Telling trainer I’m leaving

Hi all,

I need to tell my trainer I’m moving (out of state). She was once a good friend but the relationship has soured and I’m miserable at current barn. Even our barn manager told me in confidence not to trust the people I thought I were my friends because they talk about me behind my back—trainer included. We’re grown ups and I don’t need this. I found a new barn/trainer and am excited about the change. I will move horse mid-August. I’m afraid of her reaction. She has always had very tight control over me and horse (I purchased horse from her) and it was her way or the highway in her program. I have even been told what I can and cannot do outside of lessons (won’t get into details but it’s ridiculous and does not involve jumping).

I somehow feel like a huge jerk if I tell her and then immediately move horse a few days later. I risk being ostracized and treated poorly if I tell her with some time left (I’ll pay the last 30-days of board). She’s already not treating me especially well. I’m not worried about care of horse, however. I am certain she will not treat horse poorly. Ideally, help with the move would be useful (e.g., getting him shod with advice from farrier right beforehand, if she could suggest a shipper, help if he balks getting on different trailer), but I’m not expecting it.

What’s the best approach?

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Since you are physically moving out of the area, I would not stress about it too much because a) this person won’t be in your orbit much longer and b) you can make nice until you leave and not rake over any of the nastiness that is going on. I would just put on a smile and say “Oh, I’m going to miss the barn, but have this new opportunity, blah, blah.” As far as notification, I would do it whenever you need to for providing notice per the boarding contract. I think if you drag your feet on it more, it will be more of a red flag that you are harboring hard feelings and make it more likely l that problems will arise in the days before you leave.


So if I move say, Aug 20, and I give my notice Aug 1 (when board is due), tell her on Aug 1? I also had to make a decision to coincide with my apartment lease ending the first week of Sept, so it’s not like I’d have the option to stay longer anyway. And there was no point in telling her sooner (when I first started thinking about it a few months ago) that I was contemplating the move.

Btw, this is my first horse and first time I’ve ever had to do this. I imagine asking for a divorce would be easier lol the way I have this built up in my mind. She’s also going to lose a significant source of income from my leaving, thus why I worry about her reaction. I’m not a doormat of an individual either and usually assertive so this degree of apprehension feels so awful for me.


What does your boarding contract state re: notice on moving? In most situations, you can move whenever you need to, but you will be responsible for a full month’s board regardless of which day of that month you leave the barn and it’s best (and in your contract more than likely) to give advance notice if you have it - and you do. You said yourself this will financially affect your trainer. With advance notice she can make better plans.

The horse world is too damn small to burn bridges and not do things as by the book as you possibly can.

As to how you feel about telling her? If the relationship has gone sour, it’s better for both of you. Politely cut ties, and look forward to your new adventure!

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We have horses at 2 different barns. One requires 30 days notice, the other asks that the consideration be given if possible. 30 days is generally the norm for the area. The BO’s concern is financial rather than physical, of course. So people can & will pay out the 30 days today & leave tomorrow. Be sure to read over your boarding contract to make sure your planned departure isn’t in breach of contract.

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I actually never signed a boarding contract. But board is due on the 1st. So I will pay for the month of August regardless of the day on which I move horse that month. So as soon as I get a firm date from new barn, my plan was to tell her by end of this month and pay board on Aug 1. That’s 30-day notice, right?

If you are planning to leave in August, you should tell her as soon as you have a date for the move. Keep it simple: you are moving out of state, thank you for all you’ve done for me and move on. There’s nothing to be gained by having an ugly last month with your horse in the barn. Try to ignore the noise of nasty gossip and just enjoy your horse. I wish you luck with your move!


I guess also I am concerned about things like do I continue to take lessons and get training rides until I leave? And it’s normal for people to not clue trainers in until a few weeks ahead of a move, right? The fact that we were good friends makes this feel so much worse but I need out.

Stop overthinking it. You want to be civil but you aren’t planning to keep her in your inner circle. As far as lessons you can be too busy packing up your apartment to take lessons in August.

Give your 30 days notice, pay up, move when you want. Hire a shipper and deal with the farrier yourself.

Dont worry about her losing income. You are replaceable as a client.


This sounds familiar. Have you posted this situation here before? Everyone gave good advice on that thread too. Just give your notice as matter of fact. I’m moving out of state, and will be paying last month’s board etc.


Yup, I had posted about being worried about the horse changing situations but I was hoping to solicit specific advice here about telling trainer I was leaving and related logistics. These comments help!!

I know it can feel stressful and personal, but even if you were friends, boarding is a business relationship. You want to treat it like leaving a job. Unemotional notice given at the appropriate required time. “I’ve enjoyed my time here with you, and am giving notice that I’ll be leaving on such and such a date as I’m moving out of state. I would value your professional advice on some of the logistics of moving Dobbin.”

I offered to pay a barn manager to be there to help get a horse packed up and loaded properly for the move. She helped coordinate with farrier and vet to get all the information I’d need to pass along to new farrier and vet, and feed schedule and brands etc. I was young at the time, so would not have thought of everything. She did, and I think it gave her a little piece of mind that I’d asked her for advice rather than just showing up and taking off one day. She declined any additional payment but was there to help send us off with some treats and pats.


I apologize in advance, but OhEmGee!
If you change grocery stores, do you apologize to Store A for going to Store B?

You might think this trainer was your friend, but from what you posted - sold you your 1st horse, getting snarky now (reason for that is immaterial) - it sounds like you are a Walking Checkbook to trainer.

A longtime Trainer/Friend once told me:
“You enable the trainer”
Being so dependent on this person, who is actually in your employ, is your enabling of the relationship.

No boarding contract means you are not bound to the usual 30-day notice, but kudos for feeling responsible for paying all of August.
BO might not be able to fill your stall that quickly.
And that arrangement is between you & BO. Period.

If you give notice on 8/1, let trainer know at the same time.
No in-depth discussion of why you are moving is needed. Relocating is all trainer needs to know.

IIWM, I wouldn’t schedule any more lessons with this trainer.

As for asking trainer for help with getting your horse shipped, I wouldn’t.
BO may know a shipper, your vet may also. Or you can look one up.on Uship.

Does trainer have sole contact with the shoer?
Often these controlling trainers do.
If horse is due for trimming/shoeing prior to the move, is there any reason you can’t make the arrangements?

Ultimately, as a horseowner, you need to get involved in all aspects of care.
Vet, shoer & being aware of how a boarding barn cares for & feeds your horse.


I am a waking checkbook. That’s part of the problem. I have horse in full training (3-4 lessons and/or training rides a week) and I never cancel. I am one of her highest paying clients. When my daughter got sick with a weird, scary thing a few weeks ago, I needed to cancel a few lessons in the same week the day of to rush her to the pediatrician. She refused to take them off my bill because I hadn’t given 24-hrs notice. That was the absolute last straw.

I’ll also add that in my history with her I’ve:
Gotten snapped/yelled at for asking questions about my horse’s care or about horse’s supplies (this has happened more times than I can count)
Ignored in lessons (as in, she has spent majority of lesson on the phone/talking to others)
Gotten told I was difficult to teach for various reasons (I’m not, really I’m not) that make me feel bad about myself
Not called when horse had urgent vet issue and was told about it afterward (she handled it, but the control issue is a problem)

All of my real life horse friends at other barns have been in full on WTF mode with this for a while. The irony is I’m a serious Grown Up with a Serious Grown Up job where I am highly respected. This whole situation has caused me so much stress I’ve had physical symptoms. My immediate family and closer friends don’t get this world so these posts are a bit of a lifeline for me right now.

Yes trainer has sole contact with farrier. But I need to remember that new barn is also full care and they know how to handle horses making a switch. I’m moving horse to knowledgeable folks.


Yes, I would tell her and provide written notice along with the board payment (assuming you’re paying by check).

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Been there, done that, think maybe I still have the embroidered logo jacket out in the garage somewhere.

Congratulate yourself because you have had your toxic trainer experience and won’t make that mistake again. At least not in exactly the same way.

Seriously, reading your description of the trainer’s treatment of you set off alarm bells from my long ago entry into the world of horse ownership which was also via toxic trainer. This trainer is playing mind games with you, and she knows it.

I had never signed a boarding contract with my toxic trainer either. To the best of my recollection, I waited to tell her I was leaving until the day before she was leaving for a breed show and then left a note. It was not the most grown up way to handle it (and I think there was trash talk later), but the important thing was leaving. I still remember going out to eat after we moved the horse - I felt like I had been freed from a cult.

Here’s to moving on!


Do you have to wait to move the horse? If you don’t have a contract and are worried about the situation right now, then you can move your horse any time. Obviously, in the interest of not burning bridges you can pay for a few weeks or whatever. If you move suddenly you probably WILL burn the bridge but you also won’t have to deal with any of this crap.

Re: Lessons and other services between notice and move
I agree with just leaving the situation with a very professional “I am moving out of state” as the reason you are leaving. It’s a GREAT excuse even if you are unsatisfied with the service. If you don’t want to continue the training rides/lessons for those few weeks you could just tell her the move is eating up that extra income.

Does she know that you’re moving? If she’s a legit professional, and she knows you are moving, she should see this coming. If you have another place to go you could tell her now when you are moving, and when you are cancelling extra services, and see how she reacts. If she reacts badly, you can up and move tomorrow!


Trainers need to understand that the odds are clients are not going to remain with them indefinitely, or spend at a certain budget on a consistent basis. Kids go away to college. Horses have to step down a level, or don’t need constant training (or shouldn’t) once they’re less green. Adults get married, have kids, or move.

It sounds like this move would be coming regardless, but you’re itching to tell your (all completely legitimate) beefs with this trainer. You can give notice, pay the 30 days, and move immediately, or you can try to make nice (somewhat disingenuously, but legitimately), thanking the trainer for all her help, but say that the move is a logistical necessity. Regardless, you’re doing nothing wrong.

I’m a little surprised that there is no contract or posted policies. I can understand in a casual, under-the-table situation why the trainer might not have them in writing, but I’m a bit surprised a legit training/lesson/show barn doesn’t.


Then WHY in the name of all that’s holy, would you kowtow to this micromanaging b-word of a “Pro”?
Treat her as you would any employee or client that behaved this way.
You are enabling
I am retired now, but when I worked, managed a Dept of as many as 13 employees at a couple different corporations.

Get thee & your horse to the new barn ASAP.
And please do not fold there & permit yourself to become the Checkbook again.
Listen to your IRL horsefriends, let them help you through learning what you need to know about caring for your horse or overseeing that care.
Heck! They probably can hook you up with a shipper, farrier & vet that YOU can communicate with directly.
Most true Pros are willing to share knowledge & help educate Newbs.

leaps down off soapbox, stomps off to feed my own horses