My 23 year old quarter horse gelding, Cody, has been retired for about four years. Just prior to that, he was ridden only occasionally.
Lately I've been noticing that was moving very stiffly with his rear legs. He also occasionally has swelling/pain in one of his knees.
Had the vet out and he diagnosed a bone spavin in the rear leg, arthritis in the knee.
After doing some research, it seems light exercise is recommended for horses with arthritis issues.
The problem is, he is kept at my parents' house (1.5 hours away from us) so it's only possible for us to get there on weekends to ride. I don't know that it would be at all beneficial for him to go for weekly rides.
He is kept on 30 acres and does occasionally meander through the pasture, but doesn't do any "real" exercise.
There is also the issue of how heavy of a rider he can carry. He is a very stocky quarter horse, but I think that only adds to the problem. He has had back issues in the past and now with the arthritis... I feel like a lighter rider would be best. I think I'm too heavy for him at 170 lbs.
My husband weighs 115 but is a beginner. Cody was a very well trained horse with a very keen sense of a rider's ability, but four years is a long time to not have a rider on.
There is also a girl who lives nearby that took lessons with me ages ago. She used to ride my pony when she was young, then got her own horse when she outgrew the pony but the horse sadly passed away a couple of years after she bought her. She has expressed an interest in riding and I'm thinking of asking her if she'd like to start riding Cody on a regular basis, but I'm not sure if a slow mount she can't do things like games, etc. on is what she's looking for. I need to be able to 100% trust she isn't going to overwork him.
What do you guys think? Should I slowly start bringing him out of retirement? Any advice/recommendations would be much appreciated.