Vaccination records, farrier and vet bills, health certificates, hay invoices. Horse ownership is full of paperwork, and it’s even more complicated if your barn is established as a business. Keeping your barn records organized is important and can help save you time whenever you have to retrieve information. Here are some tips to help you keep your barn records organized and up to date.
Horses accumulate impressive amounts of paperwork over relatively short periods of time. Create a file for each horse that you own. If you have many horses, you might opt to keep a hanging file folder for each horse in a filing cabinet. Within the file, separate the horse’s records out by type – keep veterinary papers in one section or envelope, registration papers in another, and farrier records in a third.
If you and your horse will be traveling or participating in shows or clinics regularly, then it’s a good idea to create a travel or show file that includes your horse’s vaccination information, health certificate, and any other necessary paperwork. Keep this in a waterproof plastic pocket folder, and consider leaving the folder in your trailer to ensure that it is always with you.
Create a Barn File
Create a separate folder for all of your barn maintenance records and invoices. Having this information sorted and at hand will let you quickly compare costs over the years and monitor what repairs and maintenance have recently been completed. You might consider dividing your barn records into sub-folders according to the service type – separating invoices by shavings delivery, hay delivery, pasture maintenance, and barn maintenance can help you locate what you’re looking for more quickly.
Your barn maintenance records can also serve as a rolodex of sorts. Be sure to keep the business cards of everyone who has provided services to your barn. It’s a great idea to make some notes on the card or invoice for future reference – even a basic “definitely use again” or “do not hire again” can make running your barn easier when it comes time to use similar services.
Calendars are excellent ways to keep track of what needs to be done when. Use one calendar for your horse, and a separate one for your barn. Keep track of relevant dates and reminders on each, and hang them in your tack or feed room for easy referencing.
Technology can also make recordkeeping easier, as various programs are available to help keep both the horse owner and the barn owner organized. For the large barn, computerized recordkeeping may be the way to go. Also be sure to check out the apps available for your phone; some apps are now designed just for horsekeeping and can help remind you of your equine to-do list.
While it might take a little work to organize your barn records initially, once you have a system created it will be pretty easy to keep yourself organized.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/darwinist/5783672957