Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: foothills of Virginia
It is just when they are way too underweight (and honestly, hon, that is not a 'little' underweight, that is a lot, I would be ashamed for any of my horses to look that poorly for long) they already don't have enough calories in thier body to live on, much less take the added strain of being ridden. Like never feeding someone but expecting them to work nonetheless. Mite work well for fashion models, but that is self-imposed, the horse would never chose that for themselves. I would say feed isn't her only issue, that perhaps her teeth need floating. When a horse has a hard time keeping weight it also has to do with the teeth. Our gelding was a horrible keeper, I was beggering myself making him look to weight (and he is 28, and looks good now) but once he had his teeth floated he put alot of weight on.
Sorry, I would be honest with the owner and tell him his horse is way too thin and malnourished and that you won't ride until she gets some groceries in her. It really isn't fair on the horse. Also, when they are real thin like that, the saddle and girth has gotta make them raw, rubbing on all those bones...... I work in rescue and I never saddle the bony ones, I wait for them to pack some meat on them bones first.
Know thyself, know thy horse.