Innovative Barn Management Solution Releases Useful Web and Mobile Features to Boost Productivity
Natick, Mass. – October 21, 2013 – Today, StableSecretary, the popular barn management software, announces the release of several new features that make barn management more efficient and cost-effective. Based on customer demand, these new features help resolve some of the most problematic areas of barn management, including invoicing.
With these new features, barn managers, trainers, and stable owners using StableSecretary are now able to:
– Track additional information about the horses in their stables, enabling instant access to lease agreement details, unlimited registration numbers, breeding records, insurance information, categorized comments, and more;
-View a customizable calendar showing past and future health and service events for all of their horses to facilitate planning and logistical paperwork;
– Run reports for individual or multiple horses to see an instant, accurate, and customized list of whatever information is necessary at that moment; and
– Record payments and track balances for invoices to further facilitate the billing process.
Less than a year after its launch, StableSecretary has already impressed the equine industry, earning rave reviews from clients who deem it easy-to-use and a boon to their productivity. With today’s updates, StableSecretary is addressing some of the most pressing needs facing barn managers, trainers, and stable owners in the operation of their business.
“StableSecretary has been a lifesaver for me,” said Hayley Barnhill of Uphill Farm. “I used to spend so much time trying to find the best way to track my rides and send out invoices, and I’d end up forgetting things because I didn’t write them down. Stable Secretary has made my life so much easier, and much more organized. It only took ten minutes to enter my horses names and information, and now all I have to do at the end of the day is pick up my phone and click on the horse’s name that I rode or showed. Billing at the end of the month is just as easy.”
Designed to help barn managers operate more efficiently and prevent costly mistakes, StableSecretary is easy-to-use barn management software, optimized for mobile devices, that enables horse trainers, barn managers and stable owners to manage health, billing, and operational information for their horses and their services. Created by Kate Rice, a veteran of the show horse industry with more than 20 years of experience both as a rider and a trainer, the software application makes it easy for trainers and barn managers to store and access information about horses and to track services, appointments, and records.
StableSecretary offers proactive, dependable, and friendly training and support. It is available for purchase at http://stablesecretary.com.
To find out more about StableSecretary, please visit us at http://stablesecretary.com.
Phone: (617) 564-1241
|In the article “Two Hit Wonder” by D.T. Max in The New Yorker magazine on October 21 2013, Jack Dorsey, the man behind Twitter and Square, has eliminated paper from his daily life. His phone and iPad have replaced a briefcase, a desk, and regular old books. His reliance on “mobile” information sources begs the question: What good is information if you can’t have access to it whenever you like?
Boy, did this question resonate with me. Before deciding to create Stable Secretary, comprehensive and mobile barn management software, I thought long and hard about whether people in the horse world were ready to replace their ball-and-chain of paper (binders, folders, notebooks) with a portable, customizable, easy-to-use app for their barns and equine businesses. My direct research showed me that they were more than ready – in fact, they were desperate for an easier, more effective way to do record keeping. So I built the best solution I could for them.
I created Stable Secretary with two goals in mind:
1. to streamline invoicing and activity tracking in equine businesses by eliminating redundant data entry on day sheets, medication sheets, horse show sheets, receipts, etc
2. to enable people to easily access the health records for their horses – whenever and wherever they needed them (in the ring while teaching, at a show, at the hotel, in the office, etc).
I achieved both of my goals. Stable Secretary has effectively eliminated most of the dependency on paper for equine businesses. If you have Stable Secretary, you no longer need to lug your clunky binders to the show office, nor do you (or someone you’re paying) need to sort through and organize stacks of day sheets, medication sheets, shipping lists, and receipts at the end of the month. Instead, you merely open the Stable Secretary app on your phone or your tablet to view horse information or to create an invoice. Stable Secretary enables you to view past health records for all of your horses and to enter new ones, instead of relying on papers in a folder that is probably out-of-date, incomplete, and disorganized in a desk somewhere far away.
People in the horse world now use Stable Secretary to access all of the health and activity records for their horses, and service records for their equine businesses. They now have immediate access to a database of information to take better care of their horses, and be more accurate in their business processes. So I have my answer to Dorsey’s question… Stable Secretary has given horse people an easy way to access to their horses’ information wherever they are, and that is really good for everyone – human and equine.
In the long run, taking good care of the equipment for your barn and horses will save you time and money.
The basics of daily HORSE care:
Start by investing in products that work well for you and your horse. Wash your re-usable products (like brushes and curry combs) regularly and store them in a dry, covered place. Keep track of your liquid inventory (like shampoos, fly sprays, ointments, and creams) so that you don’t run out.
|Then use these products to groom your horse regularly. While you are bathing and grooming your horse, pay close attention to its body. Is there any heat or swelling anywhere? Is the back more sensitive than usual? Are there any rashes, or is there any hair loss? Know your horses’ bodies as well as you know your own, and address any abnormalities promptly.
Daily Grooming and Inspection
The basics of daily EQUIPMENT care:
||Use products that effectively clean and condition your tack, horse boots, and other equipment. Clean your tack after every use, and check other equipment regularly.
Inspect while you clean. Is the stitching getting frayed on part of the bridle? Is the elastic on the girth starting to tear? Is a bandage getting too thin? Is the Velcro on a boot too weak? Pay close attention to these details and you will prevent accidents from happening, and also save yourself money in the long run.
Keep your other tools and equipment clean and dry. Clean your wheelbarrows and buckets regularly, and replace pitchforks and brooms as they become used-up and ineffective. Keep smaller hardware items like studs, snaps, screw-eyes, and other items clean, organized, and easily accessible. Invest in a shelving or drawer system to stay organized and to keep all of your tools and equipment sheltered.
Keep a health care SCHEDULE!
Some elements of horse care are predictable. You can plan for many routine health events like vaccinations, deworming, dental visits, and shoeing. Put your horses on a regular schedule for those appointments. You can also plan for therapeutic procedures like massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, icing, and performance enhancing procedures like joint injections.
It’s easy to keep track of equine health appointments and dates by using stable management software like Stable Secretary, which also provides you with alerts and reminders. It’s important to record these services and procedures so that you have a complete health history for each of your horses at your fingertips for whenever you need one.
Other basics? Leave a comment with other ideas to keep your horses and your equipment in GREAT condition!
5 Easy Rules for Maintaining Order in your Stable
Whether it’s for turnout, a hand walk, the treadmill, or a ride, your horses should get out of their stalls multiple times a day. Even though it’s good for the horses to get out of the stall often, it can be bad for your aisle – shavings, hay, hair, and dirt get tracked everywhere… Keep your horses healthy AND the barn clean by following some very simple rules:
Rule number 1: Leave the shavings in the stall!
Before you take a horse out of its stall, pick its feet, remove the shavings from its tail, and brush off its blanket. This saves a messy trail to the cross ties!
Rule number 2: Hang up blankets and other equipment properly.
Do not throw a horse blanket on the floor of the stall or leave a halter on the ground. First of all, equipment suffers from exposure to dirt/moisture/manure/urine. Second, you will waste time looking for your blanket or halter while it’s crumpled, dirty, and in the wrong place. Third, it just plain looks messy.
Rule number 3: Publish a schedule.
Especially when you have multiple horses, grooms, and riders, you should display an updated schedule or calendar. That way, your staff and clients know what to expect throughout the day and can organize themselves accordingly.
Rule number 4: Keep track of your activities and your horses’ activities.
You’ll try to remember what happened throughout the day, week, or month, but you’ll forget items unless you have a way to keep track of vet work, shoeing, and billable services. Use barn management software with a mobile app like Stable Secretary to conveniently track horse health and farrier appointments, equine services, and other equine business records. Keeping careful track of each horse every day is very helpful for health reasons, owner questions, and invoicing.
Rule number 5: Organize your barn logically.
Make it easy to access and clean the equipment you use frequently. If possible, arrange your feed room, tack room, laundry room, blanket storage, grooming areas, wash stalls, office, tack trunks, and first aid and medical supplies cabinets in a way that accommodates the work flow of the barn. Always put equipment back CLEAN and in their correct places – it saves time when things are consistently stored in logical places.
What are some other rules-of-thumb to keep your barn organized? Leave a comment to share what works for you in your stable!
When you manage a barn and care for horses, you have to “expect the unexpected”. You never know when you might have to wait for a farrier, vet, client, or shipper; stay late to monitor a sick horse; or take some time to chat with a staff member or client. Anything’s possible. Having good systems in place means that you’ll get your tasks done efficiently without sacrificing quality, even when your day has unexpected interruptions.
Barn chores happen every day, multiple times a day. Save time and frustration by working out a good system to do them well – stalls, sweep, water, dust! Instilling habits in your barn management routine makes you a better horseman, lets the day run smoothly, and keeps your workspace looking good!
Prepare feed in advance. If you can, invest in two 8 quart stackable buckets for each horse. Label each one with a horse’s name followed by AM or PM. Some people use yellow buckets for AM grain, and blue buckets for PM grain to make the time of day clear and prevent any confusion during feeding time, which is especially important when medication is involved. With 2 buckets per horse, you (or your staff) can make your horses’ AM and PM meals at the same time – opening all of the grain bins, supplement tins, and medication bottles only once per day saves time. Carve out a chunk of time early in the morning to make all of the meals, because fewer distractions make it less likely that you’ll overlook a medication or supplement. It’s also best to complete this chore in the morning so that if you have to soak any feeds like bran, beet pulp, or hay cubes, they have time to absorb all the water.
When making grain, you might have to refer to a feed list. You can use barn management software like Stable Secretary to make it easy to update and for everyone to access. Stable Secretary is especially convenient because it has a mobile app so your horse information can travel with you everywhere you go! Note that it’s good to keep careful medications records, both for complete health record keeping and for invoicing purposes.
Be smart about chores. “Barn chores” constitute basic horse care throughout the day: feeding, cleaning stalls, cleaning and refilling water buckets, and cleaning up the barn. Figure out a good system to do them effectively and efficiently.
Observing your horses is essential. Start the day by walking down the barn aisle and watching the horses as they wake up – make sure they look alert and healthy.
Give your horses some hay first to get their digestive juices flowing before you hit their stomachs with grain. As you feed hay, do another quick visual check of each horse and its stall – does each horse react normally to getting hay? does the stall look normal? is there normal manure in the stall? did they drink a normal amount of water? Then give grain (which you’ve hopefully prepared in advance). Check for anything left in a feed tub from the night before because sometimes horses leave medications or food that can spoil or attract bugs.
Muck the stalls in an orderly way. You’ll need at least a wheelbarrow, pitchfork, and a broom. Check that each stall seems normal for its equine resident with regard to manure and urine, and messiness or tidiness. Clean up after each stall –sweep off shavings and dust from ledges, and pick up any mess around your wheelbarrow.
Scrub, dump, and refill the water buckets. As you go, check to make sure each horse has consumed a normal amount of water overnight. Never leave a horse without water for an extended period of time – once you’ve scrubbed and dumped the bucket, it should be refilled with clean water ASAP.
Thoroughly clean up the aisle with whatever tool works best for you, whether it’s a broom, blower, or rake, to get rid of any dirt, manure, dust, or shavings that your chores stirred up. Go the extra mile every day and clean off ledges, blanket boxes, and shelves while you’re at it – it will save you time and preserve your equipment for the long run.
Certainly there are many ways to approach these basic chores… Please leave a comment with your tips and tricks for doing chores efficiently and well!
There is always something to do in a barn. Whether you’re the trainer, the barn manager, the groom, or the rider, you can always keep working… Between keeping the barn and horses clean, maintaining your property, calling clients, vendors, vets and farriers, organizing day sheets and vet records and receipts – the list is literally endless. Continually working long-hours takes its toll on you physically and emotionally and also affects your coworkers, your horses, and other important relationships. It seems like the horse industry is often tough on its people – it can feel like being successful requires you to sacrifice your entire life… Stress and burnout causes a high turnover rate for barn staff – you may feel like you’re never able to get any time to yourself because you’re always at the barn, or with people from the barn!
||Is this what you look like at the end of every day? Check out our 3 suggested ways to save time and resources at the barn without sacrificing horse care!
1. Be Efficient: Use a System for Everyday Tasks
In my mind, a good system represents an efficient way to do something without sacrificing quality. Systems are especially effective when you incorporate reminders, tools, and delegation of tasks. You can have a system for almost everything at the barn: daily chores; keeping track of the shoeing schedule; handling turnout; keeping records of lessons and other services you provide, or of medical or therapeutic appointments for your horses? A good system can save you time and resources without sacrificing quality.
Having a system can benefit even the simplest chores. For example, I sweep before I water if I’m using a hose in a barn aisle. This prevents the hose from getting dirty and needing to be cleaned before rolling it up, so it saves me time and energy. Also, if I have to change the course in the ring, I design the course, drag the ring, organize helpers, and use the truck to get the job done well and quickly. To save time, money, and stress in managing my equine business, I use barn management software called Stable Secretary (http://stablesecretary.com) to keep track of all the health records, service records, and client and invoicing info for my stable. The Stable Secretary mobile app makes it convenient and easy for me to record events and get reminders on my smart phone throughout the day so that I don’t have to try to remember what happened at the end of the day, week, or month. Look at the Customer Testimonials at Stable Secretary to see how it helps others!
2. Make a Schedule: Create Routines for Repeated Tasks
Incorporate these systems into a routine. Include daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual tasks. Find a logical time/day/week/season for every task, and stick to your schedule. Set up reminders for these tasks with alerts from barn management software like Stable Secretary to remind you of upcoming health appointments for your horses or Coggins, passport, and FEI renewal dates, and other important equine logistics. Scheduling tasks enables you to relax a bit because you know that things will get done… Barn management software like Stable Secretary relieves you from trying to manage all of that stuff in your head, and from keeping track of a lot of messy (and sometimes unreliable) post-it notes!
3. Delegate: Ask for Help, and Pick Helpers Wisely
Choose the best person to handle each task in your system or routine. For example, if one of your employees used to work at the Gap and loves to be neat and organized, then maybe he/she should be in charge of folding the laundry and making sure the aisle and tack room are tidy! Or, if one of your employees is a body builder, then maybe he/she should move the heavy jumps in the ring! Also, remember that you are only human and that it’s okay to receive help and ask questions! Ask your staff, peers, and coworkers when you need advice or help with different aspects of your job. Whether it’s finding or using new barn management software, fixing a difficult lead change, dealing with a spooky horse or a difficult vendor/client, or figuring out a good system for daily chores, utilize ALL of your resources ALL of the time!
What systems do you have? How do you save time without sacrificing quality? Please leave a comment and share what works for you!
After taking about 6 months off to have a baby, it felt great to get back up on the proverbial horse. As soon as the doctor said it was okay to ride, I rode a few times at home, and then helped my dear friends at Newbury Farm at the 3rd week of the Vermont Summer Festival in Manchester VT. Despite the blistering heat and my slightly achy muscles, I was happy to rejoin the horseshow community. This most recent hiatus from the horse world was one of several, and as usual I was interested to notice what had changed (not much) and what stayed the same (almost everything):
- Fashion changes, but not dramatically. Since 1994, the developments I’ve noticed are sweat-friendly fabric for riding shirts, safer hard hats, half chaps instead of full chaps, and no more rust britches.
- Transportation modes around the show evolve. Since 1994, the golf cart has become ubiquitous. Many horse shows have created “lanes” to separate the horses from the golf carts.
- The most important and interesting development (in my humble opinion) is that horse people are starting to welcome and adopt technology into their work and personal lives. Many trainers and barn managers use their phones as an important tool to help run their businesses. In addition to using them to text, call, and email, they also use apps to help them stay organized while they are on the road. Stable Secretary, a barn management software with a web app and a mobile app that makes it easier to track and view equine health records, log equine business service records, and create and track invoices for horses in your stable, has received excellent feedback from users. Stable Secretary enables trainers and barn managers to access all of their equine records anywhere, anytime – and they really appreciate it! ShowNet is a HUGE help for tracking ring updates at shows, and it also records videos and tracks results. Equestrian Connect streamlines submitting entry forms. These three programs, created by horse people, resolve some of the biggest pain points for professionals in the horse industry – creating invoices quickly, submitting entries, keeping equine health and service records organized while at the horse show, and keeping the schedule running smoothly on competition days.
I enjoy being a part of the horse world in many different capacities. It’s been fun to watch these improvements happen, and I look forward to seeing more!
Leave a comment – what changes have you noticed over the years? What other technologies have become useful for horse trainers and barn managers?
Give yourself a break – let StableSecretary keep your equine records organized!
As I mentioned in my introductory blog, I had a baby girl, Emma Rose, on May 25th. To me, the first month of infant care was analogous to caring for four hunters at indoors that all show on the same days and nights. You spend all of your day and night trying to keep up with feeding and watering them, cleaning up their poop, bathing them, brushing them, riding them, taking them to the ring, waiting for jogs, taking care of them after they show, etc. Taking care of a baby or a show horse ends up being a non-stop, cyclical, completely-full-time job that is very exciting and rewarding, but also exhausting. As you become more sleep deprived, the feed-clean-exercise-clean-sleep cycles all start to run together, and you might feel confused about what day it is, when you last fed them, whether you remembered to medicate them, when they had their last bath, how much they’ve pooped or peed that day, etc. Exhaustion seems to take a toll on short-term memory… and it can certainly negatively impact your mood, too!
Back to my experience with the baby – I’m lucky because I’ve had a lot of help. My mom comes to help me for a couple of days during the week to give me some time to work (and shower). My fiancé shares the load in the evenings, nights, and on the weekends. We also use this awesome software program called BabyConnect. It’s a web and mobile app that helps all of the caregivers (me, Emma’s dad, and my mom) track and view the important events in Emma’s life: when was the last diaper change, when did she last eat, how much did she eat, when and for how long has she slept, and medical information like weight, height, and vaccinations. We literally use it all the time, and I truly believe that it helps us take the best care of the baby.
Using BabyConnect has reinforced for me just how valuable StableSecretary is to barn managers and trainers. When your customers are calling and texting, and you have the farrier and the dentist at the barn on the same day, and then a horse gets injured and the vet has to come also, and you have horses to ride and lessons to teach (which is a pretty typical day for many trainers – yikes!), StableSecretary eases your stress and improves the level of care for your horses because it makes equine record keeping so much simpler. With StableSecretary, you can enter your horses’ health records and service records right away, so you don’t have to wait until the end of the day, week, or month when you might forget the specifics (or the actual event). You can easily find out on your phone when a horse last had its joints injected, or when it last got shoes. You can see all of your horses’ basic entry blank information and all of your horses’ paperwork due dates (coggins, passport, FEI). Because everything is mobile, you can view your feed list, medication schedule, business contacts, horse records wherever you are. StableSecretary also sends you a weekly email message that alerts you to events that are coming up so that you can plan ahead for Barney to get shoes, or to pull a Coggins on Fred, or to schedule the dentist for all of the horses in your barn, for example.
I’m very grateful that a friend recommended BabyConnect to me – it definitely helps me take excellent care of my baby by staying on top of (and ahead of) her needs. For the first week of her life, Emma’s Dad and I wrote down all of her feeding times, diapers, and activities on paper. That system quickly become inefficient, unreliable, and overall a huge pain. In the same sense, StableSecretary replaces day sheets, medications sheets, binders, farrier spreadsheets, vaccination files – it helps improve horse care by making it easy for trainers and barn managers to see when they have medicated, wormed, vaccinated, shod, and injected their horses, and to view other information that is important to the well-being of the horse (and to the trainer’s business). Whether it’s a baby or a horse, these two software programs are great tools in helping you to satisfy the health and comfort needs of those who can’t talk… Be sure to recommend StableSecretary to your horsey friends – they will thank you for it!
Why did I create Stable Secretary?
I created Stable Secretary because I wanted the best of all worlds: to work in the most elite parts of the Show Horse industry; to have a little bit more free time; and to have a little bit less frustration and stress… It seems like a lot of trainers and barn managers don’t have efficient systems in place to help them run their horse businesses which means that they lose time and money, and gain stress. Most other industries have helpful software tools, so I asked myself: why wasn’t there a GOOD barn management software for the Show horse industry? I created Stable Secretary, a barn management software application, to make it easier to run an equine business.
At the end of the day, When the horses are fed, the barn is swept, and the work list for the next day is organized, it is a bummer to leave the barn with paperwork, phone calls, or other organizational logistics hanging over your head. During the day, it can be pretty frustrating to waste time and energy looking for information that should be easy to find: phone numbers, coggins files, entry due dates; or working hard to answer questions like: “When were Banjo’s last vaccines?”, or “Is Barney’s Coggins up to date?”, or “Rosie’s feet look horrible – when did she get shod?”, or “Lulu’s late on her left to right lead change. I wonder when we last did her hocks?” As I interviewed more and more barn managers and trainers, I learned that many equine businesses lose $100s – $1,000s per month because they (or their staff) forget to write down services. TIME is valuable, MONEY is hard-earned, and we should be doing our best to safeguard them both.
Since I couldn’t find any software solutions that would really help me in my horse business, I made my own!
What is Stable Secretary? How does it work? How does it help?
Stable Secretary is web-based and mobile-optimized barn management software that helps barn managers and trainers track ALL of the necessary information and records for their horses, clients, and businesses. It’s mobile, so you can use it from anywhere – the ring, the aisle, the in-gate, the car wash, the restaurant or hotel, etc. It’s comprehensive, so you can keep track of ALL of your equine records. It’s customizable, so you can fit it to however you currently manage your barn and run your equine business. It’s easy-to-use and comes with dependable technical support, so you won’t get frustrated. Check out all the features on our Features page where you can also watch a short demo of how it works.
The people using Stable Secretary love it – have a look at our Customer Testimonials. As the Founder of the software, I keep in close touch with the trainers and barn managers using the software to find out what they want and need, and release Enhancements and New Features regularly to meet their demands. Stable Secretary will just keep getting more and more useful and helpful for anyone managing the care of horses.
Are you a barn manager or a trainer? What do you look for in barn management software? Do you need a better system for tracking equine vet records and managing your equine business?
Please share 3 barn management software wish-list items to be entered in a drawing to win a free month of Stable Secretary! Click here to register!
Why do I have a blog?
I am starting this blog for a few reasons.
First, I actually enjoy writing and one of my (many) ideas for supporting-myself-while-doing-something-I-love has been to write a book. I’ve started a few times. Writing a book proves to be very difficult, so maybe this will be good practice for my eventual book!
Second, I’m going to try to blog mostly about information that I think will be helpful for trainers and barn managers. I would like to help the organizational part of the horse industry, which is why I created Stable Secretary (http://www.stablesecretary.com). Stable Secretary is barn management software that makes it easier to do record keeping for the horses in your stable. You can use it to easily keep track of vaccination records, worming records, farrier records, service records, dental records, joint injection records, medication records, and other health records. Stable Secretary also facilitates other aspects of running an equine business by making it easier to make invoices, store contact info for clients, vendors, and others.
I know firsthand that working in a barn is really hard! Right now, in addition to continuing to improve Stable Secretary, I’m a part-time trainer and a full-time mom. I’ve been a full-time trainer, assistant trainer, barn manager, office manager, groom, judge. You name it, I’ve probably done it… While I still LOVE it, I know how grueling it can be to be away from home, family, friends, and to give up any sort of personal life. It’s pretty normal to work 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and to have a workday from 6am til 6pm. That makes for a pretty crazy work-leisure balance – maybe 95% work 5% life. But we hang in there because we love it. Being outside all day, working with horses, and doing something that you care deeply about is motivating. I’d like to use this blog to provide resources and advice to try to make those workdays more organized and efficient so that horse trainers and barn managers can spend some time doing non-horsey things – family, hobbies, spa days, and social events, for example!
What will I write about?
I’m going to write about ways to make barn management easier – better tracking of vet records, service records, invoicing records, customer records.
I’ll also try to provide resources on topics like logistics for shows; routine and special horse care; working with vets, farriers, vendors; managing and growing your horse business; taking good care of clients and staff; and whatever other topics come up.
What do you want to hear about? Please leave a comment – share your 5 biggest BARN MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES?