Recently I was thinking about my progress in riding as well as horse care. For the last two years I've been going to a riding school and I can walk, trot, canter and jump small jumps (probably done about 18 inch x-poles at the highest). I can tack up most horses comfortably (I'm not that confident with horses who are biters), groom, muck out, turn horses out and catch them, rug them and take the rugs off again.
However, I'm feeling a bit limited in my progress. We can only jump in the months of april - september since there is not enough lighting for winter evenings (we can only jump during the week, there are around 16 horses and most of them will be used for at least two lessons on saturday and sunday, jumping would just overstrain them - perfectly understandable) and no indoor arena for bad weather - snow, frost or heavy rain - which would making jumping difficult for the horses (the surface isn't an all-weather one). Again, perfectly understandable, but frustrating. When we do jump, it seems nobody ever goes higher than the bottom two holes - I've watched countless lessons, including those of people far more advanced than I am. Never done any gridwork or bounces, etc. Just a few single jumps set around the paddock.
When I first started out in normal lessons I found that I was learning something new most lessons, and they tested my skills without being so difficult that I was struggling a lot. Now, though, it is a bit boring. The mare that I usually ride is fantastic and I love riding her and spending time with her in the stable, she's gentle and sweet in the stable, but responsive and well-behaved under saddle. In lessons we walk, trot and canter on both reins, often including circle work and stirrupless once in a blue moon. I don't feel like I'm learning anything new and just going over things I'm at ease with. I've mentioned this to my instructor but she's the sort of person that says that they'll have a think about it and nothing concrete happens. I wondered whether I'm simply not at a good enough level to progress to maybe bigger jumps/combinations or learning about outlines perhaps, but to this she replied that I'm doing very well. I know I'm not perfect - not many people are in the horse world - but I feel very confident in the things that we're doing at the minute.
There’s another riding school closer to me, which is more expensive, but has a large indoor and outdoor and a wider variety of horses. I've been there once and the yard is really nice, kept in a immaculate condition. The facilities are really nice and there's even a cafe. My friend goes there and is very happy with her lessons.
Any thoughts? I know that ultimately it's my decision, but I just don't know what to do. Stay at my current barn where I am quite happy, know the horses and people well and have enjoyed going there - or move to a new barn with better facilities and possibly progress more, but don't know the horses, the instructors, or anything.