Any horse over 30 probably should be just a pasture mate, not even ridden at all except by maybe a small child. Poor fellow. It's an endles cycle, too, because the more pulling on a horse's mouth, the more they develop "hard mouth" and the more inexperienced riders pull. A good rider doesn't need to use the reins very much, instead relying on the leg signals and voice signals. If you watch Olympic-class riders at work, you almost never see them move the reins except perhaps in the show jumping ring on those hard doubleback turns. It's all in the legs and the bond of trust between horse and rider. And when the reins are used, such as for stopping, it only needs to be a gentle, short tug. A well-trained horse and rider need nothing more.
It doesn't make sense that the school wouldn't turn out the horses. It's way more economical to keep them at pasture than to feed them grain every day. Plus, keeping them at pasture teaches students the extremely valuable lesson of how to catch an elusive horse. Yes, it may waste some riding time but it is all part of working with horses and every rider needs to know the tricks. My school did this and both student and horse benefited from it. I especially enjoyed the time I had walking my mount back to the pasture and telling her what a good job she did. It gave me extra time to bond with her and with my riding mates and instructor.
The two horses with cribbing/weaving/chewing problems will experience long-term health problems if they are not entertained sufficiently. There are toys you can purchase to help alleviate boredom in the stall but by far the best thing for these two would be turnout. But what is the point of a riding school having so many unrideable horses? That's very irresponsible.
+ The biggest number you can think of! I know all of that, I just wish THEY knew that!
The old horse is cleared to be ridden, he is in very good health/shape for his age. The woman I work for has a mare about his age, and she can barely walk, looks terrible, and will be euthanized soon probably. Him? I guessed he was early 20s! BUT, just because he's old, doesn't mean he deserves this treatment. He will still forget training and can become dangerous if not treated/ridden/handled properly. I'd rather see him in a little pasture, with a little friend, and a specific rider who loves him and respects him and he's only ridden a few times a week than have his mouth yanked on, sit in a stall, and no one treat him like a real horse.
They don't turn the horses out because there's no pasture where we board. I personally hate this place. I'm trying to start a program to build our own barn on site so they have better care and will have larger stalls plus a turn out area. It will probably be dirt turn-out, but at least a few hours of the day each one can be let out and enjoy some HORSE TIME! Not trapped in a stall, riden, put back.
I will probably treat the abscess myself on Saturday. A friend sent me a video of how to use diapers, rubber, and duct tape to make him a boot, and will send me a recipe better than espom salt which will draw it to the surface in a day or two, and then I will call up the vet to see if he can extract the infection so it can heal up.
I will bring a proposal for me to lease him, so he will be a school horse, but hopefully who rides him will be my descretion, and I can do whatever I want with him on my own time, too. I am also trying to put together a "mentorship program" so us more experienced students will teach the beginners so they'll know better. I am hoping to convince the school to sell the oldie, the 2 with anxiety behaviors, and our other horse not doing anything, then keep mine with me paying part of his expenses. Then bring in 2-3 other horses (I'd rather 2 we can fully pay for than get 4 more and have them make money issues!) that are fully trained, with professional trainer volunteers so there will be multiple trainers during sessions so no one can ruin these ones.
This year, I am kicking everyone's butts harder than last so these horses can finally leave good lives and our horse program doesn't fall apart!!!