50 Uses for the Home Office Computer

You probably already have a computer at home but, with a basic office software program, it can be turned into one of the most important tools for barn management since the pitchfork.

The computer world calls it “productivity” software—an all-in-one program that turns your computer into a workhorse for stable management tasks. Most likely your computer came with this set of programs pre-installed, called “Office,” “Suite” or “Works.”

The name defines a set of related and integrated software programs that share a similar look and feel. You can copy words, numbers and drawings or photos to and from the programs.

Microsoft Office is the most popular, but other PC brands are Microsoft Works, WordPerfect Suite, Lotus SmartSuite and the free Star Office. Appleworks for the Mac­intosh, which includes a database tool, is the oldest title, originally issued in the 1980s in the Apple II series.

  • Your suite of software includes a standard set of three tools:
  • Word processor for creating text.
  • Spreadsheet for “number crunch­ing,” using worksheets of rows and columns, and charts that represent the numbers.
  • Presentation software for drawing graphics or “slide shows.”

Right out of the box, you can apply the programs to most of your business tasks. You can print on regular paper or visit your office supply outlet and check out the selection of specialty papers, certificates and card stock.

Following are 50 practical uses for the computer to help with barn and stable management, listed under eight categories. Ideas in each category are grouped under WP (word processor), P (the presentation software) or SS (the spreadsheet program).

Horse and Barn Maintenance


1. Stall card for each stall door.

2. Feed order list, with quantities and prices.

3. Inventory of barn equipment, printed as a list and as property labels.


4. Chart of stalls in the barn, with names of assigned horses.

5. Pedigree chart.


6. Schedule for horse exercise and turnout, organized by name, paddock and time period.

7. Veterinarian expenses by horse, with treatment, date and charge.

8. Farrier expenses by horse.

Boarder Management


9. Catalog of barn services, with descriptions of features, benefits and fees.

10. Application form for boarder.

11. Boarding contract.

12. Manual of barn policies and procedures, including a one-page list of barn rules.

(Combine these four items into a folder to create a new-boarder packet.)

13. Membership list and mailing labels.


14. Map to barn, with directions and a drawing of intersecting streets.

15. Banner over stall to welcome new boarders.



16. Riding lesson checklist, with prep­arations and lesson objectives.

17. “Lesson Bucks” gift certificates, sold as a package with each “ticket” redeemable for a lesson.

18. Diploma for student, to celebrate achievement level.

19. Customized dictionary of barn terms.


20. Slide show presentations on overhead transparencies for lesson or summer-camp programs. Topics can include parts of the horse or a quiz on horsemanship trivia.


21. Riding lesson schedule by day, hour, students and horses.



22. Advertising flyer, with photos of barn, stalls, staff or horses.

23. Trifold brochure, with a catalog of services to emphasize features and benefits.

24. Barn newsletter, with latest news about boarders and horses.

25. Business cards of different designs, with your messages customized for targeted distribution.

26. Postcards for special mailings.

27. Web page, saved in the “HTML” format.

28. Monthly calendar pages with special and recurring events.

For the above marketing functions, office supply stores and specialty catalogs offer an array of preprinted, four-color brochures, newsletters, business cards, etc. that can be run through most printers.

Making Money


29. Invoice, using a template and filling in customer information and amounts.

30. Collection letter.

31. Annual report as your “State of the Barn” recap.


32. Annual budget to project income and expenses; enter actuals to keep track of the bottom line and to adjust budget projections.

Employee Management


33. Award certificate for employee.

34. Ongoing updated resumes for barn staff that record achievements, to help workers develop pride in their careers.


35. Record sheet for each employee. In the spreadsheet program, a timesheet can be designed by the week or month. With a printed copy, the employee fills in hours worked. All employee hours can then be tallied in an overall spreadsheet using the same program.

36. Payroll, produced by combining the employee files to maintain payroll records.



37. Business correspondence, from templates designed for letters and memos.

38. Addressed envelope, using address in the associated letter.

39. Rolodex card.

40. Fax cover sheet.

41. Nameplates for desk or doors.

42. “To-Do” list.

43. Offline email, composed and edited, then copied into the body of the message.

Special Events


44. Registration form for onsite clinics or horse shows, including sign-up information and fee list.

45. Invitation to an event.

46. Tickets to special events.

47. Nametags or badges, to print as labels or slip into plastic badge holders.

48. Greeting cards for boarders, using clip art files or horse birthday cards, including a photo of the horse.

49. Proposal for getting sponsorship of an event.

50. Show-packing checklist.






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