Help! Should I move barns? - The Horse Forum
  • 5 Post By horselovinguy
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-04-2020, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2020
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Help! Should I move barns?

So Iíve been thinking about switching barns for a few months now but Iím super torn. I need to hear some unbiased opinions!

Hereís a bit of a backstory: Iíve been with my current trainer for almost five years. Sheís provided me with lesson and lease horses, and gave me a very strong foundation in my riding. She also helped me purchase my first horse about a year ago, and has been helping me bring him along ever since.

So there are a few factors that make me want to switch barns, but hereís the main one. After purchasing my horse a year ago, I decided I wanted to go down the hunter/equitation path, however my trainer has little to no experience in those areas. Her expertise is more with jumpers/dressage/eventing. Iíve found sheís been trying to steer me down the evening path, which is definitely out of my comfort zone, and frankly Iím just not a fan of it. (cross country is scary lol). I also eventually would like to go professional. My current barn is in a very secluded area, pretty far away from any other barns in my state. It would be nice to be somewhere more in the middle of all the action so I could have more opportunities and make more connections. I just donít see me achieving my goals in my current situation. Another factor is the boarding situation. My horse lives at my trainers house in a backyard-style 3 stall barn. He has a large paddock and access to a mini field, and full board is $1000 per month. (Only reason for the crazy price is because itís located right in the city). I am the only boarder at this barn, and my trainer does all the mucking and feeding. This barn is pretty much a shack, and there is no maintenance done on the place at all (however my horse is super happy here). If anything breaks, I canít count on my trainer to fix it so itís up to me most of the time. There is no riding arena on this property, so I have to pay another expensive membership to ride at a communal riding club about a 15 min walk from my barn. I know for sure that I would be able to find a nicer, higher end barn out in a more rural area for a lot cheaper. I also want more opportunities to show. My trainer barely ever travels to away shows, so Iíve always been stuck doing the small local ones. I am the only one of my trainer's students that shows, so if I ever go to away shows Iím alone for the entire time. Iíve always wanted more of a team atmosphere when showing, or just at the barn in general. I donít have any friends at my current barn because thereís no one whoís my age, so I overall just feel really alone.

My gut is telling me I need to make the switch but Iím just so hesitant. Is it selfish to want to move barns where my horse is already happy in my current situation? Is it worth it to risk giving up an already fine situation to try and find a better one? Would I be betraying my trainer after all the hard work sheís done with me and my horse? I would also hate to offend her in any way because we all know the horse world is small and I would likely come across her again at some point in my career.

Any thoughts, opinions, input, experiences, etc. on this situation would be greatly appreciated!

This explanation is a bit all over the place but thank you for reading :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 06:26 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!!

From my perspective, why should you stay?
Your trainer is not interested in the discipline you chose to ride and want to compete in.
You pay exorbitant board for a barn falling apart and with no amenities.
To ride you must pay another large fee and walk 15 minutes either direction to reach it..
Your trainer doesn't go to shows of what you want to show at...
You're stagnating where you are..

I'm not seeing any reason to stay...
If your trainer does not meet your needs, then you must move on.
If the barn not meet your needs, then you must move on.
Can't see the trainer being upset or offended that you need to move barns and instruction when what she offers is not what you wish to do, what she is instructing in nor has facilities in which your horse can ride and practice in.
There should be no hard-feelings....not that I can see.
You have outgrown what she is willing to offer and the direction you want to pursue is not what she teaches.
Appreciate all she has given you, but time to go is at hand....
Go look far and carefully for what you think you want before outing yourself first.
Find a barn and take some lessons under their instructors a few times first, get in and watch the atmosphere because "show" barns, competition barns is a very different place than what you have experienced and none are the same in atmosphere, cliques of riders/boarders, actual costs to be a boarder/student and requirements of when you show...make very sure where you head to fits your plan and your expense account cause it does get pricey real fast.
Good instruction and boarding barns easily cost what you pay now for board, add in the "show" caliber and it just went up substantially for the student wanting that.
Look around, take notes and compare and remember it is also about the care of the animals and what is dictated by the barn in farrier, vet, chiro, lessons, clinics, required grooming, tack, clothing...oh the list is extensive when you go to what you dream of...
Good luck, but no...staying at this barn is not in your best interest. It gave you a launching pad, now you need to find the wings to soar with that basic education acquired.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
horselovinguy is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 08:17 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: FL
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Your horse might be happier at a bigger, more rural facility around other horses. More horses, more owners/riders who might like to do what you do.

Sounds like you've already decided, just need a little push.
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Rancher6 is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northern Florida
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I would go. It sounds like there is nothing to stay for except that your horse is happy there. He can be happy somewhere else too and probably would be. I don't think that there should be any hard feelings on the B/O's part. Your discontent for the most part is not anything that she can help. Also, if I were paying 1,000. a month, I wouldn't expect to fix anything.

Start talking to her about what you are wanting to do as far as disciplines go. That way she won't be surprised when you decide to go. Who knows, you may be back, but at least you will have given it a shot to get and do what you want.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
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You may be able to find a better barn, but for a better price too! Don't sell yourself short! That's a lot of money, & what if you find a better barn that has more facilities (an arena, for instance)? Go for it! Look around, you have nothing to lose.

As for your trainer, I think they would understand. Just tell them, I have decided to explore other disciplines etc. Don't feel bad - it's totally OK! Sometimes you outgrow trainers, or you go separate ways. I've had to do it quite a few times, and each time they understood. If they don't, well...oh well, ya know? You have to do what makes you happy. It sounds like you have goals & you want to explore your riding, which is great!

You need to move and thrive, I wouldn't stay there, and even if it's in the city, that's still a lot of $ for a boarding barn that doesn't really have a lot of riding space & the fact that YOU have to fix things...nope, definitely get out of there.

Good luck!! :) Keep us posted!
knightrider likes this.

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 11:08 AM
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I'm a person who doesn't really like change, and I tend to stick with what I have because I don't like the idea of all of the potential unknown problems with trying something different. But in this case, I do think you should seriously consider leaving.

Why not start learning about what other barns are in your area? Make a spreadsheet with price, amenities, etc. Then call and talk to them, or visit where appropriate. From what you are saying, you will most likely find something that suits you better.
knightrider likes this.

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post #7 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 01:37 PM
Join Date: May 2020
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For $1000, the BO should be fixing anything that breaks and also maybe serving me breakfast in bed!!! Iím extremely lucky in that Iíve never had to board, but I have friends who board and wow, that price just seems really high! I agree with the others who state that if the trainer isnít on board with the discipline you wish to compete in, need to move to a barn and trainer who can guide you in that endeavor. Iím no trainer so just my two cents

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post #8 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Northern Ireland
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Welcome to the forum! I think Horselovinguy has suggested a good idea, why not try some lessons at a couple of barns and have a bit of a snoop around, get the feeling of the place and the people before you move? Even if you decide not to move you might meet a few people who are interested in hunter jumpers that you could meet up with at shows or take lessons with?

ďWhen in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.Ē ó Robert A. Heinlein
Emeraldsprings is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 08-05-2020, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2020
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Thank you everyone!! I totally agree. I’ve pretty much made up my mind and hearing everyone have the same opinions as me was super reassuring and the push that I needed. Going to start touring some other barns soon 🙂
sarahmjumper is offline  

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