Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany- but not German =D
First barn... run away. It doesn't make for a happy co existance being on a yard with rude owners. It makes you reluctant to ride and go and see your horse.
Second barn... is it expensive for a reason? Can you do weekend work, or take on some work yourself i.e. mucking out yourself and feeding to save pennies? I always look at how healthy the horses look, how relaxed the owners look and watch a lesson by the onsite trainer. I'll then talk to the trainer and hear they're experiences and their training methods. Sometimes a more expensive barn is better, even if it means not getting that new pair of shoes ;D
Third barn... you say hot mess? As in, is the footing dangerous? A cute barn means nothing to a horse... food water and shelter is what they look for and require. I wouldn't take my horse to a place that can't maintain something as simple as a schooling surface.
There are ALWAYS going to be horse trainers around. You may grow fond of one, and not want to leave, but you have to put number one first. Why is she making you ride western? It sounds like she is giving you a bit of a run for your money, if I'm fair. When you get happy and comfy with western, and then change to English, you'll have to fork out more money in lessons to retrain yourself and the horse.
Write out the pros and cons of all the barns and compare. I would say a good barn, good sized stables, good footing in the school, happy owners and workers and a darn good trainer are the things to look out for. Sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error finding the right yard, but you don't want to have to move around all the time. I had a friend who's horses had lived in her backyard. She wanted to do more training... she looked at 37 different yards (from big yards to sheds and a field with a muckheap) in the area... bonkers!! But she wanted a nice, warm and happy feeling and make sure that everything was right for her and the horses.