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Should I stay or should I go?

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    Should I stay or should I go?

    I just moved out of state a week ago and got my horse settled into a new barn. The horse care is quite good, the facilities are gorgeous... but I am so very unhappy there. It's run by a dressage trainer and there are mainly just horses in training there. The barn is located on a large well maintained trail network, but nobody rides out because the dressage horses aren't allowed to go across roads and won't cross water. In addition, nobody (literally) rides at the end of the day when I ride and I am usually the only one at the barn at that time. It's freakishly lonely.

    Unfortunately there aren't a lot of other options with stalls available that are in my price range in the area. A few good ones are available with a longer drive (I am driving 30 mins now). I am trying to decide whether to suck it up and be happy that my horse is happy and the facilities are great... or to try to find a barn that has an active riding community as well. I came from a dressage barn that had great horse care, an active group of folks who rode when I did, and they liked to go out on the trails too. It was so much fun. I am going to have to sign a contract this week that will commit me to a 30 day notice clause and I hate to move my horse again now that he is settling in nicely. That said, I am not having fun. Oh, what to do?

    Look for another place. Even if it is a smaller, privately owned barn, you should find somewhere that you are happy. If you dont like riding at the current place, you will probably either stop going out as much or just go out and be in a bad mood. Either way, your horse will be effected...

    Same kind of thing happened to me while I was in college ( college barn was too expensive for me ) and I ended up finding a barn that was primarily western. They took great care of the horses, had barrels, ect for jumping, trail rode, and didnt care what trainer I brought in for lessons. They even tried to ride dressage tests with me- so fun!!

    I would look around and see what else you can find. Even if you end up having to sign the 30 day notice contract, you can find somewhere to move after the 30 days are up.
    RIP Charlie and Toby


      Sounds like you've been there a week? I'd probably sign the contract and give it a month or so to see how it feels after you've been there a bit longer. Maybe folks will be out later on, or schedules are wonky due to showing or summer heat or something? Good care that's geographically convenient can be hard to find, and I wouldn't burn this bridge before you find something that's a better fit for you.


        Suck it up.

        Good care and a nice facility??? Arena to yourself? Good hacking? Sounds heavenly to me.

        I can see if the barn is your social life you might not be happy but if you are serious about training and care about your horses health and happiness....I'd quit complaining! I'd kill to find a place that had all of those things going for it.
        "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


          I would give it some more time.

          IMO good care and facilities trump good company almost all the time (probably why I own my own farm and ride alone so often!!). I'd rather be lonely but know that my horse was safe and I had decent footing and turnout. If you have that AND hacking, you're laughing!

          Maybe one of the DQ's will venture out on the trails with you and become a hacking buddy...eventually!

          With the move etc. maybe you're just feeling overwhelmed...or a little homesick? (can you tell I'm a shrink?). As long as your horse is happy and safe i would give the new barn a little more time.


            Original Poster

            You all have good points. The quality of the horse care is the most important thing, and if it wasn't good it would be a very easy decision. I guess I will have to get used to riding alone all of the time. There are no other boarders there to hack out with, just the trainer and her staff and they don't/won't hack out on principle. I guess that I was spoiled in my prior situation... great horse care and lots of camaraderie and laughs. Sucking it up here.


              i'd stay..and try to get to know some of the horsey people in the area. I am sure you will find someone from another farm that would be happy to meet and hack out with you.

              and once those other riders see how quiet and well behaved your horse is, they may start to hack with you. that happened when I boarded at a (mostly dressage) barn. they all thought I was nuts going out and playing in the snow, taking long hacks around the fields and generally making my (at the time) 3 year old mare bomb proof and 7 year old OTTB quiet and happy....I always invited a DQ to come out with me and promise to keep it to a walk..after a couple rides, they were out happily trotting and cantering their horses with just keep inviting people, someone will bite...
              I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                Originally posted by xitmom View Post
                You all have good points. The quality of the horse care is the most important thing, and if it wasn't good it would be a very easy decision. I guess I will have to get used to riding alone all of the time. There are no other boarders there to hack out with, just the trainer and her staff and they don't/won't hack out on principle. I guess that I was spoiled in my prior situation... great horse care and lots of camaraderie and laughs. Sucking it up here.
                I bet once you get used to it you might actually like it. I do. I am far more productive as well.

                Are there any farms around that share the trails? Maybe you could find a hacking buddy from another barn?
                "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                  Nothing wrong with giving it time, as we're always lonely in a new location.

                  BUT, IMO, horses are a social activity. My search for a boarding barn would first and foremost be for a group of people I wanted to associate with.


                    I'd say give it some time--are you absolutely sure NOBODY will EVER be riding at the times when you're there? That NOBODY will EVER be convinced to go on a trail ride with a willing partner? (you) That there will NEVER be a new boarder coming in that might become a great buddy? That you could NEVER be happy at a gorgeous facility with lots of trails and good care?

                    Sounds like heaven compared to some places I've boarded. I do enjoy SOME of the "boarding community" stuff, but mostly I want to be by myself at the end of the day, with my horses, and RIDE--I'm not much for chit-chat or hanging around before or after riding--too much stuff to do!

                    Unless the resident trainer really frowns on it, could you arrange some stuff on your own--a clinic, for instance--to meet some new local horse people? Put up an ad on the barn's bulletin board looking for hacking buddies? You never know--maybe some of the DQs are secretly bored with their rectangular space . . .
                    Click here before you buy.


                      Stay ! (for a while). A week is nothing, you've probably just got the moving blues. Wait a while, go for some trail rides ... you'll meet people on the trail for sure. Also, you haven't even been in the area to meet all the cool people. You'll find them - give it time. It'll all seem a lot easier when you've got friends clamouring to ride with you every weekend, shows to go to ... you'll be welcoming the 3-4 days of peace and quiet during the week to get some work done


                        I would sign the agreement. 30 days notice won't feel like a lot if/when it comes time to exercise it. Here are my other suggestions:

                        1. Don't stop looking at for another place that might suit your needs more fully. I have found that often once you are in the horse loop of the community (even just by virtue of taking lessons, having a vet & farrier) other unadvertised or previously unavailable options present themselves.

                        2. See if anyone at a neighboring farm likes to hack.

                        3. Go to clinics (as a rider or auditor) and any other horse person events in your area and try to network. You might find a better option this way or at least make some like-minded friends.

                        4. Get friendly with the staff/working students. Maybe they will "dare" to go on a hack once the fall for your wit and charm.

                        5. Re-assess your goals: are you looking for "great facilities" (which totally varies from person to person FYI) so that you can train for something or are you just accustomed to having a heated indoor, tack cleaning fairies and five wash stalls? Perhaps there are facilities that you are willing to forgo in the interest of finding a barn with a great community. Things that you should obviously NOT sacrifice are the safety and well-being of your horse.

                        Best of luck to you in your decision. Remember that your horse will help you get through the lonely times and that change is hard for EVERYONE (especially me!!!!).
                        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                          I"d stay--the place sounds great. I guess I choose a barn based on the facility and the care--not the social circle. It sounds like where I board--there are a lot of people ride during the day. I am often riding alone in the evening. I don't mind at all--love taking a hack all alone on my horse. And, I get a lot more done (in shorter time) when there aren't people out there chatting. And yes, I have convinced several confirmed DQ's to go hacking with me after they got to know me and my horse. I think you will get used to it.


                            Original Poster

                            OK. Sucking it up here with the words of wisdom and encouragement of the folks on the board. I needed that. There may be riders at other barns in the area who like to hack out who I can meet. It will be on me to find them.

                            My new barn is pretty small (10-12 horses) and there ARE no boarders other than me... just the trainer and her working students (who I think WOULD go out) but the issue is that the horses in for training are quite fancy dressage horses and the trainer does not want them worked on uneven ground if you know what I mean.

                            And just to make things clear... I do not need (or have) a heated indoor, tack cleaning fairies and five wash stalls...LOL... not sure I would know what to do with them if I did. Good horse care, an indoor, a large outdoor, trails, beautiful views, a nice size stall and lots of turnout for my guy is serious luxury in my book. And believe me, I am not complaining... just wondering if I am the only one who seeks out the community feeling in the barn or if I should just try to get used to flying solo. Giving it a go.


                              xitmom, I will join with the others and say give it a try. I also boarded at a DQ barn with excellent care. My mare and I were in (desperately needed) training there. I was disappointed that it was so hard to find people who wanted to do anything but "school" and many were not even game for using the outdoor arena. I *had* to become a bit more self-sufficient; with no nearby trails access and in need of out-of-the-arena challenges for my mare, I started riding her on the road, only 50 yards out at first but eventually much further as we gained confidence. It turned out she is an excellent road horse! And I couldn't get most people to even try it, even the working student who is an excellent rider.
                              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                Originally posted by xitmom View Post
                                but I am so very unhappy there... It's freakishly lonely.
                                Just wanted to extend my sympathies. I've had a similar experience (not horse-related) and it was hard, you can't help feeling a little rejected by the more keep-to-yourself atmosphere, no matter how (distantly) pleasant people may be. Good for you giving it a shot, but don't go overboard. It's easy to get used to something you don't really like. This is a pricey, time-consuming hobby; you deserve to really enjoy the place where you go to enjoy it!


                                  I know the feeling. With the husband's army career moving us consistently, my horsey friends are usually the first (and best) ones I make. This last move, the first barn I was at only had one other boarder who was the BO's best friend and they had some interesting ideas about training. But the facility safe and reasonably priced, the care excellent. It took about three months but I'm now at a facility with the trails and jumps I wanted, people to ride with, and a couple ladies who are willing to help out with my baby when I can't get a sitter. Deep breath, give it some time and reach out to the local horsey scene.
                                  Equestrian Photography


                                    I certainly empathize with your situation but since you are new to the area it might be best to sit tight at this place for awhile. It's a nice facility and the care is good - so now you can take more time to find another place that might be a better fit. One of the other posts mentioned auditing clinics or going to shows/events that's a great idea. You might also find out if there are any horse trials/shows nearby where you could volunteer. Often the best barns are the ones you hear about by word of mouth - and what better way to find out about such places (and meet fellow equestrians) is by volunteering.

                                    At any rate I wouldn't suggest moving just yet.. and it's only been a week....there might be someone who would also love to do some trail riding but doesn't because no one would ride out w/ them.

                                    30 days is not a terribly long time to wait. I hate to hear that you are miserable but it will get better... funny how moving to a new barn is like being the new kid in school... all the best to you and please keep us posted.


                                      Originally posted by xitmom View Post
                                      And just to make things clear... I do not need (or have) a heated indoor, tack cleaning fairies and five wash stalls...LOL... not sure I would know what to do with them if I did. Good horse care, an indoor, a large outdoor, trails, beautiful views, a nice size stall and lots of turnout for my guy is serious luxury in my book.
                                      Didn't mean to insinuate that that was what you have! Actually was trying to think of things that were so outrageously luxurious that people would know it was a joke. "Luxury" seems to vary a lot based on geographic location and personal goals. And, FWIW, you don't sound like a complainer to me...
                                      "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                                        I, too, would stay. Wait it out for a bit and see what happens.

                                        I'm at a barn that is more kids than adults. And the majority of the adults don't work or have PT jobs. So I'm out there many evenings by myself (FT job here!). Especially now with the kids being out of school and they are going during the day. And even during the school year, they seem to ride right after school so are leaving by the time I get there.

                                        Weekends are different... usually a few people around. So I get my socialization then.

                                        I guess my question is... why are you the only boarder? How did that come about?

                                        I would start looking around for a place that has more boarders and would fit your needs. Can't hurt to look... I always like to keep my options open just in case the sh*t hits the fan somewhere.