However, I'm not sure Belle is safe to ride anymore and I'm looking for some more opinions on the matter.
I've only ridden her walk/trot this year because I tried cantering her and it just felt terribly unbalanced even though she is sound. I figured I'd wait till she was a little more fit later in the year, which now I don't think is going to happen. I've been giving a friend some lessons on her but only a couple this year, we stopped because I wasn't sure it was safe. Belle kept stumbling and I was afraid she was going to fall or even just have a bad trip when she's trotting and hurt her beginner rider.
Also a few times when I was picking up her hooves she'd loose her balance and almost drop down to her knees except that I'd drop the hoof. Like I had just taken it right out from under her even though I had warned her and picked it up slowly.
She has little energy in general and Im not sure about her eye sight, is there a way to test that?
She still seems to like trail rides and doesn't stumble as much even though the footing isn't as good because she's more alert on them. She also acts more energetic and seems to kind of come alive on them.
Do you think she needs retired entirely? How do you tell if it is no longer safe to ride an older horse that is sound but sometimes has balance problems? I think I'll continue trailriding her as long as she still seems to enjoy it, but I'm questioning the safety. I would appreciate any input.