Monday, January 19, 2009


So, I was at my Jenny Craig appointment this afternoon and my phone started ringing. I went running for it, managed to get it in time and it was Rowena from the other barn I was riding at back in the Fall. Yikes! I told her that I would have to call her back and so I started to freak out about what I was going to say. In case you didn't read about it, or don't remember my posts, I had started with Rowena's barn when I first started riding again back in September. I rode with her for a couple of weeks and then decided to give another barn a try. For a while I rode at both places. Typically I would ride with Ro on Saturdays where, more often than not, we would do something fun like a trail ride and I rode with Alison on Fridays where we would do real dressage or jumping work. Then I decided to do the half lease on Lulu with the second barn, I started getting more serious about my riding goals and so I pretty much committed myself to Apple Tree (the second barn). In the meantime, I kind of fell off the face of the Earth for Ro. I never told her that I was riding at the other barn (I had told Alison about the first barn however) I just stopped coming by without saying anything, which was kind of crappy on my part really.

Anyway, so I really felt terrible about it, but chicken too. Ro and her husband Elliot were so wonderfully nice to me. I mean, Ro even let me ride a time or two without my having to pay her anything. She was very complementary about my supposed skills and felt that I was going to be very good for their barn. So I called her back once I was back on the road. She was so sweet, wanted to know how I was, if I was okay, did I still have my job (she had heard about the layoffs, I'm sure). She didn't ask if I was riding anywhere else or question me about why I had disappeared (which I was grateful for) but just went on to say that I should come by sometime, that I should come see the "girls" (her other adult riders who are a very friendly and social group). She also said that the next party they have, that I should think about coming. She is so freaking NICE!

I made the decision about where I was going to ride because I truly think that Apple Tree is going to make me a much better rider. They are immersed in the discipline of riding that I most want to follow and they have horses that are appropriate for my abilities and my goals. Ro's place was a blast. More casual, there is the opportunity for fun and for lots of trail riding, but I didn't feel in the end that I was going to be able to pursue my goals nearly as well there. I think if I wanted to have a horse and go out on a trail and just screw around on the weekends, it would be the perfect place. But I'm right now a little more ambitious than that, even if I never, ever end up competing. So I made my decision and I feel good about it, haven't regretted it for a second. Apple Tree has turned out to be everything I had hoped that it would be and then some, but I still do feel badly about blowing off Ro. I wish I had unlimited time and funds so that I could ride at both places, but that, of course, really isn't very realistic in real life (at least in my real life). Still, I am very glad that she reached out and called me. I feel a little better (although still guilty and a little shitty) about everything.


Linda S. said...

It is really hard to leave a barn. It's such a personal thing for the barn owner, so to say that you are leaving is hard to do. It sounds like the second barn is where you need to be. I rode at my last barn about 6 years. I got laid off this summer and worked there part-time in exchange for free rides and 1/2 price lessons. A friend and I bought our 1st horse at auction (an OTTB) this October and for a lot of reasons didn't want to board him at her farm so she doesn't know about him (I hope). For 3 months I kept riding school horses. I finally told her I needed to take a break because I just have too much going on in my life, which is true, but not entirely true. I left it open that I might be coming back and it's exceedingly unlikely. I don't feel great about it.

deborah said...

I know, it was such an agonizing decision for me, made worse by the fact that Ro & her husband had both been so lovely to me. If I had just been having some lessons there, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But she giving me horses to ride, taking me out on 2-3 hour trail rides, etc. and she was always just so welcoming. The adult women riders there are great too. But ultimately I have to do what's right for me. I still wouldn't mind going back and taking the occasion trail ride, or maybe going to a hunter pace with them or something. But that's not really going to happen during the Winter here anyway.