Velvet, you definitely bring up some good points.
1. I have most certainly not plateaued with my coach, she is fantastic and I really admire her. Leaving her would absolutely be the hardest part of switching barns. The idea of running into her at shows riding for someone else makes me sad.
2. I think I am going to lease one of the upper level "lesson" horses at my barn. I put lesson in quotes because only very few get to ride him, and two years ago he was showing rated hunters up and down the East Coast, and I think he could take me where I want to go. Also, by leasing him at my barn, I wouldn't go through the hassle of bringing in a horse and signing a year contract and such, so if I did want to leave it would be less drama to not have to bring in a trailer and take my horse away. At the new barn, they have only rated show horses, even for lessons, and their horses seem absolutely incredible. I have always wanted to be the prissiest of hunter princess hahaha, and this seems like the place to go.
3. The lessons are half the price, by that I mean what my barn charges for a half-hour private they charge for an hour private. Lessons at my barn didn't use to be this much, my trainer recently got her own barn on the property. There used to be a different barn in that building, but they moved out and my trainer moved into it with all of her and her student's show horses, and her prices went up. Also, the price for lessons seems quite cheap at this new barn, which is interesting. But at my barn, board is rather cheap. So I think it all evens out in the end.
4. I would have to look into the show fees to figure this out, but it does seem like show fees could be more. It does say that shipping is free for shows, while at my current barn it is not, but that price could just be absorbed elsewhere (perhaps in the board fee?)
5. As for the fifteen minutes, I need to see. At the very earliest, I would leave my barn at the end of this year, so that would give me the entire first semester to see how travelling to my current barn goes. It will let me see how an extra 30 minutes of travel time would affect me.
6. I would definitely want to leave doors open at my current barn. I love it there, so if I don't like the new barn as much I would totally want to come back to it. Once the new year starts, there is again three/four months before summer, and during summer I could easily switch back to my current barn. This current year, I only rode with Equestrian Team at a different barn, and it was no trouble for me to rejoin the community at my current barn.
I've been thinking a lot about this over the past few days, and I definitely want to go check out this new barn and get an idea of their show fees.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill