Managing and Scaling Your Business: Software Systems for Equestrians
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Let’s face it, managing a business is hard. Especially an equestrian facility that is home to numerous horses, is a paradise for multiple students and owners, and is a workplace for several trainers and instructors. Luckily, we live in the era of technology and there is an abundance of tools right at our fingertips.
There’s no doubt that the best part of owning or managing an equine business is riding the horses and ponies that come into your barn. Check out these three different apps that make a world of difference for horse trainers and barn managers! Riding Several Horses and Need to Track Your Rides? There’s an App for That!
Equilab is a free app for your smartphone that tracks your rides through GPS. You can add several horses and choose between various types of riding - from lunging to trot sets to jumping. It tracks how long your ride was, in time and distance, how much time you spent at each gait and other information such as speed, transitions, strides and elevation. If you become a premium member you can access even more features! Link to app/website: https://equilab.horse/
Another great app for tracking your rides is Equisense. Equisense is a free training app that you can download on your smartphone. It has over 300 exercises to help you get inspired when you just don’t quite know what you want to work on that day. This program also uses GPS to track your distance, speed and elevation and lets you share the data with your friends, vet or trainer! Equisense even has a calendar to track your horse’s workouts and healthcare treatments, making it easy for you to keep all of your horse’s information in one place. Link to app/website: https://equisense.com/
For anyone out there that enjoys any type of jumping, Jump Off Pro is a must-have on your smartphone. Jump Off Pro lets you upload, save, and train on different jumping courses. It’s a fast and user-friendly application that lets you practice your rounds on your phone by tracing through the course with your finger. You can enter different jump types, build and memorize courses to ensure you’re ready to ride when you hit the show ring! Link to app/website: http://jumpoffapp.com/
For the Instructor With Non-Stop Lessons If you do more teaching than riding, then these next apps are definitely for you. With multiple clients, students, horses and skill levels, you can be sure to stay organized with EquiLesson and Equine Office.
EquiLesson is a web-based software solution that allows your clients to reserve their lesson times, see your lesson schedule, and pay the lesson fee - all online. The instructor can assign horses to students, set skills levels for horses and students, and customize their account with their barn rules, logo, policies and fees. EquiLesson has billing tools like personalized invoices and automatic or recurring payment plans, making it easy for you to focus more on your clients and horses.
Link to app/website: http://www.equilesson.com/
Equine Office is another great program that makes the difficult part of running a lesson barn easier. With this software, you can schedule lessons and appointments and assign them to students, staff, horses and even locations, making those off-farm lesson schedules run smoother. Monitor your horses’ workload by tracking how many lessons each horse is doing per week and keep everyone involved up-to-date by quickly notifying your clients of any changes. Equine Office offers two different plans so you can choose which one fits your business better!
Link to app/website: https://www.equineoffice.com/
No Such Thing As Too Many Horses – But That’s A lot of Feed Schedules! The best barn owners and managers care for their horses inside and out. That involves a quality nutrition plan that is customized to each individual equine. FeedXL and Feed My Horse are two programs that can help ensure every horse is getting the diet they need to live and perform their best.
FeedXL offers different year-long plans based on the number of horses involved, what level of work they are in, if it is a breeding operation or if one or more horse’s have health issues that call for a more in-depth dietary assessment. FeedXL helps to create a balanced diet that is tailored to each individual horse’s needs. This program identifies nutrient deficiencies or excess, calculates and balances mineral ratios, and calculates and compares different diet costs. Not only does it work with concentrated feed, but you can also upload hay and pasture analyses, and they will help you understand it. FeedXL also has a supplement finder tool that provides recommendations for supplements that will fill your horse’s deficiencies. No matter the age, breed or size of your horse or pony, you’ll be sure to get a custom diet curated to your horse’s needs.
Link to app/website: https://feedxl.com/
Feed My Horse is an equine nutrition software, from Superior Equine Health and Nutrition Inc., that helps the owner or barn manager make safer, healthier and smarter feeding decisions. It calculates and evaluates total ration amounts and nutrition analysis found in the forage, feeds and supplements chosen. This software uses colorful graphs to illustrate if your horse is in or out of acceptable nutrient ranges. Feed My Horse also provides easy-to-follow tips, guidelines and messages to keep you on track with your horse’s diet, ensuring they are happy and healthy.
Link to app/website: https://www.superiorequinenutrition.com/feed-my-horse
These Systems are Great, But What About Making the Day-to-Day Chores Easier? Some simple solutions to make turnout time run quicker and smoother includes the SmartBlanket app from SmartPak Equine and a custom dry erase or chalkboard!
You’ve probably heard of SmartPak Equine, but this might be your first time hearing about the SmartBlanket app for smartphones. Keep track of which turnout sheet or blanket each horse needs with this easy-to-use app. Plug in your horse’s location (city or zip code) with their birth date, coat length, body condition and living situation and based on that information and the weather, the app will determine which weight of blanket your horse needs - from a rain sheet to a heavyweight with extra layers. Take the guesswork out of blanketing and avoid health hazards from frozen or sweaty horses with this user-friendly app!
Link to app/website: https://www.smartpakequine.com/content/smartpak-apps
Check out SP Rhodes for a custom dry erase white board that will make feeding and turnout time quicker and easier! Choose from stall plaques and feeding charts, to lesson boards and turnout maps. These high quality white boards boast both style and functionality, and will five your barn that personal and professional touch. A custom chart from SP Rhodes will not only look professional hanging in your barn, but it will also help eliminate confusion amongst barn staff and ensure that each horse’s individual needs are met, safely and effectively. Link to app/website: https://us.sprhodes.com/sp-rhodes-custom-dry-erase-whiteboards/
Riding Horses is the Fun Part, Not Sending Invoices. Make it Easier! We also have some simple ways to keep track of invoicing and payments to help your barn run smoothly. One of the most important aspects of running an equestrian business, (second to the love of the horse, of course) is to make money. Whether it’s a small lesson barn, large competition facility or busy breeding operation, you need a way to track cash flow.
Horse Bills was designed with equestrians in mind. It is an equine accounting platform that lets you bill and receive payments quickly and easily. This software provides bookkeeping, generates invoices, and delivers them electronically. It keeps accurate and organized account records and gives you recurring bill options. You can include third party vendors that service a horse, such as farriers, vets, chiropractors, transport companies, etc., and ensure that all of your invoices and payments are in one place and easy to access.
Link to app/website: https://horsebills.com/
Another great tool for effortless accounting is Invoicely. Although not specifically created for equestrian businesses, this program can still be useful for farm owners and operators. You can create bills, estimates and invoices, quickly and easily; customize business reports and summaries; and track time, expenses and mileage for different services. This system lets clients and customers pay right from their invoice, on their computer or mobile device. Invoicely accepts multiple credit cards and payment gateways and the account owner can set up recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders to keep their funds in check!
Link to app/website: https://invoicely.com/
If you’re more of an all-in-one type of person and would prefer to have an app or software with multiple equine operation features, then you can check out BarnManager, EquestFile, or Stable Secretary.
Barn Manager is a great program that assists with several aspects of running an equestrian facility. Barn Manager users can synchronize your calendar, email reminders, and repeating events with the whole team to make communication a breeze. You can transfer paper records to digital records quickly and easily and they also have a search and sort tool to help find the information you need, when you need it. With this program you can create, store and share feed lists, packing lists, farrier lists and more! Schedule lessons, book appointments, store and locate records all in one place for smooth business. Another great feature of this product is that you can customize permissions for an unlimited amount of users, so everyone involved in that horse’s care can stay up-to-date and in the loop with all of the pertinent information. Access the whole barn’s information from anywhere on any device!
Link to app/website: https://www.barnmanager.com/
EquestFile has quick and easy data entry, making sure all of your horses’ important records are with you at all times, right at your fingertips. Upload basic horse information, feeding and supplement schedules, routine and urgent healthcare, training regimens, injury reports and barn duties on any device, that you can share with all of your barn employees and horse owners. EquestFile is user-friendly and customizable, so you can assign certain tasks to employees and allow owners to view their horse’s details and information. Members can sync all of their data across all devices, so your information is there whenever and wherever you need it.
Link to app/website: https://equestfile.com/
Another must-have in your technology tool belt for simpler barn management is Stable Secretary. This application is compatible with smartphones, iPads, tablets and computers. It keeps track of horses’ current and past health, breeding and service records and can generate summary reports of a horse’s general well-being. Stable Secretary users can also set reminders for due dates, record payments, and generate entry blank stickers with ease. You can easily communicate with team members, horse owners, vets and other important people by adding them to your account so they stay up-to-date with each horse. This program provides another essential feature that any business manager can’t live without… which is recording billable services, creating invoices and tracking payments, making it easier than ever to run a successful business. Don’t have time to enter all of this information yourself? Sign up for data entry and Stable Secretary will input all of your data for you! They will even take care of invoicing so you can focus on riding, training and managing your clients and running a happy barn. Link to app/website: https://stablesecretary.com/
Still Need More? There’s More Out There!
From horse shows to trail rides, a few random, but useful applications and programs that might be practical for all sorts of equestrians are ShowPro by Sport Data, Inc., FEI RuleApp, EQUiTrail and Horse Side Vet Guide.
ShowPro by Sport Data, Inc. is a convenient horse show software for small and large barns interested in hosting their own horse show. It’s easy to learn and easy to use and provides support for all types of breeds and disciplines; hunter/jumper, Arabian, AQHA and APHA, open shows and much more. Some features of ShowPro are online entries, multiple disciplines and breeds, class specs, high points, judges, sponsors, split/combine classes, add/scratch entries, back number labels and a whole lot more!
Link to app/website: https://www.sportdatainc.com/showpro.htm
Not hosting a show but attending one with your barn family instead? FEI RuleApp is a must-have for consistent horse showers. With this application you can bring the FEI rules and regulations with you wherever you go. Stay up-to-date with the latest rules, regulations and changes. Search through the app and find exactly what you need, right at your fingertips. You can also bookmark and share important pages for others to see!
Link to app/website: https://inside.fei.org/fei/cleansport/horses/mobile-apps
If you’re hitting the road this weekend, but it’s not to a horse show, then EQUiTrail is for you. The EQUiTrail application is the ultimate app for trail riders. It tracks your location in the background, which is great for hands-free use, and it ensures your smartphone can be used for other things. You can use annotations to place markers on the map or to identify natural obstacles, cross country jumps, dangerous terrain or a favorite spot. With this app, you can also capture and display photos, pause and resume your ride and get statistics about your workout.
Link to app/website: http://www.equitrailapp.com/
Whether you’re teaching or riding, at a horse show or on the trail, another extremely handy application to have is Horse Side Vet Guide. This app is a constantly growing knowledge-base of equine health information. It has nearly 700 equine observations to help you diagnose health problems with your horse. You can share your concerns and findings with your vet, learn what items and tools should be in your equine first-aid kit, get quick reference images for equine anatomy, vitals and more and increase your equine knowledge with how-to videos and blog posts. Link to app/website: https://horsesidevetguide.com/
Keep Things Running Smoothly
Hopefully, one, or some, of these softwares, programs or applications can help ease the management of your equestrian facility and you can get back to focusing on your horses and clients for a happy, successful business.
It may take time to set up and get comfortable using these applications, but it will help you manage and grow your business in the long run.