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AllOverFarm
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:06 PM
I am seriously considering moving my pony into a large "A" show barn and having my kids start showing the larger shows. There are 3 big barns in my area that I am considering. I want to make sure that I pick the one that is right for us. I have gone to each barn, watched lessons, talked with other clients. I'm having a hard time deciding and want to choose the right one. We will be spending alot of time and hard eared money and I would like to find the right barn and hopefully be there a long time. I would like to interview them-What questions should I ask?

"A"HunterGal
Jul. 3, 2009, 11:00 PM
The first thing that caught my eye is you mentioned "pony" as singular and "kids" as plural. This can be a tricky thing to work out, especially in terms of care for the pony. If you want to start doing the larger shows, the amount of work the pony will need to do is going to be greatly increased.

So one thing to consider: is there another pony at the barn that one child can lease or lesson on when the other child is riding your pony? Two lessons a day for one pony on a regular basis plus showing is headed for a breakdown.
How often do they show? Are you expected to go to every show, or are you allowed to choose with no recourse? What is included in the board, what is not included? Training rides, for example, do you want them? Are they included? Required? How is the billing done for horse shows? You may even ask to see a blank statement so you know exactly how things are broken down - no surprises.

The other thing is just to notice how friendly the employees seem, if the riders are also horsemen, what the atmosphere of the place is (fun? laid back? disciplined?).

After that, go with your gut! What barn FEELS right?

InstigatorKate
Jul. 3, 2009, 11:09 PM
Take at least one, but preferably 3 or 4 lessons at each of the barns. That will let you see the barn several times and also get an idea of whether the trainer and teaching styles "click" with your kids and pony.

Also, try not to burn any bridges. If the one barn doesn't work out, try to keep your second-choice barn an option.

FindersKeepers
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:56 AM
Also, show up at the next A show, as spectators. View the trainers at the ring, the kids at the ingate, the other parents. Take a walk through the stalls too and see what the attitude is like back there.

You want to find a place that is professional, but still has a family attitude.

Observing them at the show will give you a lot more inside info than showing up at the barn as a potential client they want to impress. And going as a spectator allows you to focus all your energy on that task.