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View Full Version : Moving dilemma... or, how far would you drive?



Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:06 AM
I'm hoping the collective wisdom of my fellow COTH-ers will help me come up with an answer to my dilemma.

I am your standard working adult amateur rider. I have a nice horse that I show at the local A shows (primarily zone 2) about once a month or so.

After several years of trying a variety of programs, I finally found a situation with a terrific trainer and a barn with great care for my horse this past year. We've been making a considerable amount of progress and I've been very happy there; the only downsides have been the mind-numbing cost and the fact that the barn, while reasonably close to my house, is quite a hike from my office, which is 45 minutes in the opposite direction. Currently I drive a little over an hour to get there after work most weeknights.

Unfortunately the trainer is moving to a new location shortly, which is even further away. I would estimate it will now be about an hour and 40 minute drive for me to get there from work, and probably a 45 minute drive to get home after I'm done.

I ride 5-6 days a week and although the professional could easily do a couple of rides for me during the week (which is included in the training board I pay already)... I really don't want to go that route. My horse is easy, made and fun - he doesn't need a pro school that often, and frankly, I prefer to ride and enjoy him myself!!!

However, although I am really not happy about the prospect of the longer drive (and to be honest the new barn is nowhere *near* as nice as the current place) I'm not sure where else I would go instead.

There are a lot of barns in this area, and some pretty BNTs, but most go to FL for the winter. Also well, I am a very hands on owner which is generally not too popular in your typical full service barn. It has been *really* hard to find a place that offers top notch instruction with a tolerance for someone who wants to groom/tack for themselves.

So. If you were me... what would you do?

If I go to the new place, I will be spending about three hours a day in the car, every day (commuting to the office, then to the barn, then home.) I honestly don't know where I could find that much "extra" time. I love my horse and I am passionate about riding, but I also have a full time job and family responsibilities to think about.

Sorry for the novel and thanks to those who read this far. Bonus points for anyone who can come up with an idea I haven't thought of yet!!!

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:27 AM
Can you board your horse nearby but have your trainer come to teach you or trailer your horse to her new barn on weekends for lessons? That way, at least you might be able to ride more during the week.

Confronted with a similar dilemma, I ended up buying a farm and my trainers come to me now.

kookicat
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:29 AM
What is happening to the barn where your horse is now? Could you keep him there still?

How about advertising for somewhere private to board? I bet there are people out there with small barns who would love the extra income. You just have to find one that you click with.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:36 AM
Can you board your horse nearby but have your trainer come to teach you or trailer your horse to her new barn on weekends for lessons? That way, at least you might be able to ride more during the week.

Confronted with a similar dilemma, I ended up buying a farm and my trainers come to me now.

LOL, I am envious of your solution!!!

As far as I can tell... most of the decent barns in the area are run by trainers, so although I have a truck & trailer, finding a barn with good care that offers just boarding is a challenge.

I could definitely ship in to the new place for lessons if I could find a boarding situation, at least on weekends. Pretty sure the trainer would not come to me, though.

loshad
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:44 AM
I currently have the same sort of commute you describe for the new situation -- an hour to and from work and then about forty minutes to an hour (depending on traffic) to the barn. It's doable, but you may have to either cut down on the degree to which you are hands on and/or cut down on the number of times you go to the barn. I usually ride 4 times per week (although lately work has been crazy and I haven't been able to manage that) and have my trainer ride once a week.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:47 AM
What is happening to the barn where your horse is now? Could you keep him there still?

How about advertising for somewhere private to board? I bet there are people out there with small barns who would love the extra income. You just have to find one that you click with.

Unfortunately staying at the current barn is not an option (it's being leased to someone else who has taken all the stalls.) And because I ride after work... around here at this time of year an indoor is pretty much a necessity if you want to keep a jumper in work. Even if you were willing to bundle up and brave the elements, outdoor rings are frequently too icy to do anything productive, so the private barn route's not really an option either. *sigh*

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:51 AM
I currently have the same sort of commute you describe for the new situation -- an hour to and from work and then about forty minutes to an hour (depending on traffic) to the barn. It's doable, but you may have to either cut down on the degree to which you are hands on and/or cut down on the number of times you go to the barn. I usually ride 4 times per week (although lately work has been crazy and I haven't been able to manage that) and have my trainer ride once a week.

Well, at least I know I'm not the only one. :sadsmile:

I just don't know where I am going to find that extra hour plus each day!!

As it is, I leave work around 4:30 pm in order to be on my horse at 6pm. (He is groomed before I arrive, so all I have to do is change into riding clothes and tack him up.) I ride for about an hour, spend probably another 45 minutes grooming and putting him to bed, and get home around 8:30 pm. Although the barn offers full service, the grooms don't stay THAT late.

Getting home at 9:30 pm is not going to play well at home... even if I cut a day out of my schedule.

How do you do it? I am assuming you only ride twice during the week and then also on Sat/Sun?

Grataan
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:54 AM
This might be completely ridiculous, but it's worth a shot-

Do you own or rent? Is there a way you could move so that work and barn are more equidistant from eachother?

Keep in mind I have today off and have a migraine so I've taken migraine meds lol.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:00 AM
This might be completely ridiculous, but it's worth a shot-

Do you own or rent? Is there a way you could move so that work and barn are more equidistant from eachother?

Keep in mind I have today off and have a migraine so I've taken migraine meds lol.

:D

Well, I asked for creative ideas - !!!

We own our house, which is actually kind of in between home and work. (Think kind of a skinny triangle with the longest "leg" being office - barn, and the shorter legs being office - home and home - barn.)

My hubby is terrific and very supportive but I don't think I could ask him to move just so I could be closer to the barn, and in this case all it would do is make the commute to the office longer. But thanks anyway for trying to help!! I am really at my wit's end!!

PS - hope you feel better, migraines are awful!!

Skip's Rider
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:08 AM
As far as I can tell... most of the decent barns in the area are run by trainers, so although I have a truck & trailer, finding a barn with good care that offers just boarding is a challenge.


Do you know for a fact they don't offer just boarding? It certainly won't hurt to ask, and you might be surprised. You might also find that you can take lessons with the trainer even if he/she's not training your horse. I think the much longer commute to stay with your current trainer will make you tired and unhappy in the long run -- especially because you want to be the one riding your horse. So, make a list of the barns that are closer and start calling. You never know until you ask.

Bedrock
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:09 AM
Where are you located? Zone 2 is a large area? I know of a couple good private barns depending where are you located.

carrie_girl
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:15 AM
If it were me, I would move. That kind of commute seems like it would make going to ride more like a chore than something I enjoy and look forward to. I just moved my boy a half hour closer to home (each direction) because the commute was making riding seem like an inconvenience. I was afraid to do it because I loved the barn (and BO) he was at, but moving him was the best decision I could've made. I am riding much more and feeling less guilty about it.

That said, I know how hard barn shopping can be! I have learned that I am VERY picky about the care my horse gets, and most boarding stables just don't cut it in my opinion. I wound up (of all places!) at a Morgan Show barn. They take excellent care of the horses, and have no expectations of me being a part of their training program (although I am one of the only ones that is not). A funny side effect of this is that my horse has become something of a celebrity. At 16.3 he is at least a hand taller than what they consider a "tall" Morgan, so people just are obsessed with him. They hang out by his stall petting him and just about everyone who walks by feeds him some sort of treat. He is in heaven!

So I guess what I'm saying is, it sounds like you have checked out the H/J options in your area, but have you checked other options as well? An event barn would certainly have the facilities you need, and if you only need to jump during lessons (that you would be trailering to) that would open up many more options-- breed show places, dressage barns, etc. The perfect place is out there, just keep looking!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:26 AM
Do you know for a fact they don't offer just boarding? It certainly won't hurt to ask, and you might be surprised. You might also find that you can take lessons with the trainer even if he/she's not training your horse. I think the much longer commute to stay with your current trainer will make you tired and unhappy in the long run -- especially because you want to be the one riding your horse. So, make a list of the barns that are closer and start calling. You never know until you ask.

I think you are correct about the commuting issue. The current drive is already kind of pushing the limits, to be honest.

But sadly, yes, I am pretty sure about the boarding barn thing ... I have looked and looked and looked at the barns in this area and have tried several before finding the place I am at now. At this point I guess unfortunately some people would consider me a barn hopper. :(

I am very particular about my horse's care (one of the reasons I was so thrilled to find the program I am in now, as the care is superb.)

Although there are a LOT of barns in the area, they seem to be largely split between the BNT programs (that go south for winter circuit, which I can't do) and the more local programs (which tend not to offer the same level of care and training.) I'm sorry if that sounds snobbish, as that is not my intention, but that has been my experience so far here. I am nobody's idea of the next GP star, but I guess I have had a taste of the difference between really top quality instruction with my current trainer, and what is available on a more local level and the difference is substantial.

Before I moved to this area, I had happily kept my horse in only two barns (moving to the second only after the first trainer retired to FL!) and was perfectly happy. I think I am a decent customer; I have a nice horse, I pay my bills on time, am courteous to the staff and work hard at improving my riding. I have been told I am a good student and enjoyable to teach, which is something that I appreciate. I support my trainer's program, give the pro rider a nice horse to show in the professional divisions, etc.

poltroon
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:31 AM
For me that commute would be a nonstarter.

Have you spoken to your trainer about it? This is obviously a "no hard feelings" situation if you cannot do that commute, and s/he may have some ideas for another barn that is similar or some other situation that may work for you.

magnolia73
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:47 AM
I kept my horse at a barn I loved to death. It was perfect. Excellent care and facilities. But for me, what felt like a long drive. I'd race out, throw on tack, ride, get off, race out. It felt like a chore.

If I were you, I'd talk to some of the closer barns and tell them your dilemma. They might be fine to not make you adhere to the program if you are a good payer, dramaless and nice. Is it just the "tack up" type services you don't want?

Actually- I'd go to a BNT that you and your current trainer like, explain the situation and see if they'd be willing to let you board and work with her in the off season. If you pay, are non-drama and a nice person, they might be happy to have a regular board check, and the potential to pick up a training client.

Ajierene
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:56 AM
I did not read the whole post, just saw the hour and 40 minutes part and thought 'pass' in my head. The farthest I have ever driven to ride was 45 minutes and that was on the verge of to far for me.

I would prefer to trailer out to lessons in that scenario and only make the drive once a week, rather than every day that I want to ride.

loshad
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:05 PM
Well, at least I know I'm not the only one. :sadsmile:

How do you do it? I am assuming you only ride twice during the week and then also on Sat/Sun?

Correct -- twice a week and Sat/Sun. I leave work at 5, drive home and let the dogs out, get to the barn by about 7 or so, get on by 7:30-7:45 and usually get home around 10. Luckily, the drive home from the barn can be made at a somewhat higher rate of speed, if you know what I mean. ;)

It isn't easy, but the trainer is great and the care is fantastic. Totally worth it. Of course, given where I live, just about any barn would require a commute of equal or greater length.

SkipChange
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:10 PM
I just moved my horse to training board with a BNT about a 2 hour trailer ride away (it will be less when I'm driving without the trailer I think). He's doing so great I hate to move him...I think we are going to end up playing musical barns as he does a few months in training and then a few months at home and so on. Not sure what BO will think of that...but the trainer at my home barn (though I love her) isn't a good match for me & my horse.

Tegan
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:15 PM
I don't think I could stand that drive. I would definitely try to find somewhere closer. What about trailering to shows with the other trainer?

And a barn not tolerant of grooming/tacking your own horse? Wow! Even when I've been at full care barns, the grooms are more than happy to go take a break while I do my own stuff.

I also agree with talking to the local BNTs and explaining the situation. If they are in Florida for the winter, have they closed up the whole barn or do they have a few horses still there? If you had to, I guess you could move your horse to trainer's barn for the winter and then wait until everyone else gets back home to find a closer place.

BAC
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:20 PM
That commute would be a deal breaker for me but if you are unable to find another boarding situation you are happy with then I guess stay with the current trainer and ride less. I know that is a big compromise but you don't seem to have any other option.

Chef Jade
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:20 PM
Personally, sitting in the car for 3 hours every day would make me insane. Think of all the wasted productivity and quality time you are missing with your loved ones!

If you need to make a decision quickly, I'd say move your horse with your current trainer, but start looking for a better situation. Your trainer will understand and if the new situation doesn't work out, you can always go back.

I have been there, and it sucks. However, the drive I had went right through LA, so I only rode on the weekends. I lasted a couple of years until I broke down crying one day stuck in traffic, called my trainer, and told her I couldn't do it anymore. I moved my horse 15 minutes from my house and rode almost every day. Though I was in much better shape, my riding and horse's training slowly declined with the new trainer.
Fortunately I found a happy medium... 30 minutes from home and 45 from work, and I ride 4 times a week.

klmck63
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:31 PM
I drive an hour to the barn, but school is right on the way, so if I leave from school it's about 45 minutes. For me, it's worth it. Both my horses are happy, I'm happy and the coaching situation is great.

If I were you, I'd at least try it for a month or two. Get some good music or buy some audio books, give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, there's no reason you couldn't move later.

EMWalker
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:34 PM
My barn is 3 1/2 hours away door to door. NOT fun! But we travel a lot for my husbands job and it was really the best possible place for my horses. They are in great hands.

I either meet them at shows or go to the barn for a few days when I am home. It is deff NOT my ideal situation but I make it work. My riding suffers and bit and I get my butt kicked by the people who ride every day but oh well. At least I get to ride and know my horses are being taken care of perfectly.

All the best in your barn search! But I wouldn't suggest 3 hours away!

BAC
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:45 PM
And a barn not tolerant of grooming/tacking your own horse? . . .

If they are in Florida for the winter, have they closed up the whole barn or do they have a few horses still there?

Its not at all uncommon for full service barns to not want owners involved in their horse's care. :( And when the barns move to FL for the winter, it seems that many of them close up completely, if you ride with them your horse goes to FL. Whether you go along or not is up to you, but staying home is not a possibility at these places.

cajunbelle
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:58 PM
That long drive would be a total deal breaker.

There is nothing worse.... than being far away from your horse.

analise
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:14 PM
Heck, I think a half an hour drive right now (from work, it's right at 20 typically from my house) is about as long as I'd ever want to make to go see my horse.

Of course, I think I have a wider selection of barns to choose from because I think I'm not quite as particular as you are (nor do I really compete). Anyway, I agree that over an hour is definitely too long (especially considering your familial obligations. All I have waiting at home for me are a dog and a cat). And I'd certainly suggest you try talking to barns again. What does "top-notch instruction" really mean and are you sure you can't find another top-notch instructor who might be willing to come to wherever you're keeping your horse (since your current one you've already said won't?) that way you can find a barn that fits your criteria but that you don't necessarily want to use their trainer (if they have one) and still get the kind of instruction you're looking for.

And I wouldn't rule out a private barn. I've heard of people with their own property who have built indoors so it's not completely impossible.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:20 PM
If it were me, I would move. That kind of commute seems like it would make going to ride more like a chore than something I enjoy and look forward to. I just moved my boy a half hour closer to home (each direction) because the commute was making riding seem like an inconvenience. I was afraid to do it because I loved the barn (and BO) he was at, but moving him was the best decision I could've made. I am riding much more and feeling less guilty about it.

That said, I know how hard barn shopping can be! I have learned that I am VERY picky about the care my horse gets, and most boarding stables just don't cut it in my opinion. I wound up (of all places!) at a Morgan Show barn. They take excellent care of the horses, and have no expectations of me being a part of their training program (although I am one of the only ones that is not). A funny side effect of this is that my horse has become something of a celebrity. At 16.3 he is at least a hand taller than what they consider a "tall" Morgan, so people just are obsessed with him. They hang out by his stall petting him and just about everyone who walks by feeds him some sort of treat. He is in heaven!

So I guess what I'm saying is, it sounds like you have checked out the H/J options in your area, but have you checked other options as well? An event barn would certainly have the facilities you need, and if you only need to jump during lessons (that you would be trailering to) that would open up many more options-- breed show places, dressage barns, etc. The perfect place is out there, just keep looking!

Thanks for the encouragement. I keep hoping you are right!

I did try an eventing barn during my previous search actually. Unfortunately it was not a great experience (nothing against eventers, just this particular place did not offer the care I was looking for.)

I fully admit that I am picky about my horse's care. He is a beloved pet in addition to being my competition partner and my first priority is having him well cared for. In the past few years I have boarded at places that I *thought* looked good, only to find a whole host of fairly nightmarish situations, so I am a little gun shy now.

Congrats on finding a place that works so well for you. I am really envious!!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:22 PM
For me that commute would be a nonstarter.

Have you spoken to your trainer about it? This is obviously a "no hard feelings" situation if you cannot do that commute, and s/he may have some ideas for another barn that is similar or some other situation that may work for you.

Not yet. This is "new news" so to speak and I only just went to check out the new place over the weekend. I was hoping that somehow I'd find a shortcut or something or it would be an easier drive than I thought or the facility would be so fantastic that I would be encouraged enough to stay ...

But sadly none of that was the case. The new place is not particularly nice. I don't need a super fancy facility but for three grand a month, I would sure like a heated place to change out of my work clothes...

Your point is well taken, though. I guess if/when I decide not to move, I will certainly speak to my current trainer, probably in tears, and ask for their help and advice coming up with another solution.

kellyb
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:23 PM
The drive would be a dealbreaker for me and absolutely would not fly with my s/o either. That would be awful in gas too (and you said already the barn costs are pretty high).

I'm not sure exactly what options you have locally but I'd look into them for sure. Do you have a trailer or does your trainer travel? You could haul out/have them come to you once a week. There has to be some barn that you can compromise on locally...maybe they don't do H/J, but still have great care. Or maybe it's not the fanciest looking place, but the horses are safe and sound.

I'd be barn shopping for sure, though. If you can find something closer to home/work you might have some extra $$ saved from gas too! Whatever you do, good luck, that's a tough situation to be in. :(

kellyb
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:24 PM
Oh yeah, another thing too, even if a 'close' barn isn't perfect, the fact that it is close and you can drop in every day to check on your horse is a bonus!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:34 PM
I kept my horse at a barn I loved to death. It was perfect. Excellent care and facilities. But for me, what felt like a long drive. I'd race out, throw on tack, ride, get off, race out. It felt like a chore.

If I were you, I'd talk to some of the closer barns and tell them your dilemma. They might be fine to not make you adhere to the program if you are a good payer, dramaless and nice. Is it just the "tack up" type services you don't want?

Actually- I'd go to a BNT that you and your current trainer like, explain the situation and see if they'd be willing to let you board and work with her in the off season. If you pay, are non-drama and a nice person, they might be happy to have a regular board check, and the potential to pick up a training client.

I wish I could FIND a closer place that I could have that conversation with!! There is actually a very nice place about five minutes from my house... but they will only take me as a full training client, and the whole barn goes south in the winter (barn is closed all winter; they don't bother to rent it out because the clients continue to pay full board while they are at WEF!) They were sympathetic but had nothing to suggest ... they basically told me the other pros in the area worked the same way. No one wants a client taking up a stall just to board when they could fill the stall with someone who would generate training, lesson and show income.

To answer your other question - it's not just the tack up service (although I prefer to groom and tack my guy myself, and enjoy that time with him.) I want to at least be consulted about stuff like what he is fed, how he gets shod, veterinary issues, etc. From that perspective, I am apparently the client from H*ll, although interestingly enough the barn manager at my current place - who was VERY skeptical at first - now asks my opinions on those issues, even with respect to other horses in the barn. It's a very nice, collaborative arrangement.

I have been in too many BNT barns where the "prep" that is done without the owner's knowledge would not be the kind of stuff I would find acceptable. I am old school in a lot of ways, and don't use drugs/gadgets/shortcuts in place of good old fashioned training, hard work and good care.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:38 PM
Correct -- twice a week and Sat/Sun. I leave work at 5, drive home and let the dogs out, get to the barn by about 7 or so, get on by 7:30-7:45 and usually get home around 10. Luckily, the drive home from the barn can be made at a somewhat higher rate of speed, if you know what I mean. ;)

It isn't easy, but the trainer is great and the care is fantastic. Totally worth it. Of course, given where I live, just about any barn would require a commute of equal or greater length.

Ah yes - my drive home is quite often at higher speed, I know JUST what you mean!!!! :D

I totally get what you are saying about the need for compromise, I truly do... but I think I would be miserable riding only twice on weekdays and getting home at 10 pm would be out of bounds for me. :cry:

I know I must sound like a real whiner but I am paying what feels like a pretty staggering fee every month, it just seems like I should at least be able to ride when I want!!!

snaffle635
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:42 PM
I haven't read all the responses, so forgive me if this has already been suggested.

Could you ride in the morning, then go to work? Would commuting off hours make the commute faster?

I do this once a week. I check my blackberry while I'm at the barn and everyone at work knows they can contact me while I'm there. I also schedule conference calls during my drive back to the office if I need to.

It requires quite a bit of, um, sacrifice. Meaning, I have to wash my hair in the sink at the barn and get ready for work there. I know, ew.

magnolia73
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:42 PM
Just an observation- the closer the barn, the more you go out, the more you catch "bad" things. The farther the barn, the less you go out, the less you catch bad things.

That said- if you really can't find a place, is it worth it to try and retool your job or move yourself? Can you work at home 2 days a week? Can you work a 4 day work week that would allow you 3 "easy" days to get to the barn? Can you try a schedule that puts you on the road at non-rush hour?

I feel for you- I have really struggled to find good boarding and I *finally* found a barn I like. My fear is that they will close it, hire new staff or hire on a "trainer" to run things. We get very high quality care without the trainer dictator in charge.

magnolia73
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:48 PM
The other option- find a reasonable close barn and really get out each day and take care of some things yourself. You can clean a stall to your standards, most places will give you extra hay and shavings if you pay for them, you can feed your own supplements.... If you can get out daily, your horse can have better care- you just do the work. When I was at the western barn, I did my own supplement feedings, fed a third meal and extra hay and was out every day to check for issues. It wasn't *ideal* but if it was rainy, I knew my horse had a clean dry stall, 2 buckets of water and a few flakes of hay. You could even bag up your own grain etc. if you were that dis-trustful.

And you are not being whiny!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:52 PM
Personally, sitting in the car for 3 hours every day would make me insane. Think of all the wasted productivity and quality time you are missing with your loved ones!

If you need to make a decision quickly, I'd say move your horse with your current trainer, but start looking for a better situation. Your trainer will understand and if the new situation doesn't work out, you can always go back.

You're right, I am not under the gun really, and can take all the time I want to figure out what to do. The more I think about it, though, the more I think there is just no way I can spend three hours a day driving and still continue to function at work, at home etc.


I have been there, and it sucks. However, the drive I had went right through LA, so I only rode on the weekends. I lasted a couple of years until I broke down crying one day stuck in traffic, called my trainer, and told her I couldn't do it anymore. I moved my horse 15 minutes from my house and rode almost every day. Though I was in much better shape, my riding and horse's training slowly declined with the new trainer.

This is my dilemma!!! There is no way I could manage seeing my horse only on weekends (and frankly for three grand a month in board, I am not willing to concede that much riding time; the whole point of buying this horse was for me to be able to enjoy him...

But ... I think my experience with respect to training would be the same as yours. I have ridden with what I think are the better local trainers. The care was OK (not great, but manageable) and the training was also OK (but nowhere near what I am getting now.) FWIW, I've done the whole "sit at shows, watch the schooling area, figure out which trainers seem to have the kind of program I'm looking for, ask other adult ammies who they ride with," etc. In fact I have pretty much spent the last five years on that research project!!! :eek:

It may be that I have to step back to something like that, I guess. Having now had a taste of the difference that really top training makes, it would be hard to do, but if push comes to shove, I'd rather see my horse every day and not progress in terms of my riding skills. It's just a bitter pill to swallow as we are just on the cusp of moving up a division and being really competitive, etc. It's not the ribbons, either, for what it's worth... I just love the process of learning and being able to do stuff that I always thought would be beyond my ability.


Fortunately I found a happy medium... 30 minutes from home and 45 from work, and I ride 4 times a week.

I am envious, but glad for you!!

LookinSouth
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:57 PM
If you've exhausted all avenues as far as H/J barns I would look into barns of other disciplines as someone else mentioned. In my area it's not uncommon for jumpers/eventers to board at high end dressage barns simply for the level of care & facilities. If your horse is made/easy as you said then you could easily haul to your trainer whenever it's convenient.

Skip's Rider
Dec. 29, 2009, 01:59 PM
Maybe you could "step down" to one of the local-type barns and trailer to your current trainer, say once a month, for lessons. It might be a good compromise. You would have your horse close, and you could ride him often. But you wouldn't be completely giving up the level of instruction you're now receiving. You could meet your trainer at shows, etc.

equest
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:01 PM
That commute may be do-able for the short run, but dealing with it for any real length of time is inevitably going to cause you stress and sap the enjoyment from riding and horse-ownership.

I would almost always choose the wonderfully short ten minute commute to the barn, as long as said barn had good care, a nice ring, and all the other requisites.
I just can't get over how happy I am with the proximity to my barn. It is literally ten minutes from my door to the barn (unless it's rush hour, then 15 or 20). From work, the commute is 30 minutes if I leave after rush hour which I normally do since the barn has a lighted ring and I can ride late.

Maybe consider boarding the horse at the closest possible barn, buy a trailer and truck, and hauling to lessons with the trainer? I often read about people trailering in to the big name trainers. You said you would prefer not to have a trainer riding all the time - if you were close enough to ride and school nearly daily, then you should be able to really connect with your horse and stay really fit as well. The $$$ saved on trainer time could be applied towards the trailer. :)

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:02 PM
Heck, I think a half an hour drive right now (from work, it's right at 20 typically from my house) is about as long as I'd ever want to make to go see my horse.

Of course, I think I have a wider selection of barns to choose from because I think I'm not quite as particular as you are (nor do I really compete). Anyway, I agree that over an hour is definitely too long (especially considering your familial obligations. All I have waiting at home for me are a dog and a cat). And I'd certainly suggest you try talking to barns again. What does "top-notch instruction" really mean and are you sure you can't find another top-notch instructor who might be willing to come to wherever you're keeping your horse (since your current one you've already said won't?) that way you can find a barn that fits your criteria but that you don't necessarily want to use their trainer (if they have one) and still get the kind of instruction you're looking for.

And I wouldn't rule out a private barn. I've heard of people with their own property who have built indoors so it's not completely impossible.

In this area, most barns with training facilities are owned or leased by trainers who are running programs geared around hunters, jumpers and equitation horses. It is very rare to find a barn that *just* offers boarding or that will let another trainer come in to teach, because they wouldn't make any $$$ on such a customer. They want the stalls filled with clients who take lessons, pay for training, show, etc.

By top notch instruction I am referring to a trainer with experience taking students/customers to the more competitive A shows and having success at that level. As I said, I am not going to be a threat to Meredith Beerbaum any time soon (or EVER, lol)... but I am pretty competitive for a working amateur, I have a really, really nice horse and would like to be able to consistently be in the ribbons at the A shows around here - Old Salem, Fairfield, Saratoga, VT, and maybe some of the fall indoor shows.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:10 PM
Maybe you could "step down" to one of the local-type barns and trailer to your current trainer, say once a month, for lessons. It might be a good compromise. You would have your horse close, and you could ride him often. But you wouldn't be completely giving up the level of instruction you're now receiving. You could meet your trainer at shows, etc.

Problem is, the nicer local barns are all run by trainers in their own right. It is not considered acceptable to just board there and ship out for "better" instruction. :no:


That commute may be do-able for the short run, but dealing with it for any real length of time is inevitably going to cause you stress and sap the enjoyment from riding and horse-ownership.

Yep, that is the problem.


I would almost always choose the wonderfully short ten minute commute to the barn, as long as said barn had good care, a nice ring, and all the other requisites.
I just can't get over how happy I am with the proximity to my barn. It is literally ten minutes from my door to the barn (unless it's rush hour, then 15 or 20). From work, the commute is 30 minutes if I leave after rush hour which I normally do.

You are lucky!! If I had such a place within an hour's drive, I would board there too!!


Maybe consider boarding the horse at the closest possible barn, buy a trailer and truck, and hauling to lessons with the trainer? Do you really need training rides - if you were close enough to ride and school nearly daily, would that work?

Already have a truck and trailer, so that part is no problem (other than adding a bit of complexity to the barn search in that I have to have a place which allows trailer PARKING because I can't keep it at home.)

If I could find a decent boarding only barn within a reasonable driving distance, that is exactly what I would do. THere just don't seem to be any - boarding simply isn't profitable enough (or maybe at all) ... so barns with decent facilities are run by trainers who require customers to take regular lessons (so shipping out to another trainer would be considered out of bounds even if I did that in addition.)

My horse is a lot better than I am, lol. I don't need training rides at all... however lessons for ME are another story entirely. I currently lesson two or three times a week and have loved the improvement that has resulted. It has overcome literally decades of bad habits on my part!! My horse is one of those sainted types who will try his heart out regardless, but it sure is nice to feel like I am at least not getting in his way as much as I used to, and maybe even helping him out a bit here or there!! :)

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:13 PM
The drive would be a dealbreaker for me and absolutely would not fly with my s/o either. That would be awful in gas too (and you said already the barn costs are pretty high).

I'm not sure exactly what options you have locally but I'd look into them for sure. Do you have a trailer or does your trainer travel? You could haul out/have them come to you once a week. There has to be some barn that you can compromise on locally...maybe they don't do H/J, but still have great care. Or maybe it's not the fanciest looking place, but the horses are safe and sound.

I'd be barn shopping for sure, though. If you can find something closer to home/work you might have some extra $$ saved from gas too! Whatever you do, good luck, that's a tough situation to be in. :(

Yeah, the impact on my hubby is one of the reasons I am so reluctant to do the three hour thing. I would never see him :(
He is very supportive of my riding and that is something I really want to protect - I don't want him to start resenting the horse or my riding habit.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:15 PM
I haven't read all the responses, so forgive me if this has already been suggested.

Could you ride in the morning, then go to work? Would commuting off hours make the commute faster?

I do this once a week. I check my blackberry while I'm at the barn and everyone at work knows they can contact me while I'm there. I also schedule conference calls during my drive back to the office if I need to.

It requires quite a bit of, um, sacrifice. Meaning, I have to wash my hair in the sink at the barn and get ready for work there. I know, ew.

Actually believe it or not... the drive times I quoted are against traffic (so it would be worse going the other way/in the morning.) But thanks for the suggestion... I've done the "get ready for work" thing at the barn and it is definitely not for the faint of heart!!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:24 PM
Just an observation- the closer the barn, the more you go out, the more you catch "bad" things. The farther the barn, the less you go out, the less you catch bad things.

That said- if you really can't find a place, is it worth it to try and retool your job or move yourself? Can you work at home 2 days a week? Can you work a 4 day work week that would allow you 3 "easy" days to get to the barn? Can you try a schedule that puts you on the road at non-rush hour?

I feel for you- I have really struggled to find good boarding and I *finally* found a barn I like. My fear is that they will close it, hire new staff or hire on a "trainer" to run things. We get very high quality care without the trainer dictator in charge.

I truly hope yours stays the way you like it longer than mine did!!! I was in the same situation really, finally felt like I had found a great place and was super happy with the training, the care, the whole nine yards. Right up to this past weekend when I got the moving notice. *sigh*

I currently have *some* flexibility in my hours and so I am never fighting rush hour traffic. (The drive times I quoted are based on distance, without heavy traffic.) Most of the work I do requires showing up to the office, though.

Moving closer to the barn (even if I thought the hubby would go for that, and I'm kinda doubting we could do it in this market even if he was willing to take the kid out of school in his junior year!) would just create the same problem in terms of getting to work (and he works in the same town as I do, so then we'd both have to suffer.)

Grataan
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:47 PM
:D

Well, I asked for creative ideas - !!!

We own our house, which is actually kind of in between home and work. (Think kind of a skinny triangle with the longest "leg" being office - barn, and the shorter legs being office - home and home - barn.)

My hubby is terrific and very supportive but I don't think I could ask him to move just so I could be closer to the barn, and in this case all it would do is make the commute to the office longer. But thanks anyway for trying to help!! I am really at my wit's end!!

PS - hope you feel better, migraines are awful!!
Thanks lol.

I guess if you own your home and we=more than just you and a cat it isn't an option.

Do I still get the prize for most creative solution?

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 02:59 PM
The other option- find a reasonable close barn and really get out each day and take care of some things yourself. You can clean a stall to your standards, most places will give you extra hay and shavings if you pay for them, you can feed your own supplements.... If you can get out daily, your horse can have better care- you just do the work. When I was at the western barn, I did my own supplement feedings, fed a third meal and extra hay and was out every day to check for issues. It wasn't *ideal* but if it was rainy, I knew my horse had a clean dry stall, 2 buckets of water and a few flakes of hay. You could even bag up your own grain etc. if you were that dis-trustful.

And you are not being whiny!

Aw, thanks. I am writing these responses and thinking, "I bet these people think I am a nutcase!"

I know it sounds like I have an answer for every suggestion, but I promise - I bet I've looked at thirty barns over the past couple of years (and have tried to make several work to the best of my ability.) It is so frustrating to feel like I had finally found the best of all worlds (even if I had to pay through the nose) ... only to have it disappear just when I really felt like things were coming together. :sadsmile:

I don't mind doing much of the work myself, and have done so often. I've never had a problem with feed (my guy is an air fern, lol, just like I am, *sigh.*) but he does love his hay so I am happy to pay extra so I can throw him a couple flakes at bedtime. I routinely tidy up his stall, have mucked out plenty of times (before moving to the current place, anyway,) have scrubbed buckets, etc. Love doing all of it!!!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 03:00 PM
Thanks lol.

I guess if you own your home and we=more than just you and a cat it isn't an option.

Do I still get the prize for most creative solution?

LOL, yes, I think so!!!

Jack16
Dec. 29, 2009, 03:05 PM
That commute would be a deal breaker for me but if you are unable to find another boarding situation you are happy with then I guess stay with the current trainer and ride less. I know that is a big compromise but you don't seem to have any other option.

I was in the same situation. I had moved from my old barn I loved to a new place close to me that is highly reputable in my area and it was a disaster. The trainer was bad, the care was not up to par, etc.

I definitely miss being closer to my horse but having him back at my old barn where the care is impeccable and the trainer is amazing is totally worth the distance to me. One thing I do now since I don't ride as much is have some friends hack him a couple days a week just to get him out.

norcalammie
Dec. 29, 2009, 03:16 PM
Have you talked to your vet, farrier, etc. about barns that they might know about that are maybe off the radar. They probably know which ones provide the level of care you desire, have the facilities, etc. Sometimes there is a hidden gem out there that is low key and kind of hidden away but maybe the vet, farrier, chiro, etc. knows of a place that would fit your needs.

Give them a call and see if they have any ideas for you. Would be worth the phone call.

Otherwise see if you can work 4 10 hour days versus 5 8 hour days or arrive at work earlier so you can leave earlier and get home at a decent time or arrive later (since you are on the East Coast might work due to time differences to West Coast, etc.) and ride very early in the AM before work. I know I worked a schedule for years that required I get to work well before anyone else but I got to leave early to ride. Since I am on the West Coast many of my calls were to the East Coast and I could easily catch people before they went to lunch.

Just another thought.

Good luck.

KPF
Dec. 29, 2009, 03:21 PM
Am I the only one curious as to what area you're in/ what you get for $3K a month for board? :eek:

Where I am in VA, the fanciest barn around (with a fabulous indoor) is half of that for full service board including 2 lessons/pro rides a week. You must be in a super expensive area.

Have you tried posting here on COTH and asking about barns in your town? Maybe someone here knows of a hidden jewel of a barn... I've lived and ridden in the same area my whole life and still manage to come across barns I've never heard of/knew existed.

Best of luck. :)

Keep1Belle
Dec. 29, 2009, 04:06 PM
While not ideal. Why not have the trainer ride your horse more. You ride 1 weekday and both weekends.

It is not ideal, but your horse will have the best care and you will still receive instruction at desired level. You and hubby will have time together, etc.

I am a working 9 to 5er and teach lessons and ride others horse. Before work was close and I rode before work, after work and taught on weekends. Now getting a new job that’s farther away and a new barn farther away. I had to cut down on my riding clients. Pick up more lessons. And pay another trainer at the barn to ride my guy twice a week so that he gets outside hill-work time. Of course I would prefer to ride my horse all the time, but that was the best possible solution to keep all my lessons and do what’s best for my horse ie not being stuck in the indoor.

I too don’t get home until 10 on week nights.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 04:41 PM
Going to try to consolidate answers for space's sake!!


Have you talked to your vet, farrier, etc. about barns that they might know about that are maybe off the radar.

Yes, I have done that (this is how I found the current barn, in fact. It wasn't that I didn't know about them, exactly, but it was through an introduction from my farrier that I got into my current barn which otherwise catered mostly to juniors, not to riding-after-work-adults!)


Otherwise see if you can work 4 10 hour days versus 5 8 hour days or arrive at work earlier so you can leave earlier and get home at a decent time or arrive later
(snip)

I wish I had that kind of flexibility but unfortunately I am in senior management and that requires daily face time during regular business hours in the office. I'm already pushing the envelope to leave at 4:30 Tue-Friday... and to make up for it, I get in quite early and I am back on the computer after I get home from the barn until around 11 pm usually. *sigh*


Am I the only one curious as to what area you're in/ what you get for $3K a month for board? :eek:

(snip)

Yes, unfortunately this is a very expensive area. It is not at all uncommon for board and training to run $3k a month, in fact that is pretty much the going rate for a BNT. (NY/CT border.)


Have you tried posting here on COTH and asking about barns in your town? Maybe someone here knows of a hidden jewel of a barn... I've lived and ridden in the same area my whole life and still manage to come across barns I've never heard of/knew existed.

Yep - I have and have gotten several recommendations. I bet I've looked at 30 barns over the last couple of years. There were a lot of nice places and good trainers but either they packed up the whole barn and went to WEF for the winter or the barn itself didn't offer adequate care (primarily turnout) for my horse. I just can't make him live in a stall for 23 hours a day... :(


While not ideal. Why not have the trainer ride your horse more. You ride 1 weekday and both weekends. (snip)

I too don’t get home until 10 on week nights.

I guess it must sound sappy but I am not willing to only see my horse one night a week and on weekends. And maybe it sounds obnoxious (though I don't mean it to) but I really don't want to pay three thousand dollars a month for someone ELSE to ride my horse... I bought him for ME!!!

Not knocking your set up at all - everybody has to come up with what works for them, and as long as you have a set up that you like, that is great.

The more I think about it, the more I am starting to feel like I am going to have to give up on the training side of things, and go back to a local barn.

It is hard to feel like I have come sooooo close to realizing some long-held riding dreams and goals, but at the end of the day, my relationship with my horse is more important and I just can't stomach handing him over to some pro and only being a rider who shows up a couple times of week or sees him at shows.

I want to be the one in the tack on a daily basis, ideally as we both learn and improve together, which is what I've had the good fortune to do over this past year. If continued improvement means handing over the reins to someone else and not being part of his regular care ... I guess I will just stay at the level where I am now, and try to focus on not forgetting all the stuff I've learned in the past few months.

I really, really appreciate all the thoughts and suggestions. COTH is such a great community and resource... :)

BAC
Dec. 29, 2009, 04:52 PM
Am I the only one curious as to what area you're in/ what you get for $3K a month for board? :eek:

Unfortunately $3K is not at all unusual for a BNT/full service program in this area. :( I get so jealous when I see what you get in VA for so much less money.

CBoylen
Dec. 29, 2009, 06:10 PM
My priorities are always in question, but since the barn situation doesn't seem to lend itself to change, can you change your job in some way? A different town, different employer, different hours, something where you can do more mobile work? How much do you really need your job? How much does it need you? Do you like it more or less than your trainer? ;)

kookicat
Dec. 29, 2009, 06:20 PM
Can you tell us a bit more about what you're looking for in a barn? What sort of care do you want? What facilities do you want? Where are you (roughly)? I bet someone on here knows of a barn that will work for you.

Also, I think you might have to compromise on something- quality of care, facilities, training, even if it's just for over the winter.

poltroon
Dec. 29, 2009, 06:28 PM
Aw, thanks. I am writing these responses and thinking, "I bet these people think I am a nutcase!"

I know it sounds like I have an answer for every suggestion, but I promise - I bet I've looked at thirty barns over the past couple of years (and have tried to make several work to the best of my ability.) It is so frustrating to feel like I had finally found the best of all worlds (even if I had to pay through the nose) ... only to have it disappear just when I really felt like things were coming together. :sadsmile:

Oh, no, I have been there, done that. I totally feel for you!

But, there is a solution for you, I suspect. Maybe not as good as what you have now. Or maybe it will work out well after all.

What about barns in other disciplines, like eventing? Or someone who works with eventers? (Often they are used to their students working with multiple trainers.) Maybe you can find a trainer who can work with you and will be open to you working with your former trainer. You might learn something new and interesting.

Whatever you decide, it doesn't have to be permanent. You always have the "move back in with favorite trainer and killer commute" option to fall back on. So pick the best of your options, be totally honest about your situation, and see if they're open to you coming for a 90 day trial. Maybe you'll find that you miss your old trainer too much. Maybe you'll find something else comfortable.

In your situation, I would probably look seriously at the barns that pack up for WEF (assuming they leave someone at home). That might give you the ability to haul out while they're in Florida, and maybe they have a decent assistant at home.

Peggy
Dec. 29, 2009, 07:33 PM
I drive 50 miles to the barn, change there, drive 50 miles to work, and then 20 miles back home so I have some idea of where you're coming from. This works for several reasons: none of the legs are in a bad traffic direction at the time I do them (but something could always jackknife or spontaneously burst into flames, thus causing the entire LA-area fwy system to come to a complete standstill), I typically do this only 1-2 days a week (don't work Fridays), I can work odd hours to enable me to avoid the bad traffic directions, and college professors are supposed to be eccentric so hat hair and a slight odor of horse are not huge issues. If I had to do even this more than twice a week, or with bad traffic it wouldn't work. Not to mention that I get that nice summer break when I don't have to do it. You have some, but not all, of the things that make it work for me.

At least here, there are barns that aren't strictly A barns but that have excellent instruction (I have ridden with two such trainers) and great care. Not everyone who is an excellent instructor is a BNT. Would it be possible for you to find such a barn and then get your A-show fix by meeting your current trainer at shows? Apologies if this has already been suggested, but I kinda skimmed. I'd sit down with your current trainer and ask how you can make it work to do something like that, but I think you said you were going to do that.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 09:25 PM
My priorities are always in question, but since the barn situation doesn't seem to lend itself to change, can you change your job in some way? A different town, different employer, different hours, something where you can do more mobile work? How much do you really need your job? How much does it need you? Do you like it more or less than your trainer? ;)

Ah, this is what I love about COTH!! See, given the chance, I imagine my priorities might be considered rather questionable as well. :D (Truly, some of my family considers them a bit skewed already... let's just say they don't particularly understand, but we aim for acceptance. ;) )

Your points are well taken, though, and I have been working on that sort of a career transition over the last year or so. I cannot change where I live (too much disruption to my family - I am married w/ a HS aged kid.)

I work as a consultant, so while I am mobile to an extent, I am also at the beck and call of my clients. My primary account has an office where I spend four days a week, which is my main source of income, and requires quite a bit of care & feeding. ;)

I do really need my job ... that's how I afford the horse ;) Hopefully the clients need me... that's how I get paid, (which is how I pay for the horse...)

I like my job a lot less than my trainer... but she likes to get paid for her services... so working is not optional, at least if I want to continue to be able to afford to fund my horsey addiction. :D

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 09:51 PM
Can you tell us a bit more about what you're looking for in a barn? What sort of care do you want? What facilities do you want? Where are you (roughly)? I bet someone on here knows of a barn that will work for you.

Also, I think you might have to compromise on something- quality of care, facilities, training, even if it's just for over the winter.

Yes, I think you're right. Boarding is always about compromise in one way or another!! So... currently I have a great trainer at a great facility with great care. It's *fairly* close to my home, but a bit of a trek from my office (compromise) and costs a bit more than I'd like to pay (compromise)... but I considered those compromises well worth it since my horse was flourishing under this trainer and I felt like I was also making a ton of progress also.

I am not willing to compromise on quality of care, and freely admit I am very picky. I think three grand a month is a ton of money. For that kind of fee, I want my horse to be treated kindly, to have adequate turnout, a clean comfortable stall with quality grain/hay and knowledgeable oversight - meaning someone notices a cut or a scrape or a lost shoe or a tummy ache and is able to do something about it.

I have gotten quite a few recommendations on area barns and checked out many if not most of them over the past two years. I have gotten several leads from fellow COTHers in the past ;) Quite a few trainers seemed lovely but required a commitment to WEF that I simply can't sign up for. (Even if I could afford to do it, I am not interested in sending my horse away for the winter, period. I see no point in dropping ten or twenty grand to provide my horse to someone else to show & enjoy while I sit at home with nothing to ride.)

There are definitely places which carry on during the winter, like Fairfield hunt club or Old Salem farm (both eliminated from consideration based on their tiny stalls and extremely limited turnout.)

However, your essential point is absolutely correct. It does appear that I am either going to have to suck it up and drive, or give up on the training aspect and just hope to find something closer that offers adequate care. *sigh*

hAlterHorse
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:04 PM
A little bit of a different scenario- I work at a barn in the mornings. Great barn, great trainer, nice horses, mostly grooming and some riding/lesson benefits. The commute is an hour 20 in the mornings (with traffic) and an hour home. My horse is at a different barn 15 minutes from my house but between work/home. I usually end up in the car 2 1/2 hours a day, minimum. I HATE the drive! The horrible 2 lane traffic with major construction does not help. I love the job but I honestly don't know how much longer I can handle the drive. I am there for 4-5 hours usually. I can't imagine driving farther than that to only ride one horse.

Even if you manage to spend 2 hours at the barn on weekdays, you are looking at more time spent driving than at the barn, which gets stressful and time consuming (at least for me). Most days I end up at the barn too long to get home with enough time to ride my horse (and I'm already leaving the house in the AM too early to ride before- no indoor/lights for night rides). I can't keep my horse at the barn I work at because it is way out of my price range. There is no instruction at the barn where my current horse at, but the care is good. I guess that was a really long way to say the drive would definitely be a deal breaker for me, if I was in your situation.

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:09 PM
I drive 50 miles to the barn, change there, drive 50 miles to work, and then 20 miles back home so I have some idea of where you're coming from. This works for several reasons: none of the legs are in a bad traffic direction at the time I do them (but something could always jackknife or spontaneously burst into flames, thus causing the entire LA-area fwy system to come to a complete standstill), I typically do this only 1-2 days a week (don't work Fridays), I can work odd hours to enable me to avoid the bad traffic directions, and college professors are supposed to be eccentric so hat hair and a slight odor of horse are not huge issues. If I had to do even this more than twice a week, or with bad traffic it wouldn't work. Not to mention that I get that nice summer break when I don't have to do it. You have some, but not all, of the things that make it work for me.

At least here, there are barns that aren't strictly A barns but that have excellent instruction (I have ridden with two such trainers) and great care. Not everyone who is an excellent instructor is a BNT. Would it be possible for you to find such a barn and then get your A-show fix by meeting your current trainer at shows? Apologies if this has already been suggested, but I kinda skimmed. I'd sit down with your current trainer and ask how you can make it work to do something like that, but I think you said you were going to do that.

Wow, I am impressed! Right now I am truly struggling to imagine how I will do all that driving, but maybe it is possible...

I have tried several of the local show barns and could do that again if I can't find another solution. The trainer I rode with previously isn't incorrect in any way but we had kind of reached a point where we weren't continuing to progress any further. There were a few issues she just couldn't help me address and they had started looking like permanent limitations, when in fact they were just training issues. The current trainer addressed them in fairly short order, opening up a whole new perspective for me on what we could reasonably hope to achieve.

I feel like I got through high school with my former local trainer and have now gone on to college... you still need to be able to add and subtract correctly (heels down, eyes up, focus on straight and forward)... but you maybe need some additional skills to engineer a bridge (ride a high amateur course at a competitive level.) Doesn't mean the person telling you to put your heels down is wrong, just that that person may not be able to teach you how to take the next step.

Anyway. I am a consultant in a *very* conservative field so showing up in less than clean/polished condition is frowned upon, I'm afraid. I'm far more likely to be found picking out a stall in a suit and a pair of Manolos than I am to be sporting wisps of hay in the office!

Liverpools
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:13 PM
Oh, no, I have been there, done that. I totally feel for you!

But, there is a solution for you, I suspect. Maybe not as good as what you have now. Or maybe it will work out well after all.

What about barns in other disciplines, like eventing? Or someone who works with eventers? (snip)

In your situation, I would probably look seriously at the barns that pack up for WEF (assuming they leave someone at home). That might give you the ability to haul out while they're in Florida, and maybe they have a decent assistant at home.

Thanks for the sympathy... it really does help!!

I am going to keep looking, asking around, and will certainly give the new place a try to see if it workable in the meantime. I suspect it will be easier when the weather improves in the spring and at least I won't be driving there in the dark. There is just something really difficult about getting motivated to drive to a dark, cold barn, drag poor horsie out of his warm bed, get him tacked up and worked, and the groomed and put back to bed all alone in the winter time!

poltroon
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:20 PM
Wow, I am impressed! Right now I am truly struggling to imagine how I will do all that driving, but maybe it is possible...

I have tried several of the local show barns and could do that again if I can't find another solution. The trainer I rode with previously isn't incorrect in any way but we had kind of reached a point where we weren't continuing to progress any further. There were a few issues she just couldn't help me address and they had started looking like permanent limitations, when in fact they were just training issues. The current trainer addressed them in fairly short order, opening up a whole new perspective for me on what we could reasonably hope to achieve.

I feel like I got through high school with my former local trainer and have now gone on to college... you still need to be able to add and subtract correctly (heels down, eyes up, focus on straight and forward)... but you maybe need some additional skills to engineer a bridge (ride a high amateur course at a competitive level.) Doesn't mean the person telling you to put your heels down is wrong, just that that person may not be able to teach you how to take the next step.

Depending on the personality of that trainer, maybe you can go back to her and maybe you can work together with the new trainer. Or maybe there's another local trainer open to a mentoring arrangement.


Anyway. I am a consultant in a *very* conservative field so showing up in less than clean/polished condition is frowned upon, I'm afraid. I'm far more likely to be found picking out a stall in a suit and a pair of Manolos than I am to be sporting wisps of hay in the office!

I will never forget an evening with one of my friends, a film producer, muck fork in one hand, cleaning her stall, cell phone in the other, talking with big-shot Hollywood director... :D

poltroon
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:24 PM
Thanks for the sympathy... it really does help!!

I am going to keep looking, asking around, and will certainly give the new place a try to see if it workable in the meantime. I suspect it will be easier when the weather improves in the spring and at least I won't be driving there in the dark. There is just something really difficult about getting motivated to drive to a dark, cold barn, drag poor horsie out of his warm bed, get him tacked up and worked, and the groomed and put back to bed all alone in the winter time!

I know the feeling, especially when there's no one else around, the switch for the lights involves a bit of braille in the dark....

Oh, and I often shared the arena with a coyote. We got used to it. :D

On the plus side, I recall riding and then driving home during a really fantastic lunar eclipse. That was spectacular.

Surly Sue
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:53 PM
This thread has made me realize I'm not alone! Nothing like trying to do your job well, give the appropriate time to the family and squeeze in a bit of time to fulfill yourself with a bit of riding! I often say that I love each part of my life (family, career, horses) but put together, it's just too much to manage! This situation is even tougher if you're in a part of the country where traffic is bad, truly *good *
care is hard to find, and full training board expenses (required b/c you can't make it to the barn every day due to your career - the same career which supports the family and pays the let's-not-discuss it high board) are sinfully high! I feel for you!!!! I don't have good advice other than to say go with your gut. In your place, I would probably move with your trainer for now and look around for something closer. You may temporarily have to ride a day or two less a week for the time being. I drive 3 hours a day commuting to my job and have reluctantly scaled back my days riding to 3 per week from 5. It's just too hard in the cold winter to get out of bed early in the dark to ride at 7:30 or to show up to ride alone at 8:00 pm. Summer is a whole lot easier! Good luck!

Peggy
Dec. 30, 2009, 12:10 AM
It also helps that my family consists of one independent calico cat. It would be very hard to do the amount of riding I do with a family, especially since work tends to get shunted off to the weekends. Moving closer to the barn wouldn't be a great solution b/c any time I did need to get to work in the AM we'd be talking about 50 miles with traffic instead of 20. Plus, with Prop 13 my property taxes would soar.

paw
Dec. 30, 2009, 01:07 AM
It's a dilemma... I think the longest I've ever commuted on a regular basis was 45 minutes, and now that my situation has totally changed I'm having a hard time remembering how I managed to work, do the commute, and get home in time for dinner. Guess dinner was much later than it is now. ;)

But... wanted to express a perhaps unpopular opinion - "quality of care", to my mind, has much less to do with how big the stalls are or how lush the pastures, and much more to do with how much the staff cares for the horses. When next you go to a more local barn, look at the attitude of the animals. Do they seem happy and well adjusted? Are they munching hay, vs cribbing or stall weaving? What _we_ think is important and what the _horse_ thinks is important can be very different.

Not to say that there are really bad barns out there. But, for me, I'd rather put my horse somewhere where I could get to see him more often - that (for me) makes up for somewhat (not dangerous) less-than-ideal circumstances.

The training issue seems like it might be orthogonal - would it be possible for you to ride something else at your trainer's barn once or twice a week, and then practice on your horse at home? Not ideal, certainly, but...

Good luck, whatever you decide.

TSWJB
Dec. 30, 2009, 09:46 AM
Yeah, the impact on my hubby is one of the reasons I am so reluctant to do the three hour thing. I would never see him :(
He is very supportive of my riding and that is something I really want to protect - I don't want him to start resenting the horse or my riding habit.
if he is like most men that i know, he will start resenting the hours and hours away from home. from personal experience, you really need to think about this aspect of your relationship.
i really want turn out for my horses. my last horse did not do well when he was cooped up for months on end inside due to bad weather. he did not do the indoor ring turnout thing well. and i knew it affected him. i loved the place, but i didnt like what it did to my horses mind.
so when i bought my young horse i was really worried about where to board. i thought like you do, that i had limited options. i only thought show barns with indoors. but then i found through word of mouth a lovely place where my horse is outside and i have an indoor and an outdoor ring. my horse loves it and he is very well behaved for me because he is turned out.
my compromise has been to trailer out to lessons. once you get in a routine of hooking up the trailer, it becomes easy. i can be in and out the door within 15 minutes.
driving long distances to the barn can get very very old. i drove for 4 years 45 miles each way to my last barn (many times well over an hour after work) and now i drive 32 miles and about 35 minutes. it sure makes going to the barn alot more fun! the driving gets to be a real chore.
i would look at all facilities and if you really cant find an indoor ring, maybe ask one of the lessor trainers if you can pay for their 1x a week lesson, but trailer out to your trainer. maybe they would be happy to get money for nothing. it certainly should be alot cheaper than 3k a month if it is a more beginner type barn. beginners generally do not pay 3k a month.
also if you found a nice facility without an indoor, what if you hauled in during the week for lessons and then walked your horse outdoors to keep the fitness up. i know people who will do that. ride the trails on weekends. walking is boring but it can keep the fitness up and you could haul in 2x a week. then it really would be mostly a problem from dec -feb. march most rings start to unfreeze. the rest of the year you would be close to your horse.
and like others have said if you are close to your horse, you can provide more of the care that you really want yourself.

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 09:47 AM
Oh, and I often shared the arena with a coyote. We got used to it. :D

:eek: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 09:49 AM
This thread has made me realize I'm not alone! Nothing like trying to do your job well, give the appropriate time to the family and squeeze in a bit of time to fulfill yourself with a bit of riding! I often say that I love each part of my life (family, career, horses) but put together, it's just too much to manage! This situation is even tougher if you're in a part of the country where traffic is bad, truly *good *
care is hard to find, and full training board expenses (required b/c you can't make it to the barn every day due to your career - the same career which supports the family and pays the let's-not-discuss it high board) are sinfully high! I feel for you!!!! I don't have good advice other than to say go with your gut. In your place, I would probably move with your trainer for now and look around for something closer. You may temporarily have to ride a day or two less a week for the time being. I drive 3 hours a day commuting to my job and have reluctantly scaled back my days riding to 3 per week from 5. It's just too hard in the cold winter to get out of bed early in the dark to ride at 7:30 or to show up to ride alone at 8:00 pm. Summer is a whole lot easier! Good luck!

If nothing else... at least I know now I am not the only one struggling to fit riding into a busy life!! So thanks ;)

I know just what you mean about the winter being harder, too. I find it quite a bit easier to manage in better weather!!!

BAC
Dec. 30, 2009, 09:51 AM
- "quality of care", to my mind, has much less to do with how big the stalls are or how lush the pastures, and much more to do with how much the staff cares for the horses.

I have to disagree. The barn doesn't necessarily have to be fancy but the size of the stalls is very important IMO. What was once considered standard size years ago, can frequently be uncomfortable for many of today's larger warmbloods. In that case I would consider stall size very much relates to "quality of care." Same with turnout, for many horses good, safe, turnout is essential for their mental well being, if nothing else.

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:21 AM
(snip)
But... wanted to express a perhaps unpopular opinion - "quality of care", to my mind, has much less to do with how big the stalls are or how lush the pastures, and much more to do with how much the staff cares for the horses. When next you go to a more local barn, look at the attitude of the animals. Do they seem happy and well adjusted? Are they munching hay, vs cribbing or stall weaving? What _we_ think is important and what the _horse_ thinks is important can be very different.

In principle, I agree with you. However, my horse is a big WB, 17.1 and er, kind of chunky. LOL. He is perfectly quiet and well behaved (no cribbing, weaving etc) BUT he won't lay down in a small stall - and I like him to be able to get off his feet and really REST. And while no pasture is lush in this part of the world during the winter, when the weather permits I like for him to be able to get out and stretch his legs in a paddock that is reasonably safe (not on a steep hillside, or filled with rocks... etc.)

There are certainly local barns with adequate care and I have been able to manage my horse fine in those situations. I am happy to "supplement" the work of the barn staff in those situations (scrubbing buckets myself, cleaning the stall before I go home, etc) and I don't mind that at all. The downside of moving back to a local barn is related to the training opportunities, not the care so much.

(snip)


The training issue seems like it might be orthogonal - would it be possible for you to ride something else at your trainer's barn once or twice a week, and then practice on your horse at home? Not ideal, certainly, but...

I could look into leasing something at my current trainer's barn to lesson on, possibly. There are no lesson horses or anything along those lines. The challenge with splitting up the boarding and training is that there simply aren't any acceptable BOARDING ONLY options around here.

I know it sounds unlikely, but I have looked and looked and looked for over three years now. I have tried places that seemed to look OK and which have come recommended by others. They just haven't worked. As an example, there was the place that I moved to in the fall and worked ok until we were forced by weather into the indoor (too icy to ride outside.) Found out that the instructor taught up down lessons from 3 pm- closing... and while you could share the ring with the lesson riders, you could only do whatever the instructor had her students doing. If the kid could only walk-trot... that's all you could do. It was very much a beginner oriented program so MANY lessons were walk-trot only. When their primary schoolie developed a lameness that was worse to the right, they simply taught all the lessons tracking left... which meant you couldn't even walk-trot in both directions! (yes, true story.) That's when I left.

Moved to another barn that looked ok, but was mysteriously not full despite outwardly nice facilities. Was told that the resident trainer had recently left, taking a bunch of clients. Ok, fair enough. Was there one month and noticed my normally very placid horse acting very nervous and head shy all of a sudden. Arrived earlier than usual one night to find the BO lashing the front of my horse's stall door with his halter while my horse cowered in the back corner. I thought I would lose my mind. Confronted BO who said, "Your horse needs to learn to back away from the door when someone opens it." :o Um, he has been taught that people come to the stall either to give you a pat or to put your halter on and take you somewhere... so he stands at the door and waits politely...??

Well, at least I knew then why my horse was acting weird and losing weight. Moved out a few days later.

I could go on and on... but these are the kinds of things I've dealt with, just in case people are thinking that my standards are so high that I cannot possibly be pleased.

There *are* decent local barns where I could keep my horse - but they are run by TRAINERS, who very understandably want their clients to lesson and show in the local barn program. It is not that I can't find a decent barn where the care is OK. It's just that that seems to mean giving up on a level of training that I have found ... well, exceptional. It's kind of hard to walk away from. :cry:

I am not a particularly gifted rider. I work very, very hard at it and through sheer perserverance I have acheived some level of ... competence, I guess. A good, but not particularly exceptional rider on a good, but not particularly exceptional horse. Low ribbons in good company on a good day.

I had gotten to the point where I had become convinced that I had progressed as far as I was able to, and then I started working with my current trainer and found that in fact, that wasn't the case. My previous trainer had come to the same conclusion, I think, and was sort of going through the motions. We had an issue with jumping water (hence the moniker above.) I think she simply didn't know how to help me address it, and basically said, "oh well, it's too bad but some horses just never really overcome that issue," implying: "so stay where you are and give up thoughts of moving up."

Current trainer fixed the water thing in less than an hour. (Unsurprisingly it was primarily pilot error, lol.)

Anyway, sorry for the novel and thanks to everyone who is trying to help. If nothing else, I really, really, really appreciate knowing other people have faced these kinds of issues (and survived!!)

SMF11
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:21 AM
I have to disagree. The barn doesn't necessarily have to be fancy but the size of the stalls is very important IMO. What was once considered standard size years ago, can frequently be uncomfortable for many of today's larger warmbloods. In that case I would consider stall size very much relates to "quality of care." Same with turnout, for many horses good, safe, turnout is essential for their mental well being, if nothing else.

I have to completely agree with PAW. Stall size matters much more if the horses are in them all the time. If the horses only come in for feeding, e.g., then even a large warmblood can be happy in a smaller stall.

It is not the facilities, it IS the care of the horses. Too many people judge a barn by how it looks, not how the horses are cared for. (a local barn has a chandelier in the aisle, and charges the highest board in the area -- do you think the horses care about that chandelier?)

Since there are so many ways to care for horses, I think PAW is exactly right -- are the horses happy. That will tell you most of what you need to know.

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:26 AM
(snip)
also if you found a nice facility without an indoor, what if you hauled in during the week for lessons and then walked your horse outdoors to keep the fitness up. i know people who will do that. ride the trails on weekends. walking is boring but it can keep the fitness up and you could haul in 2x a week. then it really would be mostly a problem from dec -feb. march most rings start to unfreeze. the rest of the year you would be close to your horse.
and like others have said if you are close to your horse, you can provide more of the care that you really want yourself.

Your points are well taken. Unfortunately hauling the horse to the trainer for lessons would take even longer than just keeping the horse there and driving myself... and since I ride at night after work (in the dark from Nov-Mar) ... riding outdoors, even at a walk, would be a non-starter.

SMF11
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:26 AM
Moved to another barn that looked ok, but was mysteriously not full despite outwardly nice facilities. Was there one month and noticed my normally very placid horse acting very nervous and head shy all of a sudden. Arrived earlier than usual one night to find the BO lashing the front of my horse's stall door with his halter while my horse cowered in the back corner.

Well, at least I knew then why my horse was acting weird and losing weight. Moved out a few days later.


My point precisely: nice facilities, bad care of horse = unhappy horse.

And the flip is true -- not perfect facilities*, great care of horse = happy horse.

*I guess we should define "not perfect facilities" -- nothing unsafe, but maybe the fences aren't painted and look shabby. Maybe the stalls are small but the horses are not in them much. Maybe the horses are on dry lots, but they are in compatible groups and are out most of the time.

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:36 AM
I have to completely agree with PAW. Stall size matters much more if the horses are in them all the time. If the horses only come in for feeding, e.g., then even a large warmblood can be happy in a smaller stall.

It is not the facilities, it IS the care of the horses. Too many people judge a barn by how it looks, not how the horses are cared for. (a local barn has a chandelier in the aisle, and charges the highest board in the area -- do you think the horses care about that chandelier?)

Since there are so many ways to care for horses, I think PAW is exactly right -- are the horses happy. That will tell you most of what you need to know.

Yes, there are many ways to keep horses, and IMO, if possible the care should be tailored to the individual.

I have one older horse that really MUST have a considerable amount of turnout. It's partly physical (he is older and a bit arthritic) but mostly for his mental health. I keep him at a barn in a warmer climate where he can be out all day in the winter and all night in the summer time.

My current competition horse will not tolerate that much time outside. He came from a european program where the horses were worked twice a day (or on a walker) and did not get turned out at all. I have taught him to "do" turnout, and in nice weather he might be willing to stay out maybe 4-5 hours. However, more frequently it's more like an hour or two and then he runs the fence. He is not the sort that would be HAPPY turned out all the time.

I am NOT looking for chandeliers. There are plenty of places that cater to riders around here. Fancy tackrooms, private lounges, club rooms etc. I couldn't care less about that stuff. In fact I turned those places down because the stalls were too small for my horse to be comfortable and the turnout sucked.

SMF11
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:43 AM
I am NOT looking for chandeliers. There are plenty of places that cater to riders around here. Fancy tackrooms, private lounges, club rooms etc. I couldn't care less about that stuff. In fact I turned those places down because the stalls were too small for my horse to be comfortable and the turnout sucked.

Yes, sorry, I didn't think you were looking at the frills and not the substance (since the COTH changeover I can't use the emoticons, nothing happens when I click on them). You've got it right -- a lounge is not important to a horse, but stall size is if the horse is in it a lot.

Why don't you post your general area and see if someone knows of a hidden gem for you?

PS to -- finally -- answer your question, I think the hour and a half commute is too far :-)

Liverpools
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:44 AM
My point precisely: nice facilities, bad care of horse = unhappy horse.

And the flip is true -- not perfect facilities*, great care of horse = happy horse.

*I guess we should define "not perfect facilities" -- nothing unsafe, but maybe the fences aren't painted and look shabby. Maybe the stalls are small but the horses are not in them much. Maybe the horses are on dry lots, but they are in compatible groups and are out most of the time.

I am not looking for a perfect facility or anything fancy, not sure what gave you that impression.

I am not knocking anyone else's choices. If your horse does well being outside most of the time, that is great. It would not work for MY horse - a fully clipped show jumper in full work all winter, who hates being out for more than a couple of hours.

I appreciate that you are trying to help but truly I am not looking for chandeliers in the aisles. Honest.

SMF11
Dec. 30, 2009, 10:55 AM
. Too many people judge a barn by how it looks, not how the horses are cared for.

Calm down :-)! I didn't say you were concerned about chandeliers, just that I've seen many people who are, to the detriment of the horses.

Trixie
Dec. 30, 2009, 11:37 AM
I hear you... here in VA, I drive a minimum of 40 minutes (home to barn, non rush hour), to two hours (rush hour) depending. NOVA in general is a giant PITA, albeit worth it to ride. We have some fabulous barns.

We trailer and meet trainer for lessons either during the week or on weekends, and meet them at the shows.

TrakeGirl
Dec. 30, 2009, 11:43 AM
It is all about priorities.

You are here: (rock)(you)(hard place)

It is pretty clear you want to continue boarding with your trainer for the horse's care as well as the instruction. Fine. Then other things may have to switch to make that work in the long term.

It is obvious that you value your relationship from the concern about the drive taking away from family time. So something has to give.
For example:

If priority #1 is the horse/riding - then you have to adjust the other things in your life to accommodate (move your house closer, move your job closer, get a new job to be closer to horse, etc).

If priority #1 is the relationship - I would say you would have to keep the horse closer so you aren't gone as much. Or keep him out at your trainer's new place and just don't go as often.

Not saying it is a either or, but I agree with the person who said it will take a toll over the long haul.

Decide what is most important to you in the whole world.

costco_muffins
Dec. 30, 2009, 12:30 PM
I know that this is thinking outside of the box, but have you looked at other local facilities than hunter/jumper barns? You might find something with facilities that you like where they are not offended that you would not show with them. Think western, eventing, dressage.

Even if you found a lovely dressage barn and were required to take a weekly lesson, this might be worth it. I am currently taking dressage lessons with my green hunter and it is helping us tremendously over fences and on the flat. They could be more understanding about hauling out to lessons that were specialized in a field other than what they teach.

I boarded for years at a western and (gasp) Parelli-oriented facility. They had exactly what we needed and the care was phenomenal. Because I was outside of their normal lesson clientele, I could bring in instructors of my own or haul out as needed.

Are there any options like this?

FineAlready
Dec. 30, 2009, 12:50 PM
For what it's worth, here is my two cents.

From what I can tell, you are pretty much me about 10 years from now, lol. I'm married (no kids yet, though). I'm a professional in a very demanding, very conservative, and very time-consuming field (i.e., I wear a suit every day and my clients expect me to be available almost 24/7 by phone or e-mail and they certainly expect me to be in my office during regular business hours). I have also had horses all my life, am very particular about the care my horse receives, and am very hands-on about all issues that impact his life and health. Unlike your horse, though, my horse is very young and very green.

Anyway, I offer my own personal experience for your consideration.

When I first purchased my current horse about a year and a half ago, I kept him at a barn 15 minutes from my home. My then-trainer trained out of that barn but her business was entirely separate from the BO's business. My then-trainer was a reasonably well-known local A circuit trainer who had been around a long time. I had ridden with her for over 10 years (for many of those years, I was actually in high school and college and my horses were "owned" by my parents). The care at the 15-minute-away barn was reasonably good at the beginning, though it started to decline over time. By the end, the care was pretty bad, and I was essentially doing self-care for my horse. Also around the end, my horse sustained a pretty serious injury that required a lot of stall rest. The injury necessitated a lot of health-care decisions.

Two major things things pushed me to move: (a) my then-trainer called me at work and yelled at me for contacting my vet (the vet that SHE required us to use) to discuss a health care decision about my horse (my response: "I know you can't possibly be trying to tell me that I am forbidden from talking to the vet to whom I pay a whole lot of money, right?"); (b) the care was getting bad enough, and the barn staff was so awful, that I found myself rushing out to the barn all the time to check on my horse.

I moved my horse to a place that is probably about an hour and a half from my work in rush hour traffic (and yes, I am always in rush hour traffic) and 50 minutes from my house in any traffic (I take rural back roads). I am with a younger trainer who successfully shows in GPs and whose methods of training I agree with. My horse is on full-training board. The care is impeccable. Not perfect, but probably as close as I am going to get. The trainer allows me to make all veterinary care decisions about my horse and only asks that I keep her informed (other than, obviously, he has to be vaccinated as this is a show barn). She doesn't even speak to the vet about my horse, though I'm sure she would if I asked.

I now go out to the barn two week nights and both weekend days. I wasn't sure I would be okay with it because, like you, I am used to seeing my horse every day, often multiple times a day.

However, the fact that I know my horse is getting good care, combined with the fact that I don't have to fight tooth and nail to make the healthcare decisions I feel are best for him, more than makes up for not getting to see him as much. When all is said and done, I think it was actually much more time consuming, and certainly less enjoyable, to have him at the place closer to my house. In addition, my husband certainly appreciates that I now have some days that are simply non-horse days. I can actually have dinner with him, watch a movie, etc.

SO, if it were me, I'd stick with your current trainer, go out a bit less, and make the longer drive. Since you have been with this trainer long enough to be comfortable with the care and the training relationship, I'd say you are better off sticking with this trainer instead of putting yourself and your horse in an uncertain and potentially worse-care situation. You said you have looked around and have not found anything acceptable other than your current situation yet. If you stick with your current trainer, at least you'll know that your horse's needs are being met, even when you can't be there.

Liverpools
Dec. 31, 2009, 09:48 AM
First, I want to thank everyone who weighed in and offered their thoughts and suggestions about this situation. I really appreciate it!

After several long discussions with my DH, I have decided to stay with my current trainer, at least for now. It is the best mix of care and training I have ever had for my horse (and me, too, come to that.)

My ride last night kind of sealed the deal for me, actually. I was just hacking but it was one of those rides when my horse just felt like a million bucks and out of curiousity, I tried a couple of exercises that used to give us significant trouble.

To my surprise, my horse pricked his ears, paid attention and EASILY performed the exercises. We halted, and he turned his head around toward me and I swear, he was so pleased with himself, he was looking at me like "That was really good, wasn't it, Mom?!" :sadsmile:

I know it sounds just ridiculously sappy but I almost cried. Maybe he was just looking for his peppermint, lol, but honestly - that was enough for me.

I will probably go out one less day a week, to make things work a little more equitably for my family, work obligations etc. It's definitely something I'd rather not do, but as so many of you have pointed out, there is no way around the need for something to give in this situation.

So thanks to all of you for giving me lots to think about, and for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is greatly appreciated.

analise
Dec. 31, 2009, 09:55 AM
I'll certainly keep my fingers crossed that the new situation works out for you. :)

ReSomething
Dec. 31, 2009, 12:51 PM
I got to about three pages and quit. Remembering back to when I had an hour long commute in nasty traffic, that could easily turn into an hour and a half or two, and why I chose to move barns and change disciplines rather than start up with that stuff again when we bought a home here, you have my sympathy. Especially since you are clicking so well.
I'm afraid my good idea would be to buy a small farm - but somehow I doubt $3K would even come close to covering a mortgage.
Best of luck to you, I am sure you will find something and make it work.

ETA, I see you have made a decision. The joy of partnership can make up for a lot. Best wishes (and maybe your good trainer will decide to lease yet a different facility - much closer!)

GreyHunterHorse
Dec. 31, 2009, 01:35 PM
Just wanted to empathize and commiserate. If I were you, I would have made the same decision you seem to have come to. I used to have a 1.5-2 hour office to barn commute. And 45 minutes from home to barn. 150% worth it to me, and I would not have done it different. I went most nights, but I think my marriage did suffer and though I have seen a miraculous change in my young horse, there was definitely a cost. To my current trainer I owe her the world for taking my silly, dangerous youngster and turning him into a budding AA horse. Now, I am facing having to move him from PA to VA in the next few months, but I chose to leave him in PA while I moved and got settled. While I feel guilty, my mind is at ease knowing he is up there continuing his training and getting super care. I am actually envious that you are still able to stay with your trainer, despite the long drive! I am heartsick that I have to move my boy down here, despite having loads of great places to board down here. I just love my current barn that much!

I have decided, though, faced with a similar drive from Alexandria, VA to Middleburg, VA that I am going to put my relationship first when the horse moves down here, and cut my riding down to 2 weeknights and weekends. If that means working harder on the weekends, I guess that is a sacrifice I'm going to make.

Good Luck!

Liverpools
Dec. 31, 2009, 02:50 PM
I'm afraid my good idea would be to buy a small farm - but somehow I doubt $3K would even come close to covering a mortgage.
Best of luck to you, I am sure you will find something and make it work.



LOL, Re, it's funny that you say that. I bet hubby and I have looked at ten different farmettes over the last few years!! (Pretty much every time a boarding/training situation would fall apart, actually ;) ...)

Of course the rub was exactly as you guess, we couldn't buy a suitable place, even without an indoor, for anywhere near $3k a month, never mind finding training etc. But I did have some fun looking, I have to say...

Liverpools
Dec. 31, 2009, 02:55 PM
Just wanted to empathize and commiserate. If I were you, I would have made the same decision you seem to have come to. I used to have a 1.5-2 hour office to barn commute. And 45 minutes from home to barn. 150% worth it to me, and I would not have done it different. I went most nights, but I think my marriage did suffer and though I have seen a miraculous change in my young horse, there was definitely a cost. To my current trainer I owe her the world for taking my silly, dangerous youngster and turning him into a budding AA horse. Now, I am facing having to move him from PA to VA in the next few months, but I chose to leave him in PA while I moved and got settled. While I feel guilty, my mind is at ease knowing he is up there continuing his training and getting super care. I am actually envious that you are still able to stay with your trainer, despite the long drive! I am heartsick that I have to move my boy down here, despite having loads of great places to board down here. I just love my current barn that much!

I have decided, though, faced with a similar drive from Alexandria, VA to Middleburg, VA that I am going to put my relationship first when the horse moves down here, and cut my riding down to 2 weeknights and weekends. If that means working harder on the weekends, I guess that is a sacrifice I'm going to make.

Good Luck!

Ah, Grey... sorry to hear you're in the same boat.

I will tell you that when I mentioned to my hubby that I really appreciated his support and understanding and that I'd limit the drive to Tue- Thurs (designating Friday as "date night,") the look on his face spoke volumes. He has never, ever complained but it was clear that that meant a lot to him, and was absolutely the right thing to do.

Best of luck with your move!

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 31, 2009, 03:18 PM
I haven't read all the posts...but have you looked and NON-h/j barns?

You may find the care you want at a facility that has mostly dressage or eventers. Then trailer to your trainer for lessons on the weekend. Especially since you have a made horse.

Sorry...no easy solution. I'm in the process of building my own barn as well to avoid this issue.

Only thing that works for those of us serious riders who work full time I think is to live very near the horse and have longer commute to work.

awaywego
Dec. 31, 2009, 06:43 PM
hehe - I'm in zone 2 as well and moving my horse TOMORROW to a place that will be close to an hour and a half after work (and about an hour w/o traffic to get home after riding). Because of my choice to live in a city, I have accepted that I will drive at least 45 minutes to get anywhere and that's about the max I've done so far. I'm planning on paying for the new trainer to ride so I will go out one day a week less...but am curious to see how long this will last... I'll be checking in with you to see how long you last with your mega-drive too!

quietann
Dec. 31, 2009, 08:56 PM
... I wound up (of all places!) at a Morgan Show barn. They take excellent care of the horses, and have no expectations of me being a part of their training program (although I am one of the only ones that is not). A funny side effect of this is that my horse has become something of a celebrity. At 16.3 he is at least a hand taller than what they consider a "tall" Morgan, so people just are obsessed with him. They hang out by his stall petting him and just about everyone who walks by feeds him some sort of treat. He is in heaven!

Snicker. My 15 hand, palomino Morgan mare was the "stand-out" in a dressage barn full of huge WBs, and got lots of extra treats because of it :) I was forever trying to get the women who couldn't handle huge WBs to try a little Morgan!

To stay on topic, I moved her from the dressage barn (50 minutes/32 miles away) to a nearby low-key jumper barn with trails (20 minutes/9 miles away). There are certainly things I miss about the old barn, and we're not likely to be as competitive (in dressage, we jump crossrails at the most), but just being able to spend more time with her without stressing out about the amount of time it takes to get to her is worth it. (And she's still a barn favorite at the new place, which other than schoolies has mostly TBs and WBs...)

Marcella
Dec. 31, 2009, 11:52 PM
I board at a mixed discipline barn. It is 8 miles from my house. I see my horse almost every night, whether or not I ride. I don't think I could be separated from him...I used to drive 1hr when we were in training, but I can hack on my own and trailer for lessons and meet up at shows. I certainly miss the social aspect and the other riders (because I have absolutely nothing in common with the other people albeit they are very nice, I just have nothing to talk about with them). However, I'll take the 15 min. I spend at night just petting my boy, giving him a kiss, cookies, and making sure he is healthy and happy. For example, tonight we are at 5F, but I ran out to the barn to check on him before dinner, give him warm water to drink, make sure he had a big pile of hay, was toasty under his blanket, and had a mouth full of cookies and carrots. I'm not worrying about him at all now. If I couldn't see him, I would go nuts (and the barn he is at takes wonderful care of him...I've never had any issues at all other than them being overly cautious like giving him 2 water buckets when I removed one because it would freeze in 20 min).

tailgate
Jan. 1, 2010, 03:35 PM
We travel 5 hours each way as there is no decent trainer for our daughters level or talent in our area. Horses stay with trainer and he rides them when he isn't teaching her. You do what works for you in any given situation. No-one else can make the decision for you. You have to make the decision that is worth it and that you can live with. We travel down every week, it also includes a boarder crossing. We know it is worth it, as the cost are more or less the same, but the teaching and menoring is priceless.

JOBEAN
Jan. 1, 2010, 05:10 PM
Just wanted to empathize and commiserate. If I were you, I would have made the same decision you seem to have come to. I used to have a 1.5-2 hour office to barn commute. And 45 minutes from home to barn. 150% worth it to me, and I would not have done it different. I went most nights, but I think my marriage did suffer and though I have seen a miraculous change in my young horse, there was definitely a cost. To my current trainer I owe her the world for taking my silly, dangerous youngster and turning him into a budding AA horse. Now, I am facing having to move him from PA to VA in the next few months, but I chose to leave him in PA while I moved and got settled. While I feel guilty, my mind is at ease knowing he is up there continuing his training and getting super care. I am actually envious that you are still able to stay with your trainer, despite the long drive! I am heartsick that I have to move my boy down here, despite having loads of great places to board down here. I just love my current barn that much!

I have decided, though, faced with a similar drive from Alexandria, VA to Middleburg, VA that I am going to put my relationship first when the horse moves down here, and cut my riding down to 2 weeknights and weekends. If that means working harder on the weekends, I guess that is a sacrifice I'm going to make.

Good Luck!

Grey-- What barn have you chosen in Middleburg?