Archie and Ox (as well as all the other horses) had vet visits earlier this week. While the vet was super quick through everyone, I still had time to sit and graze Archie before we did his more thorough physical exam.
The current consensus is that he's in a holding place. The degeneration of his right front pastern joint doesn't appear to be getting any worse, but it's certainly not magically getting better. It just is. The vet still wants pads on him, but acknowledged that it really isn't feasible at this time of the year: if the moisture doesn't suck them off, he gets thrush. We're not sound on grass and straight lines are significantly friendlier.
Before my idealism vanished or my hypocrisy appeared, I would have never even considered riding regularly a horse who couldn't handle being ridden on the fucking grass. I mean, it's grass. It's a goddamn natural cushion.
But here we are.
One horrible vet visit nine months ago and my ethos had a paradigm shift. What was previously, self-righteously, unacceptable now became my new norm - let's medicate the horse to keep him comfortable enough to keep him rideable. This vet visit recap got a lot deeper than I intended. Sorry.
He's perfectly sound on the trails and in the ring, so I feel less like a horrible person for riding him there. And that's all the old man does anymore. We go on a couple trail rides a week and then dabble briefly in the ring. I did get clearance to start reincorporating some trot poles, so hopefully we can build a little more topline.
As far as the Big Orange Booty went, he had some blood drawn for some random (to us) (in the deep south) tests. The vet noted previously that he had some demarcation on his hooves, indicating a fever. Trail buddy contacted his previous owner who wasn't aware of a fever, but another contact up there said that a bout of something went through the horses. Not lyme, but something else that is similar? Must get more details. Anyways, she wanted blood drawn to make sure whatever is was isn't actually hiding out in his system, waiting to pop up. Fortunately, he's currently sound and happy and just a big ol' lug.