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forced to move horse from barn I loved- sad,advice? (sorry long)

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  • forced to move horse from barn I loved- sad,advice? (sorry long)

    First let me introduce myself, I've read COTH for years but have never posted. I could use some advice and support right now.
    Long story short (or maybe long story long), I purchased a new horse last year and have been boarding him at a barn that I have ridden at and boarded my previous horse at for over 7 years. I was quite close to the people there. I recently had to make the hard decision to find a new situation for my horse. He needs more turnout than they can provide for health reasons, no fault of their own they tried their best. So after a lot of searching I finally found a barn that had the turnout he needs and is a safe barn (sadly around here the choices aren't great).
    I had to sacrifice a lot, I have gone from a barn with an indoor ring, quality jumps etc., and riders similar to myself to more of a backyard barn with trail riders and no ring to ride in. Don't get me wrong, the horses are well cared for, people are good horse people but the environment is very different and I stick out like a sore thumb. The horses at this barn are super calm trail horses that live outside and look like real outdorsey horses. My horse and I walk in all clipped and shiny and with my horse doing airs above the ground like a very uncalm dork-like manner and I feel stupid and out of place.
    I am really struggling. My horse's health is better which is why I moved him but this is so hard on me. I miss all my old barn friends and while I stop by to visit it isn't quite the same and my old barn is in the opposite direction so it is a special trip over there that I can't make too often. I've been going through a rough time and my barn friends were really important to me. On top of it my horse is acting up more than usual, I can't really blame him- he is not use to trails and no ring and there is a whole slew of farm animals that live there that freak him out as he never had any exposure to them. I don't blame him and we are working through it but I am getting depressed at the prospect of going to the barn now because I know it will be a stressful session helping him get use to the surroundings and learn to do trails, not a relaxing ride. I miss having a ring!
    In my heart I know my horse's health is more important than if I have a ring and my barn friends but this is so hard.
    Any advice on adjusting and learning to enjoy my horse in this new environment?

  • #2
    did you look for....

    What might not even be considered a horse facility, maybe a field near your old barn, or someones back yard, that you could rent, for the turnout, get dirt cheap, pay the old barn people a little more to feed when you can't, and be able to ride at the old place everyday?

    Just a thought.
    " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs
    http://www.bluemooncustomsigns.com

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    • #3
      That would be super but my old barn is in the land of suburban sprawl, no open land- why leave a nice open field when you can build a slew of mcmansions there

      Comment


      • #4
        McMansions always have 5+ acre yards....

        Originally posted by Mari88 View Post
        That would be super but my old barn is in the land of suburban sprawl, no open land- why leave a nice open field when you can build a slew of mcmansions there
        Start a lawn mowing service, just don't tell them it requires fence and long term mowing...
        " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs
        http://www.bluemooncustomsigns.com

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        • #5
          Give you and your horse some time to adjust to the different pace of the new barn. I grew up riding and showing (the only "trail ride" we did was to go out in the hayfield once a year and get run off with!).
          I brought mine home several years ago and actually started riding trails with a friend down the road and am totally enjoying it now. My high strung horses have definately benefitted from riding out with her mellow QHs, but they go out alone now too. It is fun to go out and explore new trails and we're going to try horse camping this year.
          I think this lifestyle is a lot healthier for my guys than living in a crowded boarding facility with limited turn out. I hope things work out for you and your horse, it is commendable that you are putting his needs first!

          Comment


          • #6
            Is there a ring nearby that you could use?

            I know it's hard to change situations, but I'll bet that you will cheer up once you get to know the people there. Going on trail rides doesn't seem so bad. Maybe you could invite some of your friends from your old barn?

            I personally prefer a boarding situation where there are other animals as it really helps my horses get habituated to strange sounds/smells. Where I board there are cows, goats, and dogs. There used to be llamas, pigs, bison, and a steer. It sure comes in handy when I take my horses other places because I know it won't faze them to see llamas next to the cross country course (which has happened to me).

            You can always keep looking to see if there is a facility that has everything you want. Until then, take advantage of what you do have.

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            • #7
              moving barns

              When new folks come to my barn, I usually tell them that the transition will be harder on their horse than it is them and that is usually true. Just because most folks at the new barn don't show, it doesn't mean that they are not friendly horse loving individuals and you can be an individual no matter where you are. Be yourself-----maintain your horse's grooming (nice & bright you said) and just relax. it is good for your horse to experience new situations and you, too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, I think it might help if you focussed on the positive things this move can do for you. You said you did it for your horse's health, which I hope is better. You can certainly do flatwork without a ring, it'll just require a sharp eye for footing and objects. If you are missing your old friends perhaps shipping in for lessons there once a week? Or inviting them over to enjoy the trails? I hope once Spring arrives you and some of the boarders at the new barn can get together and you and your horse can widen your horizons and relax moseying down the trails and finding out what is around that next bend, be it a view or a place to have a nice gallop or just keep moseying. Good luck!
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

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                • #9
                  As sad as you are right now, I think this move can be a very positive thing for you and your horse. His health is already benefiting which is wonderful. And although he's spooky right now, he's only going to get better and be a calmer, more dependable horse in the future.

                  Desensitizing horses isn't always fun. It can be frustrating and scary. But take it one day at a time. Don't expect your rides to go like they did in the ring. That'll only set you both up for failure and you'll be even more upset. Treat each day differently and go out with an open mind. If you haven't already, take him for walks around the property so that he can meet the new animals. If possible, maybe his turnout can be switched so that he'll be pastured near these new animals...if he grazes alongside them, he'll probably be less likely to react when he sees them while he's undersaddle.

                  A ring does make life easier, but working without a ring will make you a better horseperson. You'll learn how to make perfect circles without the guidance of a fence or arena walls and you'll be used to riding over varied terrain, which will improve your seat, his confidence, and his athlethic ability.

                  As for your friends, keep in touch as much as you can, and maybe trailer over to your old stable or vice versa when ever possible to ride together. It's hard to move on and leave old friends, but you can never have too many friends, right? I'm sure the people at the new barn would be willing to show you the trails once you and your boy are ready

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                  • #10
                    fwiw, i think you made the right move and your horse will adjust and be better off for it. it will take some time though, he needs to relax and chances are he will soon enough. i bet he doesn't care if there is a ring to work in!
                    i am sorry that you feel so lonely and out of place there, that's happened to me too, but in reverse. i moved my fuzzy drafty mare to a show barn and was laughed at a lot and felt miserable. in time i found a better fit for us, but that year was hard.
                    keep doing what's bets for your horse and you will fell good about that. could you start walking him on the trails and pasture him with a calm barnmate in order to help him adjust? i bet he'll settle in and the exposure to different animals will make him a more confidant horse in the long run. and i hope you'll find friends there as time goes by.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You sound young...you'll move barns a lot in your life with horses. Some places will fit you like a glove, some you'll feel like a visitor to an odd convention.

                      Think of what you and your horse can learn at this barn. Trail riding isn't a bad thing. I worked on my Trakehner 3-day horse's dressage while on the trail. He was so much happier outside of a ring.

                      Sparkle and shiny are special, cute and unimportant to your horse. Clean horse, comfortable saddle and even cleaner saddle pad matter...everything else is for your benefit. No horse ever felt better with sparkle on his hooves or a braided mane.

                      Relax and give your new barn-mates a chance...you might just have fun. Don't forget to bring your smile and sense of humour with you...it'll help!

                      Plus remember, your horse lives there, you visit.
                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sparkle and shiny are special, cute and unimportant to your horse. Clean horse, comfortable saddle and even cleaner saddle pad matter...everything else is for your benefit. No horse ever felt better with sparkle on his hooves or a braided mane.
                        My gray horse begs to differ.
                        ---
                        They're small hearts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm going to take a different view here. You own and ride a horse for fun. You're not having fun. You're avoiding going out to see your horse. It's a chore now, more than it should be. Yes, give yourself time to adjust. BUT this also might not be the right situation for you. And while it's healthier for your horse the situation really must be right for both of you.

                          I might suggest a few things:

                          Can you lease a horse at the old barn with the indoor, friends, etc. and then lease your horse out to someone who might help him adjust to his new trailriding life?

                          Can you find yet a third barn that might be a better fit for you, even if you have to drive farther?

                          Move the horse back to the old barn and figure out a way to give him more time out, maybe pay someone to hand-walk him or lunge him every day.

                          Maybe he's not the right horse for your situation. No, we shouldn't immediately see selling our horse as a solution, but if he's not happy where you are and he wasn't happy where you were, then maybe he needs another home somewhere else.

                          Sorry. good luck

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mari88 View Post
                            That would be super but my old barn is in the land of suburban sprawl, no open land- why leave a nice open field when you can build a slew of mcmansions there
                            Are there any power lines around? In my area, people lease the land under power lines for a very small fee -- Build a run in shed or perhaps buy a small shedrow -- Haul in water or make arrangements with a neighbor to use their hose --
                            "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You have two problems which are connected but not identical. First, you've lost a rich, beloved part of your life in the form of all those relationships at the other barn. Second, your relationship with your horse has become more complicated because he's stressed about the new surroundings and you're feeling alone in a new environment. I'd say let yourself grieve the lost barn a bit, and maybe try to make some sort of horsey plans for getting together regularly with those people. That's going to be much harder than formerly, when everyone was just boarding at the same place, but if you make the effort you may be able to keep some of those friendships alive. For the second problem, maybe asking around for any suggestions about helping your horse adjust will help you adjust - it shows you're willing to ask for help and opinions, and that you want to fit in.
                              Good luck! It can be lonely starting over in a new place, and you're obviously a great owner for making that jump for your horse's well-being.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                                You sound young...you'll move barns a lot in your life with horses. Some places will fit you like a glove, some you'll feel like a visitor to an odd convention.

                                Think of what you and your horse can learn at this barn. Trail riding isn't a bad thing. I worked on my Trakehner 3-day horse's dressage while on the trail. He was so much happier outside of a ring.

                                Sparkle and shiny are special, cute and unimportant to your horse. Clean horse, comfortable saddle and even cleaner saddle pad matter...everything else is for your benefit. No horse ever felt better with sparkle on his hooves or a braided mane.

                                Relax and give your new barn-mates a chance...you might just have fun. Don't forget to bring your smile and sense of humour with you...it'll help!

                                Plus remember, your horse lives there, you visit.
                                Ditto to all of this.
                                Horsey Stick Art clique
                                Crayolaposse~ SparklyLime
                                PPP Grand-Poobah

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You've already been given great suggestions and I agree...give it time. Trail riding is such a good activity for your horse, and in time you may even see the benefit of allowing your horse to become accustomed to the unusual animals/machinery/sights on a working type farm. You may even find that while the riders in the barn enjoy a different discipline, they may be a wonderful group of people, and there is nothing like a long, lazy trail ride with friends to make a great weekend.

                                  Be patient. Do you have time to school any horses back at your old barn? Perhaps that might be a way to keep up your friendships there and still enjoy getting to know your new barn. If your horse makes a special buddy at the new barn, you will see a huge difference in his confidence once he has bonded with a buddy and can follow him on the trails while his own confidence grows.

                                  I had a wild little OTTB who grew to love trail riding thanks to her steady Connemara buddy. In times of stress, I would plant her nose on his tail and she would follow along like a packer, happy to be near her "Patrick". Eventually she grew confident to go out alone and it was a wonderful way to balance out ring work and more structured riding.
                                  Best of luck to you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Hopefully you will make some good friends at this barn also. TAke advantage of riding trails and schooling in non traditional areas. Many people today are to dependent on the ring and very seldom ride outside of it. While it helps a lot in many instances, much can be accomplished in any piece of flat ground and you can become a better horseman for it. I bet your horse will finally become calmer and be a better horse for it also.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I know just how you feel, and I know how important your support network is - whether its from a barn/horse situation, or a social situation, when you lose it it is truly almost devestating. What it does is change your life, your daily understanding of how you cope, and I can hear in your opening post your heart trying to cope.

                                      First, don't project your difficulty coping onto your horse. He will quickly, and I mean like in the next 6 months, adapt to his new environment. He will begin to look like the "outdoorsy" horses, he will start to relax, he will start to heal. And isn't that really why you made the move? For your horse? You sacrificed your needs for his. His health issues come before yours? What a good mom!

                                      Second, does this have to be forever? Mightn't you be able to move back to a nice facility again in a year, two years? What is the healthe issue you are treating?:

                                      Third, throw yourself into your new routine. Your new environment. You might be surprised, you might get a whole lot of healing and nurturing from this new place. I had the opportunity to have my horse at home, no ring, no indoor, a 3 mile walk to the nearest trails to the nearest friends, and one late winter/early spring I begain long walks looking for spring. I found tangled woods and early hay fields, silent bee hives and tumbled down jumps through the woods which needed repair. I began to leave in the early mornings with a small saw to clear the tunnel of deadwood over the trail; twine and ribbon, to mark the way to the jumps for future repair, I found faint paths to people's houses, and following them, found a lone horse in a back yard, whinnying for company, and recognized him the next week out on the trail, and told the owner about discovering him days before, and wondering who he rode with. I found maple trees tapped for rising sap, a raptor sanctuary, and as I rode along, quietly so as not to worry the birds, the girl who rescued and rehabbed them was nearby, and told me how she is sent birds from the pacific northwest, from mexico, from canda, to rehab. She had a great horned owl on her arm. I had to stand very still while she walked away. My horse and I watched her move into a field and fly the bird. it circled low and came back to her, and she walke past us again, to return it to its rehab cage out in the woods. We stayed still so as not to frighten the bird. When it was tucked away, she told me he came from Montana, where he was found with a bullet through his wing, and he was flying again. In two weeks, he was going to get on a plane a LaGuardia and go home to the moutains.

                                      There are untold secrets and adventures you will find this spring, as the winter leaves and life comes back again to the woods, where you and your horse, doing something entirely different than you ahve done before, will walk, and trot and fly over a stone wall, and peer around the next corner to see what there is, and how many other horses and people you can find and meet. And even if you are more alone than you were before, you might find you are actually more rich than ever.

                                      Good luck. Nothing is forever!!
                                      Last edited by AnotherRound; Mar. 13, 2009, 11:17 PM.
                                      Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

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