Well I brought Louie back in to see Dr. Turner this week for a re-check on his lameness. He was happy with the shoes and the way Louie's feet were looking.
He did one of the most thorough physical exams I have ever seen, doing flexions of all 4 legs, watching Louie walk, trot, and canter on soft and hard surfaces. He palpated every part of Louie from his teeth to his feet to his back. He checked his flexibility and neurological system. After all of that, he came to the conclusion that my horse was goofy- in otherwords, not right, but not terribly wrong.
So we decided to do thermograms to try to pinpoint the soreness. The only areas that lit up on the thermograms were the right hind leg (the whole leg) due to Louie using that leg more than the left hind, and an area on the left side, back part of the rib cage near the spine. This is the same area that Louie had a knot in last fall, and the same spot where he's been sore since I tried all of those dressage saddles this winter. We don't know what it is, but it's possibly a rib out.
Then we basically came to a decision point of- do more looking, X-rays, bone scans, MRIs, etc, or give it some time and try to work through it to see if it will go away. The choice is hard and we all hope we never have to make the decision, but sometimes we need to draw the line with diagnostics and treatment of equine problems. Because there was nothing glaringly wrong with Louie and he didn't see any reason I shouldn't keep working him, we decided to give it some time, keep working him, try to almost ignore the headnod at the walk, and try to get him more time out of the stall. He also recommended I have his teeth checked and also agreed that chiropractic and massage may be helpful, especially for the rib on the left side.
So. . . I had a great ride and a great drive with Louie this week. We're planning on going to a show at the end of the month, and probably more trail riding. :) I'm content with the decision, as afterall, I can bring him back at any time if I choose to do more looking into this mystery lameness.