Taking a break...from a show barn to...somewhere else?
Right now I have my horse at school with me at a show oriented type barn. My horse is greenish...but has come along very well. I really like the trainer I'm riding with for the most part. Problem is...I'm quite sick of the drama and stress from the barn. I'm realizing I sort of dread going there. People are too competitive...and I'm just the opposite. One boarder in particular drives me crazy with her constant critiquing and belittling of my very nice horse (and then in the next sentence offering to buy him if I ever decide to put him up for sale).
I graduate in April and then have two months of clinicals followed by two months off. Is it crazy of me to take my very fancy show horse to quite literally a friends back yard barn for four months? I'd still ride him. I don't even have the motivation to show him really anymore. I don't like the pressure. I think if I take a break from the stress of it for a while, I'll come back feeling refreshed and more in love with it like I used to be. If not...turn my fancy import into a trail pony that I love being around??
Good idea? Bad idea? Anyone do something like this before?
Did just that for 6 months and came back "on top of my game"..
Nothing wrong with "laying low" for a few months and coming back motivated!!!
For me, it was the stress of the costs of said show barn, plus school load and work... I thought I was going to loose my mind. Moved horse, rode as much as I had been riding, horse kept progressing and actually went better (as I took her off the property, trails, hunter paces occasionally)... Her true "personality" shined at that time...
When I went back to a super competitive farm, I made sure to keep that kind of routine afterwards... and horse stayed happy
Proudly living in my "let's save the world bubble"!
Taking a break is fine. Meeting trainer at shows is fine. Trail rides is fine. Sounds like just what the doc ordered. However, don't forget that NOT all show barns are like this, and before you decide to throw in the towel, you may want to look at other show barn options as well. You don't always have to sacrifice good training for a pleasant, low-key atmosphere.
My goodness--life is too short to be stressed out by your barn environment! I left a show barn where this kind of thing was always going on, and while I have two "fancy" boys, we all couldn't be happier at a more low key facility where everyone pretty much does their own thing. I've even caught both boys napping at the same time out in their paddock together. I NEVER saw that at their old barn!
I stuck with a barn for way too long that was drama to the extreme. There was a lot of shady stuff going on and I ended up in some bad and awkward situations. I wasted my entire junior career there and fully regret it. I left in '06 and haven't looked back. I brought my horse back to my parents small farm, got a young TB to start and have just been enjoying RIDING and being with my horses, not "who said what about such and such". I think it would be a great idea. Your horse doesn't have to live in a big fancy show barn to still be a nice, fancy show horse. He will probably be happy with the break as well!
When I was in my later years of college (there were 6 of those.. lol) I sold my horse of a lifetime because I got badly burned out and didnt want to play anymore. The horse was downright evil to handle and I didnt want it in a barn where I didnt have a groom, so keeping him wasnt an option. I sold him and bought a "western" horse.
10 years later I'm a trainer and back at A shows. I can certainly reccommend that you follow your heart. I met my husband during my "down time!" I have no regrets about what I did then and where I am now. Find what makes you happy and go for it. There will be horse shows down the road if you choose to go back to that. Your horse doesnt care! If it feels right to you, it probably is.
I keep my horses at home and trailer to lessons and -- hopefully next year -- shows. When I boarded I kept them at a quiet private farm as well. My horses can come off the trailer and belong at any A barn -- with none of the drama. And I can hop on them bareback in my Carhartts and muck boots for a quick trail ride whenever I darn well please. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Also, if you aren't sure you can totally leave the show thing and don't have a trailer, check out the other show barns in your area and see what their programs are. I trailered out for lessons with a great trainer as a kid who made sure that all the horses hacked out at least 2 days a week on trails, then did flatwork 3 other days, then jumped once a week or less. He showed, but did not campaign. There are show barns out there with a healthy approach to horse management.
I echo everyone. Why stay if you're not happy?
I was in a similar situation a few years ago. I left, my friend left shortly after, and within a couple years all of the "decent" boarders left. I got sick of the "peanut gallery" sitting in the bleachers ring-side during my lessons, literally whispering to each other behind hands. Rumor has it that the "evil" boarders took over and now the barn is in financial trouble because they can't find any new boarders who will put up with the "evil" boarders.
And I also got too busy with work to dedicate to serious training of my (I like to think "fancy") youngster, so he's living in a backyard and goes on trail rides until I can find the time this summer to move him back to a show barn for a few months. He loves it and is very happy with trail rides. We'll go back to serious training/showing when I find an appropriate barn & the time.
Fancy is as fancy does. I wouldn't board at a show barn for all the tea in China. I compete my horse -- and we board at my neighbour's house. And we *gasp* go camping and trail riding for the weekend. Go where you can relax, be happy, and have fun. Otherwise, what's the point of spending all that money?
I rode at the big show barn and could well have continued there, but it was too much of a giant PITA.
I much prefer my arrangement now, where horses are at a rented barn, have lots of turnout, we can have a garden and chickens, with trails, and room to play. We haul to a well known trainer for lessons and horse shows.
The big horse will be sent away for winter camp at another local, low-stress barn that happens to have an indoor so I can keep riding in lousy weather. That's the only downside to our farm is that the footing in our ring (grass) is unfavorable in the winter.
All in all, it's much more enjoyable this way. Find what works for you - just don't burn bridges and you can always go back.
and have NEVER been happier!! I got so tired of the drama, cheating, back stabbing and poor sportmanship that I just said enough. Moved my two talented boys to an oasis for us both and found true peace. They went from six hour turnout on dirt with fighting to grazing for twelve hours with no a peep. We (DD & I) both came to remember why we loved riding so much and I actually ride more now than ever! My boys have never been happier and it shows in their attitudes.
You have to do what makes you happy! Life is stressful enough without all the crap that showing can bring along with it. Some people thrive on that kind of atmosphere but don't kick yourself if you aren't one of them!!
Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears.
I board next door to my trainer in a huge pasture. My horse is incredibly happy. I can go hack over for a lesson if I want, or if I just want to ride in her ring.
If I want "quiet time" Chance and I stay next door and do whatever we want in our arena. Or we go on the trail. Or I go over and brush him, feed him treats and go home. It's great! It's fun, my horse is happy, I'm happy and I have walking access to a wonderful trainer.
I vote for moving. Nothing beats the quiet bonding time you'll have with your horse.
I'm somewhat in the same situation. Extremely unhappy with where I'm am and the drama I have to deal with, but not because of showing.
Unfortunately I used to board at a barn that was perfect for me, so I'm having a really hard time adjusting. Before I left for college I had always been in intense training for showing and when my horse decided eventing wasn't in his heart, it broke mine a little. After every failed show I would question why I'm doing this? Why am I putting myself through heartbreak and hating my horse? I took a complete month off from lessons at home (in which no one at home would question it) and then moved him with me to college. I've definitely found that sometimes you need to take the time to realize why you fell in love with riding horses in the first place.
Now I'm here...unhappy and wanting that support system I had for years. I'm still not in a training program and it's been at least 4 months and until I find a perfect trainer, it will stay that way. Not being snobby, but my horse is one of the most talented/fanciest horses in the barn, so I can relate there. If you decide to go back to training, find someone and somewhere, that will support whatever you decide, not push you farther into something you don't want. It's a tricky situation, but I've found that my best trainers also became very dear friends of mine.
First and foremost, make yourself and your horse happy.
Thanks for all the advice everyone That was just what I needed to hear. Actually, after hearing from all of you, I'm tempted to find the quiet barn I dream of NOW and not just for the summer. The thought of calm at the barn seems soooo appealing!