These past few weeks, I've hit a fork in the road. I've been faced with making a decision that could impact my riding progress in the future.
Since it's coming up to about two months since I got back in the saddle, I'm surprised to be stuck in this situation already.
The barn that I had chosen to ride at originally seemed like the perfect fit. I did my research, it was in the perfect location and I got a tour of the place. The people seemed nice and the horses looked like they were well taken care of. When I started to ride there, I was glad to say that my first impressions were right.
So what went wrong? Well, before I started riding I had let them know that I didn't have my own horse, that I was looking for a place that could challenge me and that I would eventually like to show. I wanted to be upfront with them in hopes that they would be honest with me. Of course, they said that they could accommodate my situation.
After my first lesson where we jumped about two feet, I asked the coach if we would ever jump any higher as I was used to jumping around four feet. I didn't ask this to sound like a snob or that I expected to pick up right where I left off. I knew I'd need to work back up to my previous level. That was a given. I was simply curious because they said that they'd have no problem meeting my goals.
The coach said that their lesson horses will never jump higher than 2'6. Oh. Immediately warning lights should have been flashing, but I wanted to give them another chance. The coach said that she would talk to the competition trainer to see if they could do anything to help me out.
So I met with the competition trainer. We talked for a bit about my goals and such. At the end of our short meeting she said that she had a horse in mind that might be a good fit, but that he wasn't available at the moment. Apparently another girl's horse was hurt so she was riding this one while it healed. Okay, fine. I didn't have a problem in riding with the lesson coach until this horse was available to me.
A month or so goes by and I still have not heard any news from the competition trainer. So I sent her a text to find out the status of the other horse. She replied saying that the horse she had in mind for me was completely booked and that she couldn't fit me in. What? First you told me that one girl was riding the horse until her horse was healed and now this horse is completely booked? I caught this trainer in her lie.
She obviously never planned on taking me on as her student. And that was the last straw. I gave this barn too many chances in the span of less than two months. I have nothing against this barn. I'm more disappointed than anything.
Now, I am moving to another barn where the trainer/owner seems to be an open book. She has been honest about everything so far. Though she mentioned that they don't have lesson horses, she did offer me to lease (something the other barn never offered).
It can sometimes be difficult to find the right barn for you and moving barns can be awkward. What you need to remember is that you're paying for a service. If you're not happy or they're not meeting your needs and goals, there's nothing wrong with looking elsewhere. It's nothing personal. You're just making the decisions that are best for you.
Have you had any bad barn experiences? How did you find your right fit? Leave it in the comments below!
Until next time, happy riding!