I RODE MY HORSE LAST NIGHT.
For the first time since August 14, when I finished my weekly lesson with a feeling of disquiet and thus started our endless diagnosis/treatment cycle, last night I saddled my horse, put his bridle on, and sat on him.
He was good as gold. Even though I'd closed every door to the indoor and alerted the barn manager, he stood at the mounting block and walked off sensibly. I don't know why I expected him to forget everything he's ever learned in the past 9 (!!!) months, but he responded willingly when I asked him to stretch down, to have a teensy bit of bend in the corners, to go on a 20 meter circle.
We walked for 20 minutes in the indoor. I didn't ask for anything complicated, just to stretch down a bit into my hands, bend a little bit, access the inside hind on a circle. He was quite short behind but even up front - I couldn't feel a hint of a problem in that RF. At the end of 20 minutes I could feel him getting the smallest bit muscle-tired, but he was definitely better in the hind end.
I could have ridden forever, and got a little teary at one point. He is the absolute best, and I am so glad to be riding him again.
The plan is to stay at 20 minute walks in the indoor through the next week at least, then start hacking outside for 30 minutes, whether fields or road work. I am a teensy bit nervous about how his soles will hold up on the dirt roads, with all their rocks, so I want to work on getting them tougher before we do that - lots of Durasole.
Tonight, I'll take pictures of his new glue-on shoes, which are kind of funky looking. The farrier also used epoxy to clean the whole RF up, so it looks practically normal save for the scar tissue lump that's slowly working its way down the hoof.
In conclusion, \o/