Could use some help...barn changing alot. Time to move?
This is going to be pretty hard to get the whole situation down in an understandable way, but I'm going to try. Please, bear with me, I really need to get this all down and talk through it with people with more horse experience than me.
I'm going to start this off by saying I'm young, under 18, and I've had my first horse for a little over a year. So, while I'm experienced in riding, I'm relatively inexperienced when it comes to the day to day things of horse ownership. My mom (father passed away when I was 7) tries her best and is really supportive, but ultimately she is not a horse person and its hard to talk things out with her, so I came here.
I bought my horse last February, with the help of my old trainer. In late July, I moved him to a new barn that was closer to my house , with better facilities, and a trainer that could advance my riding more. This barn is big, 40 stalls on 80 acres (half of which they hay so it isn't as big as it sounds). At this barn they sort of have three programs going on. One, they breed, train, and show AQHAs. They have two stallions, 6 or so broodmares, several horses in their show string, and a new head trainer (who will enter the picture later). Two, they have two different instructors who teach lessons, mainly to younger kids (6-14). One instructor teaches weeknights and the other all weekend. The one who teaches on the weekends is the one I consider my 'trainer' (more on this later). Three, they have 8 or so indoor boarders and 5 or so pasture boarders.
So, I guess I should go into why I'm not happy...
When I originally moved to the barn, the AQHA operation was much smaller, but its grown in the past 6 or so months. Now, this is great for them, but I do feel that the boarders and the lesson program has been put on the back burner and aren't getting as much consideration as they should be, which is where we come back to the new AQHA trainer they hired. Now, my personal feelings about her personality aside, she is just being plain rude to the instructors and boarders, and nothing is being done about it.
-puts her trail equipment up all over the fairly small indoor arena and instructs no one touch it
-tried to tell me that my horse was not body clipped and did not need what blankets I have on his rack in the aisle (after speaking to other boarders I found out they had had similar conversations, it seems she's in a mission to clean up)
-moved all of the jump standards (I do hunter/jumper with my boy and most of the other boarders jump also) outside so if you want to jump you have to go get the very heavy wooden standards, and put them back outside when you're done
-she is also just not polite, she barged past me on the cross ties the other day with another horse. I had my back to her brushing my gelding and she unclips him from one of the cross ties and starts moving him over. I realized what she was doing and went and moved him over so she could go by. Did I get an excuse me? Nope, not a word
This all came to light and really got on my nerves during my lesson this Saturday. I have been told expressly, several times that we are not to ride when people are having lessons. Because of this, I cannot ride until after 530-630 most weekdays and 4-5 weekends. Now, that's not the problem. I can't really get out to the barn until then most weeknights and I usually have a Saturday lesson and give him Sunday off. So I go for my noon lesson this Saturday, and when I get there around 11 the trainer is riding a young horse in training and there is also a girl who leases one of the show horses riding. There is also trail equipment set up all over the smallish ring. So I'm like okay there was probably an open lesson spot so they decided to ride, whatever. So I get all tacked up and noon rolls around and they are still riding and the trail equipment is still set up. They rode through my whole lesson, and I was having a jumping lesson nonetheless. I promise I'm not being greedy its just the fact that I am always told not to ride during lessons that really got on my nerves. There is even a sign on the bulletin board that say 'NO RIDING DURING SCHEDULED LESSONS'. She even cut me off a few times. My trainer didn't say anything, because she's the type to not want to stir up trouble, which was kind of irritating as well.
That is mostly all of the things that affected me, but she's also made some other changes too. For example, she had the BO move all of the lesson tack from a nice place where it all fit to the boarders second tack room (where my stuff is). Now there are six saddles on two saddle racks, four bridles on one hook, and girths hung over the trash can. But hey, its all the way across the barn from the training tack room and the main cross ties, outta sight outta mind right?
The BO is distant and the BM is useless. When I text the BM about something I usually don't hear back until I text back a second time saying (as politely as I possibly can) "hey, I was wondering if you got my text about XYZ". Then, I get a grudging response with something snarky in it about how its breeding season. Which I understand, but I would really like to know what their spring shot procedure is so that I know if I need to call the vet myself or if she does boarders on the same day, and I would like to know after my first text, not my second or third! I feel like every thing with her is a huge battle, Whether its a little thing or a big thing. She also talks to both me and my mom in a really condescending way.
It wasn't like this when I moved here, but by growing their AQHA program they are really creating some unhappy boarders and instructors, they just don't have time for us.
My mom put it pretty succinctly the other day "its like they think they are doing us a favor by letting us keep our horse there. not like we are paying 650 for him to be kept there." Now, I do not want this to turn into a thing about 'paying for services' I do my part. I sweep up after myself and when I'm there with extra time and a hand I help out.
So, the only other close barn that I've discovered thus far is about the same distance away from me as my current barn. Its smaller, which is actually a plus. And it has a pretty kick-a## (in a good way) trainer who could REALLY advance my riding. I mean, my trainer right now is good but not as intense as that trainer, who is German. My brothers girlfriend takes lesson with her so thats how I know about her. Without visiting I hesitate to say much, so I wont, only that there is at least one other option.
My mom and I are debating whether or not we should even try talking to the BO or BM. We honestly think, with the way all the boarders and not just us have been treated, that we would be told to suck it up or leave so that they could fill our stall with another training horse.
I don't have any idea of what's going on behind the scenes. I mean, between the BO, BM, and trainer. All I know is that they are changing things and doing things that are rude and inconsiderate of the boarders and lesson people, and they are doing it with no explanation.
So if anyone actually read that whole thing, I am eternally grateful. I'm sorry for posting another post like this when there are already a bunch of should I move barns threads, I just really needed to write it all down and talk it out. Since I don't have much boarding experience I'm just confused. I don't know if I'm being over sensitive, or over reactive, or reasonable. I really wish no one at the barn (BO, BM, trainer) ill will and I'm happy for them for growing their AQHA program, I just am nettled for my own (hoping not selfish and entitled because I did not want to come across that way) reasons.
*I am not making any statements about AQHA or AQHA people*
They have an agenda & the lady they hired to fulfil that agenda doesn't give a fat rat's behind about boarders. Tell the BO's your concerns and tell them if this is the way things are going to be operating, you are moving. In fact, I would be checking out other barns right now.
It sounds like there isn't much of a reason to stay. I think that you should go check out the other place you mentioned, and maybe some others. Good luck!
I think moving might be in your future. The smaller barn sounds like a better fit.
I would reserve a stall at the smaller barn before it fills up with the other boarders jumping ship. ONLY AFTER I reserve a stall, would I talk to this particular BO and let them know why you are leaving, as you give notice. Life is too short. Horses are to enjoy, and the barn should be a place to be happy, not put up with miserable rude people. Normally I would talk to BO/BM first, but it sounds like they have anew agenda and really won't care much.
I had barn trouble too (but for other reasons), and there was this one barn 15 minutes further down the road from my other barn that seemed perfect, but I hesitated for around a year before I scheduled a lesson there. It was so darn wonderful I changed barns right away, and I realized that waiting a year was a waste of time! I'm mad I didn't move sooner, so if you feel good about the other place, don't hesitate or wait! From the sounds of it they aren't going to change their ways anytime soon at your current barn, and 650$/month is a lot. For that price I'd expect good quality service, which you aren't getting...
Sounds like that new trainer is on a mission. I'd find me a new barn, like, yesterday, give notice and be out of there.
Honestly my first shudder was the fact they stand stallions. The insurance for care and custody in a boarding situation is incredible. Add stallions to the equation and - no way.
Tour the other barn and get a feel for what it's like.
As the others have said, I'd move on to bigger and better things :)
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