Just got a call from the vet.
She talked to Kim, did some research, and based on the fact that Amber has not responded to the bute, she says it's likely we will be able to rule out arthritis (which is great), and she thinks it may be a mild case of locking stifles.
She's got to talk to someone who specializes more in that, but for now it's good news. It can be fixed. She thinks it's very likely she could at least return to walk/trot/canter. She said it may come that she will be able to jump, but she also may not be able to. We will just have to see.
The cost is another issue, but right now we have no idea how much anything is going to cost until we Xray her to make 100% sure it's not arthritis, and of course to see what else is going on.
But heather definitely thinks it's her stifles, not her hocks. We're definitely thinking on the same page here.
Right now, although it's early on, I have to think about my options. It could go so many different ways. If it comes that she can walk/trot/canter fine, we'll see what our alternatives to something expensive like surgery are, see what the prognosis without surgery is, and maybe sell her to someone looking for that with a first right of refusal contract. Honestly, I think my main objection to selling her would be not having control of or not knowing where she could go.
If the prognosis is good and that she will return to what she was doing, then we will go for as much as we can afford. If I can't afford what will return her to that, then probably do the same as above if the prognosis is good for walk/trot/canter without.
And I'm trying not to feel like a selfish, nasty, callous person for considering the sale of my "forever horse" if she can merely not jump. But, at the same time, I've start to come to the realization that it's unrealistic. If I could afford 2 horses, she'd be here forever.
However, from what I'm reading on the internet, there are several cases where horses had it severe enough for surgery and they returned to full work, including over fences.
So for now, I will be happy. It's the first time I've had REAL direction in a long time.
If anyone wants to read up on this, all you have to do is google "locking stifle in horses" or "upward fixation of the patella".