FWIW, I actually support most of your vet's advice. It sounds like it could be a very straightforward case of a horse that needs shoes and some joint supplements. But personally, if I'd had a horse butchered that badly for that long, I'd want some simple straightforward x-rays of the front feet and a farrier who would work with my vet. It would be MUCH easier to get the x-rays now and give them to your farrier than have the horse shod, potentially have to take the shoes back off to shoot x-rays, and then have your farrier attempting to put shoes back on the now-even-more-stressed hoof. It's cheap, it doesn't require the horse to be unsound, and it might save you big bucks in the farrier trying X, Y, and Z things rather than saying "Ah, the x-rays show _____. Let's correct that with good farrier work."
I sympathize with your plight of getting time off for work. What a bummer not to have trusted friends or fellow boarders to hold your horse for you.