I'm in quite a predicament. I wanted to get some feedback. I have been at a barn for 13 years and had all 4 of my horses boarded there. I love this place. I am great friends with the trainer, love the care my horse gets, love the farrier and the facilities. It's just such a great place. I live an hour away unfortunately and currently have a yearling there. My job is so time consuming I routinely put in 50-60 hour weeks. I rarely get out there right now other than on the weekends.
I am not even riding so driving two hours just to spend 30 minutes to an hour with Miss baby seems so excessive and if I have any weekend plans I don't get out there at all. I am very lucky to have such a calm baby that she is okay getting worked with 1-2 days a week but there are certain things that I would like to work on more often but I can't get out there to do it. And I also miss her.
I love spending time with her and I hate that I am not out there more. I also can't take lessons because I have no idea when I can get out there and the trainer only teaches Tues-Thurs which is super inconvenient. I really need to be riding so that when it's time to break my baby in a couple of years I need to be in riding shape.
I did leave once for the same reason but ended up hating the barn and moving my horse back to my current place. I also hate the vet at my current place and if anything major happens to my horse I won't let him anywhere near her which brings on a whole other set of issues.
I know my trainer will be mad if I leave and I honestly don't want to and I really don't want to train without her when it is time to ride but I feel like I am doing a diservice to my horse and I really hate paying expensive board when I can't even enjoy her that much.
I can't tell from your post if your work is nearer your home or the barn. Guessing that you live near where you work, and having a commute from hell myself, I would suggest working really hard to find another great place close to where you live.
The options are pretty clear if you're looking to spend more time with the horse:
1) Move the horse closer to where you work and live
2) Work and live closer to where you keep the horse
3) Spend more time on the road and get less sleep
4) Win the lottery, quit your job and buy your own place (my personal plan but I don't seem to have time to buy lottery tickets!)
Is your trainer really such an unreasonable person that she/he will get mad if you take your unrideable horse away for a year or two because your job is keeping you too busy to make the two hour drive to see your horse? Is this really the sort of person you want to deal with?
My horse is more important than my trainer. I'm paying a lot of money to have a horse and if I can't enjoy my horse and spend time with him, what's the point of keeping a trainer happy?
What kind of trainer teaches only 2 days a week? What does s/he do the rest of the time? I'm surprised s/he isn't more flexible. You sound like a loyal and good boarder, why isn't s/he bending over backward to keep your business?
Four horse in 13 years? Or four all 13 years?
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What is your priority? Is it having the horse more accessible? Is it having the horse at a place you TRUST so you don't have to worry about anything? Is it something(s) else??? Keeping your current place to live?
And is the trainer available at other times and/or locations, perhaps someplace closer to your house?
A yearling who has been handled reasonably from birth doesn't need to be groomed & messed with more than once/week, and if you skip a week that's OK too. Since you're not sure you want to move, it's OK to hold off on that decision.
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince
What if you moved your horse(s) closer to home, maybe to an "open" type barn. Then find a local freelance trainer to help you, but take lessons and show with your old trainer when you can. Explain to the local trainer that your old trainer has seniority. As long as you are honest and clear and a good client, everyone wins.
Trainers are sort of like horses -- if presented with a situation and you act like there is something nefarious to worry about, they will behave like there is....best to be forward and honest!
My predicament is similar- I work 30 minutes west of my home, and my barn is 30 minutes east of my home. I can honestly say the best thing to do is shop around, quietly, and see what's out there.
In my case, I have two horses that I board at a private facility. For a very low amount each month, I get a three-stall barn- I keep the boys in the stalls with run outs, and use the third as a tack/feed stall. Pastures, arenas, trails, and though I provide my own feed, the BO prefers to feed and turn out in the morning so she can rotate her pastures the way she wants. Love the farrier, love the vet, love the facilities, love the people. Downside is that I'm really the only person who rides at the barn, and it's just far enough away that very few trainers will come out.
I started looking at places that were closer to work or home, or in that space in between, and I found that I would be paying double what I pay total per month just for one horse's board! Yes, I would have more access to trainers, but I would lose my vet, my farrier, and I'd have to downsize a horse. I would also lose turnout, privacy, and access.
In my case, doing some smart shopping helped me make the decision.
So I think I am going to start looking at other places. Just to answer some of your helpful questions. It's been 4 horses over 13 years so just one at a time. I agree with the thought that I shouldn't want to be at a trainer that is going to be mad if I leave. I think she will just not get it because as others have said she is only a yearling and doesn't need to be worked with a lot. It's not that I don't agree with that or that I would be actually 'working' with her 7 days a week but just going in, giving her a treat, groom her a little bit and say hello is what I mean when I say I want to be out there more than once a week. She's my only horse and I love being at the barn. On the lesson front, she teaches tue-thurs. She takes Mondays off, gets the show kids/adults ready on Fridays and then is at a show all day on Saturday. They do the bigger local circuit so it's every weekend.
I think I am just going to have to suck it up and deal with her being upset with me if that's how it turns out. I pay way too much money for my horse to not be able to enjoy her.
I'm in a similar situation. My horse is 20 miles away in an area that I would only travel to or through to see her specifically. I am to the point that in order to meet my own riding goals, I need her to be closer to home (not to mention there are other things going on in the barn with a fellow boarder that make me unhappy). I love the barn owner, have been there for years but it's just not right for me anymore.
Now, I'm torn between two barns - one that has glowing reviews but would not allow me to access the vet and farrier that I want, has no indoor, no place to put my shoeing stocks indoors, 13 miles from home and would still necessitate a special drive since I don't go by every day. The other that is a fledgling start up barn that needs some work (but they are doing it) and the barn owner isn't a horse pro but seems willing to do what you tell him to do. The second barn is closest to home, would let me see her every day, has a small indoor and is right across the street from the state park for trail riding.
I'm leaning towards taking a chance with the second barn and should it not work out, move to the first barn.
Last edited by Snowflake; Jul. 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM.