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!

Five Activities To Do When It’s Too Cold To Ride

For most people, the winter months include some days when the temperatures are too cold to safely ride your horse. Below are some equestrian-related activities to keep you busy during those ice-cold days.

1. Watch Live Streams

If you are stuck inside because of freezing temperatures or several feet of snow, check out coverage from some of the horse shows happening elsewhere. Live streams are available for both World Equestrian Center locations, the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Desert International Horse Park. USEF Network also offers educational content and horse shows on demand. If you want to learn more from top equestrians, watch a Masterclass or a Barn Talk from Horse & Country. You may not be able to have a lesson that day, but you can still grow your knowledge and skills remotely.

2. Clean Tack

If your barn has a heated tack room, consider taking the time to deep clean and condition all of your tack. It’s difficult to find the time to do this during a regular busy day when you are riding. Go the extra step and take apart your bridle, clean your bits, condition your saddle, and polish your boots. Make sure to clean all the tiny leather pieces that often get skimmed over in day-to-day cleaning. This is a good time to make note of any equipment that might need to be replaced or fixed. You could also bring your tack home if you prefer to work while watching a movie or live stream of a horse show.

3. Make Homemade Horse Cookies

Baking when it’s cold or snowing is always a fun way to keep you busy. After making a batch of cookies for yourself, consider baking some homemade treats for your favorite horse. Although it’s no longer the holiday season, check out BarnManager’s DIY Holiday Horse Treat Recipes for some fun ideas. This is an activity your horse will definitely appreciate, no matter what time of year.

4. Organize Your Tack Trunk

Cleaning out your tack trunk can be a daunting task depending on how much equipment you acquire over time. It’s a good idea to go through and reorganize every once in a while, especially if you struggle to find things in a pinch. Buy baskets or clear containers that easily fit into your trunk and use them to store gear such as bits, extra pieces of tack, spurs, and gloves. Create separate piles of equipment to throw out if well-worn or donate if still in good condition. Empty out your entire trunk and use the barn vacuum or a hand-held one from home to really get ready for a clean start. When you put everything back in, try to put your most used items at the top of the trunk for easy access.

5. Clean Out Your Closet

Equestrians have a habit of collecting shirts and breeches throughout the years and then not wearing most of them. Take advantage of those cold days when you are stuck inside to go through your closet and decide what clothes you actually wear and what you really don’t need. You can also do this with boots, half chaps, show jackets, and other equipment that have accumulated over time. If the items are still in good condition, consider donating to an organization that makes gently-used riding clothes available to other horse lovers who need them, such as The Rider’s Closet.

Although nobody wants to spend a day inside away from their horse, try to make the most of that time with these fun and productive activities from BarnManager.

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 for Horse Showing in the Winter

While some lucky riders get to escape to warmer climates during the winter, others remain up north to horse show in indoor rings and freezing temperatures. Read some of BarnManager’s tips to successfully compete in the cold weather.

1. Pack Extra Layers for Your Horse

Extra layers are extremely important when it comes to horse showing in cold temperatures. One cooler and one anti-sweat may not be enough, especially if your horse gets warm or sweaty while working. If one of the coolers gets wet or your horse needs an extra layer, it is always good to have a backup. Additional layers will guarantee that your horse will not catch a chill while waiting at the ring or after showing. If your horse is not using one of the coolers, they are also perfect to wrap around yourself to stay warm.

2. Pack Extra Layers for Yourself

Dressing in several layers is key to keeping warm during a long day at the show. Instead of just one thick jacket, try to wear multiple shirts and sweaters under your jacket to fight the cold. Since most show shirts are made for the summer, wear an additional shirt underneath. This will give you an extra layer of clothing when you are in the show ring wearing only your show coat on top. While horse showing in the cold weather, you may go from hot to cold multiple times during the day. If you get warm while riding, it is easy to take off a top layer and then put it back on when you are finished to avoid a chill. Bring extra clothing to change into in case some layers get sweaty from your work in the ring.

3. Stock Up on Spot Remover

Keeping your horse clean before a horse show is always a tricky task and when it is extremely cold a bath is not always an option. Spot remover can come in handy at these times, especially if you have a grey horse. Spray a little spot remover on any dirty area of your horse and use a wet towel to rub it off. Using warm water will help get rid of the dirt and make it a more pleasant experience for your horse. This process may require a little elbow grease, but it is an easier option than a full bath in the cold.

Another trick to keep your horse clean if they have white socks is to wrap their legs the night before. This will help those areas stay clean overnight, even if they lay down. To add a little brightness to white socks, apply baby powder before heading to the show ring.

4. Warm Up Before You Ride

Standing in the cold for multiple hours can cause stiff muscles, which is not what you want to feel when getting in the saddle. Before you get on, try to find a place to warm up for a few minutes, like a heated car or bathroom. If possible, do a few stretches to loosen up so you are not stiff when you get on your horse. Plan ahead so you have time to walk your horse a few extra laps in the warm-up area so they can properly loosen up as well. Remember to keep the cooler on your horse while walking them and wrap it around your legs to help you both stay warm for as long as possible.

5. Stay Hydrated

When it’s cold outside it’s easy to forget to drink water. Staying hydrated is important for exercising and keeping warm. Remind yourself to take a couple of sips of water every half hour and pack a hot beverage in a thermos to provide some extra warmth. Make sure to offer your horse water throughout the day because the same holds true for keeping them hydrated.

Horse shows can be challenging in any weather, but the cold winter months add an extra level of difficulty. Test out these tips at your next show for a warmer and more enjoyable day.

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 Household Items To Use at the Barn This Winter

Riding or working in a barn during cold winter weather is never an easy task. Read about some of BarnManager’s favorite winter hacks using products you can find in your own home.

1. Crockpot

A crockpot or slow cooker is very helpful to have at the barn when the temperatures are below freezing. They do a great job of keeping water warm for grooming or cleaning tack if you do not have access to hot water. You can also dip your horse’s bit into the crockpot before putting the bridle on to make it more comfortable for your horse.

2. Hairdryer

Even if your horse is clipped, they can often get sweaty after a ride. You always want to make sure your horse is dry before putting their blanket on, which sometimes can take a while. Bring your hairdryer from home to speed up the process. If you do a combination of blow-drying and toweling, your horse will be dry in no time.

 

3. Rubbing Alcohol

This winter hack is also for quickly drying your horse’s coat after a ride so they do not catch a chill. Put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, apply it to your horse’s coat, and then towel off the area. Alcohol evaporates quickly and also takes the water with it so your horse will dry off a lot faster. By the time you finish cleaning your tack, your horse will be dry and ready for their blanket.

4. Cooking Spray

If you live in an area where it snows a lot, you might want to bring some cooking spray to the barn. Horses often have balls of snow and ice form on the bottoms of their feet when they are turned out in the snow, which can make walking uncomfortable. Apply cooking spray to your horse’s feet after picking them out to prevent the ice balls from forming.

5. Vacuum

Since giving a bath during the winter is often not an option, getting your horse clean can be a difficult task, especially if you are trying to get ready for a horse show. Some barns have horse vacuums to help, but if your barn does not you can always use your vacuum from home. This hack may not be for every horse, but if your mount is brave enough then you can run a vacuum over them using the brush attachment to get rid of dirt and hair.

6. Dryer Sheets

Accidentally shocking your horse because of static electricity during the winter is never a pleasant experience. Before you put the blanket back on your horse, rub them and the liner of their blanket with a dryer sheet to get rid of static electricity. You can also rub it through their mane and tail to prevent any shocking.

Start searching your house for some of these useful items to bring to the barn for an easier and more enjoyable winter 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!

DIY Holiday Horse Treats

One of the best parts about the holiday season is making Christmas cookies, so why not make them for your horse as well? Check out some of BarnManager’s favorite equine holiday treat recipes that your horse is guaranteed to love. Hang a stocking on your horse’s stall and fill it with these easy-to-make homemade cookies.

Peppermint Horse Kisses

From Corro

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups steel-cut oats
  • ¾ cups molasses
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple pieces
  • 12 hard peppermint candies

Peppermint Horse Kisses. Photo from Corro.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° (F).
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  3. Combine molasses and oats in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the peppermint candies.
  5. Fill muffin tins half full.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and press the peppermint candies into the tops of the cookies.
  8. Let cool before feeding to your favorite horses.

Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Mistletoe Muffins

From Mid-Rivers Equine Centre

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 shredded apple
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • ½ cup crushed peppermint
  • 1 small box of raisins
  • Green and red icing
  • Sprinkles
  • 48 miniature cupcake liners

Mistletoe Muffins. Photo from Mid-Rivers Equine Centre.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° (F).
  2. Mix oats, water, and honey in a bowl.
  3. Microwave for two minutes.
  4. Add shredded apple, brown sugar, crushed peppermints, flour, and raisins.
  5. Place back in the microwave for two more minutes.
  6. Put mixture into cupcake liners on cookie sheet. Use two liners per muffin for support.
  7. Put in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Note: The muffins do not rise.
  8. Let the muffins cool and then decorate them with icing and sprinkles.

 Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Peanut Butter Apple DIY Horse Treats

From Corro

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 apple
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Peanut Butter Apple DIY Horse Treats. Photo from Corro.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° (F).
  2. Grate the apple and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. Mix dry ingredients.
  4. Add the apple and peanut butter.
  5. Slowly add enough of the water to form a manageable dough.
  6. If the dough becomes too sticky, then add additional flour.
  7. Form into desired shapes and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. You may glaze or frost with icing made by mixing 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
  9. Top with sprinkles for added decoration.

Click here to open a printable recipe card!

Test out these recipes and give your horse something special for the holidays. Not only are these treats great gifts for your horse, but you can also give them to your barn friends, trainers, managers, and grooms.

If you’re not in the mood to make your own horse treats, you can always shop for them at Corro. They have all your favorite horse treats ready to go. Use code BARNMANAGER10 for 10% off your first order!

 

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!

Eight Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Equestrian Friends

Eight Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Equestrian Friends

Wondering what types of gifts your equestrian friends will enjoy the most this holiday season? Read below for our list of this year’s most wanted presents.

1. Belts

Equestrians can never have too many belts. There are so many styles, colors, and materials to choose from when seeking the perfect fit for your friend. You can opt for classic leather for the show ring or a colorful, stretchy-material style for schooling days at home. Both traditional and online tack shops carry lots of options, and some offer personalization with their horse’s name. You could even get a matching one for yourself!

2. Horse Treats

Every horse owner enjoys receiving a bag of treats give to their favorite mount. This is an easy gift to pair with a card and maybe a chocolate treat for your friend. Go a step further and make homemade horse cookies yourself and put them in a decorative container with a bow.

3. Socks

Socks are a great stocking-stuffer gift, especially for your friends who stay north during the winter. Having frozen feet while riding is never fun, so a few good pairs of warm socks for cold days at the barn are always appreciated. You can also add a set of toe warmers for those extra cold days. For friends who do not have deal with freezing temperatures, there are boot socks that come in lots of fun colors and patterns.

4. Gloves

Multiple pairs of gloves are a necessity during the busy show season and cold winter months. They often get lost or worn out, so it’s always handy to have extra pairs around. If your friend is staying up north this winter, considering buying them a pair of winter riding gloves. Nothing is worse than not being able to feel your hands while you’re tacking up your horse or riding. You can throw in a set of hand warmers with this gift as well.

5. Personalized Gifts

There are several websites that allow you to personalize products with pictures, which is perfect for any horse-obsessed owner. Gather a couple photos of your friend with their horse and customize coffee mugs, phone cases, pillows, water bottles, and more. Choose a different picture for each item and maybe even include a photo of you and your friend.

6. Photography Session

Equestrians love photo shoots with their favorite equine partner. Although photography sessions can be expensive, photographers often offer lower-priced options. You could even go behind the camera yourself and capture those special moments for your friend if you have the equipment – these days, even iPhones can take amazing photos with proper editing.

7. Magazine Subscription

Allow your friends to stay up to date on their favorite equestrian interests and disciplines with a magazine subscription. Find out if they are interested in lifestyle or sport and treat them to a print or online subscription that they can enjoy throughout the year.

8. Gift Card

Some friends are very difficult to shop for, which is why a gift card to their favorite tack shop is a perfect present. You can give this present in a festive way by putting it in a holiday-themed card or coffee mug.

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 for Clipping Your Horse This Winter

February is a tough time of year for those in colder climates with low temperatures and few signs of spring, making it feel like winter will last forever. If you are still competing with your horse, or your horse has accumulated too much hair, it may be time for another clip. BarnManager is here to provide a few tips if you want to take on the clipping process yourself.

 

Wear old clothes you don’t care about.

The last thing you want is to wear clothes you really like and have them forever covered in horsehair, despite multiple washes. It’s a good practice to have a devoted “clipping outfit” you can turn to every time. Don’t even think about wearing your favorite breeches or a favorite outfit to clip your horse. Aim for old t-shirts and sweatpants that will keep you warm but you’re also willing to sacrifice to horsehair overload.

 

Replace dull clipper blades.

Arguably the most frustrating part of clipping is when your blades don’t smoothly cut through the hair, leaving rough patches on your horse’s coat. Examine your clippers ahead of time and replace any blades that are no longer sharp, so you don’t have to deal with swapping them out on the day you decide to clip.

 

Clean your horse to the best of your abilities.

If weather allows, or if you have access to warm water, give your horse a thorough bath. Excess dirt will clog up your clippers, so a clean horse is your best friend when clipping. If it’s too cold to bathe, spot clean and groom thoroughly.

 

Allow time for breaks.

Anyone who has clipped a horse knows patience can run thin when clipping a full body. Even the most tolerant of horses can get bored and anticipate their turnout time or dinner time. The clippers can also overheat, becoming uncomfortable for the horse and causing bad behavior. Take a long break between clipping sessions if your schedule allows to minimize unwanted behavior from your horse and wear-and-tear on your clippers.

 

Know which type of clipping is best for your horse.

Depending on the horse’s job, turnout situation, sweat level, and blanketing, the best clip for each horse varies. See a rundown of the different types of clips here.

 

Start large and clip against the grain.

Begin with large, flat surfaces like the shoulders and barrel, and always clip in the direction opposite the way the hair grows. It can be tricky as the pattern of horses’ hair goes in different directions on different parts of the body but doing this will help you achieve a consistent length throughout. Pro tip: pull the skin out from crevices to avoid having patches of unclipped hair on the legs and face.

 

Keep your blades clean while working.

No matter how hairy the horse, clipper blades will fill with hair and dirt and become less effective. It’s important to keep them clean so the blades have the chance to cut through the hair evenly as you go through the whole body. Use rubbing alcohol to clean and an aerosol product to keep your clippers cool as the clipper motor starts to get hot.

 

Eliminate lines by going back over your work.

It’s painful to step back and take a look at the final product only to see lines across your horse’s body from the clipper’s edges. There’s an easy way to fix this. Take the clippers and go in a crosshatch pattern where there are lines, still working somewhat against the grain but working in different directions.

 

If you find yourself clipping your own horse this winter as we anticipate the entrance of spring, be sure to follow these tips and always be smart while you are up close and personal with your horse. Though it can be a laborious process, the final product is so satisfying when you see your horse freshly clipped and ready for the spotlight.

Winterizing the Barn

10 Tips for Winterizing the Barn from US Equestrian

From US Equestrian

Even if you and your horses live in an area where the climate is balmy year ‘round, the changing of the season from fall to winter marks a good time to take care of important annual or semi-annual tasks. This includes cleaning out the dust of summer, changing lightbulbs, inspecting stall and gate latches and more. But many equestrians are located in a place that Jack Frost regularly visits between now and spring. For cold-weather folks, getting battened down for the winter takes on an extra urgency.

Dr. Bob Coleman, who managed horse operations in his native Manitoba, Canada, before becoming an associate extension professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal & Food Sciences, knows better than most that pre-winter preparation can make the season easier on both horses and humans. Coleman and his University of Kentucky colleague, assistant extension professor Morgan Hayes, say it’s important to plan in advance. That way, when the weather turns bitter and conditions might deteriorate, you’re already prepared.

Winterizing the Barn

Photo by Leslie Potter.

Read more in the US Equestrian Magazine Winter 2020 edition.

5 Tips for Riding Your Horse Early in the Day

The clocks just fell back, as they do for most of us every fall, bringing darkness at an hour earlier than we are ready to fathom. For equestrians with day jobs, this means riding after work can get tricky, especially if the farm is not equipped with an indoor arena or outdoor lighting. The bright side (literally) is that daylight emerges earlier than it used to. So there is more time in the mornings to devote to riding. If your schedule allows, consider waking up early to ride your horse before work. That way, you can start your day in an enjoyable way and not have to worry about riding in the dark or foregoing your trip to the barn when you are needed late at work. If that’s a new concept for you, here are some tips to help make morning rides a routine.

 

1. Go to bed early.

This may seem obvious, but it’s easier to get up and get rolling when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. If you make it a habit to go to bed earlier on the nights before you ride, waking up at a new time will get easier. Turn off your screens earlier in the evening before your head hits the pillow. Blue light from your devices is proven to keep you awake. Try picking up a book so your eyes and mind can relax and help you fall asleep sooner.

2. Give yourself something to look forward to when your alarm goes off.

Maybe it’s your favorite breakfast on the way there or a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop. While your horse may be enough to coax you out of bed, it’s nice to have an extra little boost to get you excited about the morning’s activities.

3. Dress in warm clothes because it may be chilly.

Usually, the coolest temperatures hit right before daybreak. Waking up before the sun has risen means you might be subjected to some pretty freezing temperatures. This is especially important if you have to fetch your horse from the pasture or do a significant amount of work on the ground before getting in the saddle. Once you’re riding, your blood will start circulating and your body temperature will rise. That means that you may need to shed some layers, but you’ll be glad you had them for the beginning.

4. Map out the best route to avoid traffic.

Though traffic is lighter now than it may have been this time last year, early morning commuters can often cause traffic jams, so use apps like Google Maps and Waze to identify the quickest routes to and from the barn each day. You don’t want to get stuck in traffic or come across a surprise slow down due to an accident when you know the rest of your day is waiting for you at home.

5. Be efficient so you can get on with your day.

We all know riding is time-consuming and it’s easy to spend longer at the barn than we intend. There is always more to do and things can come up unexpectedly to delay your departure. Try to stick to a plan and don’t spend any unnecessary time between tasks. If you don’t clean your tack every day, save that for days you aren’t on a time crunch. Don’t lose track of time talking to your trainer or friends. Save the long chats and tedious organizational projects for the weekend. Anything you can do to stay focused and not stray from your timeline is crucial for efficiency.

 

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!