For those of you that follow me on Twitter – or know me in real life – you know I’ve been searching for a new boarding facility for quite some time now. My old barn’s atmosphere had changed dramatically. It was becoming stressful for me to go there and ride. I would develop anxiety as I drove there. Riding was no longer fun for me because I was too busy worrying about my horses and about who was saying what. My barn managers, with whom I was previously close friends, were mad at me for making complaints about certain things regarding my horses’ care. The whole thing was a big mess. I did talk everything out with both of my barn managers before I left, but it was clear that our relationship would never be the same (not that I wanted it to be) and that the barn atmosphere had changed to where I just did not want to be there or around most of the people there.
I finally found a new boarding facility right down the street from my old one. This new place does not have an indoor, so it is only temporary, but in terms of convenience, level of care, and sheer aesthetics – this place is a HUGE step up. I decided to move there because I needed to get away from the stress of my old barn. I didn’t want to have to worry about my horses, and my trainer was able to come teach me at this new place.
Before I left my old barn, I spoke with both of my barn managers and told them why I was leaving. They both understood – one more so than the other. While I had wanted to be confrontational and really say what was on my mind, I decided the best thing to do was to wish them both well and leave on as good terms as possible. I am STILL surprised at how small the horse world is, and I didn’t want to do or say anything that might haunt me later on in life.
Two weeks ago, I sold my green horse for many reasons. I bought him when I was at a different place in my riding career. I didn’t want to jump. I didn’t want to compete. I didn’t really want to be on anything bigger than 15 hands. After I bought my green horse, I started riding with my current trainer, and I realized I actually do want to jump and compete.. and I decided I love warmbloods. My relationship with my green horse wasn’t working, and I wanted to do things at which he would never be competitive, so I made the very difficult decision to sell him. The woman I sold him to was great. She had Arabs; she showed on the Arab circuit; she was going to do all these things with my horse that he would LOVE. She understood he was young and that while he was walk, trot, canter, and jumping up to 2’6″, he still needed finishing. She came out and tried him, and everything went perfectly. She decided she wanted to buy him, picked him up two Mondays ago, and the times I spoke to her after his sale, she said he was perfect; things were going great; and her trainer thought they were a great match.
I got a text from her two days ago saying that she had a bad ride on him, and that things with him might not work out. It is a long story that I will venture into later, but let’s just leave it as she’s an average, backyard rider, with no experience with young horses, and she got herself into something she wasn’t prepared for in the slightest. I reluctantly agreed to buy my horse back from her, but there was one catch: I had nowhere to keep him. My new barn doesn’t have any stalls, and I didn’t want to go through the trouble of finding a brand new place for him because he would need to be in training and not many facilities allow outside trainers.
After speaking with my parents, my trainer, and the owners of my previous barn – who were very upset that I had left in the first place – I decided to call my former barn manager and see if he would be willing to let my horse stay there until I had figured out what to do with him. Talk about awkward and embarrassing. I hadn’t even been gone a full day, and I was already asking if I could come back – partially anyway.
My barn manager was more than happy to let me come back. Both were. Well, maybe it was my horse more than me, but here’s my point: I left with class and on good terms. I didn’t get into a confrontation. I took my opportunity to talk things out and be civil, even though we had our disagreements. And when I was in a major pinch, I had people to which I could turn.
Are there some situations that call for a complete blowout? Sure. But in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t one, and I wanted to remain as peaceful as possible.
My horse will be returning this evening, and hopefully I will be getting back what I sold. I do intend on selling him again, but this time with a bunch of lessons learned from the original sale.
Most importantly, don’t burn your bridges unless it is something you absolutely have to do. The horse world is very, very small, and reputations/actions/character will follow you everywhere. I’ve seen it happen many times. Treat others how you would want to be treated, and choose your battles wisely. You never know when you may need someone’s help. Asking to go back to my old barn was hard, but it would have been ten times harder if I hadn’t left on good terms with the barn owners and on somewhat good terms with my barn managers.