The verdict is in, well sort of. I called the vet yesterday on one of my rare moments not diligently taking notes in class or working hard for my money and he had some... ambiguous things to say.
We took more rads of Bijou's RF hoof this time. He said that he does see some things that are suspicious, such as some remodeling of the coffin bone to give it a little lip at the toe (I have yet to see the films, so I don't know how much we're talking about) which could have happened recently, or could have happened as a youngster. He also saw some slight navicular changes, mostly because that foot is more upright, and he thinks that all the tendons/ligaments working around that area might have pulled a few things slightly off kilter. He also said that her pastern bone doesn't sit as nicely in dead center of the joint as he'd like to see. So... what does this all mean? Not a whole heck of a lot since when we nerve blocked out those areas, she was still mostly off. That's when a whole picture type thing really comes in handy. I'm glad we did the blocks first, because now we know that all of that might just be 'normal' for her. Some horses have bone chips that never bother them, some have calcifications that should cause pain but just don't manifest as painful in some horses. Right now I'm not sure how much of this I need to worry about.
I had to rush through my conversation in order to get to my next class on time, so I had to cut short all the burning questions these findings brought up. What he did suggest as a plan of action was to shoe her like I had before (which made her sound) and until that wasn't working, we could continue like that. I'm a big believer in preventative medicine, so I'm already looking into getting some generic Adequan and/or some oral joint supplements to stave off any potential degradation of those joints. I have a friend who might be able to get me some of the generic at cost, so it might not even be thaaaat expensive.
Then I have thoughts like, if my young 6 yr old horse can't even stay sound barefoot, on really great footing, doing flat work, how is she ever going to stay sound enough to event no matter what I do with her feet?
I really love this mare. She's got the cutest personality, loves to be loved on, wants to please. I went out today and 'rode' her around bareback with her halter in her pasture (ok, so maybe we walked in like, 1/2 a circle a few times and I just laid there the rest of the time). That's the kind of thing I've always wanted to be able to do with my horses. I just met a girl the other day who wishes desperately that she could just go hop on her guy and wander around in a bridle, but can't because he's just not that kind of horse. I know that's not an amazing aspiration to have (and I've always been pushed to have aspirations) but is there really something wrong with that? I've really gained a trusting bond with this mare, she followed me around jumping little 6" cavalletti today and it was so cute because she would jump them just as high as I did. If I ran at them and JUMPED over, she would do the same, or if I just walked over them calmly, she'd follow along with her nose on the ground.
I'm at so many crossroads, my last year in college, what do I want to do as a profession, what do I want the rest of my equine career to look like, will I move? Where? Everything's up in the air and I guess I'll just keep taking things one day at a time.
Please, learn from my mistakes. Even if the horse is free (which Bijou was not), get rads and a soundness done, because this is no fun.