Well, rain turned into big fat drops and then into big fat white drops and pretty soon it was snowing hard this morning! Ringo limped back to the barn on Tuesday evening and was very sweet about letting me look at his right front hoof. I noticed that his frog, which had been flappy when I cleaned it out earlier that day, was now gone and the heel as well. So there was nothing to cushion his weight on that foot.
Seeing nothing else obvious, I have kept him confined to soft ground and put lots of extra shavings in the barn. That was 3 days ago and he's still not sound although putting weight on all fours.
Clicker training is such a great tool to use when an animal needs care. When I noticed that Ringo was limping, I quickly grabbed my treat pouch along with my hoof pick and bottle of disinfectant. As soon as Ringo sees the treat pouch, he understands that we will be "doing" something together and that he will be getting rewarded for his part. Wonderful!
So he is willing to let me investigate, poke and prod because we have built up this relationship together.
Now it doesn't necessarily translate to an unfamiliar person - he can be wary of a stranger poking and prodding as every experience with vets have taught me. And it may not work if he were unwell enough to refuse food. But as long as he's keen to eat, clicker training will help me work with him.