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Should I move? WWYD?

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  • Should I move? WWYD?

    This is long: I apologize!

    Im trying to decide if I should move my easy keeper large pony mare from my current barn to another barn.

    Current barn: The good: Really friendly owner/manager. Mostly drama-free. Great lessons. Jumps are always set for gymnastics or cool courses and as an added bonus, most of the lines are set for large ponies because of the students. Great hay and even better pasture. Barn is only 5 miles from my office so I can ride during my lunch break during day light savings. My horse is really happy and likes her herd mates. Board is fairly cheap. The owner regular goes to shows and has open spots on her trailer.
    The bad: Im lonely because there are not many adult riders. One side of her pasture is sagging neglected no-climb fence with a strand of sagging high tensile w/o current running through it-the owner of the farm won’t replace it because she only rents that field and doesn’t want to put out the money. My pony is smart and has not had an accident….yet. The grass is so lush and the owner feeds a ton of hay that testing the fence has never been an issue but it still makes me really nervous. The stone dust/sand footing gets hard in the summer. Ring is never dragged and there are huge trenches from the school kids. My pony must wear shoes here because she drags her hind toes in the stone dust and wears them down to nubs. The only way to turn a trailer around is to drive it through my pony’s pasture which makes them run around like idiots (this only happens every now and then). The barn has a huge lesson operation. When I ride after work, there are usually 5-10 kids running around, which usually is cute. I like kids but if they are in the middle of a big group lesson, I can’t really do what I want to do. I can wait; its not a huge deal but it really bothers me when my farrier arrives and can’t get to work on my pony because there are 7 kids and ponies in the aisle in varying stages of tacking up. I also have to do all my own blankets. I have to feed her everyday myself too or pay an extra $50 to have her fed for me. The barn is dirty and there is stuff everywhere! It gives my OCD a jolt when I walk in the barn. My area is clean and tidy but I just avoid looking around the barn/tack room. Once last summer, my friend and I took time off work to clean the crap out of it because we were so bothered by it but it only lasted a few months and now you can’t tell. They have built a new boarder tack room so that problem will most likely go away once the boarders move into the new part. I have to take vacation time from work to meet my farrier because the owner doesnt hold for any farrier but her own (I will not use her farrier; he has an abusive reputation and my pony has been abused in the past and is super sensitive) I think she would hold her in the case of an emergency.

    I can deal with all of the above issues because the positives outweigh the negatives except one: the biggest reason I’m thinking of moving is that Im not comfortable riding out. The only place to hack out is a huge hilly cow pasture and to get there, you have to ride about 100 yards down a busy curvy road with a blind curve. Last year I found out the hard way that my pony is terrorized by motorcycles/bikes/mopeds. After that accident, I’m too scared to ride there. All I can think about is what could have happened. I get nerves just thinking about it. My pony has a bad stifle and I need to hack her out but I can’t get past the road. If I do somehow master the road, once we get out there, there are about 4 gates I have to get off to open and then the hills are really steep, which is great for her stifle going up but very painful for her going down. So it’s not ideal. There are also cows. Cows are very scary. My pony was a spoiled A circuit princess before I got her. She had never been hacked in the country, never crossed water, never seen cows, wild turkeys, etc.

    The place Im thinking about moving is very small. The ring is huge and the footing is really nice. The manager drags it regularly. They have lights. They have a grassy area that surrounds the ring that I can ride on as well as a 20 X 50 mostly flat grass area where I can do flat work. They have a short hacking trail that includes a nice hill and a short trail in the woods. Its not the land I want to be able to ride on but its more than I have now and Im thinking I can pull her shoes and only ride in the ring a few times a week and she won’t wear her hooves down too fast. They also have cross country jumps scattered all over. I would not have to go out every day to feed her. They take care of feeding, blankets, masks, everything. The price is only $50 more than Im paying now. The pastures don’t have much grass. My mare is an easy keeper. I’m thinking if I moved there and the pasture remained crappy, she might not have to wear her muzzle 24/7 March-November like she does currently. It’s about the same distance from my house as the other barn. They do not have a big lesson program. They pull the horses out individually to feed them. The place is spotless! The manager’s wife is a vet. I can use any farrier or vet I want and the manager will hold them if I can’t get out.

    The downsides to this new place are that it’s further from work. No more rides during my lunch break. There will most likely not be any showing opportunities. There isn’t a trainer but I can bring in anyone to teach. Id have to set my own jumps and most of the jumps are PVC (ugh!). They put mares and geldings together, which I’m not totally against, but my mare is a total b#t&h sometimes and other times, the bottom horse. I’m afraid she might get hurt or wont she won’t be happy. I think she is really happy where she is now. I’m just worried about moving her. I don’t want to disrupt her happiness.

    I think by writing this, I answered my question and made up my mind but Id like to hear what others think. I’m also hesitant to have to tell the owner that I want to move. She is SO NICE and I love her. I know I know, just because she is nice doesn’t mean I should stay but its hard!

  • #2
    Both places sound OK; only you can decide how to weigh the showing or lack of, or the outdoor riding opportunities. It is hard for me to tell about the only safety issue at the first place, the old no climb fence. Sagging no climb isn't necessarily a safety hazard, but I guess it depends what the fence really looks like. A little saggy on the top is no issue. (And I don't blame the BO for not wanting to replace -- do you know how expensive it is?!)

    You've already written out the pros and cons, you could put them in list form to better compare.
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    • #3
      Sounds like you've already listed out all of your pros and cons, and like SMF11 said I think listing them (and numbering them) would be a good idea. Go with the place where the pros outweigh the cons. I don't think anyone will ever find a place that everything works out 100% they way they like (one can dream though, right?!?) so go with the place that has you the closest to having your mind at ease.

      Not the answer you're looking for, right?! :-D Best of luck in your decision.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks! I know Ill never be 100% happy unless I have my own place and even then, ill probably have complaints!

        The thing about the no-climb is that its sagging at the bottom. There is about a foot that lays on the ground. I think about her stepping in it and getting the wire caught up under the heel of her shoe, stepping back, freaking out. Yikes!

        Im going to try numbering them! Thanks!!


        • #5
          In general, if people post on here about if they should move?? The answer is yes.

          Current owner is nice and all that but you are not happy, you are lonesome and one of a cast of hundreds in a busy teaching barn. And you are scared a bit of some situations. And the overall care is...well...lacking in some ares. I do question current owner using a farrier with an abusive reputation and not offering any assistance (even at a fee) for a farrier of choice.

          Also the mopeds, kids running around, fencing in need of repair and hard ground in a seldom dragged arena are not plusses in my mind.

          And horses don't experience "happiness" like we do, they want food and some shelter and some buddies and they are just fine.

          The new place has a few minuses but the big plus is more detailed care and better footing. The rest you can deal with and work with the owner on-pretty sure they will be diligent in finding the proper turn out buddy situation and take the time to get it right if you ask. They don't want banged up horses either.

          I'd move.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            Does barn 2 have multiple pastures or just one? I have no problem with mixed turnout but I would like the option for her to go out with a different group if she doesn't get along with group 1.

            Otherwise, seems like a no brainer to me! Barn 2 sounds like a way better fit.


            • #7
              Originally posted by BeanCounterPony View Post
              The thing about the no-climb is that its sagging at the bottom. There is about a foot that lays on the ground. I think about her stepping in it and getting the wire caught up under the heel of her shoe, stepping back, freaking out. Yikes!
              Wow, how does that even happen??! I think you are right, that could be a safety hazard.
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              • #8
                I kind of feel if I was in your position that I would move. To me, the negatives are stronger if you stayed. Again, we all have different opinions. The fence scares me. I don't enjoy kids around ALL the time. Certain times is fine, but with big lesson barns it seems they overrun the farms! . I like riding time as my quiet time, but that's me.

                If you do stay, can you got out to the pasture with some wire and fold the bottom of the fence back and underneath so that it is not laying on the ground? Use small pieces of wire to connect piece A to piece B? Unsafe fencing is a deal breaker for me.
                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                ¯ Oscar Wilde


                • #9
                  Go out & meet/interview prospective trainers.

                  Write a list of the shows you went to last year - how much will it cost you to arrange trailering on your own (again suss out trailering prospects - you can also add this aspect into your trainer prospect list).

                  Is your fear just fear of the unknown?

                  Can you talk to your present barn owner/manager about coming back if the new place doesn't work out for your horse - it sounds as if it will be a much better fit for you

                  When you add in all the hidden costs of your current place, I suspect the board fees will work out the same longterm; if your pony can go barefioot at the new barn, that will balance trailering etc costs.

                  For me the move would be clear cut (the fence )


                  • #10
                    Move. Really

                    And how lucky you were to find another place as nice, not much farther away.

                    And for only an extra $50/month?

                    You should be loading her on the trailer right now.

                    She'll be just as happy in a safe, well tended place.



                    • #11
                      Recently there was another thread that pointed out that, re relationships between horse owners and professionals, the owners tend to have more of an emotional investment than do the professionals - but the owners don't always realize that. The pros are professionally friendly, and sometimes owners over-interpret how close that relationship is.

                      Your current barn owner may not be as hurt as you are anticipating if you move. Changing that relationship may mean more to you than it does to the bo. Of course the bo will likely be sad to see you go on several levels - but another boarder will take your horse's place. On both sides, if you are truly friends then this is not the end of that friendship. You will both move forward and so will your friendship. A true friendship is not about which horse is living in which stall.

                      If you find that if you are not a boarder, you are not much of anything else in the bo's life .... you won't be the first boarder (in any barn) to have found that out. Hope that's not how it happens, but be prepared, on some level.

                      BTW - this relationship confusion can be found in small family-atmosphere barns, as well as in bigger barns. Seen that. In fact, sometimes it is a bigger surprise to one party to find out that the relationship was always more business than personal.

                      Good luck and good riding!


                      • #12
                        Are these the only two options in your area? I am leaning towards the second...as it sounds like you will be happier there. I am just wondering if there isn't another option that might just be perfect.
                        "I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way."


                        • #13
                          About the decreased showing opportunities... maybe not

                          Does your trainer have a trailer? Do you like making new friends? Are you the sort that can both pay $$ for show shipping, and clean out the trailer super nice when you get dropped off?

                          Due to my home relocating and finances changing, I had to change barns 2 years ago. I moved out from a giant show barn (albeit, one that was slowing down) and am now at practically Backyard, USA. This little barn has some major downsides, like the part where I'm often out there alone, which is a bummer, and the rings are small (and my horses, who are BFFs, are in separate pastures which is a pain) but the care is IMPECCABLE and truly the pastures/food/stalls/turnout/etc are all horse heaven. Heaven, I tell you. And the rings are 100% meticulously done every day. I will happily take rather small and with excellent footing than large and mediocre to crappy footing.

                          But my trainer comes to me, and she has connections that can get me and my horses are ride anywhere I want to go. Not that I have the time or money.

                          And even though I hardly see my ponies right now (full time school and work), I'm pretty sure they hardly even realize I'm gone. And the fact that they are almost has happy as they could possibly be, and certainly are healthier than they've possibly ever been, makes me wonder if I may never move them again, even when my budget increases in August and I want to be back at a large, busy barn.

                          And it is *really* nice to walk into a farm and see the clean, beautiful neatness. This barn property is a working farm from the 1800s, so there is some old buildings. But they are neat, clean, and safe. And it is way better than the brand new clutter mess that I was at briefly this past summer.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks everyone for their responses. Ive decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. I think Ill be able to come back if it doesnt work out.

                            Its so great to be able to write everything down and have other horse people who understand give their 2 cents. When I talk to my non-horsey friends or fiance about it, their faces go blank Its great to have this community.

                            Now all I have to do is talk to the barn manager at my current barn. Ek! But she probably doesnt care as much as I think she will! Thats a great point!