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This wonderful guide was created by one of H!L's former players, and should answer many questions you may have about the game. Compliments go to Kate O'Riley of Star Light Night Stables.

Kate's Newbie Guide

Congratulations! You've made a decision that will hopefully give you a lot of fun times; you've decided to join Hay! Land.

Now what?

This is your step-by-step guide to playing Hay!Land, written by an experienced player. We'll cover practically everything, and if we don't, feel free to go to the board and ask.

Step 1: Find a barn

There are a lot of boarding barns in Hay! Take time to investigate each of them. Ask the owners if their prices are current. See what extras you can get. What facilities do they have? Do you need all your own tack, or do they have some on hand for boarders? What packages do they have? Does their area of interest include your own? How friendly is the owner? Your choice of boarding barn is extremely important.

So you've found the perfect barn; now what?

Step 2: Start your records!

The easiest way to keep records is start them as soon as you join. Financial records first! Using Excel (or, if that's a bit too advanced for you, Word), create a form. It should include columns for date, a memo, add money, subtract money, and total.

For instance, it should look like

MM/DD/YY My Starting balance $200,000

MM/DD/YY I Paid board fees of $300 current balance $199,700

Once you have your finances taken care of, take care of your horses. I use a form that looks something like this:

  • Show name:
  • Barn name:
  • Age: (or "Year Born")
  • Gender:
  • Breed:
  • Color:
  • Height:
  • Sire and dam:
  • Get:
  • Bought from:
  • Disciplines:
  • ER #:
  • Association #s:
  • Points:
  • Show results:
  • When you create a horse, it's easiest to find a picture for it ASAP. I learned the hard way. I didn't have any photos, and I had a ton of horses. Now, most of my horses are still pictureless! It's a rule in Hay! that you MUST have permission from the owner of the horse to use it's picture. The Picture Bank has a bunch of sites that allow us to use their pictures.

    A lot of people aren't very happy when SIMmers take their pictures without permission, so if you see one you really want on a site that hasn't said yes or no yet, go ahead and ask. Be polite though! If you have your own horse, or you know people who'd let you use their pictures, great! You willing to share?

    Along with pictures, register each horse in the ER as you create/buy it. If, at any point in the future, you sell a horse or leave, it is your responsibility to delete the appropriate records. Another good idea is to buy a halter, lead, blanket, saddle, etc. for each horse as you buy it.

    Please remember, as a boarder you're only allowed to create up to five horses. If you want a fairly common breed, such as a Quarter Horse, Arabian, or Thoroughbred, check the horses for sale, or ask if anyone has some. If you want a breed that's rare, check the ER first. If no horses of that breed are listed, use your credits to get some.

    Step 3: Buying more horses

    Every newbie has felt the compulsive desire to buy titled horses. But be careful! Titled horses are great, but before buying any horse, ask yourself;

    Is the price for this horse appropriate? Remember to consider point amount, whether or not it has good Hay! bloodlines, and if it's in a discipline you're interested in.

    Does your boarding barn have enough room for you to buy another horse?

    Do you REALLY need this horse?

    Sometimes, you can find some great deals, but they'll usually take some work. My best horse, Call Me Kate, was bought at EEq. for $2000. She was a hunter/jumper, and I wasn't really planning on a hunter/jumper; I was aiming for Western. But I bought her, and now, not quite two years later, I've brought her to SCp. and she's one of the best hunter/jumper mares in the game. By all rights, I shouldn't have bought her. While I got a good deal on points versus price, she was created, and I wasn't interested in the discipline. But…I REALLY needed her, and now, I couldn't imagine my barn without her.

    If in doubt, ask your barn owner. Actually, check with them first. They might be willing to cut you a deal.

    Step 4: Showtime!

    One of the most annoying, and yet funnest tasks in Hay!, is filling out show entries and shifting through results. First thing you need to do is memorize your horses stats. At this time, I have 43. I can tell you age, breed, color, and disciplines on every one. A B C D. Gender is always easy enough. You probably don't need to remember ER numbers, height, foals, sire and dam, or health records. If you can, great, but it's not a necessary thing. If you have a REALLY good memory.

  • A - Age
  • B - Breed
  • C - Color
  • D - Discipline(s)
  • E - ER #
  • F - Foals (usually helpful if you want to keep an eye out for them)
  • G - Gender (easiest of all)
  • H - Height
  • By looking on the events board or calendar, you can find plenty of shows. It's usually worthwhile to join the appropriate associations too, since you can enter their shows that way. An easy way to fill out show forms is to cut and paste them to Word or a similar program, delete classes you don't enter, and then cut and paste your horses and their riders under each class. You can delete the ones who won't compete that way, and you can also narrow your potential horses down.

    For example, say I want to enter a Thoroughbred Association show. I don't need my Quarter Horses, my ponies, my Fox Trotters, just my Thoroughbreds. So I delete all the other horses from the list.

    I copy the new list. OK, I have my Thoroughbreds. Now, I want to enter mare halter. I paste it below Mare Halter, and I delete stallions, geldings, colts, fillies. Second class is Stallion Halter. I paste my list again, and delete everything but the stallions. Get the idea?

    As you get more experience, you'll find ways that might work even better for you.

    OK, so you've got your horses listed under the correct classes. Now, pull out a calculator, find the price per class, and find out how many classes you entered. Unless the classes have different fees, for me, the easiest thing to do is cut and paste the entire thing to a new document, use the "Replace" feature, and replace your barn name with something else. On Word, at least, it comes up with "So and so many replacements made". Multiply the replacements made by class fee, add in any appropriate extra class fees (if you have a team in penning or pas de deux dressage, for example), add in other appropriate show fees (office fee, stall fee), write the check, and send it! Then, write a note on the date of the show. If you have a spare calendar, it really can help.

    So you filled out the form. You wrote a check. You sent it in. A few weeks have gone by, and results are supposed to be out any time! What now?

    You haunt the Show Results board. Results will be posted there. When you see the results, cut and paste them to your Word program. Now, skim through it. If you know you didn't enter the class, go ahead and delete it. Delete the horses that are not your own. When you finish, it'll look like:

  • 1. Mare Halter
  • 1. Horse A shown by Rider A of ABC
  • 2. Stallion Halter
  • 5. Horse B shown by Rider A of ABC
  • It might seem annoying, but I've always considered it the most fun part of the game, seeing how your horses did. Championships and reserve championships are great, even for veteran players. I still let out a cheer every time I see one, and in my two years, I've racked up over 100 championships alone!

    Now, you go learn the point systems. Visit the various association websites, and find their point systems. Copy all that stuff on a file, and save it. It can come in handy.

    File them however you want, and add up the points. Put them in your horses records. Now, sit back, take a break…and do it all over again,

    Step 5: Oh, doctor:

    One of the game rules is that a horse needs to be seen by a vet and farrier at least every three months. Ask your barn owner if they can recommend one, if they don't schedule it for you. Compare rates. Ask what services they give. As a private vet, I provide a complete checkup, worming, shots, floating, a Coggins test, and a breeding exam, all for $35, with certain discounts for various situations. I'm also a farrier, so for another $35, I throw in a trim and shoeing. Prices and services vary, so check what they offer.

    Make a note on your horses records when they're serviced. It usually works best to schedule both the farrier and vet visit on the same day, since either one of those put your horses out of commission for that day anyway.

    Step 6: Baby Boom

    So, you've got horses. You've bought some, and maybe even tried your hand at selling. You've shown them. You've gotten them checked. Now, you want some babies. What do you do?

    Well, if you don't want to breed your mares to your own stallion, scout out a suitable stud. If you see some in the classes you compete in, look them up and see if they're what you need.

    You have a mare. You have a stallion. Now, ask a vet to give them breeding checks, set a date, and make sure your mare isn't showing in the next two weeks after that. Although a mare can show for the first week, the second week she can't. It's usually easier if you have two weeks the mare can take out. If she can't, but another mare can, you can use embryo transfer. Ask your vet if they can do it.

    Two weeks later, you have a foal! Name it, write up stats, register it, and start showing.

    Step 7: Roll up your sleeves:

    You want to host a show. Good luck. You'll need it.

    Start small. Only a few classes, limit the number of horses someone can enter. Post it on the calendar and events board. Collect entries, and when they close, go to Assign each horse a number, put in your number range, and wham! It randomizes, you have your results.

    No time online? Either a. hire someone, or b. draw numbers out of a hat. It works. It's a nice, low-tech solution. But make sure all the pieces of paper look and feel the same, to be fair.

    Step 8: Bigger Is Better

    Your barn owner's run out of room, or you're pushing the limits on number of horses you can have. You've been in the game a month. Sounds like you need a mini-barn. Ask your barn owner.

    A couple months more pass. You've outgrown the mini-barn. Look up the main barn requirements, and apply for one.

    You're settled in your main barn. Maybe you want to take on boarders. Maybe you see that a certain needs to be met, so you open a shop or set up an association. Eventually, you may decide to run for Players Council, and you might just win.

    Congratulations! You've gotten as far up as you could get. Now, go help some newbies. You were one, not that long ago!

    Step 9: Odds and Ends

    There is no such thing as too many files.

    Print out your basic horse stats, and keep them in a special folder, so if something happens, you'll still have your records.

    You can't have too many backups. My files are on our main computer, my laptop, a few CDs, and a floppy disk. They vary in how recent they were, but I know I'll have the basic stats. This is in addition to my paper copies.

    Keep a list of what levels your horses are at, on paper, preferably within sight of your computer. It makes it easier when you know Horse A is jumping 4'6" and Horse X is jumping

    Play Incentive
    Equine Registry
    Players Council
    Cool Pages
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