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UL event horses with PSSM?

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  • UL event horses with PSSM?

    Anyone know of any, or if there have been any, successful UL event horses that have had PSSM/EPSM? I have read over the many threads related to PSSM but have not come across anything along these lines. Just curious if having a horse diagnosed with PSSM is essentially a "death sentence" to their competitive career or if they have been managed correctly, if they have been able to continue on to event successfully?

  • #2
    I am sure that there are many more, but here is our horse.

    El Primero, a diminutive OTTB, competed in 5 CCI**** events, was named Best Conditioned Horse at Rolex Kentucky in 2006 and was short listed for the 2006 WEG team.


    • #3
      I wouldn't call it a death sentence. My sisters' horse has it, and though she isn't an UL horse.....it is easily MANAGED. You just have to really really watch the feed, and KNOW the horse.

      Some need to be exercised carefully, or - in my sisters' horses' case - the emotions/hormones can impact her and she will tie-up from that.

      Alot of folks just keep these horses on low-sugar diets with lots of fat.

      Personally, I would never CHOOSE a horse with PSSM or EPSM....but it IS manageable.

      Tuppysmom - what a great example! I hope to hear of more....
      Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
      **Morgans Do It All**


      • Original Poster

        Tuppy's mom, wow! That's great to hear. It gives me hope for my 4 year old who was just diagnosed. We evented all year without an issue, so i'm hoping this will just be a one time thing and with like FT says, careful management, we will be ok to carry on!


        • #5
          It will not be a setback at all, as long as you are a responsible, listening horse mom!
          Slow warmups, lots of fat, electrolytes after every sweat and good work back to front.
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            Our exercise mantra was that he had to do some work every day. He never had a day that he did nothing unless he was on vacation. It doesn't work well to have a "hit and miss" exercise program.

            He lives out 24/7 in a grass pasture unless he is at a competition.

            We also spent some time and money with PHD Equine Nutritionist. We weighed and measured everything that went into his mouth. Low carbs and lots of fat, alfalfa hay. The percentages went up and down depending on the work load. Treats were banned with the exception of 2 carrots a day. One to catch him in the field and one after work.

            He hates to be touched or brushed and I always supposed that it hurt a little, so we don't bother him with excess fiddleing around. He prefers to be sprayed down with water than to be brushed.

            He takes very long naps in the grass twice a day often lasting 2 or more hours.


            • Original Poster

              That's really interesting...alfalfa, really? My vet added that to the banned substances list. I was also told that grain of any sort was a no-no. Poor pony, there goes all of her favourite things. She said just grass/timothy hay and beet pulp were ok... and eventually we could try adding in a high fat, low carb senior type feed if we needed to.
              It will be interesting to see how that works out, it's pretty different from how i've always been taught to feed our eventers, but if it keeps her healthy, i'm good with anything!
              Mine is quite the opposite about being "fooled with" though, loves to be brushed, and the harder the curry, the better, she leans right into it.


              • #8
                The butt end of the lettuce heads were my Mikey's one and only treat. He loved them. He did a couple of Prelim seasons. He was written up in the Chronicle years ago, as he was one of the first TBs to be diagnosed. It is all about management. Tuppysmom has it right and what a great example.

                24/7 turn out is the key, ZERO sugars and carbs, the allotted amount of fat EVERY day and really regular work-not necessarily hard work but slow and steady and consistent.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                • #9
                  My sisters' mare cannot have ANY alfalfa either. So your vet knows best. There are different types of EPSM/PSSM.

                  I know that for drafts, they often prescribe ALFALFA and TONS OF FAT (oil/etc) That is still a low-carb diet.

                  But some can't take the alfalfa - like your horse, and my sisters' horse (who I keep here at my ranch, so she is like my baby too)

                  NO grain, no sweets. Yes beet pulp is great for horses that need to have a low NSC diet.

                  Don't worry, you can manage it! BTW - what breed is your horse?

                  I manage our entire herd as if they are all Metabolic/ISR/EPSM/PSSM - they get 100% straight grass hay, and zero grain. THe only supplement they get is basically a ration balancer. I feed this way because not only do we have the diagnosed mare....the rest of the herd consists of a Morgan, a Shetland and a Belgian draft. ALL OF WHICH you can assume tend to be IR/metabolic risk types.
                  Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                  **Morgans Do It All**


                  • #10
                    Yes, alfalfa for protein and calcium. Cool Calories for fat. Beet Pulp. We tried several different low NSC feeds over the years. Some worked better than others.

                    He did tie up in England 2/3 of the way around Burghley HT. The only thing that had changed was that grass hay was all that was available to us there. It was mild and his blood chem levels were normal the next day.

                    He was working at quite a high level of intensity as he was competing in CCI*** and CCI**** long format events. He needed a lot of energy dense feed to do that.


                    • #11
                      Mikey was also "sensitive" to beet pulp, oats, wheat, cotton seed, corn-basically anything one could consider horse feed. He was on a strict diet of alfalfa pellets, canola oil and grass hay. Period. Lettuce butts when he was very good ;-)
                      If you do opt to feed beet pulp, be sure it is molasses-free. Work closely with your vet but keep in mind, most sport horse equine practitioners do not have a whole lot of experience with the condition. Dr. Valentine at Ruralheritage.com is the go-to guru. $20 for a year of free, personal advice is most deff worth it. She's fantastic. Got me thru a living hell with Mikey and on to competing successfully at Prelim. Oh! Also, do be careful of new Spring or dying Fall grasses-they can be super high in sugar. The Spring grass was a key factor in Mikey's demise......
                      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks guys, this is super interesting to hear how varied it is from horse to horse -- what worked and what didn't! We'll see what works for us!

                        FT -- She is 3/4 TB, 1/4 Irish