brookway Stables in California.

 
 

 

Cara Meade – Cara Meade manages for John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, based out of Tennessee.

 

Q: What is one thing that you or your horses never go to the ring without?

Karli: The grooms never come without a backpack, and in the backpack there are back boots, hoof oil, brushes, hoof pick, and rags; they always have a whip in the backpack. They always have a little bit of boot polish in the backpack. Show Sheen, rubbing alcohol, and fly spray. The backpacks are heavy!

Cara: A towel. There are so many uses for a towel at the ring. Horses always need to be dusted off—legs, belly, sweat marks, green mouth, tack—and your rider’s boots can always have one last wipe-down. It can also be used on the jump or ground as a way to prep a spooky horse.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge of the job?

Karli: Orchestrating timing is probably the hardest, just because of the nature of our industry. Nothing generally runs specific to the laid-out time schedule, so you have to make your schedule but then be flexible within it. You have be able to recognize “Okay well this ring is running a little bit faster, and this ring is running a little bit slower,” so it’s going to work out a little differently than I had accounted for originally. I think if you’re not good at time management and you can’t be flexible within a schedule that you make, you’re going to have a hard time because you might get flustered.

Cara: Communication! Whether it’s with someone who speaks a different language or just simply how someone else translates the task, idea, or information you are trying to explain. Clear and consistent communication between all parties is always a good challenge.

Q: What’s your biggest time-saving trick in the barn?

Karli: Using your resources and using your network. I see it all the time where people are at one ring and they’re like, “Well I need to check on the other ring, so I need to walkover there.” You have the resource of the gate guy. Go and ask him to radio over. He won’t mind as long as you aren’t rude and you wait until he has a convenient moment to do it; you’re saving yourself the trip. When we go to HITS Thermal where there are seven hunter rings, four jumper rings, and the barn is way far away, those 10 minutes that it takes you to walk from one ring to another are valuable. So I say definitely you need to use your resources. Sometimes getting the gate guy’s phone number is helpful. If you’re in the warm-up ring and can’t hear the count, it’s nice to be able to reach out to them personally.

I also like to keep my schedule on my phone so that I always have it on me, and I try to make sure that everyone has a schedule. Archie [Cox], myself, and then our head guy Carlos, just so that all three of us have an idea of what’s happening.

Cara: My time-saving trick is organization. I’m not naturally the most organized person, so the more organized I can be with all of the supplies I use each day, my thoughts, and the order of how tasks get done makes a big difference in how long the days take to get finished.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Karli: It’s so fun when you get to the weekend, and the clients come. You had your whole week and feel like you’ve done all the prep.When they go in and they have success, and they come out and they’re happy, that’s the most rewarding for me. Especially when it’s kid; I love the amateurs, but with the kids it’s really rewarding because you can really see it on their face when they’re so excited about winning. Even if they just went in and had a really good round, when they ride well it’s exciting!

Cara: The most rewarding part is seeing the horses perform well. There is SO much effort and detail that goes into getting each horse prepared exactly right to go to the ring. To see all of that effort pay off for horse and rider is definitely the most rewarding part.

Q: What’s your best grooming tip? And what five things do you use most in the barn?

Cara: My best grooming tip is to be organized as best you can. The more readily you can have all your grooming necessities and tack available the easier it will be to work quickly and efficiently.

I definitely use the dry-erase board; I wouldn’t make it through the day without it. A towel and some Pledge; there is never something that doesn’t need dusting. Scissors or a pocket knife, sunscreen, and tack soap.

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Winter Coats

So what triggers your horse’s winter coat to come in? Your horse’s eyes and the summer solstice!
 
 
Every June, the solstice signals the start of summer. The days get progressively shorter. Your horse’s eyes slowly start to notice this…sending signals to his brain to start thinking about winter. Sure, he’s not going to start sprouting a new coat mid-July, but he’s noticing.
 
 
The primary stimulus for a horse’s shedding and coat growing cycle is sunlight! Very little of the temperature and blanketing situations has an influence on the hair growth cycle.
 

 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!

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 and Tricks from the Best Hunter Barn Managers in the Business! – Part One

The Capital Challenge Horse Show attracts the best hunter horses and riders in the country – and in turn, the best hunter barn managers! While at the show, we caught up with several of them to learn their tips and tricks and the challenges and rewards of their jobs. Now, we’re sharing their feedback in a two-part series of blog posts!

Meet This Week’s Managers

 

Kassie Gustafson – Kassie Gustafson manages for Hunt Tosh Inc., based out of Alpharetta, GA.

 
 

 

Molly Sewell Schott – Molly Sewell Schott is a rider and assistant trainer at Over the Hill Farm in Sanford, FL, where she has worked with Bill Schaub for the last 17 years.

 

 

Kate Wood – Kate Wood has managed for Liza Boyd at Finally Farm in Camden, SC, for almost two years.

 

Q: What’s the biggest challenge of the job?

Kassie: At a show, I’d say just communicating. Making sure that all of the pieces are working together – whether you’re getting horses to the ring or you’re in a situation where you have a lot of clients. It really just depends on that – getting your whole team to work together. If you’re at home, not at a horse show situation, I would actually say pretty much the same thing: just making sure that everyone is communicating. There are a lot of moving pieces that make a barn run efficiently. Being able to manage all of that is probably the trickiest part.

Molly: For me, I think my challenge is juggling multiple roles. I ride and also manage the grooms and the horses. That’s the hardest thing. I’d also say, making sure that communication is good between all of us.

Kate: Keeping all of the pieces moving; making sure that if there are lessons for the day that need to get done, that they’re getting lined up in between showing – just trying to make sure that the day runs as efficiently as possible. It’s really hard to do, because you’ve got horses showing in the ring, and you’re trying to get other lessons put together. The time management is really the big thing.

Q: What’s your biggest time-saving trick in the barn?

Kassie: I’m a huge multi-tasker. At the end of the day when you have a tack hook full of bridles, tack cleaning takes up a lot of time. So, any little stuff you can do throughout the day – like tack cleaning, those little types of things – they really help.

If people ask me, “What can I do to help you?” I hand them a pile of polo wraps to roll. Hunt’s daughter, [Maddie Tosh] is great. She always helps us in the barn. I call her my little secretary because she is just fabulous. You don’t realize how much it helps you when someone can do those kinds of little things for you. It allows you to have that time to do something else that you need to. Keeping up with the little things like cleaning tack and rolling polos throughout the day makes a difference.

Molly: I like to make sure that everything is organized when I close up shop every day. It saves time in the morning. I would rather stay at the barn later and then have everything smooth and efficient in the mornings, as far as tack being perfectly organized and that sort of stuff.
I like everything to be done the night before because you have very limited hours in the morning. When I get to the barn, I want to be able to pull every piece of tack out of the trunk and have it exactly where it needs to be before everyone starts riding. I even pack the trunk at night based on what we’re doing first, so I’ll put the schooling bridles on the top so that we can just get them out and get the horses out the door and to the ring. That’s probably my biggest time-saving thing as far as being organized.

Kate: Just really overcommunicating – even if you repeat yourself five times. Making sure that everyone knows the game plan; writing everything down. Liza and I don’t leave the barn before we go over the board together and make sure that Jack [Towell] is clued in on what the morning is bringing. We just like to have a good game plan before we leave that day.

Q: What item or items do you use most in the barn?

Kassie: Anything I post for them I always hashtag #ShapleysSavesLives because it does. We’re a huge fan of Shapley’s products. Whether it’s the High Gloss, the Spray Paint, whatever – we’re huge fans. We use a lot of MagnaPaste for hoof packing.

Molly: Venice turpentine – at least that’s what I’m always buying! It’s for their feet; we’re always making sure their feet are comfortable because that’s the most important part. If you don’t have any feet, you don’t have any horse.

Kate: We love our Seashore Acres products. We use a ton of that stuff for scratches and for fly spray. I also have to say our rubber jump poles. They’re safer than regular jump poles; if you want your horse to land a little further out off a jump, you can place them on the ground. If they land on those, it’s a lot safer than if they were to land on a wooden pole. And again, our radios. Our radios are very important to us.

Q: What is one thing that you or your horses never go to the ring without?

Kassie: I never go anywhere without my backpack. I always say that it’s full of my magic tricks. I always have a hoof pick and a tail brush. We take all of our horses up with a chain lead shank. It makes it easier to hold them while they’re getting ready. I’m a really big fan of the baby oil that’s a gel; it’s super easy to carry in a backpack. You don’t have to worry about it spilling or anything like that. Baby powder of course, hoof oil, all the basic stuff. I have a kit of makeup that I take with me, in case we need it for any touch-ups. You never know what’s going to happen!

Molly: Our horses and ponies are very spoiled; they definitely never go to the ring without peppermints! Then our grooms all have their essentials like hoof picks, fly spray, and towels in the backpack that goes to the ring with each horse.

Kate: My radio. That’s how we survive. And normally my hat and my boots just in case!

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Kassie: Any time that a horse goes well – especially if it’s one that I had to get ready in the morning. With Hunt’s farm, I love seeing Maddy do well because they’re such a close family, and they’re all so dedicated. They put so much into it. The whole family gives 150 percent every single day. That’s wonderful to be a part of.

Molly: I think the most rewarding part of my job is of course going in and showing – that’s my favorite thing and my passion. But it’s also so rewarding when the ponies and horses go to the ring and they’re prepared beautifully – when they’re perfectly tuned and schooled and yet they’re also gorgeous to look at. It’s very satisfying to see them all braided up; they go to the ring and do their job and then they’re champion our reserve.

Kate: I really love when the horses go in and do their job and everyone is happy. I like it when the horses are happy most of all. That’s the most fun for me, preparing the horses and then watching them go in the ring.

Q: What’s your best grooming tip?

Kassie: Fly spray. I use the wipe and spray. It is phenomenal. If you put it on their hooves instead of hoof oil, the footing doesn’t stick to it. I’m a huge fan of that. You can fix anything with some fly spray – brush it into their coat, wipe off the dust – fly spray is my go-to trick for sure!

Molly: I would say our biggest, best grooming tip would be for the wintertime when we do body clipping. We always clip our horses if they start getting the slightest bit of hair on them because we find that if you clip them when their hair is shorter, they keep their color longer. If you let the hair grow out long, they lose all their color.

Kate: I think just being aware of the details, not just with the horse being turned out well, but making sure that they don’t have fungus; making sure that their coats look good, they don’t have hives or bumps. It pays off to just pay close attention and know your horses.

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Signs of Dehydration

Liv’s Tip of the Month

Dehydration is more than just your horse being extra thirsty – it can become a veterinary emergency.

Pulling a bit of his skin on the neck to see how fast it snaps back is not a reliable way to measure hydration. Older horses have less elastic skin!

You need to look at your horse’s gums. Pale, white, red, or blue gums are a sign of severe danger. The gums must also be slippery and slick, not dry or sticky.

In the warmer summer months, use electrolytes a few hours before you exercise your horse. This helps retain water.

Keep plenty of fresh water available and make sure your horse gets at least a tablespoon of salt per 500 lbs of body weight every day – no matter the season.

BarnManager can help track supplies, medical records, and watering reminders –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

 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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month -Beat the Heat

Liv’s Tip of the Month

There’s one sure fire way to determine if your horse is having a hard time with heat and humidity -take his temperature. Before and after a ride. Also, check his gums frequently for signs of dehydration, his upper teeth should be slimy and slick. Sticky or dry gums are dangerous and are a sign to call your vet right away.

Ride in the shade if you can, during the coolest hours of the day, often in the morning. Take your time cooling your horse down, offering water right away and rinsing with water or a water/alcohol bath. Alcohol evaporates faster and helps speed us the cooling process.

Consider clipping your horse in the summer for added temperature control. (You can see Liv’s clipping tips here!)

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

BarnManager can help track temperatures, schedule ride times, and keep medical records –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

 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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Clipping Like a Pro

Liv’s Tip of the Month

Start with a clean horse!  Shampoo, condition, dry.  Use a sheen product or grooming oil.   

Then add wickedly sharp clipper blades.  Pick a clipper blade that leaves enough hair for your taste.  Most blades have a mm designation that tells you how many mm of hair are left with that blade.   

If you are going for a partial clip, your horse doesn’t have to be clipped in a specific pattern.  It’s much better to clip your horse’s hot spots – where he sweats.   

If you clip too early in the season, you might have to do some touch ups later.  That’s fine!  If you clip too late, the hair will have stopped growing in and any clipper marks or “oops” will be there for a while.  

Depending on your climate, you may want to do a full body clip early so you can prep your horse in the last few days of warm weather.  As winter drags on, you can do a partial clip so legs stay warm but his body gets the benefits of a clip.

BarnManager can help track who needs to be clipped and who is left –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Fly Control

Liv’s Tip of the Month

There are two main things to know about fly control – first, know what types of flies you are targeting and second, you must attack all stages of the fly life cycle. 

When you know if the flies are heat seekers, like horse flies, or smell seekers, like stable flies, you can create the best fly control program.  The types of flies will also tell you about their environment. This enables you to start time turnouts and trim back scrub brush around creeks that flies like to live in.  

Use fatty acid based sprays for biting flies that look for their meals with their noses.  Confuse the sight oriented flies with zebra printed fly sheets.   

Keep the manure picked from your horse’s area several times a day, use fans, and do your research about what types of flies you are battling.  

Finally, keep notes from year to year on your management plan. BarnManager can help you do this –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

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!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – 5 Springtime Dangers to Avoid with Your Horse

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Springtime brings some beautiful flowers and we all want to be outside after the long winter. However, springtime also brings some unique dangers to keep your horses away from.

  • Buttercups are toxic – really toxic – but luckily they are bitter tasting and most horses won’t eat them. However, this can become a problem when your horse gets hungry from being in a sparse paddock with nothing to nibble – then the bitter taste may not matter so much.
  • Dandelions are not toxic – but they are very high in sugars! With springtime grasses also high in sugars, this can become a real risk for the metabolically compromised horse.
  • You should also watch out for cool mornings – temps below 40 degrees overnight create a spike in pasture sugars. Hot afternoons are also an issue – the same thing happens when temps warm up suddenly!
  • Poison ivy – another non-poisonous one that can still cause some issues. Your horse can rub on the plant and transfer the oils to you.
  • Leftover acorns are a problem because they are toxic AND delicious. While most oak trees shed their acorns in the fall, sometimes they can linger until spring, so watch out for those!

The solution to many of these is the keep plenty of fresh forage and clean water in front of your horse to distract them from expanding their diet into any unhealthy things. You can use BarnManager to create reminders to check on all these plants, and to get the word out to your team. To sign up for a free trial of BarnManager’s horse management software click here. Be safe out there and enjoy the warmer weather!

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!

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!