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PSSM Endurance Horses?

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  • PSSM Endurance Horses?

    So, although you might say I don't exactly belong in this forum, I'm here to see if I can learn from other disciplines.

    I am currently in the process of bringing back my PSSM horse to full work, and I am working on developing a successful conditioning program for him. I figured I might be able to take some notes from the endurance riders out there, even though he is a jumper.

    Any PSSM endurance horses out there? Anyone mind sharing any piece of your programs?

    Feel free to laugh at any of my ignorance you may encounter.
    Last edited by ontarget; Apr. 22, 2010, 11:44 PM. Reason: clarified/altered intent

  • #2
    I always understood PSSM to be a fairly serious condition where the horse has to be on a very specific individual diet and training plan. It would never occur to me to use such a horse for the most strenuous equine discipline there is, Endurance, IMO.

    Even healthy horses that are "made" for this sport, like Arabians, can tie up, dehydrate, get sore, etc., when not properly conditioned and/or ridden the day of the event.
    This discipline, similar to Eventing, needs a much more scientific approach if you want to succeed and keep a healthy horse, and while a lot of endurance riders often learn by trial and error, that's not advisable in your case.

    If you must do endurance because you like it so much (though it sounds as if you've never actually tried it?) it might be best to find another horse. But if it must be this horse, please don't look for conditioning tips here - work with a professional trainer and veterinarian instead so your horse doesn't get hurt unintentionally.

    I think eventually you can probably have a great trail horse and enjoy many hours of riding if you start with short walks and increase the mileage slowly. But 50 miles and more might not be a feasible goal. Just my 2 cents.

    Would also love to hear if there are any endurance horses (not trail horses) with PSSM out there.


    • #3
      I also wanted to add the following: Even if you are conditioning a horse with no health issues, there's no formula. That is both the beauty and a sometimes-problem in this sport.

      Most endurance horses are brought along with the main idea of riding "long slow distances." Many people alternate between days when they just walk and walk for hours, and other days when they trot and canter but for a much shorter time. Hill training is also important and teaching your horse to eat and drink when offered and to generally take care of himself and not worry about what other horses may be doing (easier said than done!) Cross-training is always a good idea, especially dressage, as it teaches both horse and rider balance and other skills you don't just learn on the trail.

      Take a look at the AERC website to learn more and work with knowledgeable people.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Lieselotte View Post
        If you must do endurance because you like it so much (though it sounds as if you've never actually tried it?) it might be best to find another horse. But if it must be this horse, please don't look for conditioning tips here - work with a professional trainer and veterinarian instead so your horse doesn't get hurt unintentionally.

        I think eventually you can probably have a great trail horse and enjoy many hours of riding if you start with short walks and increase the mileage slowly. But 50 miles and more might not be a feasible goal. Just my 2 cents.
        Just to clarify, I have absolutely NO intention of trying endurance with my horse. He is a jumper and will stay that way. I have been concerned about his ability to even be able to return to competition, but I have been assured by Dr. Valentine that it is very possible for him to again be a successful show horse. That having been stated, I have heard through a trainer (h/j) friend of mine that one of her old clients had an Arabian diagnosed with PSSM. She had turned him into a successful endurance horse and takes him on 50 mile competitive endurance rides with no issues after altering diet and exercise. Unfortunately I do not have that woman's contact info, or else I would surely be in touch.

        Already the information you guys have provided has been useful. I guess this is my opportunity to open my mind and learn more about other sports and see if I can garner useful tools from other disciplines to apply to my case. It is my belief that something can be learned from everyone.

        I am currently not using a super specific formula, although loosely, I have worked up to 10 minutes of warm-up walk, and then two minutes of walk for each additional minute of trot, adding a little more each day and ending in 10 minutes of walk. I am mostly going by feel and going very, VERY slowly, but I figured I would reach out there and see what else I can learn.

        And I would be fascinated to hear any more stories about if there are PSSM horses out there doing endurance successfully.


        • #5
          Ontarget - Though I do not do endurance I will tell you that your PSSM horse can do absolutely anything you want him to do as long as you can get his diet controlled and then get him fit. I will not say that it won't be a whole lot of work and ALOT of trial and error but I have a Standardbred that came to me to get some time off and to learn to be a riding horse that I had diagnosed with PSSM while her was with me. I worked very hsrd with Dr Valentine and my vet. the next year we Foxhunted first flight and then he went back to the track and is still in race training. He will come back to me whenever he decides he doesn't want to race and will stay with me until his last days but with proper management these horses can do anything.

          Here is a win picture after he was diagnosed with PSSM
          Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
          Sophie 11 yo Iberian Warmblood mare
          Seadog Man 11 yo STB gelding
          Our New Jet 7 yo STB Gelding