Mr Gus hasn't had much int he way of face time on the blog recently, but never fear! He is sturdy and stout and weathering winter well.
Gus grows an insane amount of hair. Basically this means he has recently pumped out 40lbs of mane that has knotted and matted and thatched itself into a very efficient roof for his neck during the muddy rainy season.
Underneath that Thatched Roof, is a big pile of fluffy fur that has been keeping Gus warm, fat and pretty happy. Even though the pasture grass is dead and muddy, somehow the creature is... gaining weight? For all of his old man issues, keeping weight on him certainly isn't one. I think the guy gets chubby just looking at food.
I went out Sunday for an extended hang with the big guy. He got his legs washed (still fungus free!) and his tail scrubbed (also massive and heavy and in need of a cleaning..) as well as a steam clean on his face where cakes his fur with the green-slimy-goo that grows on the fences
He seemed to enjoy his currying and spa treatments though I didn't really think through the whole "dry time" issue and we ended up riding with wet legs and tail which undid a chunk of the cleaning process.. dammit.
The ride was nice though! Gus felt pretty good for Gus. Certainly not as sound as he was last spring when he went to his show, but better than the Summer/Fall '13 lame-a-palooza.
We walked for about 15 minutes, whereby I could feel him stabbing the toe on the RF but he had no head bob and felt very forward and enthusiastic (which is definitely missing when he's uncomfy).
Then we trotted for 5 minutes. I returned to a walk for the corners/ short side when we were traveling left (and his limp is more pronounced) but he felt pretty good and remarkably even on the straightaways!
Finally I played with a little canter. Nervous about his RF I stuck mostly to the left lead, and only cantered our long sides, returning to the walk for the corners. Gus felt good. He was soft, and round and very willing. I did canter on the right lead a couple of times, though he was slightly reluctant to pick up the lead so I didn't push it.
Finally we walked on a long rein again for a few minutes, shoved his face full of peppermints and called it a day.
Due to the... extra insulation Gus has acquired, I swapped his medium for a clean sheet and tucked him into his stall for the night.
I'm going out today to see if the ride had any affect at all on his current level of lameness or if he's just as comfy. Fingers crossed, I'm hoping he's stabilized and okay to stay in some work.
Also, Farrier is out next week and suggested that we try a specialty shoe traditionally used for old suspensory injuries. Both he and my vet have had good experiences with it for horses with a reduced range of motion (like Gus). And since his scar tissue all seems to be on that suspensory/annular I'm thinking it may be applicable.
Gotta love a Gus! Man he is cute...