New Year, New Barn
Change can be scary, especially when you're an adult amateur who has been out of the show scene for a few years. As many of you know, I recently moved Rumor to Coriander Farm in Jacksonville, Fl. This has been a very exciting and much anticipated change for the two of us. The past few years have been filled with some wonderful barns and people but, I have been sincerely missing the hustle and bustle of a big show barn. Rumor and myself, like most, do best when we are in a consistent program; until now we have not had the opportunity to be in such a program since college has been my top priority the past few years. Now, as I am entering my last semester I can finally take it easy, giving me the freedom and flexibility to focus on my goals, in and out of the saddle.
Change can be especially scary if you happen to be a 15.2 hh easily excitable thoroughbred mare. Rumor's life has really taken a 180. She is now in a program that gives her the undivided attention she craves. She gets fully groomed every time she gets brought inside, her legs and hoofs are always kept clean and dry when shes in the barn, and she is finally getting some much needed training rides from a professional. Not to say that I haven't done a good job up until this point, but she is a lot of horse who needs some fine tuning that I simply can not achieve on my own. Rumor has always struggled with mounting in a relaxed manner, and even though we were making some significant progress while at the previous barn, the new and unfamiliar stimuli has caused Rumor to second guess her decision to come out of what she previously believed to be "retirement". Her work ethic is better than ever, but she is currently like riding a fire breathing dragon, which basically means that she's burning far more calories than necessary.
For those who know the struggle of keeping weight on a hard keeper, you know why I was immediately concerned with her new zest on life. She has decided that she will only eat the highest quality alfalfa hay, because nothing but the best is acceptable for the princess. She's slowly learning that almost unlimited t&a is just as acceptable, but you can probably relate to my immediate panic when she was only eating the limited alfalfa flakes during the transition period. You better believe that I bought her alfalfa cubes to add to her diet to help compensate for the inevitable weight loss that usually comes with a new move. This ensured that Rumor would make up for the calorie requirements of her new workout regimen, keep her stomach full to help prevent any ulcer development, and she could get more water into her system during the most stressful days of her transition. I strongly recommend the addition of alfalfa cubes to the diet of any horse who is moving barns, showing consistently, or who is simply a hard keeper. They really do make a difference in the overall health of your horse and do wonders to keep a healthy weight on even the most picky of eaters.
While Rumor's transition was as easy as one could anticipate with a horse like her, it was actually more of an adjustment for me. The past 3.5 years have been more relaxed with a less regimented routine, meaning that Rumor and I have been unable to maintain a regular lesson schedule and get the consistency that we both need to take us to the next levels. I have not been pushed out of my comfort zone in a very long time, so the return to scheduled lessons and trainers with expectations has been wonderful but challenging for me. I had forgotten what it was like to be pushed for improvement daily. That being said the entire move and transition has been a wonderful experience as I relearn what it is like to be back to such a regimented program. I am learning to slowly let go of some of the control and trust the experts around me to help both Rumor and I chase the dreams I have set for us. I can be very protective of Rumor knowing her history and occasional outbursts, but watching her already begin to blossom in the new program has helped me take a step back and breathe. Something I haven't been able to do since owning her. Now I can focus on myself once again and hopefully get back to being as competitive as I once was.
Moving barns is never easy as there will always be a period of adjustment. This move has helped reinforce the importance of listening to my horses needs and acting accordingly. Remember, you are never on your own and asking questions is always encouraged at any barn old or new. This way you can feel included in your horses program and the line of communication can be well established early on, making it easier to adjust to the changes you and your horse are experiencing. Moving barns can be such an exciting time, so enjoy it! Soon enough you will be making lifelong friends, be pushed to excel past your wildest dreams, and make unforgettable memories!