Stable closing

MavericksMom

New Member
Aug 28, 2021
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Middle Tennessee
Hello all. I am new to your site and love the great suggestions everyone makes. I didn't see a thread that covered this, but please direct me to one if it's out there.

I had a sweet paint mare (Butter) for 14 years. I boarded her at a friendly stable where I took lessons in fits and starts because work and life interfere with one's plans. Those were my first lessons - I did not have the opportunity when I was young and that is why at my age (59) I am still a beginner. When work finally relaxed to a point where I could start up again, Butter got uveitis. Too much to explain everything after that, but one thing led to another. She aspirated after a choke incident and got pneumonia. Vets did everything possible, but I ultimately had to let her go. At the time, I figured I needed to forget about riding.

Fast forward a year: I started taking lessons in February at the same barn with a new instructor who is a glorious fit for me. Horse fever took over and I purchased my 7 yo gelding in May. He was a little mouthy and cheeky at first, but he is becoming a far better horse than I ever expected. He's smart, sweet and willing and has learned so much. I certainly loved my mare, but Maverick is my heart horse and I adore that stinker.

My current instructor has shown me how to work through holes in his training (as well as my own!). My confidence has risen to an all time high as a result. But yesterday I learned this beloved stable is closing for good in a few months and my instructor is going to stop giving lessons. I am heartbroken.

I immediately started looking into other stables and was fortunate to find an opening near me. The owner also teaches, so it seems like a good option. But I am worried the horse is not going to achieve all he could if staying put were an option. My heart is asking if I should just find him a good home and let this hobby go. To start over yet again makes me heartsick. Losing him would break my heart also. I will likely lose connections with my contemporaries who will have to find new homes as well. That was part of the appeal of riding. I'm sure I can make new friends somewhere else, but it makes this introvert tired just thinking about it.

So that's my sob story - sorry it is a long ramble. Life IS change, but this one hurts. I look forward to your thoughts on it.
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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You aren't starting over again though, are you, you now have all the things you've learned together to take forward with you. Staying put isn't an option so don't dwell on what might have been if you stayed there. You may get on really well with this instructor, you may both love the new stables and with horses as a shared interest there's no doubt that you'll make new friends, not to mention there's no reason why you can't stay in touch with current ones.

Go for it! You may find it's one of the best things you've done in ages, and if it doesn't work out there then look around for somewhere else.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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I understand how you feel. I have had the same instructor for more than 10 years, having started learning properly (with my own horse) when I was 50, and I would find it really difficult now to adapt to someone else. But Maverick is your horse, you are his owner and his rider, and you know him better than anyone else. I think that may well compensate for any lack of riding experience.

Lots of things occur to me. The first is that if you want to get the best out of a new instructor, you might want to spend a little while with your existing instructor making some notes on what your goals are, what you are working on at the moment, where you keep running into stickiness, and so on. I'd also get some clarity about what sort of teaching you are looking for.

For example, if (Heaven forbid) I had to change instructor, I think my goals would look like "Develop ability to notice and correct horse's areas of difficulty (eg weak right hind, falling in on left shoulder) and ability to get horse to carry himself well. Learn to jump a small course of 70cm with a view to doing sponsored and fun rides." My issues would be "work on correcting hollow back and develop a solid lower leg. Improve sensitivity to horse's way of going." And my preferred form of teaching would be Client centred - ie the instructor asks me what I want to work on today and adapts to that, rather than tells me what I am going to do.

Also, I know you say your existing instructor is giving up, but might they come and teach you occasionally? If not, can they recommend someone who might suit you, who could come to your new stable and carry on from where you are?

Lastly I just want to say that I don't believe you should worry about not being good enough for your horse, or not getting your horse doing the sorts of things he might be capable of with another rider. He doesn't stand in the field at night thinking "Wow, I wish I had a better rider" or "wow, I wish I could do showing." He has no concept of his own ability, he just knows what happens to him every day. If he enjoys the work that you do with him and seems well on it, then that's all fine. He's not wasted being your horse.

I think if you love Maverick and want to go on working with him (and it sounds as if you're doing really well with him) you should give it a go. If in 18 months or so it's still not working, well, so be it - he'll still be young enough to find a really good home.

Sorry, bit of a screed there!
 

MavericksMom

New Member
Aug 28, 2021
16
21
3
Middle Tennessee
You aren't starting over again though, are you, you now have all the things you've learned together to take forward with you. Staying put isn't an option so don't dwell on what might have been if you stayed there. You may get on really well with this instructor, you may both love the new stables and with horses as a shared interest there's no doubt that you'll make new friends, not to mention there's no reason why you can't stay in touch with current ones.

Go for it! You may find it's one of the best things you've done in ages, and if it doesn't work out there then look around for somewhere else.
What an excellent and uplifting response this is. My husband agrees with you completely and I shouldn't be afraid to at least try a new place! I will be meeting with the owner of another barn tomorrow to see how things look. I will let you know how it goes!
 

MavericksMom

New Member
Aug 28, 2021
16
21
3
Middle Tennessee
I understand how you feel. I have had the same instructor for more than 10 years, having started learning properly (with my own horse) when I was 50, and I would find it really difficult now to adapt to someone else. But Maverick is your horse, you are his owner and his rider, and you know him better than anyone else. I think that may well compensate for any lack of riding experience.

Lots of things occur to me. The first is that if you want to get the best out of a new instructor, you might want to spend a little while with your existing instructor making some notes on what your goals are, what you are working on at the moment, where you keep running into stickiness, and so on. I'd also get some clarity about what sort of teaching you are looking for.

For example, if (Heaven forbid) I had to change instructor, I think my goals would look like "Develop ability to notice and correct horse's areas of difficulty (eg weak right hind, falling in on left shoulder) and ability to get horse to carry himself well. Learn to jump a small course of 70cm with a view to doing sponsored and fun rides." My issues would be "work on correcting hollow back and develop a solid lower leg. Improve sensitivity to horse's way of going." And my preferred form of teaching would be Client centred - ie the instructor asks me what I want to work on today and adapts to that, rather than tells me what I am going to do.

Also, I know you say your existing instructor is giving up, but might they come and teach you occasionally? If not, can they recommend someone who might suit you, who could come to your new stable and carry on from where you are?

Lastly I just want to say that I don't believe you should worry about not being good enough for your horse, or not getting your horse doing the sorts of things he might be capable of with another rider. He doesn't stand in the field at night thinking "Wow, I wish I had a better rider" or "wow, I wish I could do showing." He has no concept of his own ability, he just knows what happens to him every day. If he enjoys the work that you do with him and seems well on it, then that's all fine. He's not wasted being your horse.

I think if you love Maverick and want to go on working with him (and it sounds as if you're doing really well with him) you should give it a go. If in 18 months or so it's still not working, well, so be it - he'll still be young enough to find a really good home.

Sorry, bit of a screed there!
Don't apologize for length - you have a ton of great suggestions here. I don't know if my 'old' instructor would be allowed to come from time to time to a new place, but it's worth asking her. She did say she would still teach youngsters in the 4H program here, so perhaps there's a chance. I also think she would be very willing to talk with a new instructor to tell them how she sees my and Mav's progress and areas needing work.

I LOVE what you say about what Maverick is or is not thinking. Mostly I believe it's 'when are you going to give me that carrot, woman?"
 
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carthorse

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@MavericksMom please do let us know what you decide and how it goes, and indeed come on here to join in on any other threads that interest you - don't feel you have to have a wealth of world class knowledge to contribute, a polite opinion, shared experience or even an additional question is always welcome :) . We're generally a friendly bunch who all love horses so the more the merrier.
 

Huggy

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2018
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Welcome to the forum! I cant add to the excellent suggestions above, except to say I agree with both! You and Maverick sound like a real match and that's hard to find. I too have been a long time at my present yard, (27 years :eek: !) and it gives me palpitations even thinking about having to move. I get the impression that what's important for Maverick, is not where he is, but that he's there with you. Good luck.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Could you possibly take maverick over to the new barn for a lesson before you decide, so you can see how you get on with the BO before making the final decision?
I actually like switching up my trainer because different ones bring different things to the table and then you can pick and choose what works best for you and your horse, that’s not to say I don’t have a few I’ve worked with on and off for 20 years plus too. Change isn’t always a bad thing 😁
 

MavericksMom

New Member
Aug 28, 2021
16
21
3
Middle Tennessee
That's an interesting idea, Jessey. I certainly could get someone to haul him over. I am fortunate to have found two places already that board with openings and have instruction. I also got on a waiting list at a third one. I am going to go to one of the places today to meet the BO and the second on Monday.

You're right that trainers do bring different perspectives and that can be a good thing. I just want to be sure that the trainer knows what they are doing. I did get a tip last night from someone I trust telling me to avoid one trainer in particular. I worry I will make a poor choice because my knowledge about it has limitations. My current instructor did say she would talk to whoever the new trainer is to help them understand the things I/Mav need to work on.
 
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carthorse

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You have life experience though and that should allow you to make an assessment of the person. If you don't like them, find them too dictatorial, get a bad gut feeling or walk round the yard with them and don't like the reaction of the horses to them then that says a lot and if you have other options walk away. If you can see them or their pupils ride then don't worry too much about the technicalities but ask yourself if the overall picture is what you and Maverick would like to become - they may get good results but not be for you. Trust yourself 🤗
 
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