I guess I lucked out and did a few things right, the biggest one being I was clueless, I knew it and I begged for help anywhere I thought I might find it, including here. In theory, I agree with everything you guys have said. It IS a lot of work, and scary, and yes it can go wrong. I'm just not sure that the first advice to give someone in a situation is "you're in over your head, get out of the pool." You'd be surprised how fast someone who's motivated can learn to swim. But then again, this involves an animal who is totally dependent on a person being able to learn quickly. Gah, I'm sitting here arguing with myself haha. I shouldn't have scolded you, you're absolutely right. Just, knowing how it feels to be that totally helpless, clueless new horse owner who's begging for help and they receive a response like yours...it kind of feels like horse people think they belong to a select club to which very few can belong. Which may be true to an extent as well....what I do know is it's become a way of life for me in less than a year and I'm soaking up knowledge wherever I can find it. I have been very lucky, but a lot of my luck stems from my determination to do right by my animals and my willingness to read, ask, learn etc.
What I know for sure is that if I had heeded a lot of the advice I was given here a year ago, I wouldn't have the horses I have now. I wouldn't have the pride of seeing my two young horses go from skinny and terrified to happy and healthy. It is not a commitment to be taken lightly or entered into without some kind of idea of the work (and costs) involved. Yeah, so I'm rambling on top of arguing with myself lol. Nothing to see here, folks, carry on. :P
You didn't scold me lol, I see what you're saying and completely agree with it. The OP sounds like a smart person who wants the best for the horse. That's a great first step, it could be a lot worse.
Unfortunately the situation in general is NOT a good one. I don't know about your own situation but I'm guessing you had SOME common knowledge, like shelter, friends, getting the vet out, etc. Some preparation (money set aside), and I assume your horse had no health issues/injuries and was in decent condition.
The OPs horse is old (we think, but we have no idea what that means) has leg issues (undiagnosed just obviously wrong) and is emaciated. An emaciated horse needs intensive care from a vet and qualified professionals. PERIOD. The other things are just icing on the cake, coupled with the OP not even realizing the horse needs a vet asap and that horses (just like people) have basic needs (shelter, companionship). The plus is that the horse seems like a good sport, but we all know that can change VERY quickly, especially in situations like this.
I DO love the OPs attitude and commend it. That will get him/her very far..someday. I just don't think this is the right place to even TRY swimming, remember if it goes wrong it can go VERY wrong and it will likely mean the horse being hurt more than it's helped.
I think it would be fantastic if the OP wanted a horse to learn about horses THEN get a horse. And I do think there are situations where the right novice can jump in (not ideal, but yes it often works out ok). But simply on a CARE level this isn't the right situation. That's all I'm saying.
It has nothing to do with being selective, it has to do with a sick horse needing proper care. If this horse was young and healthy and the OP had a better knowledge (mentor?) my response would be very different. I know the neighbors will help "when they come back" but who knows what that means. Trust me, I know experienced people that should never have a horse like this, let alone someone who wouldn't pass horse husbandry 101.
And again, absolutely no offense to the OP (or you). I hope you can see where I'm going with my response and it's definitely NOT "oh you need x y z to get a horse and you clearly aren't good enough".
Oh and seeing the blanketing thing- if he's in poor condition I would absolutely blanket IN ADDITION to the essential shelter.
If you're going to rescue them you need to actually do so, good intentions are great, and trying is great, but they only get you so far sometimes. That is my worry, nothing more or less.