Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review of Rendaivu: Horse management

Most horse owners know what it's like to wonder when the last time you dewormed was, or what it was your trainer told you to work on the next time you rode.  I've tried lots of approaches on keeping good horse records, but I think I recently hit on something that will work the best of anything I've tried: Rendaivu, a free web app that has a (paid) matching smartphone app.

When my trainer and I first started Panama's training back in 2007, I kept a spiral notebook in my car to write down what we worked on every session, and what my trainer wanted me to work on when I was working with him on my own.  That didn't actually last very long -- after a few months I was forgetting to write things down so frequently that I just gave up.

A couple years ago, I started using a diary app on my iPhone to keep track of my horses' training and health records.  It was always with me, since it was on my phone, and it was searchable if I needed to find a specific record -- for instance, if I wanted to know when I had last dewormed.

I stopped using the app in the last few months because I got tired of always typing out the records on my phone's itty bitty touch keyboard.  It's nice to have it on my phone IF I want to access or create my records on my phone -- but I realized I also want the ability to create the records on my computer if that's more convenient (which it often is, even if I can't do it while I'm still at the barn).

As for medical records, I've always kept a paper file for those.  It makes sense for vet invoices and health inspections, actually, but I also generally keep expense receipts and dewormer inserts/box backs (I write the date given on them).  I've been doing this even though I also keep the records in my diary app on my phone.

Rendaivu is a totally different ballgame.  Not only is it accessible on both my computer and my phone (although the iPhone app was a bit steep -- $9.99), it also has categories for EVERYTHING.  It is by far the most organized approach to tracking your horses that I've ever seen.

As you can see, there are separate categories for everything, and subcategories upon subcategories.  In the main categories, you have places to record income, expenses, calendar, and contact.  Under "My Horses," you can make files for individual horses, and from there the subcategories explode: profile, with places to record all of the horse's pertinent information and contacts; health records with separate tabs for hoof care, leg care, deworming, vaccinations, dentistry, etc.; training, where you can describe training work and note the cost; performance records, for tracking show performance; and even a journal for everything that doesn't fit into one of the above.

I personally have chosen to put all of my rides into the training section, with "Practice ride" in the trainer's name field, so that all of the work with the horse is in the same place.  The journal under the individual horse's name I use for things that are out of the ordinary: for instance, when I noticed Rondo had lost a shoe last week, or when the barn owner's granddaughter mentioned that he was looking skinny and so she had increased the hay in that corral.  (There is also a journal under the main tabs that is not specific to one horse -- I use that one to record information that relates to both horses, such as the fact that my vet is leaving and I'm switching to a new vet -- more on that later.)

Another really nice feature is the ability to generate and export reports on each horse and overall reports on expenses and income.  Others will probably like the calendar, which allows you to keep track of important dates for the vet, farrier, and trainer, but I will continue to use my existing calendar for that, as I prefer to have all of my calendar in one place.

It's complicated getting each horse set up in the system, but once it's all in there I think it will be an easy enough system to maintain -- and extremely convenient to refer back to.  I really like that I can update the files on either my phone or the web app, of course, and I even think it was worth the $9.99 for the iPhone app.  I am looking forward to reducing my paper files as well: I will continue to keep vet invoices and other important paperwork, but from now on I won't have to keep receipts or dewormer inserts/boxes.

How does everyone else keep track of their horse stuff -- especially if they have more than one horse?



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