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Moving dilemma... or, how far would you drive?

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  • Moving dilemma... or, how far would you drive?

    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!!!

  • #2
    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.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net

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    • #3
      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.
      Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by kookicat View Post
            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*

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by loshad View Post
              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.

              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?

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
                Sam: A job? Does it pay?
                Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
                Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Grataan View Post
                  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.


                  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!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Liverpools View Post
                    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.

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                    • #11
                      I might have an idea

                      Where are you located? Zone 2 is a large area? I know of a couple good private barns depending where are you located.
                      Red Door Consignment Gallery
                      WWW.RedDoorConsignmentGallery.com
                      www.Bedrock-Farm.com

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                      • #12
                        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!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Skip's Rider View Post
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.
                            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Liverpools View Post
                                  Well, at least I know I'm not the only one.

                                  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.
                                  According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.

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