For comparison's sake...
O on the lunge in June:
And O today:
Holy moley. She is one big beefy muscular girl! No flab on this momma, she's rippling muscle all over. She had a GREAT work on the lunge today... the canter is looking really great for her. She's really counterbent in that above picture, but I altered the lines some after I took the picture and straightened her out. We did a lot of work on insisting she canter at a reasonable pace, and that when she transitions downward from the canter, we slow it down into a normal trot instead of a Standardbred zoomy trot. She's a quick study and she picks up things very quickly, although sometimes she has a battle in her brain about whether or not she agrees with the idea - you can tell by her expression in the canter picture that she's not sure that a nice slow canter is really the speed she'd like to be going.
I am SO happy to report that her behavior has done a 180 since giving her the extra tummy support. I feel very fortunate that I know this horse well enough to know when something isn't quite right with her, and to act on it quickly. She doesn't hide anything, she was more or less screaming that something wasn't right - walking away and sulking in the corner of her pen whenever I showed up was a pretty clear "go away leave me alone I don't feel great." That was really abnormal for her. Today, after 2 days of her yummy tummy, she was practically crawling over the fence to get to me. She was on top of me when I picked out their pen, she put her head in my arms when we were grooming, and she left her haybag to come insist that I hold her head and rub her nosey while I was leaning up against the fence chatting with S (an unsolicited move on her part... I wasn't paying attention and suddenly she was there, going excuse me it's time to pay attention to me now.) She is inhaling her food and licking the bucket clean, and wolfing down all the hay in sight.
I may be neurotic about gastric health, but it pays off. I think back to Metro when he was showing similar symptoms (this was a decade ago now, holy crap!!), and how I wrote his behavior off as being a jerk, his sheath needed to be cleaned, he didn't like his bit, I was sitting crooked, he needed groundwork. Turns out, he had kicking raging ulcers and I had no idea even though all the symptoms were staring me in the face (big hay belly and ribs, lots of little colics, random acting out behaviors under saddle). If I had known then what I know now, things would have been very different. And if I knew now only what I had known then, I'm sure O would already be in a total downward spiral of ulcery doom, and god knows she would be SERIOUSLY hateful with actual ulcers.
Symptoms as vague as "well she doesn't want much to do with me when I show up" don't readily lend themselves to looking like an actual problem. If I were less neurotic and weird I probably would have just chalked it up to her being cranky and in heat. That said, I'm a pretty firm believer that they're always trying to tell us all sorts of things if we'd just take the time to listen to them... in this case I'm glad I stopped and thought about it a little more.