After I dropped Romeo off at Les's house, and arrived back home, Chewie was pretty happy to see me. So, I took my hoofpick, Durasole, and halter, and headed with him to the round pen. I really only intended to clean his feets, apply the gorilla-killer solution, and ask for a little trot, expecting the limp to persist.
When I set Chewie loose in the round pen, he took off, like the happy race horse he is. He ran and ran and ran... I left the round pen briefly enough to get his attention. After about 5 minutes of this silly running nonsense, bucking, farting, twisting mid-air, rearing, he finally calmed down.
I asked for walk-left, he was sound.
I asked for walk-right, he was sound.
I asked for trot-left, I got about 6 strides, then canter left (slow)
I asked again, and got trot-left, he was sound.
I asked for walk-right again, he was still sound.
I asked for trot-right, again, a few strides, then canter right (fast)
Asked again, for trot-right, he was sound!
Asked for brief canter-right, he was sound. Slow, easy, head to the inside!
Things I noticed...
Chewie was sound, trot, canter, left & right.
Knee action! Rather than dragging his toes, kicking up dust in the front, and not giving a floaty trot, he was lifting his legs, bending his knees with every step, and hitting the ground whole-hoof at once. Beautiful movement!
I didn't have to push him at trot to get a nice stride. I clucked, and he was tracking.
No shoe clicking in the full tracking trot. No rear hoof hitting front hoof.
No tripping! He was picking up all four hooves.
Total work, about 20 minutes, some because of Chewie's flip-out. I turned him loose, and he followed me up to the trailer for a pat & cookie.
Talked to Mr Don. He was happy with the good news, and suggested the following path forward:
Lunge & Round pen for two more weeks
Light to moderate work only
In two weeks, ride bareback, at the walk, 5 minutes for one day
Next day, 5 minutes, if sound, add 2-3 minutes
Next day, add a few more
Only at the walk, bareback, for at least one week, perhaps two
Then, call again, give him an update on soundness, and he'll suggest when he can carry bareback at trot, or saddled.