Considering our four-legged friends are near and dear to our hearts, we like to spend most (read: all) of our free time with them. The barn community becomes like family and our trainers get to know us better than anyone. Unfortunately, whether we love our barns or not, sometimes we have to move on. Maybe it’s because the barn becomes too far of a drive for us to go see our horses every day, or maybe it’s because what we want out of the sport changes. Whatever the reason that spurs us to move on is, it’s important to move on professionally and with consideration because the horse world is small. You never know who you’ll meet at a show, who you’ll want to train with, or what barn you might want to return to!

One of the most considerate things you can do is to give ample notice to the barn owner that you will be leaving. Many contracts state a certain amount of days that they need notice for; 30 days is standard in the horse world. A simple way to avoid confrontation and any drama is to state your notice to the barn owner or manager in person. They may ask you for a written notice, but that written notice doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Stay simple and concise, that way there will be no misconceptions or misunderstandings!

Say you know you’re going to be moving states for college in a couple of months or you are preparing to move for a job. Why not let the barn owner know? By giving early notice, you are being considerate of the business side of the barn. Many barn owners or managers would be appreciative of this, especially as honesty and transparency in your communication with them would help you leave on good terms. on good terms means the door of the barn may be open for you in the future. Not only that, but the barn owner or manager might have good recommendations for barns in your new area. Talk about connections!

Speaking of connections, have a friend looking for a barn? By recommending someone to the barn owner or manager, you’re showing them you care about the barn and the business that keeps it running. If you don’t know anyone who needs a stall in a new barn, if you loved where you boarded you can offer to be a reference for new boarders. This is a good way to show you valued the community of your barn. There’s no reason you can’t stop in and say “Hi” or visit when you’re in the area, too! By keeping in touch on Facebook or other social media, you can preserve your relationship with your barn friends and the barn owner or manager.

If you are leaving a barn on less than good terms, there are still ways you can leave without burning any bridges. The horse world is small; you can be sure you’ll bunk into your old trainer at a horse show, or maybe your old barn owner at the local tack shop. Stick to the high road: don’t feed into any drama surrounding your decision to leave the barn. That way, the barn owner has no reason to have any bad blood between you two. Be sure to double check your boarding contract in order to give them ample notice of your leave so you fulfill your end of the bargain. Remember, it is business to the barn owner or manager and they will simply need another client. You aren’t wounding them personally.

As you make your decision to leave, here’s something to keep in mind to soothe your worries that you will upset the barn owner or manager, or trainer. They’re running a business, and you’re a client of theirs. It is the nature of business for clients and people to come and go. In other words? Even if you have a wonderful relationship, they will understand your decision to leave as long as you act professionally and considerately. Cross your bridges gently and there won’t be any fires to put out!