Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Fork in The Road I Didn't Anticipate

I think I am changing barns.  Horse people, I think you will know what I mean by that phrase.  Moving my horses.  Going to a different barn to board. Training with a different trainer.

It's sure not something I thought I would do at this point.  My goal for so long has been to save up scrape up find beg for a loan for the money to complete my own horse facility at this little place here that I never really contemplated moving my horses from where I've been boarding for fifteen years, to someone else's farm.  I always figured when I moved my horses, they'd be coming home.

I mean, I changed jobs nearly a year and a half ago, to work at a different farm, but haven't moved my horses there.  Partially because they are so close and convenient where they've been (the old farm I worked for).  Partially because the barn I work at has hay I don't like and feeding my own hay isn't an option there.  Partially because the barn I work at has mud issues in the majority of the turnouts.

But now I'm giving considerable thought to moving my horses, and it wouldn't be to this little place here.  It also wouldn't be to the barn I've been working at for the past 17 months (for two of the three reasons I mentioned above).  It would be to a totally new place where I really know no one.

So why in the heck am I even thinking about this?  What would be the attraction to this new, this third horse farm?
  1. It's fairly new (built in 2009) and gorgeous!  Everything is in really good shape.  No mud issues!
  2. It's specifically a dressage facility.  With one trainer there daily (who is the owner) and another that comes once a month to do a clinic.
  3. It would put me right where I want to be: with people who are actively riding dressage, and where I can further my own knowledge and riding skills.
  4. I can work off board and/or lessons, while still retaining my job at the other farm ($$$ in my pocket).
  5. The barn owner/trainer and I really seem to get along well and have similar ideals.

This week, I've been doing a 'trial' at the new barn, cleaning a couple of stalls each day.  So far, I really like it.  So far, the barn owner is very pleased with how I clean. So far, so good. I have gotten to try out working there, and she gotten to try me out as an employee. Next week I have a lesson with her; I will try her out as a trainer, and she will try me out as a student.

If that goes well, I will most likely move the Quarter Horse to her barn sometime next month and begin taking regular lessons from her.  I'm excited.  Due to numerous circumstances, it has been about eight years since I had a riding lesson.  My previous trainer's declining health makes it impossible to continue to ride under her. Due to common practice among horse trainers, she still will not allow any other trainers to come to her farm (farm #1) to teach. So it is really great that I have become acquainted with this other trainer, the owner of the third horse farm I have become associated with in a year and a half.  I think this very possibly is the next step in my return to a full time horse life.  The door to my becoming an upper level dressage rider.  Because even if I never return to showing horses (like I did in my teens), I do still wish to develop the skills to ride Grand Prix.

And in the meantime, The Old Man will stay at the first farm, where he's lived for over a decade.  He's comfortable there, and at his advanced age (32!!) he's really only capable of giving short rides to the grandkids, not to any 'full sized' humans.  So it wouldn't make sense to move him to a training barn.  

What does that mean for my future horse facility at this little place here?  Well, it means I'm out and about making dressage-y contacts.  It means the cash I used to pay in board for the Quarter Horse can now go towards fencing for the pastures at this little place here.  I think it will be good, in the long run.

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