Nicole Lakin BarnManager.com

Who am I? I ask not in the deep philosophical way, but in the “why should you read my blog posts” way. I am a lot of things to a lot of people. I am a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend, a bridesmaid, an equestrian, a survivor, an entrepreneur, a student, a shoulder to lean on, and most of all, a lover of horses. If horses were akin to pop culture’s celebrities, I would be a super-fan. Being in the proximity of a truly special equine gives me butterflies and often renders me awestruck and giddy.

And lucky for me, I get the unique opportunity to meet some of these amazing creatures on a regular basis…and I get to call it “work.” That’s right, I am one of those annoying Millennials who refused to go the traditional route after college, and somehow I now find myself running an equine-based start up that requires me to attend some of the best shows in the world and experience the stables of some of my amazing and talented clients.

When I graduated from NYU with a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Cultural Analysis (What exactly do you do with that?), I was reluctant to give up my horse-loving ways. I grew up in Reading, PA, and met my first pony, Petunia, under the guidance of Sue Erickson, a local trainer who gave me the gifts of basics, bravery, hard work and passion. I was hooked from the start. My first lesson on Chessy, the chestnut lesson pony, was a cosmic aligning of the stars.

From there, pony camp and gymkhana games grew to horse showing and a life lived for the weekend. My mom, a perpetually well-dressed, contemporary career woman, took to driving a two-horse trailer to horse shows on the weekends and throwing on clogs with her trendy work clothes to help me bathe and put away my pony after riding on weeknights.

At 14, I decided to try my hand on the A-circuit and began training with Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville, MD. The commute was brutal, but I will never forget the summer days spent working with the home-bred ponies and riding as many horses as I could get my hands on. I learned so much about myself and about caring for my horses during that time, and I met some amazing people along the way.

Nicole Lakin BarnManager.com
Nicole Lakin BarnManager.com

For my last year and a half as a junior rider, I trained at the incredible Beacon Hill Show Stables under the watchful eyes of Frank and Stacia Madden and their assistant at the time Max Amaya. It was here that my love for horses collided with a new world of sports medicine, management, and training that I couldn’t have dreamed up.

I knew I was never going to be the most skilled or talented rider amongst some of the best young riders in the country who also trained at Beacon Hill at the time, but I wasn’t about to let that impede my quest for knowledge. I lived in the barn, attending every vet consultation, assisting the manager, setting jumps during lessons, and riding as much as I could.

After several years my horses moved full-time into Max Amaya’s stable, Stonehenge Stables where I was further encouraged to be a part, to watch, to study and to learn. I made mistakes and learned how to grow from them. I was given tremendous responsibilities for the first time since getting my driver’s license, and I felt empowered. What I did mattered, and it allowed me to feel a part of the careers of some amazing horses and riders.

But when college ended, so did my free pass to hang in the barn all day. I knew that I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I didn’t want to work in an office and waste away my hours wondering if it would ever get better. I had dabbled with internships, and nothing seemed to fit.

It is here that I must note how much luck was involved in my next steps. I was lucky enough to have discovered a passion at such a young age. I was lucky enough to have amazingly supportive parents who encouraged me to follow my dreams. And I was lucky enough to be able to bootstrap my dreams and bring them to fruition.

And with those advantages, Barnmanager.com was born. I spent many hours and days outlining and mapping out the tools that I wanted to include in my attempt to simplify the lives of some of the hardest working people in the barn (who seldom get much credit, and yet never stop giving of themselves). I knew nothing about starting a business, but I was once again lucky to be surrounded by sound advice and people who were willing to help.

And now, I get to go and hang out with some of the best horses, riders and managers in the world. Okay well, maybe not hang out, but interact with, learn from and admire from a little closer than a super-fan would be allowed.

BarnManager.com has been a whirlwind experience. I have learned and grown and become accustomed to the fact that as an entrepreneur, your work is never done, and you will never stop worrying.

The only time I am able to forget about the feeling in the pit of my stomach that constantly taunts me: (You are forgetting something. That’s not good enough. It will never work.) is when I am riding. Horses continue to give me the release and the ability to let go of all of the things that weigh me down from day to day. They give me strength.

I hope that my blog posts bring you enjoyment, insight and knowledge from my experiences, and the horse world as I see it. I am not an expert. In anything. I am just me.

Barn Manager Logo

BarnManager.com is an easy-to-use web-based barn management software designed to organize and streamline every barn’s program. Users can track horses’ work schedule, medical records, create monthly invoices, and manage their barn’s entire calendar from their computer or mobile device.