Monday, June 8, 2009

Record Keeping: In Need of Help

A few weeks ago, Linda at the 7msn Ranch did a post about her horses' record keeping. She called it "obsessively compulsive," however, I call it "wonderfully inspiring." I was very impressed with her organization! Here is how I keep records of my horse keeping:

Yep, they are in a folder, or a "pee chee," if you will. My aunt gave all of us pony cousins a horse folder at one of our family gatherings last year.

Mine is filling up fast with receipts from horse product and tack purchases, random horse stuff like articles my mom has sent me, or pictures I'd printed from All Breed Pedigree of My Boy's grand sire, Dreamfinder.

Here is how I track it all. By writing it down in my chicken scrawl on a little notepad of horsey stationary.

Everything gets written down and dated...hay and supplement purchases.....all of my worming and shoeing and vet appointments. It is especially interesting to see how the hay prices fluctuate over the course of a season.

I have a long way to go in being truly organized and tracking all of my horse's vet care, feed, and tack expenses. At least I have something to refer back to should I have a question.

My dream is to become more organized. There was a time where I actually had organization in my life. Then I began riding horses and blogging. I can organize my blog rather well, that seems to be easy for me. Not quite sure what happened to the rest of my life!


  1. Yar. Record keeping - don't even talk to me about it. Records for business, records for family, records for hundreds and hundreds of stud cattle, records for horses, records for cattle transfers... want some record practice??

    Come on over!!!

  2. I recognize the horse paper you are keeping records on! It's from my house, silly!
    I have a file with each horses name, and all their vet bills, paperwork goes in it. I have always wanted to do something a little better, but I think what I am doing is fine. At least it is all together!

  3. I agree with Paint Girl, at least you write it all down and keep it. I recognize your handwriting and I have to tell you, I have always loved your handwriting. I used to get so excited when I was in school and got a letter from you. They were so much fun to read. Hope your week goes better than the last!

  4. If you're looking for some way to organize via computer check out google docs. My very non-computer oriented friend is using them to track memberships, attendance, etc for our district barrel club and she's really impressed with it.

    Silly PG, you haven't seen chicken scratch until you've tried to decipher mine! lol
    I think its because my brain moves faster than my hand. At least this is my theory. I came to it when I realized my Greek writing is SO much neater than my English. And that makes sense because I have to slow everything way down when I do it in Greek.

  5. I have an accordion folder that that holds receipts and warranties of big-ticket purchases. I use a dedicated calendar to track worming, Sand Clear, farrier appts, etc. That's as far as it goes.

  6. Well I would vote that as fairly organized!!! If you have it all together and you are keeping track of all the important things you need to know then you are doing great!!! I have those folders...Many, many folders and a few filing accordions!!

  7. Looks like you're doing pretty good in the record keeping department. I keep a folder for each of my horses with important stuff - papers, boarding agreements, Coggins, etc. At the barn, we keep a binder handy in the barn aisle that has a section for each of the 13 horses, with one page for worming (date/type), one for vaccinations (date/type, any special indications) and one for other - injuries, vet visits, treatments, any other medications. I also have a spreadsheet for feeding, which shows morning/evening feed/supplements for each horse, and has a summary page that calculates weekly, monthly and yearly feed requirements for the barn.

  8. My mother kept records of everything, including medical files on all the dogs and what treatments they were given. That was amazing! Now that she's gone, I have to remind myself that she's no longer around to tell me what kinds of vaccinations I need to be taking in the coming year.
    I write down many things when it comes to the horses (food purchases, weight & height (for the fillies) and medical treatment, but when it comes to the general thing, I rely on the dates on the image to remember when things happened and at what age a certain development took place. I wish I was more organized too, but there is just no time for that!

  9. Some people collect stamps... I collect my horse data. Started with recording how many hours I ride and how many hours I am over/under the same period last year. (I know, weird). Then I record where I ride, who I ride with, what the weather was like, how many miles I rode and whether the horse was a butt or not! I also include in the notes when vaccinations are done, farrier visits and when we mow our hay! I use excel & each year is a new tab. I keep the folder on the desktop of my computer. I know every day I sit down there at least once, so click on the folder, add horse data & I'm done.

    Another tab has expenses on it. I try to keep track of medical, farrier and hay expenses. Ride fees and tack. Just horse related stuff.

    It means nothing to anyone else but me. It helps me to set riding goals. It tells me what my horses cost me so I can be prepared to cover the expense with part time jobs should I ever need to... And it records the JOY they have brought into my life.

  10. Good job there. I have one folder for all the vet things and one for the farrier. We have six horses so it's hard to keep that many individual folders for each horse. Then in my file drawer have each one with a file folder of their own registration papers, coggins, etc. Not as organized as I would like but it's adequate.

  11. I have the same folder with all my reciepts too! I can'r see any reason to change it, when I need to look up something I just flip through until I find it. That may just be 2x a year at most! Riding horses does seem to eat up any spare time a "working girl" has! LOL

  12. I am in shock. $18 for a bale of hay??? Are you serious? Square bales go for about $4 out of the barn here. I can not believe that price. Girl, how can you afford to feed that big boy?

    Me, I keep up with their worming by writing down the date but I don't have a book. I give them their shots annualy and always the same thing, 5-way, west nile & strangles.

  13. I have a big book that I keep track of everything in. Each horse has a section with health sheets for and a big sheet protector for Coggins and Rabies Certs. I keep notes on meds and shoeing. Every once in a while I go back through it. It's amazing all the stuff you forget.

  14. Don't worry all my horses vet bills etc are in a folder each of their own. Just like you. I guess thats why I have an organized mess.

  15. Mine are a rolled up ball in my car... You are doing good by my standards. I want to be a pony cousin it sounds like fun!!

  16. I have a nifty program on my computer to note records and details.If only I remember to use it!

  17. I use a three-ring binder with those clear page protectors for important stuff - big ticket receipts, coggins, reg. papers, bill of sale for the horse, my mmemberships, etc.

    I don't have to track hay/feed because I board and that is included in my fee.

    I track health/farrier issues on regular loose-leaf paper and stick in the binder. Deciphering my chicken scratch is always a risk later on... :-)

    I used to keep track of how many hours I rode - our provincial equestrian federation (that I need to be a member of for insurance at a boarding stable) has a little program where you can submit your hours riding to get little prizes. I haven't updated it in weeks, but I guess I should start again.

    Ditto to what Trailboss said about the hay - $18USD for a bale? Wowzers. We pay $4 on average, maybe $5 in a bad year (drought, too much rain, etc.)

  18. That is so great! Why can't I keep a record like that? It is SO useful, and means you have everything at the tips of your fingers! I know my horse guy Bill has all of Lilly's vaccination/worming/shoe records but I should do it myself! Because his little notes are like mandarin chinese!

  19. I've got a hard cover binder and keep all the animal stuff in it. In fact, when we adopted Mina last year , I brought it with and the people in the shelter were "gobsmacked" that someone actually kept an organized record.

  20. heck, I think any sort of record keeping is better than none. Sometimes it's just scribbling down what you can and stuffing it in a peechee (which I do with a number of things).

    I try to keep an accordian file like Leah Fry and it has different sections:
    purchase (original docs and ads)
    vet - receipts and notes on vet visits/health issues
    feet (farrier receipts and I try to jot a note or two about any major issues)
    shows/events (copies of entries or records)
    photos (any I get from people and don't hang up, which is rare!)

    it's not perfect but it's portable and gets me by.

  21. ok, it is time for me to get my files in order. I feel very unorganized right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. I keep a record book, too, but it does not cover as much as yours does. All I do is track when the horses have had dewormer, hoof trims, and vaccines. I also track any other vet visits, which thankfully there have not been too many of those. It came in handy when Divna first started being treated for glaucoma....

  23. What record keeping? Not around here. Receipts, registration papers and animal info are dropped into a folder in my desk, most likely never to be seen again. Vax, farrier, and vet dates are written onto a calender, and the calender saved from year to the same folder.

    No. I don't put a whole lot of thought into it. I don't even have a cute horse folder or pretty stationary. lol!


    word verif: gaingsta

  24. {Sydney}~ Great oxymoron: organized mess! ;)

    I'm really impressed with everyone's record keeping and you've given me some new ideas!

    {Paint Girl}~You have the same notepad, we got them from mom for Xmas, I am not using yours! :)

    {TB & Laura}~ I will revisit that high cost of hay later this week!

  25. At least you have it all in one place. We have a three ring binder that has folders in it for every different horse. It has all the vet info in each individual file folder. Then I write dewormings and such on my calendar. When i did it last and when I will need to do it again. It helps out a lot! But I am not nearly as organized as you are!

  26. I had to laugh when I saw your folder and notes. I do the same thing though my recent records of vet, farrier, board payments have been stacking up in a neat pile on my computer desk.

    One tip I was given was to make a spreadsheet to track expenses, payments and dates. Obviously I fell off that wagon.

    I am new to your blog and really enjoying it.

  27. Join the club! I feel very disorganized and it is driving me crazy! It doesn't help I am in the process of having my home torn apart in a mini remodel.

    It is good to keep the Boys stuff organized medically so you can remember what happened when...
    have a good week Pony Girl!

  28. So happy to have found your blog! I started a binder to keep all the info & reciepts in (and pictures of my horse of course)... it really helps to see what others track and how they do it.
    I am starting over again with horses after almost 30 years without one and it's quite a challenge and I'm glad to find like-minded company even if it's online.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  29. My records have gone to hell but there are more important things I think. My vet keeps records and I kind of rely on those. I can get print outs from them on what's been done and when. I do jot down notes on my calendar about things I train on and when and how it went. By the way, I love the new header. You are so good with those things!

  30. Record keeping is a must!

    I have 2 spirals I keep vaccines, shots, wormings, etc in one and the other one is handy tips, things to remember~treatments,etc.

    I do like your folder!

  31. Just for the record, I've talked to more than one horseowner in Alaska that admits they do not track their expenses at all! It's just better not to know! You have to keep horses in spite of expenses and most prefer, it seems, not to know! (Remember a good bale of hay up here is at least $30. (Yes, thirty bucks per bale!!). So that's the other end of the spectrum....


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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