Moving Barns- big life decisions

Why is it that moving barns feels like such a monumental life altering decision? I’ve been pretty happy where I’ve been, it’s been nearly two years there now. But a recent policy change at the barn makes it not the right fit for us anymore. The place where we are heading doesn’t have a stall for me yet. They will at the end of the summer, possibly sooner. I’ve given my 30 day notice, so I will be doing the equine equivalent of crashing on a friend’s couch. I’ll be staying at my friend’s backyard barn, and possibly her neighbor’s barn when they finish their fencing until a stall is available. Where we are ultimately heading is a dressage barn. It’s the path I’ve been working toward, as I’d really like to earn my Bronze, and knew it would happen eventually, but it feels so monumental when “someday” suddenly becomes “now”.

It feels really weird to be heading somewhere where I won’t have jumps set up, yet the amount I actually jump anymore is so little. I’ve been at an eventing barn, and while I used to love jumpers, I never loved cross country, and I’m finding my heart just isn’t in it anymore. I lay in bed fantasizing about flying changes and half pass now, no longer about soaring over jumps, and the perfect takeoff and landing.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I don’t really have a point, other than wondering if others go through the same crazy range of emotions when moving their horse. Thanks for listening :slightly_smiling_face:


yes moving is so stressful


It is stressful on so many levels. As humans we abhor change, and horses (some) also abhor change. But if you have been boarding there a while with happy memories, it is almost like a divorce because everything there is ending, no more new happy memories, changes in routine and a sense of the unknown and uncertainty, even if you know it’s the correct decision. Hell I sniveled all the way (a whopping three miles :laughing:) from where I had been boarding and self-care boarding for years to my my own farm bringing my horses home.


Change is hard on most of us. When you add the stress of moving a horse and then wondering if your expectations of care will be met or if the barn will turn out to be a good fit after all? It just makes it difficult all around.


It was definitely less stressful when I was younger, at least I don’t remember it being this intense of a decision in the past! But then again I was usually leaving for unpleasant reasons, whether it was barn drama, lack of care etc.


Nah, it is going to be great! Look at you, carpe-diem-ing like a champ. You know you needed a change, you are making it, and you have new things to look forward to. What an opportunity! You are going to feel so much relief as it sinks in that you don’t have to do the kind of riding you didn’t. like, and now riding is going to be what you want (and more, I am positive) for this chapter in life. Plus, the new barn will probably have a person or two who is like-minded and rides close to the level that you ride, and maybe you will make a new friend, which is no easy thing. Good on you, OP, for taking action and being pro-active about your boarding environment. I’m proud of you. Yes, change is hard, but once it’s done, it will be good and anyway, everything changes. It’s normal and right to move on, when the time is right.

(This has been a public service message from your positive-thinking subconscious.)


You’re the best :blush:


Aw, thanks, although not changing barns atm, even I needed this level of encouragement! :slight_smile:


As someone NOT leaving, I have to say it makes me sad to see people go. My barn recently had a spate of folks putting in their notice. I don’t think there is a common underlying reason. It just feels more like regular churn, with people switching barns and trainers every couple years based on what factors they’re willing to compromise on. This is my first scenario where I’m more involved than as a weekend warrior lesson rider, so I’m a little sad to see so many “core” people departing. It definitely feels like the culture of the barn will change as a result.


I know I’ll make friends, but it always hard to leave the ones you’ve made. But, if they are really your friends, they will stay your friends!

There was not really ever turnover at this barn, and we are parting on good terms. They are just moving to being more of a training barn with minimum lesson/ training requirements, not really allowing just boarding. And like i mentioned, my heart just isn’t in the eventing. In fact if I never compete over jumps again I think I’ll be just fine, again feels so weird to say that, but almost a relief to say it in public too, LOL. We’ll still school some low easy stuff, I truly believe it’s great for their brains to do a variety of things, heck I’m going to take him to a lesson on working cows in a few weeks just for fun.

It still doesn’t make the whole process any easier!


I’m considering a move myself. It’s hard to leave friends where I am now, but my trainer is relocating across the globe, and I haven’t found another trainer that allows us to stay where we are. I need at least some help to reach my goals (also bronze medal).

My current first choice is an amazing facility, a bit farther away than current barn. It sounds like it could be a good fit for training philosophy and culture. I need to schedule a visit to talk with trainer and watch a lesson.

Change is scary, but it can be great.

1 Like

@MissAriel let us know where you land!

We put so much into this hobby/passion. As do (most) of our service providers like barn owners and trainers. It means a lot to us and we’re very involved and we get to know each other, so even a professional and amicable separation is meaningful. It makes it feel awkward to leave a program that you know is a lifestyle and labor of love in many respects for a lot of BOs and trainers - “sorry, your life’s work isn’t working for me”. Not to say that you shouldn’t leave or that anyone should be unprofessional or too personal, just that it makes sense to me that leaving is hard.

I assume that anyone deeply involved in a coached sport runs into the same issues. Like if a figure skater leaves their longtime coach, it’s going to be emotional in some way or another.