I also discovered that Amigo had passed from this world yesterday. Amigo was the second-oldest horse at the stables, after Desi, and was one of the most friendly horses you'll ever meet. Amigo had cancer for some time, but was getting along fine with it; no discomfort and still plugging away. This past week, his health took a drastic plunge; it was obvious that he was not going to make it, and was in a great deal of discomfort, so they had him put to sleep yesterday.
Farewell, Amigo... your memory will live on in the Amigo Award, the yearly award the stable gives to the rider or student who gets along with the horses best.
On the plus side, I managed to stay in two-point position for two entire walks around the ring before I collapsed back into the saddle, which is definite progress. And I didn't need to use the crop today even as a silent threat; Chester obeyed just fine for the first part of the lesson, so our rapport is getting better. However, towards the end, he got balky, and at first I thought he was just being stubborn until I felt something a bit 'off' in what I had gotten used to as his gait. I pulled him over to the side, and asked Kara to come help me take a look.
Chester's left front knee, the one that he's a little protective of, was a little bit swollen. So I stayed off for the rest of the lesson (last 10 minutes or so) and just tried to make him comfortable until I could go out and take his tack off. We also gave him some horsie-ibuprofen. This was slightly sobering, though, since I believe Chester is now the second oldest horse at the stables, with Amigo's passing.
Of course, while I was cleaning Chester's right rear hoof, the final one, just as I finished he decided it was time to poop. No real damage done, but I think I'll be washing that jacket...! Cleaned his tack, put it away, cleaned the aisle, gave him the usual treat (he was rather perturbed that I only had carrots today, not apples), and he was obviously feeling better by that point.
I also made friends with Coalby, the skittish mare in the stall next to Chester. Coalby was an abused horse in childhood, until she ended up at the school. She's affection-starved, but has no manners; she grabs at people (afraid of being left alone), she nearly takes fingers off when she's getting treats (because she's afraid the treats will go away), and shies back when people try to touch her, even though she desperately wants to be petted and scritched. Once she becomes comfortable with you, though, she's one of the sweetest horses in the world, albeit needy.
Kara was surprised to pass by and find me petting Coalby, who was acting fairly calm. She also noted that Coalby's ears were forward instead of flattened warily, and suggested that when I come in to visit or do stuff at the stables outside of riding, I should spend a bit of time with Coalby since she seemed to like and trust me. Coalby gave me several wet, loving kisses, as well. Two varieties of horse drool this week! Chester all over my jacket, and Coalby all over my shirt. Whee!
Good riding, in all. Gonna hit the tack store this weekend and pick up a few books and my own helmet, and -- if that hasn't been too high a total -- I may pick up my own grooming kit. Otherwise I'll wait on the grooming kit for a while.
Gonna ache tomorrow, but happy, as always. Despite being pooped on. ;P