I try my hardest to keep thorough, accurate records of my horses’ lives. When I was a Pony Clubber, I used the USPC Health & Maintenance Record Book, which is a great tool for logging the basics: the whens, wheres, and whys of feed changes, vet visits, farrier appointments, conditioning schedules, etc. (It’s available as a free PDF download here if you’re interested.)
When I was responsible for managing 20 or so horses at the therapeutic riding center, I found it extremely tedious and difficult to log everything by hand. I was also terrified the notebooks and papers I wrote on would be misplaced, lost, or destroyed. I created a MS Word document that served as a template for every horse’s records; the first page was a form which asked for basic information on the horse, like its name, age, color, markings, gender, height, and included a picture. Subsequent pages had tables for recording farrier and vet visits, deworming, feed ration/changes, and even bathing and udder/sheath cleaning. Each record had a blank page at the end of the document where I would type notes every time I worked with a horse, either on the ground or under saddle. If someone else (like a student worker or volunteer) worked with the horse, I’d ask for a brief report of what they did, how the horse behaved, and problems they encountered. Every horse had an electronic file of this nature that was saved on a drive shared between all employees (which was 3). My boss detested this method of record keeping, as she was not a computer person and could never remember how to access the shared drive. She was also concerned that the files would simply disappear one day. (Computers are magic!)
Unfortunately, I never bothered to recreate those forms as Google Docs or save them to a jump drive. I have a notebook where I keep Moe and Gina’s important documents (Coggins tests, registration papers), but as for recording farrier and vet visits, rides, and deworming? This is where we’re at:
That’s my planner. When I ride, I simply write down a brief synopsis of what I did. When the horses have their hooves trimmed, I jot it down. It works well enough, but it’s a pain to leaf through weeks of records and try to find something specific. Frequently, I also forget to write down how much something costs or when I ordered something online.
In the interest of digitizing my life as much as possible, I’m searching for a solution to the record keeping problem. I’m thinking of using Evernote to keep track; I like that it has both desktop and mobile apps, I can search it, and I can keep it organized how I choose. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, I’m really curious about what y’all use to maintain your horse’s records. Pen and paper? Your blog? An app? Do tell.