Anxiety about moving barns

Hi all,

You will be okay. It’s easy to fall into a dynamic like this when the trainer finds the horse for you and manages your development every step of the way. You just have to believe that whatever you don’t know, you’re capable of learning. Whatever you can’t do, you’re capable of muddling through until you can do it well. Everything can be figured out.

I understand your concerns about the farrier, though. It does sometimes seem more like art than science. The one piece of advice I would have on that note is not to get too anxious if your horse seems “off” at first. Mine took about 3 months to adjust and seemed foot sore for a long while. I used durasole regularly and just hung in there. They do adapt, but it just takes a little time and patience. I feel like some people in my barn would not have stood for it, but personally I think it’s worse to play musical farriers than to just see it through and let the horse adjust to the new technique or schedule.

You have a lot of legitimate issues in your life to be anxious about. Getting married and moving house are both huge steps. I expect that you are having spill over anxiety from the big things and possibly are a person that doesn’t like change as you’ve stayed in your barn so long.

You are going to have setbacks in your riding as well as everything else because you are going to be adjusting to so much.

Have your horse shod a week before you ship him. Pick a new barn that looks like a good choice for the first year. Ask your current farrier for recommendations.

Plan to stay at your new good enough barn for 6 months to a year. During that time research all the local trainers take some trial riding lessons and choose a program that meets your goals.

Don’t worry about leaving your old place because you have no choice. Don’t try to make things that you have no choice about into part of an agonizing decision. Let go of that. Inztead make your wish list of goals for the new place.

If you are going more rural you will likely find better turnout but fewer good coaches and lower costs . If you are moving into the metro area of a big city you will find better coaches less turnout and higher costs. All this will be affected as well by climate and geography and local practice. You can post on h/j here to ask about an area.

Your horse life will also be affected by if you have a job, a baby, or if this is the first time you’ve lived with your partner. Plus how close you can get barn and house. Plus commuting patterns in the new town.

Take this as an opportunity to make conscious decisions about how to meet your goals and move forward. You will need to be making them on every aspect of your life from what to ship and what to discard, to new sofa colors, to where to buy groceries and eat brunch in your new town. Think of it as exciting exploratiin and choice.


Thank you both

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Horses are not cats. They don’t get so deeply bonded to a place that you can’t move them. Feral horses live in small bands that often change members and range over a wide territory.

IME horses do just fine going from a barn life to be tossed out on summer pasture 25 miles away and brought back in at autumn. You can take them camping for a week or to a show for two days. They don’t really know they are coming home or if it’s a permanent move. My horse hops on trailer with a yay, going places! face and hops off with a now what have we got here, do I recognize anything? look.

If the new barn is a decent place with turnout he will settle within a week. Probably overnight.

The bigger question is why you have stayed at a barn where you’ve hit a glass ceiling with the trainer and program. When I hear from folks that they are stuck in something my first thought is “what needs are being met by being stuck?” Even if it is something as basic as being scared of the horse or not really enjoying a given discipline that much.

On the other hand I absolutely see trainers who like the shiny new thing. When they hit a plateau with a client they get disinterested and attention shifts to new clients.

Anyhow you need out of there and the new place will help shake things up for you.


That’s reassuring, thanks!


In and of itself is the reason to leave, yikes.


You have the perfect excuse to leave. Don’t look back and don’t overthink the move. If you don’t like where you end up, you can move your horse again.


Ditto this! You’ve got a perfect, legitimate excuse to get out of a situation it sounds like you’ve more than outgrown.

You’ve had this horse 5 years and it still doesn’t jump? Even with the pro? I think once you get into another program and start seeing what kind of progress you can make you’ll be thrilled with the change and how much you and your horse can accomplish together.


Thanks for the thoughts :).


How are the trainers other clients progressing? If her business is shrinking there’s a pattern.

Dont start working yourself up over what new trainers will think of your progress. You are just free spiraling in anxiety.

You can say: I bought a big green baby horse, we’ve worked on basics for a few years, its my goal to now to jumping xx height xx months. Can I do a trial lesson on him with you and see what you think about that as a goal?

No trainer will really believe what you say until they see you ride. So you don’t need a huge back story and apologies.

Pick a trainer who has a positive take on what you can do and has other clients at the level you are hoping to ride soon.

Covid 19 has thrown so many lives into chaos that all you need to murmur is “this past year has been so hard” and no one questions your progress or backsliding or stalling out

If current trainer is going to pitch a hissy fit because you are getting married and moving to another state then they are well along the cray cray possessive deluded spectrum and you need out yesterday. It’s one thing for a trainer to get pissy because you defected to her sworn enemy that married her ex husband or something. Leaving town? Nope. Craycray



The only sane and polite response to I’m getting married and we’re moving out of town is “congratulations, how wonderful, I hope it all goes well, keep in touch.”

The fact that you even anticipate anything else from someone you consider a friend shows in a nutshell how dysfunctional this relationship has become. You need out now. You need out like yesterday.



Some amazing advice in this thread already.

You need to keep telling yourself that no matter what she thinks, you moving, with your fiancé/husband really has nothing to do with her and if she can’t be happy for you then what she thinks does not really matter.

Find a barn that seems like it will work. A good trainer will deal with whatever you present them with and help you move forward from there. Don’t worry yourself about being behind or any of that.


You’ve received a lot of good advice. I would just suggest that as you look for a new barn in your new location that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking it needs to be a “perfect” barn. You just need to find a barn that’s got decent care and is good enough for you to get a new start and a new perspective in your new location.

New trainers aren’t going to think there is anything wrong with you. Your current trainer has conditioned you to think this way so that you’ll stay dependent on her. But it’s not real. Once you break away from her, I’m sure you’ll find that you’re actually a quite competent rider.


I have a feeling that not only will you thrive in your new life, your horse will thrive in his new life as well. Sometimes, change is refreshing.

Another note. There is a lot on your plate. When you shop for a new barn, look for one with decent turnout. Your horse may need a bit of a break to adjust and be horse again. You may be busy organizing your new life with your husband and not have as much barn time until you guys get settled.

It sounds like the trainer downplayed your talents and kept you in a holding pattern (your were bored). Listen carefully to your new trainer, farrier and vet. They may tell you things that may surprise you. Good things.



This comment is making me feel that you will be so much happier without her and you’ll look back on your years with her and be like, I’m so glad I’m out of THAT situation!!!

The trainer/ AA student relationship in this sport can be sooo wildly difficult and complicated. We depend on our trainers for a lot and the relationship can easily turn sour because they’re just imperfect human beings but are in this position of power and control over another adult, and it’s just so weird and toxic sometimes.

I left a trainer a few years back because of something like this and I’ve still had trouble trusting another one ever since… it truly does feel like a breakup and that’s how I’ve described it too :joy: but you know more than you think you know, and you’ll learn a LOT being more in charge of your own decisions about your horse, and good for you for taking control of your own happiness and doing what’s right for you!


Thanks guys :).

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Every trainer/barn owner/manager I’ve ever “left” because of a big move or life change has been totally fine about it–disappointed to see me leave in a friendly way, but not unpleasant. If she is, she’s a whack job and you need to move anyway.

I’ll bet this trainer who helped you buy this horse has been somewhat possessive about him, too (they can be like that…) Once you move, you will feel like the horse is truly “yours,” as well, and you will have much greater autonomy in decision-making, which I think you will enjoy!

My experience is that there really are good farriers and good vets (and good barns) within striking distance of pretty much everywhere civilized–you just have to do the leg work to find them, build a relationship and be prepared to pay them what they are worth. (They are also really good resources for finding good barns, by the way.) For now, pick a barn that appears to be a decent fit, but remember, you aren’t marrying it, you can move on if it doesn’t work out, so don’t worry too much about it.