Originally Posted by Kayty
Boots, generally lameness won't come up for a few days/weeks if you're doing gradual damage to the limbs by working a horse too hard, too soon. It's a brilliant way of breaking down a perfectly good horse and I would never, not in a million years, advise someone to get on an old, unfit horse that has been in a paddock doing nothing for years, to 'get on and do what you want'.
I don't know how old the OP is, but say that to a kid and most of them will be galloping around. Goodbye sound legs on horse!
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Most horses at pasture aren't in too bad of shape. Even if the pasture is small (5 acres or so).
Very safe to walk, trot, and even lope a soft when bringing them back to work. Can they put in a whole day? Of course not, but then, neither can a lot of riders. If the OP is the type of young person who will gallop too much, s/he is unlikely to listen to anything we say anyway.
I do rehab under the oversight of a group of veterinarians and that has been my experience.