Argh. I do not like change. Honestly, I've been living in the same house for the last 15 years largely because it's too much effort to move and I would hate to change neighbors, schools, my routine, you name it. Any change I make require hours, DAYS really, of agonized over-analyzation. Ask my husband.
So here's the deal: The woman who trains my kids and me is leaving our barn. My best barn friend has left our barn. I know I am going to have to leave my barn, and I dread it. However, the level of care has become so inconsistent that a move has become necessary. Sadly, our current trainer is moving to a place too far away.
So, being me, I did some online research, asked my vet and farrier, checked the boards at local tack shops, and created a spreadsheet of the barns in the area. Then I proceeded to drag my husband (he takes the kids to lessons when I'm traveling for business, so needs to be involved with this choice) to all of these barns to interview the managers and trainers, watch lessons if possible, and when a fit seemed possible, set up lessons for the kids and myself.
Finding a new barn is a lot like finding a new home, if I remember correctly. You see a lot of very pretty places that are way out of your price range, a lot of fixer uppers, and if you're lucky, a few places where you can envision settling in. You learn that many of the things you may originally think are necessities became more like "things that would be nice to have" and you find things that are absolutely non-negotiable.
I'm a fairly low key person with a small budget. While I'd love the opportunity to ride with a big show barn, it's not my reality. Some showing, with more local than big A rated shows are more in keeping with my financial reality, and I'm looking for a place that can accommodate an intermediate adult rider AND 2 short stirrup kids. This is harder than you'd imagine, as I have my horse, but they need ponies (which we don't have and can't afford.) I'm looking for a place with quality care, and a family friendly environment.
So, I keep looking. I haven't found the perfect fit, but I've enjoyed meeting more of the horsemen and women in my area. Quite a few have been extremely helpful, suggesting trainers or other barns that might be a good fit. The thought of the upcoming move has me in fits, but the good thing is that once change occurs, I adapt fairly quickly. Hopefully the kids and my mare will as well.