Great thread! I pretty much agree withmost of what's mentioned.
I have to speak up for the beginners though, at least for the kids, you can't always blame them for their ignorance. Some, like myself years ago, join up for lessons at a barn/riding school expecting to be taught and taught right, but are let down.
From where I am now, looking back at the lessons I had as a child, they were pretty poor, but being a beginner I knew no better. They were the "experts" so what they taught must be true, right?
Some years later I happened upon a free horse and suddenly I was being told about things I had never heard of at my riding school. My mare needed her teeth done, massages, proper feed (of which I knew nothing, my instructors neglected that aspect of our learning in our theory lessons, in which we were usually used to clean tack
) and saddle fitting, which I believe is BIG thing as well, up there with getting their feet done. Just as a horse is not going to be comfortable or perform well with bad feet, so he is also going to be cranky with a sore back.
My mum is rather un-horsey and rolls her eyes when I mention some of the (very necessary) things I get done for my horse ie. 4-weekly trims, massages, hoof boots etc. As for saddle fit, andgetting it refitted which she thinks is unecessary as I've already had it fitted once, I tell her: Either I pay for this now or pay for vet bills later.
Although a horse can miss a few trims and be ok, it doesn't take too long for a badly fitting saddle to do damage to a horses back, the sverity depending upon the fit of saddle and how often the horse is ridden.
Also want to say I agree with MIEventer and some of the others who mentioned that it's not enough to just get your horse trimmed/floated/treated etc, it has to be done correctly. I've had a couple of instances where dentists and farriers have done shoddy jobs, and I've now switched to better ones and I have a happier horse.