Bah! Decisions, decisions.
There is never a lack of decisions around horses, what hay, what supplements, what saddle, what color polos look cute today, etc.
But sometimes a decision comes along that occupies my brain for days on end and tends to permeate all aspects of my life, either waking or sleeping.
What to do with Prair has become one of these decisions. I know that we are switching barns, that is pretty much set in stone. What I'm getting less certain on is where we are switching to.
I've described the option of a friend 1/2 leasing the mare at a local show barn, which is definitely not a bad option.
But until a couple days ago, I hadn't even considered sending Prair down to the other trainer we have worked with fairly consistently. The obvious (and immediate) downside of that option is that Prair would then be an hour away. The equally obvious upside is that she would be in a program that I know with a trainer that I know I like.
I can literally talk myself in circles on this one.
Here's the basics:
- "Local" barn (30 min from house, but opposite direction from current barn).
- Known friend to 1/2 lease - very interested in staying on the full show schedule for 2014.
- Small facility - only about 5 acres for 20 horses, so very limited turnout, though everyone gets out every day.
- Respected/intense show barn. All the horses are pretty, pricey and good at what they do.
- Significantly less local barn (1 hour from my hour, no traffic.. up to an hour forty with traffic)
- Known trainer, I enjoy her lessons, I like how her horses go. She wins a lot.
- Less known possible 1/2 lease option. I have met the girl, but we aren't close, though I know she's a really good rider and would be taking Prair in the AA's.
- Larger facility. More traditional pasture turnout plus a Eurocizer to walk the horses before they go "out to play" though there's only one big indoor ring (no outdoor).
- Also a respected/intense show barn. I think a slightly less rigorous show schedule, but comparable in terms of 1-2 weeks out every month during the season, and certainly plenty of championships/derby wins/etc to boast.
So really, the biggest difference between the two in terms of program is whether I'd prefer a known trainer/unknown rider or an unknown trainer/known rider.
There is also a cost difference between the two. The closer barn in Scenario 1 would end up being a couple hundred dollars more each month (assuming a lease) than Scenario 2 (also assuming a lease). In the grand scheme of things I don't think that's as large of a factor as trainer fit, or convenience but it's big enough to be on the list.
The more I think about it, the more I am beginning to lean toward Scenario 2, and the trainer I know at a barn that's farther away.
Realistically, my visits to the barn are going to decrease over the next few months which will reduce the extra drive time. Financially speaking, Scenario 2 is much more viable for me to continue with when I'm riding full time again (but still caring for a kiddo). And picking a "more likely" long term option seems smart, rather than ping ponging around every 10-12 months.
But just when I start to feel firm in my thoughts for Scenario 2, I freak out at the distance and think that it might be worth trying a new program to save the time.
I suppose another unknown is the fact that I've really never been in a structured "program" at a show barn before which is a whole other world of unknowns in itself.