I am sure that I am not the only one in a state of panic when I can't locate those horse records. Where did I put that business card! When is the farrier coming again? The equine dentist... what dentist? There is just so much information!
With all this information to keep at hand and so many ways to keep track of these records, which system is best for you? On thing is definate, no matter how you keep track of your records, you still need to put in the time to keep those records up-to-date. So the question is : How much time do you think you need to keep those records up-to-date as each event happens and will you keep using your method no matter which one you start using, or will you resort back to your previous pattern?
According to horsesoftware.net cost is a huge consideration when choosing your option. While the paper and pen method has minimal cost associated with it and this method has been used by many over the years, there are new horse software programs available today and perhaps these options should be considered.
There have been many development advances recently in software programs specifically designed to track horse records and many companies offer a free trial to see if you like their software, but before you consider purchasing any software program, please consider these pros and cons according to horsesoftware.net:
- Records are in a central location and very easy to access, providing internet connection.
- Data is safe from theft, computer crashes or other disasters.
- Updating information in one place automatically updates related areas.
- Offers flexible reporting options, as the software will easily sort entries.
- Information can be easily backed up, either offsite, or onto your hard drive.
- Reports can be easily exported using many different formats, including PDF.
- Reminder screens can be set up to help you remember upcoming events.
- Information available wherever you have internet access.
- Software can be expensive
- There is a learning curve to understanding the program.
- Some programs, depending on the version purchased, can have limited record capacity and report flexibility.
- You may need to pay for technical support, or help is not easily available, or your issue cannot be resolved.
A very common way of keeping track of your horse records and is used by many, is through the use of a basic spreadsheet, word document or OpenOffice. Excel, for example, can be used to help you organize your records, but this spreadsheet program is not designed specifically for the horse, but you can customize the fields somewhat. Some points to consider when using spreadsheets are:
- Minimal cost.
- Fairly easy to get started.
- Records are on your computer and in one location
- Information can be backed up, either offsite or at home.
- Records can be exported and shared.
- Updating and/or making changes to the records can be difficult and data may need to be entered in various locations.
- Can be difficult to make reports.
The pen and paper has been around for years and horse owners find this method a very comfortable way to keep tabs on their horses. While this method may be common, there are pros and cons to consider when considering pen and paper.
- Cheap...how much does a pen and pad of paper cost?
- If you can write, you can use this method.
- Records can be easily lost.
- Details can be in multiple locations (ie, tack box, folders, truck, clipboard, pocket/purse) and can take time to find them.
- Updating records can be time consuming especially if data needs to be written in several different areas.
- Reports can not be generated, and while you can understand your handwriting, others may not.
If you need to have access to reports, a very important consideration is to determine how easy and flexible are the reporting options in whichever method you choose. How much time and effort is needed to create a report of the horses you have, the ones you have for sale , will be breeding, or for submitting score reports for that upcoming award.
For the paper method, generating a neat report is a major task. The spreadsheet method is much easier to create an organized report, but can be time consuming . Horse software programs, reports can be quickly sorted, grouped and printed.
I find that an on-line horse software programs saves me time in that I don’t report back home on Rio’s medication, supplements, veterinary appointments, farrier, and training progress. I track everything online, including what training we worked on today, and my family back home just logs onto the site and sees everything. It saves a great deal of time in email correspondence and reduces anxiety when I forget to report. My family sends me supplements from home so that Rio remains on his supplement program, and my Mom can track the supplements on hand and knows when to order. So, I find that this on-line service, for me, saves me time and keeps everyone informed. It also allows me to budget costs accordingly and tracks farrier and vet appointments sending me messages on my iPhone so that I won’t miss another appointment or payment. I also use the on-line service to track his show record. Creating a show history report is very easy and can be used to send in for those important award submissions.
All in all, horse record tracking is important and no matter which method you use, keeping in mind that there are the good and bad associated with each system. However, whichever method you choose to keep it up so that you won’t have that panic search when something is needed. For more information please visit www.horsesoftware.net.