It's not harsh, Dim, I get what you're saying.
It's a complicated situation because he is 22yo and arthritic...was really worked hard when he was younger from what we can tell. There's always that possibility that the behavior issues at least in part stem from some sort of discomfort or pain...opinions on whether or not he should be ridden have ranged from a big fat "no" to he's strong and will be fine but needs to be ridden regularly to rehab him.
I feel like if I could work with him daily we could make some headway but you know how some people say that every moment you spend with a horse you ARE training them? I'm not in the right head-space right now to deal with him...amazing how my situation changed so drastically in the few months since I bought him! When I bought him I had all the time in the world and access to the right facilities...I leased a horse prior to buying my own and the time seemed right. I just bought the wrong horse and had my timing all wrong.
It's not his fault though and I think he'll be happier/healthier on pasture regardless of how much we can work with him. He's a creaky old guy.
He is old. He is arthritic. How is any type of riding going to be helpful or beneficial to this horse?
Also, since it is hard to age a horse once they pass late teens if they are not papered, this horse could be well past 22.
Doubt that any major diagnostics have been done, MRI's, X-rays, Ultrasounds to completely rule out any spinal problems, hip problems or whatever. Had those been done? I would imagine you would find quite a few major problems with this horse physically.
And the only way he has to tell you he HURTS is to bolt, buck or do whatever it takes to get you off his back.
Some horses can and do ride fairly well in their 20's. Most do not. And if one has been competed on? They have been under more body stresses when young than a horse that has been trail ridden only.
And even if you go get a dead head, well broke, kids horse? If you can not ride, you will end up right back where you are. Having horses when you were younger, and the statement that one was a brat and you fell off a lot, does not inspire any confidence in you as a rider I am afraid.
Horses KNOW when you do not know what you are doing. And they react accordingly too.
I've had some that would not bolt with someone like you, but they would meander around ignoring your attempts to get them to do anything that didn't suit them.
I've had others that would test lightly, and then go ahead IF you could ride well. But those same horses are not going to put up with jigging hands, or poor riding.
I've had some that would veer off into and under trees to get you off.
And I've had some that would dump you the first chance they got.
You need some riding lessons before you go horse shopping again, this horse needs a new home, and then you need to have someone find a horse that is better suited for you, once you learn to ride well, and also to handle one too, as that can cause many problems.