Newsletter March 2016

Dear Stable Secretary user,

Welcome to the first edition of the Stable Secretary Newsletter. Our newsletters will notify you of software updates, share tutorials, and point out other resources to help you manage your barn easily and effectively. Enjoy!

 

Referral Program: Refer someone to Stable Secretary and get money back!
Receive a $25 credit if a new user enters your name in the Referral space when they purchase a new subscription! (Please visit the Referral Page for more details.)

 

New Products and Features:

  • Check out our other products and plans. You may be eligible for savings!
  • Give your employees (and owners, if you want) access to your Stable Secretary account. You can control what they can see and do, and it will ease communication and record keeping.
  • Keep track of your Competitions and Results in Stable Secretary! Now, you can track your horses’ and riders’ results at competitions. Feedback is welcome!
  • Invite your Service Providers to login to your Stable Secretary account. Give your vet, farrier, and others the ability to view your horses’ health records.
  • Coming soon – a Breeding section to track all your breeding records.

 

Winter circuit survival tips:

It’s that time of year again!  Whether you are at WEF, Thermal, Ocala, or any other winter circuit, you are experiencing some form of the madness. Multiple weeks of showing back to back is fantastic, but it is also exhausting. As we are about half-way through the season, we here at Stable Secretary thought it would be an ideal time to compile a list of winter circuit “survival tips” from some of our top show barns across the U.S.

  • Pace yourself and your horses for longevity. Don’t show or jump too much just because it’s convenient. You are the advocate for your horses and you need to keep their best interest in the forefront of your mind. Come up with a schedule and stick to it. Different horses have different needs but a good general plan is 2 weeks on, 1 week off. Also try to vary your routine a bit; showing every day is monotonous for both horses and riders. Take advantage of other opportunities on days off from showing. Go for a trail ride or try to find a new place to hack. Use a walker or treadmill if you have one available to help keep your horses in peak fitness.
  • Involve a team of your vet, farrier, and body work person. It is a good idea to get a baseline vet check before circuit begins so you know your horse’s condition and comfort level before kicking it into high gear. Then have your vet come back mid-circuit to assess how your horse is holding up to the high demands of multi-week showing. This will help you stay ahead of potential problems, and correct them right away if they do appear. Of course if you notice any potential problems at any time during circuit, don’t hesitate to call your vet right away. Know your horses and trust your instincts; if something doesn’t feel right, it can never hurt to take a closer look.
  • Debbie Stephens suggests creating a “show book.”  Either create a binder for every show that you go to, or be sure to scan important documents and upload them to Stable Secretary. Include a photocopy of your entries, as well as the mailing receipt (Debbie recommends using FedEx or a similar service that offers tracking). Or, if you submit your entries online, be sure to print or save the confirmation page . Lost entries are something you should be prepared for. Also, keep a copy of the prizelist so that you always know where it is for easy reference. Then upload and/or assemble all documents that you will need for your trip, travel confirmations, hotel reservations, horse health paperwork, coggins, etc. It can be very easy to lose track of these documents, especially when you are busy showing over such a long period of time. It helps to have everything in one accessible place.
  • One of the toughest parts about the winter circuit is that many farms have horses stabled on the showgrounds as well as at a farm nearby. When you are competing in one location for so long, it can be fantastic to have a home base where your horses can relax, enjoy being turned out, and take a break from the hectic horse show life. However, Havens Schatt reminds us how crucial communication between all members of your team is during this time. When you have horses in multiple locations, frequently traveling back and forth with their tack and supplies, it is easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. It is important that your team works together and communicates well. Looking for things, or trying to figure out what has or has not been done, wastes valuable time that is far too precious during this busy time of year.
  • “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Remember to thank your valuable team members! Trainers, assistants, barn managers, and grooms keep the show running. Make an effort to say thank you and you’re welcome, even when things start to get tough and everyone is tired at the end of the circuit. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way.
  • Take care of yourself. The winter circuit is hard on people too! Make sure you are eating properly, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. It is far too easy to burn yourself out before circuit is over by ignoring your basic needs. Many people spend so much time making sure their horses can perform at their best, but forget to do the same for themselves. You owe it to your horses to keep yourself in top condition as well.
  • Use Stable Secretary to keep all of your horses’ records with you while traveling. It can be invaluable to have this information available when the unexpected happens (as it often does with horses). But when all of your horses’ records are available from any phone, tablet, or computer, it makes a difficult situation much more manageable!
  • Pace yourself and remember to have fun! After all, we ride and show because we love it, so when circuit gets crazy, it’s important to remember to take a step back and remind yourself to enjoy it.

Straight from the Experts: Sage Clarke

We had the opportunity to speak to West Coast farrier, Sage Clarke, about his career and all of the knowledge he has acquired along the way. As a 5th generation horseman, Sage started as an assistant at the young age of 12. By the time he was 16, Sage was very serious about his work and started to take the necessary steps to bring him the success he has today of working on top hunter/jumper performance horses. Because of his skill level, Sage has been asked to travel all over the world to work on some of these top athletes. Sage was kind enough to answer some questions for us:

Stable Secretary– Do you have any mentors or teachers? What was so important about them?

SC– I have several mentors, but a few of the main mentors are my uncle, Allen Clarke, and fellow farrier, Tom Reed. Allen taught me about thinking outside the box and how to always see the good and bad side of things. Tom taught me how to be safe and how to run a good business. He taught me how to treat it like a real business, not just ‘shoeing horses’. He emphasized the importance of book keeping, customer service, and dealing with vets.

Stable Secretary– Now for some basics, how long do you recommend between farrier visits?

SC – It varies depending on the situation, but generally I would say for show horses, 5 weeks is a good average amount of time.

Pleasure horses can be a bit different and really depends on the farrier. The longer amount of time that passes, you will lose your angles, but If you can get correct angles from the start, it will make the job last longer. Remember, horses always look good for the first couple of weeks

Stable Secretary – How do the seasons affect horses’ hooves?

SC – Quite a bit. It really depends on what area of the country you are in and the amount of moisture that you get. The moisture really affects the growth rate.

Generally, they glow slower in the winter months. During this time you need to be more pro active about thrush and also risk of abscesses also increases.

Stable Secretary– Do you have any major tips that you give horse owners for their horses to have healthy feet?

SC – Pay your horse shoer on time. I’m serious! How you show your appreciation to your farrier is by paying them, and ultimately, they are the ones that can keep your horses feet healthy.

Stable Secretary – Are there any dietary tips that you have regarding hoof health?

SC – Best results I have seen are by giving horse biotin based products.

There are a lot of supplements out there that have extra stuff that they don’t really need, but biotin is really what is important for the feet. There are companies that you can in your horses’ blood and they will tell you if there are any other deficiencies that might be affecting the health of the hooves.

Stable Secretary – If you could give horse owners one piece of advice about their horses in general, what would it be?

SC -Be pro active about treating an ailment with a horse. Use the best veterinary and farrier services possible. By trying to save money in these areas is it likely to cost more time and money in the long run.

Stable Secretary – “Story Time”! What is the worst thing that you have seen regarding a horses’ farrier situation?

SC – When I was younger, I saw a photo of a hoof stand sticking out of a horse’s belly. This stuck with me forever and this is why I make sure to always keep sharp objects away from the horses that I am working on. Even if it is more convenient to keep these sharp tools close by, it is always better to keep the horses safe.

Stable Secretary – What is your best story of working on horses?

SC – Rich Fellers came up to me and asked me to shoe 4 horses for him. I walked to the barn and asked who he wanted me to start with and he said Flexible. I was incredibly excited. That horse is a legend!

 

Visit our Support Page for Tutorial Videos, FAQ, and more!
Did you know that our Support Page has videos and written instructions to help you use all of Stable Secretary’s features!

  • Use the Mobile App all day every day. It’s so easy to add health and service records while they happen, so you don’t forget to do it later. (view video)
  • Print or email our Reports before a Vet or Farrier appointment, or use them to see who needs a Coggins. (view video)
  • Add health records to multiple horses at a time. It’s quick and easy to use the Add Health Record form online to enter multiple vaccinations, wormings, shoeings, and more. (view video) .
  • Add team members to make communication easier in your Stable. (view video)
  • Look at our Resources page to find proven and recommended vendors and service providers to help you with the needs of your Stable.

 

Are you ready for Winter Circuit?

zak_jenn_pbiec
Winter circuits start in January all across the world. The main winter circuits in the United States are HITS Thermal in California, HITS Arizona, HITS Ocala and the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, and the Gulf Coast Winter Classic in Mississippi. Horses and riders have warm weather options for showing from coast to coast.

There is so much to do to get ready for these first horse shows of the year. Not only do the horses need to be fit and ready to compete, but entries, veterinary work, transportation, and other details all need to be planned well ahead of time.

 

hitsthermalschoolingarea
Each series of competitions has different requirements for entries and facility admittance, but most of them have some general requirements. Below is a general checklist to help you make sure that you’re ready to go:
  • Entries submitted by deadline (deadlines vary depending on competition);
  • Deposits sent with entries;
  • Required current vaccinations (i.e. Flu/Rhino within 6 months, EHV 1 and EHV 4 within 3 months for HITS Thermal – remember these must be valid/ updated through the final competition);
  • Current Vaccination Certificate (proof of vaccinations);
  • Current Coggins and Health Certificates;
  • Current Registrations for Horses and Riders for national and international federations (USEF, USHJA, and FEI).
hitsocalahunterring
In addition to the documentation and paperwork required by the competition, you will probably also want to address the following items to insure a pleasant and hassle-free experience for you, your staff, your clients, and your horses:
  • – Confirm that your entries were received;
  • – Confirm the total number of stalls reserved (including horses, tack, feed, and other storage stalls);
  • – Confirm housing (hotel rooms and dates, rental information, or camper parking and logistics);
  • – Confirm transportation for horses (check timing, route, number of horses, paperwork, etc);
  • – Place an initial feed and bedding order;
  • – Finish all routine vet work well in advance (joint injections, vaccinations, worming, etc), especially if your horses have a long trailer ride;
  • Communicate plan for shipping (feed before and during trip, watering, blanketing, any special medication, etc.).

Using Stable Secretary makes barn management easier, whether you’re on the road or at your home stable. Among other things, Stable Secretary will provide alerts for all Health-related due dates:  Coggins renewals, farrier appointments, worming, vaccination, and dental due dates, and will give you reminders about joint injections and therapeutic appointments or procedures. View past Health events and enter new ones on-the-go. If you are away for an extended period of time, it’s easy to stay connected with your team at home so that nothing slips through the cracks.

Use these checklists to help take care of the logistics and details, and then let the packing begin!  From everyone at Stable Secretary, have a safe, fun, and successful winter series!!

Tips from the Experts: How to Keep Horses Sound

I asked several Stable Secretary users who are respected and successful barn managers and trainers to tell me what they think are the most important elements to keeping their horses sound. Their answers were remarkably consistent. Every person cited the importance of factors such as:

– good footing;
– a proper and consistent fitness program;
– good nutrition;
– a team of experienced people caring for each horse.

pokey_show

 

Amanda Steege, a top hunter/jumper trainer based in Bedminster NJ and Ocala FL, keeps her horses sound by providing them with good nutrition, consistent exercise, and a team of people to keep them healthy and going well. She says, “Horses are a lot like human athletes – if you put the best feed, supplements, and medications into them, the sounder and healthier they will be. Instituting a good consistent exercise program for your horse will make him strong and well-muscled, which will prevent injuries and also make it easier for him to do his job in the ring. Having a great team of specialists (farriers, vets, grooms, trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, and others) makes it possible to notice weaknesses before they turn into injuries. I have had many experiences where my chiropractor or massage therapist has found a potential problem with a horse, and has notified me to back off a little on that horse’s work while they sort it out. Between their working on the issue, and my taking it easy on the horse’s activities, we have prevented weaknesses from turning into serious injuries.”

Debbie Stephens, a top hunter/jumper trainer from FL, emphasizes how crucial it is to have a top blacksmith, a top sports medicine vet, excellent fitness and nutrition plans, and the best footing to train on. She also remarks, “You need a lot of plain old common sense, too. The rule of thumb that I use with my horses is to always assume the worst scenario possible, and to have plans b, c, and d ready. I never settle for anything but the best care, footing, nutrition, and exercise for my horses.”

Nanci Snyder, a top barn manager, also credits good shoeing, a good fitness program, and excellent footing to keeping her horses sound, besides the important factors of genetics and good luck! Nanci recommends, “Make the best decisions for your horse that your circumstances allow. For professionals, it’s about finding a balance between what is ideal for the horse, and what keeps the business thriving. It is important to create a program and manage your stable down to the smallest detail.”

Stable Secretary would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to Jennifer Frank of Wyndsor Farm, Annie Dotoli of Tibri Horses, Amanda Steege of Ashmeadow Farm, Debbie Stephens of Centennial Farm Inc., and Nanci Snyder of Mullenders & Wylde, Inc. for sharing their wisdom with us and our readers. Hopefully, your words will help keep more horses sound!

Stable Secretary is barn management software that is designed to make it easier for barn managers and trainers to keep track of the health and service records for the horses in their stable. By keeping equine health records organized, and providing alerts for horse veterinarian and farrier appointments, it contributes to the quest of keeping horses healthy and sound.

A Guide to Winter Circuit Mondays

During the busy show season, Monday is a sacred day off for busy trainers and barn managers.   It’s a day to rest, regroup, and do something different.   Sometimes, you still have to go to the barn to care for the horses, or meet the farrier or vet, but hopefully it’s only for a few hours.  If you use barn management software like Stable Secretary, you won’t have to spend hours on your invoicing or record keeping, so you can enjoy more of the day off!

Below is a list of suggested activities to help you refresh body and mind on a Winter Circuit Monday! (This list is a work in progress – please contribute your own ideas by adding comments at the end of the post.   Many thanks to Amanda Steege for Ocala ideas, Hope Glynn for Thermal ideas, and Liz Davoll for WEF ideas!)

Winter Equestrian Festival – Wellington, FL
elle_beach

Fun during the day… 
Dog Beach in Jupiter http://www.jupiter.fl.us
Mani/Pedi and more at La Mer http://www.lamernailsandspa.com
Mani/Pedi at California Nails https://www.facebook.com/pages/California-Nails
Lion Country Safari http://www.lioncountrysafari.com
Snorkeling at Peanut Island http://www.pbcgov.com/parks/peanutisland
Luxuriate at the Eau Spa http://www.eaupalmbeach.com
Visitors Guide to Palm Beach and West Palm Beach http://www.palmbeachfl.com
Go see Miami! http://www.miamiandbeaches.com

Shopping, anyone?
The Mall at Wellington Green http://www.shopwellingtongreen.com
City Place in West Palm Beach http://www.cityplace.com
Del Ray http://www.downtowndelraybeach.com
Worth Avenue http://worth-avenue.com

Eat, Drink, and be Happy!
Breakfast at Short Stacks http://www.shortstacks.net
Breakfast at Gabriel’s Cafe http://southflorida.menupages.com
Lunch or Dinner at Oli’s http://olisfashioncuisine.com
Lunch or Dinner at La Fogata http://lafogatawellington.com
Dinner at Agliolio http://www.agliolio.com
Dinner at Stonewood Grill & Tavern http://www.stonewoodgrill.com
Dinner and Drinks at Kontiki http://www.kontikiwellington.com
Many restaurants in Del Ray http://www.downtowndelraybeach.com
Lunch at Brazilian Court http://www.thebraziliancourt.com
The Breakers  Seafood Bar http://www.thebreakers.com
Health and Refreshing Smoothies at Jamba Juice http://www.jambajuice.com

Nightlife:
Trivia Contest at JoJos http://www.jojosrawbarandgrill.com
Movies in Wellington http://www.wellingtonmovies.com
Movies in Royal Palm Beach http://www.regmovies.com

HITS Ocala – Ocala, FL
zipline

Fun during the day…
Azulene for walk-in spa services http://www.azulene-dayspa.com
The Canyons Zip Line http://www.tripadvisor.com
Face the Day Aveda Spa http://facethedayocala.com
Golden Ocala which is offering HITS memberships for 2014 and has a gym, spa, golf, tennis, pool, and restaurants http://www.goldenocala.com

 Let’s Go Shopping!
Dillard’s http://www.dillards.com

Eat, Drink, be Merry!
Horse and Hound has Martini Mondays http://www.horseandhoundsrestaurant.com
Marks Steak House in the Square http://gainesville.marksprimesteakhouse.com

Nightlife
Regal Movie Theater http://www.regmovies.com/

 

HITS Thermal – Thermal, CA
villagewatutu

Daytime
Living Desert in Palm Springs http://www.livingdesert.org
The Spa at La Quinta http://www.laquintaresort.com
YMCA Aquatic Center which is great for adults and kids http://www.desertymca.org

Buy some New Stuff!
El Paseo for medium to high end stores http://palmsprings.com
Lulu Lemon at El Paseo http://www.lululemon.com

Yum!
Restaurants at La Quinta – check out the Adobe Grill! http://www.laquintaresort.com

 

We need advice for other winter circuits. Please share your suggestions for Mondays in Aiken SC, Gulfport MS, Jacksonville FL, and Tucson, AZ.

Best Practices for Shipping South

jr_hudson_truck

For a lot of horses, it’s time to head South for the winter. Sometimes, a long trailer ride from cold weather to hot weather is hard on horses – they can become dehydrated, colicky, and can get shipping fever. I asked a few respected trainers and barn managers how to avoid health problems for their horses when they ship south. Their wise comments are below.

Barn manager from PA: I give them mash and electrolytes and oil.

Trainer from NJ: The night before they travel, we give the horses a mash with lots of mineral oil. The morning of the trailer ride, we give the horses a small meal with some type of stomach medicine like omeprozale powder or gastroguard. I always check the weather for the route, and blanket appropriately. I instruct the driver when to take sheets off.

Trainer from RI: We try not to clip right before. We give the horses a mash with oil for two feedings before. And then I cross my fingers.

Trainer from NY: We give the horses a mash the morning before and the morning of departure, with a little mineral oil. If they are furry, we clip before as it’s bad for them to arrive and be hot – best is to clip 3 weeks or a month prior, then again when they arrive. And we start them on Cavalor Resist C five days before they ship.

Barn manager from MA: We bodyclip at least 2 weeks before the trip (clip before you ship). And we make sure that their fall vaccinations are done well before, 2 to 3 weeks or so. Then we give them mash with mineral oil the night before and the night before that. The morning of the ride, they get half their normal grain with a Gastrogard. Then we figure out what they should wear to depart, and when and where their clothes should come off. We take all of their temperatures upon arrival, and for the next few days.

 

Safe travels!!

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