—Jessica Ehlert

When I groomed for a few of Joe Fargis’s clients at WEF in 2012, I was given the job of doing his daily whiteboard maybe a handful of times. The first time, he stood next to me holding a crop behind his back and explained in his calm and direct manner exactly how he wanted it done. It was precise, simple, and tidy. I was instructed to use a ruler as I penned horses’ names beside ring times, the bottom of every letter flattened as I wrote. I remember thinking how this matched his training style: simple, effective, clear. I also remember thinking: ‘Dang, horse people love their whiteboards.’

While the whiteboard is likely here to stay, there are many more aspects of barn and show management that can’t be done with a ruler and a dry-erase marker. We have documents, vet records, invoices, payments, training schedules, and shows to keep straight. Luckily, there are a lot of great apps available today that cover it all. Here’s a look at my top four picks.

The Best Barn Management App: BarnManager

BarnManager is about as aptly named as they come. This barn management software keeps all your clients and team-members updated with everything they need to know using calendar syncing, email reminders, and scheduling tools. Plus, unlimited record keeping means that you can finally digitize all those hand-written files. And, all you Type-A list makers (so… every equestrian?) will enjoy the ability to create, share, and store lists to your heart’s content. The mobile app is free, but a subscription to use the software is packaged starting at $10/month. A pro version is coming soon, which will include the ability to write invoices, take payments, create reports, integrate with other business tools, and more. Go check it out at http://www.barnmanager.com.

The Best Payment App: HorseLinc

As a former professional braider, I’m particularly in awe of this app. I’ve spent countless mornings at the horse show tracking down payments after 13+ hours of hair twisting and let me tell you, 10 a.m. on a Sunday is not the time to encounter a braider. But braiders, and every other service provider in the business, can now invoice clients and take payments using the HorseLinc App. By offering invoice storage in one place, it also helps clients who usually have to manage paper and digital invoices from several service providers to stay organized. The user interface is clean and lets service providers create profiles for all their horses, or lets clients create service provider profiles. Plus, the app has the highest payment card industry compliance certification for payment security, making it a no-brainer. And best of all—it’s free. Take a look at http://www.horselinc.com.

The Best Show Scheduling App: JUMPFAX

The JUMPFAX app keeps show jumping riders organized on the road. Riders can access a calendar of events, plan their season, and get key information about each show, like contact information, start lists, results, and a live stream. The website touts “the biggest show jumping database since 2005,” and with data for more than 118,000 horses and 43,000 riders, I don’t doubt it. In addition to its show planning features, JUMPFAX also shines the spotlight on amateurs in its own JUMPFAX Series ranking system. They also have a tool that allows riders to display customized, live results on their own website or Facebook pages. The basic subscription is free, but for less than $5 per month you can access all the features. An upcoming premium subscription option will be ad free and offer additional perks like VIP invitations to JUMPFAX events. Learn more at http://www.jumpfax.com.

The Best Overall Management App: EquestFile

EquestFile simplifies equine data management with data entry wizards and drop-down menus for faster tagging of activities. Like other management apps, you can store all your documents and records in one place, but EquestFile also lets you create records directly in the app. Plus, photos and videos can be stored with files, which gives a complete picture of things like medical history and horse development. You can also use the app to assign tasks to employees and give owners visibility on select information. The data is synced across devices on a mobile network, so no need for WiFi to stay up to date. The pricing is a little steeper than some at $29.95 per month for the basic plan, but every plan starts with a 14-day free trial and the company offers free subscriptions to 501(c)(3) barns such as equine rescues or therapy organizations. A full-service pro version is coming soon too, which will include expense tracking, billing and payment capabilities, competition features, and lesson scheduling. Check it out at https://equestfile.com.