At least he's pretty
A former instructor from my current barn was visiting with her four year old for a session with the resident trainer so we got to catch up. And the resident trainer was coaching an opposing team while I was helping coach a college team way back in my h/j days. Small world, huh?
The informal tour worked well for me getting a look at the culture. No one knew why I was there so they assumed I was visiting my friend. I went into the indoor to observe what was going on in there while my friend rode The resident trainer was riding so I got to watch her for a bit and casually chat with her clients. Pretty standard h/j fare, nothing that bothered me. I chatted with her a bit at the end and felt like I'd enjoy doing some jump lessons with her. She certainly wouldn't do us any harm and sounded genuinely excited to help my short striding pony make the distances if I wanted to try the eq ring.
Aside from being the opposite of anonymous for my tour, I liked what I saw. It's a new facility built in 2016. 14 stalls, indoor, lots of turn out options. Heated tackroom with little lockers but the hay loft is a free for all to store trunks and saddles. Outdoor ring is currently under construction and most guess it will exist in spring 2020. No real trails but it's a big enough property that you can hack around the paddocks and the road is very quiet (dead end) so you can hack down that as well. My friend says she rides in the turnouts when she doesn't feel like riding in the indoor, they're bigger than a large dressage arena and just enough terrain to be interesting. Almost entirely adult riders which was a bit of a shock. No school horses, no up down riders.
So the pros:
1. New construction so everything is in really good shape
2. BIG individual grass turn outs (almost the size of his existing field) for everyone that can be on grass
3. Big, airy stalls with fans, hoping to snag a 12x14 but the smallest is 12x12
4. Fluffy, well maintained footing in the indoor
5. Active show barn
6. Very clean, like the tack room smelled like clean leather and I had forgotten how much I love that smell
7. Can bring in specialists for dressage
8. No small children or clueless parents under foot
9. Space upstairs for all my extra gear, like saddles
10. WASH RACKS
11. On property owner and barn manager, both of which have horses in the barn. So does the resident trainer.
1. Turnout from 7:30 to 4, so about 8 hours in turn out as opposed to 24
2. Smaller turnout for inclement weather (paddock sized)
3. No outdoor or trails to coax us outside
4. Still under construction so some things aren't done, like no running water in the bathroom
5. Required weekly lessons with resident h/j trainer
6. Quiet, I suspect I'll feel a bit lost and lonely while I adapt since I'm used to the activity of a school barn
7. Only DQ in the barn. By a mile. Also only western saddle in the barn.
8. Resident trainer so if we start butting heads, I'll be in a situation
9. More money
I'm not thinking that any of the cons are complete deal breakers for me. A big airy stall with extra hay at night check might help Theo learn to cope. Big turn out with neighbors should also help. The footing was lovely and everything was very clean. All of the adults were friendly and welcoming, I was a h/j rider for long enough that I will totally blend in. Most of the time.
I gave my notice at the current place today so that's also motivating. Can't be too picky when you're going to be homeless soon. Its heartbreaking and terrifying but it's time to move on.