Making a Big Change
My brain is a difficult and confusing place. See, I hate change. So scary! It’s a need for the illusion of control that makes me less prone to rattle things up. The devil you know, right?
But on the flip side, I love the way a big, sweeping change can feel like a fresh start. Whether it’s a new week or a new year, I’m apt to rally momentum around a new beginning.
The fear of change is one a big reason why I’ve been at my current barn in Austin for a very long time. The love of a “new beginning” is a big reason why I started blogging again.
I’m moving Poet to a new barn this week, which has both given me a renewed fervor for riding and also is frankly terrifying. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I made the decision a few months ago. It’s not because of his injury. Horses do stupid, unpredictable things, mine doubly so, and that is not anyone’s fault. But all the of wrapping and hand grazing gave me a lot of time to think about what I want and what I need out of a riding program.
I moved to my current barn in early 2013, a little under a year after I got Simon. It was probably the best choice I’ve made since moving to Austin. I met almost all of my closest friends in this city at the barn. My trainer gave me so much confidence, and was an essential part of making countless riding dreams come true. The success story that was Simon wouldn’t have been possible without her. I will always be grateful.
It’s a beautiful property with the best turnout in the city. The horses are happy. I love how my trainer has ridden and trained Poet. She is kind and caring and an extremely good human (how many horse professionals can you say that about?). And although we’re all a crazy, slightly dysfunctional group of adult amateur horse owners, we all love our horses and do our best to put their well-being first. It really is an amazing facility.
So, why am I leaving?
That’s harder to articulate. Although I know “make it or break it” thinking is way too black and white for the horse world, Poet feels like my “chance” at a nice show horse. His current training puts him clearly on that path, but I’m a big part of this equation. Right now, I’m struggling a lot with my riding and my mental toughness in the barn. I need a lot of hand holding and detailed, individualized feedback to feel successful. For all the reasons I listed above, my current trainer’s business has exploded in the last few years. It’s a huge program now, and I’m looking for something smaller with more individualized opportunities. Plus, my career (and life outside horses) demands more and more of my time. While I’d love to be able to go out to the barn every day, I simply can’t do it and thrive in other areas of my life. I’m not a weekend warrior, and hope to never be, but my happy place is riding 3-4 days a week versus needing to go out there much more.
I’m moving to a smaller program that’s a bit further out from my house. It’s similar to a Texas version of the barn I trained at in California, at least that’s my impression so far.
My current trainer, being the amazing person that she is, said I’m always welcome to come back if it isn’t a good fit. Which makes the change a little less scary, but I’m still a bit worked up about it. Our barns are more than a place where we ride and write a check to each month. It’s a huge part of my life. Though I’m very excited about the opportunities I may have with a new program, I’m also sad to leave a place that has felt like home for close to 8 years.
He ships over on Wednesday, and I’m sure there will be a slurry of posts about the new things in our future. But I wanted to give some space to the big decision and all of the good things I’m leaving. They are significant, and regardless of where I end up I’m so thankful for the people and that place.
19 thoughts on “Making a Big Change”
That is a big change! That’s wonderful that you are leaving on good terms and your trainer has offered you a spot back if things don’t work out. That’s a nice safety net for sure. I, for one, am super excited for your new beginning and what that may lead to for you and Poet!
She’s really great, and always pretty understanding when people make a move. A lot come back, so who knows!
I’ve considered a barn move several times over the last few years but it is such a scary thing to do (last time I moved it was because my horse wasn’t being fed properly so not really a choice). I applaud you for taking action and I hope you find what you are looking for at the new barn. Looking forward to hearing about the newest turn in your adventure.
Oh yeah, when they’re not getting fed it’s a no brainer… but not the issue here. Will hopefully have lots of new adventures to share.
I found, when boarding, the barn was more than the place that my horse was stabled.
It was where I made my friends. Where I went when I was stressed/anxious/depressed/happy/whatever. I never knew what adventure I’d have.
But it was also my home away from home. Where I could go and ignore the rest of the world. Where I could turn off all digital media and do what I needed to do to feed my soul.
So a barn is so much more… so your anxiety and stress is so real and so valid.
I hope the transition is smooth and easy for you both and you settle in happily to your new home!
Yes, it’s so much more than a place. No wonder we all get nervous about big barn changes!
I hope everything goes smoothly for the move and that both you and Po settle into the new barn quickly!
How exciting!! Wishing you an easy time settling in at the new barn!
Fingers crossed everything works out for the best!
wishing you the best of luck, and will be curious about how the adjustment goes. there are a LOT of things i like about my barn, plus a lot of things i wish were different. one big thing is missing for me tho, and it sounds maybe similar to what you’re looking for in your change too. not sure what it would take for me to actually pull the trigger tho LOL (#changeaverse4lyfe)
LOL I love that hashtag. I feel that.
I’ll also be really curious about his adjustment. The care at the new place is good, but it’s going to be a very different environment for him. We will see!
Good luck with the move!! I remember feeling similar when I moved from my last barn to my current barn (minus being there for 8 years). It’s great that you have the safety net of being able to go back if it doesn’t work out, and I’m sure most of your best friendships from the barn have gone beyond just the barn at this point!
I told my current barn that I will still show up to drink white claws 🙂 So yes, I’ve kind of forced a lot of those folks to be friends with me whether they like it or not.
I moved Ellie to a smaller program when she was younger for that exact same reason- and getting her some serious 1:1 training time made a huge difference! Sending good vibes for a smooth and easy move!
Change is so hard and scary, but it is nice to know that you’re leaving on good terms. Having the option to go back, makes taking that step a little less scary. I hope everything goes well, and can’t wait to read all about the new barn!
I did something very similar two years ago! My childhood trainer that I grew up riding with now has a huge 50+ horse operation (her business also exploded too) which is mostly 4H kids. It was too overwhelming on my adult amateur brain and I was needing something a bit more quiet/private. I moved to a smaller barn that only has 15 horses but no on-site trainer. There are pros and cons to both. One of the good things that came out of it was I bought a truck and trailer and learned to haul myself. So now I can still haul to my trainer for lessons etc.!
Glad to hear you liked the change! Yes, it’s great when good people get a lot of business but sometimes hard on the oldie goldies who have been there a long time.
It seems that your current barn was exactly what you needed and are now looking to stretch. It’s good to have a safety net. Good luck with the move.
Leaving a familiar and also very good place is hard. Horses for me have a much different meaning in my 30s than they did in my 20s. I stumbled back into a barn last year that has about 30 horses, but it’s not crazy busy. My anxious ammy self can’t handle that type of environment anymore. Now the barn is for sale and I don’t know where I’ll go next. I will send Poet good thoughts for a smooth trip tomorrow and fingers crossed for both of you that the new program is the right fit.