In December, we talked to New Jersey based trainer, Amanda Steege. Amanda is the owner and head trainer at Ashmeadow Farm. She and her students have won tricolors at all of the biggest shows in the United States – and they also have a lot of fun in general! Ashmeadow nurtures a wonderful feeling of camaraderie for the customers and staff in the barn, and it also provides the very highest level of care for the horses. Honestly, I’d love to be a horse in Amanda’s barn!
Amanda has been using Stable Secretary since 2014. We sat down with her to find out about her, her barn, and how Stable Secretary helps her care for her horses and run her business.
Amanda with Duvall, one of the horses in her stable.
Q: Why does your barn use Stable Secretary?
Amanda: We use Stable Secretary to help us stay organized, and it also saves me time and money!
Q: What do you love about Stable Secretary?
Amanda: I love that it keeps track of when my horses are due for the farrier, vaccinations, worming, etc, and that it sends me notifications. I also love that I can enter in my services right from my iPhone in the moment before I forget what I have done. Before Stable Secretary, I did everything by hand and I think that I lost a lot of money because there were a lot of things that I forgot to bill for. I also love that through Stable Secretary I can accept credit cards.
Q: What would you say to other trainers considering subscribing to Stable Secretary?
Amanda: I would highly suggest Stable Secretary for any size business. In fact, I have recommend it to several of my friends.
Q: What types of horses and riders do you have at your barn?
Amanda: We have 12-16 horses in our barn, and we focus primarily on hunters. We mostly work with young hunters and with amateur clients.
Q: We have noticed that you’re particularly talented at developing young horses. What are some techniques you use with young horses that you could share with our readers?
Amanda: The most important thing with young horses is being consistent. We spend a lot of time working on flat work and gymnastics and giving our young horses the tools and confidence they need to enter the show ring.
Q: Could you share any health and wellness practices for horses that you think are the most important?
Amanda: We have a team of people at Ashmeadow that spends a lot of time making sure our horses are happy and healthy. It all starts with our barn manager, Tim Delovich, who creates an individual Feed and supplement program for each horse based on their needs. We also rely on our vet, farrier, chiropractor, massage therapist, and dentist. By working together, we keep our equine athletes at the top of their game.
Also, I am a big believer in the mental health of the horses, so they spend quite a bit of time eating grass outside in our pastures, and going for rides on our trails and in our hayfields to balance out their training time in the ring.
Amanda with Tim and their newly adopted dog!
Q: In your opinion, what is the most rewarding thing about being a trainer?
Amanda: The relationships we build with the animals.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most challenging thing about being a trainer?
Amanda: The fact that it’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no downtime.
Q: What would you say is your biggest strength?
Amanda: I think that my biggest strength is being able to listen to the horses and to make relationships with horses.
Q: You have had a lot of success in hunter derbies. What is the most challenging aspect of doing hunter derbies?
Amanda: I love the derby classes… I love how each one is different and has different challenges built into the course. That is probably what makes them the most challenging – you’re never quite sure what to expect from class to class!
According to this video (click here to view it), it’s scientifically proven that saying “Thank You” makes people happier. I believe it… And I guess the point of the video is to show that it happens in that order: grateful first, happy later. I’m grateful for my family, my friends, and my dog. I’m also grateful for the small things that happen every day – the mailman giving my dog a treat, a friend calling just to check in, a coworker going above and beyond to do the best job ever. I’ve turned out to be a pretty happy person, and I say “Thank you” a lot, so I guess that research is right for me!
I’ve always felt very grateful to be in the saddle. I know how lucky I was to have had the chance to take riding lessons when I was little; to lease a pony during the summers; and to compete on the A circuit with a fantastic horse named Redsox. Riding is terrific for the rider, but it can be a big strain on the rest of the family, so I am very grateful to have been given the chance to ride as a child.
|I also appreciate that horses let us ride them. As silly as that sounds, I often think how lucky we are that these magnificent animals let us lead them, ride them, jump them, bathe them, put clothes on them, trailer them, and more. Partly, it’s because we tame them and train them and condition them to accept us. But they don’t actually have to let us do anything, and some don’t – though I venture to say that a horse’s reluctance is generally our fault for not listening to them tell us that they are in pain, scared, overfaced, lonely, cold, hot, etc.
So please remember to think about the big and little things for which you are grateful on Thanksgiving Day. Then, whether it’s today or tomorrow or next week, say Thank You to the people and the horses that make your life better.
Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving!
|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.