Monday, June 8, 2009

On Record Keeping

Pony Girl did an interesting post on record-keeping, so I thought I'd post on what our barn does for records and what I also do personally with my own horses.

In addition to the regular financial and tax records kept by our treasurer, who is the husband of one of our boarders, we keep a number of other records.  We keep copies of the boarding agreements for each horse.  Our treasurer keeps records of all purchases - feed, bedding, supplies, maintenance expenses, fencing materials, etc.  The boarder who manages our pastures keeps detailed notes of grass measurements, pasture rotations, dates of mowing, weeding and seeding and descriptions of where troublesome noxious plants are found - notes are necessary as we have almost 16 acres of pasture.  We have a phone list by horse, including emergency contact information for each horse (and secondary contacts as well) and farrier/vet information.  If a horse is insured, that information is on the list.

We have a three-ring binder, which is kept on a shelf in the barn aisle, that contains important records for each horse, in alphabetical order.  Each horse has a section with three pages (and most horses have a title page with their picture!).  Worming (this should say date/type - I got my wires crossed when printing out):


And other - we use this for scrapes, cuts and injuries, vet calls (now, when did Maisie colic last year?), and treatments and medications (and this one should say date/comment):

These are just sample forms - the real ones - written-up and dirty from being at the barn - are in the binder.  I'm usually the one who fills them out, although boarders who use a different vet from the one used by most of our horses record their own vaccinations, and boarders who do their own rotational worming record that as well.  When a horse leaves the barn, we give the owner the pages to take with them.

I also keep an Excel spreadsheet for our feeding.  A copy of this lives in plastic folders on the wall of the feed room.  It has three pages, one each for morning and evening feed and one summary page that I use for feed ordering.  The morning and evening pages have the same format - here's the current morning page (sorry for the variable focus):

It has a row for each horse, and columns for each type of feed we use (beet pulp is above the line), supplements, cocosoya oil (we've had times when not all horses got this) and daily dewormer.  I update it frequently - note the date in the corner.  I don't have to refer to it to make up feed (after a.m. feeding I make up the feed for that p.m. and the following a.m. in small buckets, which we stack and store in a locked cabinet in the barn aisle - except for the beet pulp which is too bulky).  I make up the feed every morning, so I have it memorized and can do it pretty quickly.  But if the p.m. feeder - our regular lady Monday through Friday and a volunteer boarder on Saturday (I do Sunday) - should drop a bucket by mistake, they can make up a new bucket from the chart.  Also, if and when I take a vacation day, the substitute can make up the feed from the chart.

We order our feed about once a month from a feed mill in Wisconsin - we use them because they supply us with a balancer pellet - pretty much just vitamins and minerals - which is designed to match our area's soils and hay.  In order to forecast how much to order, I use the third page of the spreadsheet, which summarizes our feed usage by week, month and year:

The cool thing about this sheet is that it is automatically generated from the data on the other two sheets - all I have to input is changes in the amounts of morning or evening feed for a horse and everything totals automatically!  (In one of my prior lives, I was a spreadsheet jockey.)  This greatly simplifies feed ordering - all I have to do is compare what we have on hand to what we need for the next month (with fudge factors related to the regular seasonal increases/decreases), and order the difference.

I also keep records for each of my own horses - papers (only for Dawn and Noble), bills of sale, recent Coggins, microchip information (all of my horses are microchipped), copies of vet visits/instructions, dental records, chiropractic records, and anything else.

One thing I need to do and haven't done yet is to do a detailed description of each of my horses, with photos of heads, legs, scars, whorls and chestnuts, for identification purposes.  Microchipping is good, but I need to work on the other too.

What records do you keep - or wish you were keeping?


  1. Wow - you sound pretty organized!

    I keep a 3-ring binder for my stuff. Not too hard with one horse. I don't have to worry about hay/feed costs/receipts since I board. I do make a note every season about what quantities of feed/hay he gets in case I ever need to know.

    I wrote a short post on this topic last summer -

  2. I hope our barn manager is as organized as you are!!! Impressive. I keep records for veterinary, dental, papers, etc. but I'm shameless to say the farrier takes care of her feet on a 6 week schedule, all the horses at the barn get vaccinated and wormed at the same time, and I trust she gets fed what she is supposed to everyday. So much to keep track of!

  3. Wow Kate - I am impressed!! The only records I keep are here at the clinic on our computer system. At home, each horse has a file, but it's pretty empty except for registration papers and parentage pictures. I really don't keep records on them at all, except for their lives in pictures. We just live life one day at a time.

  4. I keep all of my farrier, vaccination and dew-worming records on Rendaivu online, and that has a feature that allows me to back-up to an excel spreadsheet on my computer (which I do). In the barn I keep a list with the names and age of each horse, owner contact info, our spending limit in emergencies, and any known allergies or health issues for each horse. All of my coggins are kept together in one file. Feed charts are kept in each of the two locations that we feed from as is a blanket chart during blanketing season.

    Horses require a lot of records!!

  5. Duh! I have a feed schedule posted in the barn and on my refrigerator. Then, I put other items of note on a calendar.

    Used to keep a training log on a calendar too, but now I guess I kind of use my blog.

    Someday I'll get more organized.

  6. Very cool. I have a horse planner that I use to track worming, vet care, farrier visits, etc. I really like the binder idea!


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