My first 4 years or so were at a very small barn with only 6 ponies. The ponies were actually kept in a garage, and the ring was in the backyard. Somehow, it worked out. It wasn't the fanciest place, but my instructor was awesome, everyone was really close, and I learned all the basics and fundamentals of riding, as well as stable work and horse care.
I decided to switch barns because I wanted to advance in my riding and learn how to jump. My second barn was really awesome. I was learning a lot and riding some really great ponies. I learned how to jump up to 2'3'' and started showing on the B circuit (in very beginner classes ).
Then my instructor decided to move to this newly built barn not far from the one I rode at at the time. She only took a handful of her students with her; I was one of them. My usual mount moved to the new barn also. The new barn was really cool, but I missed some of the friends I had made who didn't move with me. I never really learned to fit in at that barn, but I did learn a lot in my lessons. I learned how to jump 2'6'' and even jumped 2'9'' a couple times! Unfortunately, my instructor was pressed financially and said that I couldn't take lessons unless I leased. Last Tuesday was my last lesson with that instructor.
I am currently looking for a new barn to switch to. I want to find a place where I can take group lessons and where I can actually do some barn work and things. At my previous barn, I wasn't even allowed to clean my tack because they had very specific ways of doing things and had hired help to do it just how they wanted it done.
Today I visited a really nice barn and watched a lesson. The instructor seemed really laid back and I got the feeling she was the type of instructor who was encouraging, but wouldn't pressure you into jumping higher than you wanted to or whatever. I am going to schedule a private lesson for next Thursday to see if I am sure I want to ride there, and for the instructor to be able to put me with the right group.
I'm also trying to schedule a visit with this other barn recommended by my friend. If this barn is as good as I've heard, I think I'm going to have a tough time deciding!
I'm going to try to update this log at least once a week (probably more often if I get exciting news or anything). If you guys actually enjoy reading my log then I'll probably write more. I'd love to hear what you all have to say about.. well, anything!