Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
At my barn, we have a TB gelding whos 25 or 26. He's blind in one eye, a little spooky sometimes, but in his day he was a racehorse. Still at 26, his favorite thing to do is to open the gates by himself, take a galloped lap or two around the barn yard, and then put himself in his stall like nothing ever happened. He's not ridden anymore unless its bareback to and from his stall, he has a severe swayback and so saddles just don't sit well on him anymore. I would say that he's more bored than unhappy, but he certainly enjoys work when its given.
Theres also a lesson horse (a TB cross) who is dead to most leg cues and is used for absolute beginners, but can be ridden by the more advanced students as well. At the last show he was at, he was ridden by three girls because one of the other horses turned up lame. He showed better for the third girl than the first, and he still had it in him for more when they were packing up to go home. He's also a cribber, and I think he's bored also, not necessarily unhappy.
Then there's my guy. More or less fresh off the track, 12 years old, and he just plain loves to work. There's no doubt about it. He gets attitudy and nasty when he's not ridden at least 3 times a week....its escalated to the point where he attacked the BO. Before I bought him, he was in a pasture 24/7 and I think he enjoyed that....however, he associates a stall with work, so when he doesn't get it.....I wouldn't classify him as bored, I would say that he is unhappy.
I think it just comes down to what the horse has come to expect from its life---a grand prix show horse suddenly turned out to permanant pasture might not do as well as a weekend trail horse.