GBED

PSSM - As odd as it sounds PSSM first sounded like a solution to me. I'd been experiencing problems with a gelding under saddle and was hopeful that PSSM might be at least some kind of reason or answer to work with and work around. Unfortunately all the tests and leads came back negative and he is a sweet, loveable gelding that seems content to live out his days on pasture until something comes to a head and allows me to treat it.

I suppose that at least the ordeal led me to search for answers and read up more on PSSM while waiting for the results. About a year later I acquired a stallion that my mother had been standing at stud to locals, I'd traveled to pick this stallion up for her and had nearly been the only one to ever ride him since I started him under saddle and had ridden him on occasions on visits home.  I was always a fan of his and had even bred my husband's mare to him the previous spring (before reading about PSSM) and was excited to get him going back under saddle and possibly stand him to the public sometime next year.

His temperament under saddle has been great and he's been wonderful to handle as well, seeming happy on pasture here. I decided to use some recent photos of myself riding him to help create an ad to help market him as a stallion but decided that a customer would want to see a horse's five-panel results displayed on their ad before deciding on a stallion.

I ordered the test and when the results came back I was floored. My stallion was PSSM N/P1 meaning he carried one copy of the gene. Even though I have never seen him tie up I immediately went out (armed with knowledge from research the summer before) and bought supplies to change his diet.  He is unsure of this "icky" sugar free food but seems to be growing a bit more accustomed to it.  I hope to give him time to get used to the new diet and then started daily lunging to help him and gradually increase exercise carefully to start riding him again. Even though I was riding him seemingly problem-free before the results I know that symptoms can set in heavily and suddenly at any time so will proceed carefully.

I also have a 2013 filly here sired by him that I am having tested with fingers crossed. The stallion will be gelded as soon as he has had time to adjust to the diet and hopefully the effects will begin helping him with any damage that's been occurring that I could not see.

I've been on a mission to inform the owners of any foals sired by him about his results and urge them to test. Several were thankful we received results before they were required by AQHA and grateful for my honesty, while others were angry that they had invested time and love into a foal that had a 50% chance of a genetic problem before they even tested. It has been an eye opening experience, allowing some people to show their true colors of how they deal with stress and how they treat others in the industry when they are upset. Some so quickly forget that their horses are untested and may be free from this, while my stallion definitely has PSSM1 and I also have a foal's pending results to fret over myself.

The news is not easy for anyone but all we can do is test, hope, and try to spread awareness to others so that this condition can be identified, understood, treated, and hopefully eliminated from as many future generations as possible. PSSM has been a hope for one horse with so many mystery problems, an unwelcome surprise for me concerning my stallion, an eye opener to both compassion and hatred from anger of other horse owners, and a life lesson that not all seemingly well thought plans for the future will come to be.

Wrecked hopes and plans are not an excuse to whimper and complain about all that you've lost, but an opportunity to learn and influence others with your experience. This is why, even though I have not known that I am an owner of a PSSM horse for even a week now, I still wanted to share anything I can. I had searched bloodlines when I first heard of PSSM but not many horses were publicly identified, but now that I have the results and checked again I see that my stallions grandsire had it. My stallions sire died earlier than expected (in his teens) due to "a heart attack" and now with info about some PSSM horses having muscles around their trachea tighten, I am left wondering if PSSM was responsible for his death.

After the initial stress, I now feel lucky that I know, lucky that I didn't somehow kill or disable him with the sweet feed I was feeding him, and hopeful that with this new knowledge I can extend his hopes for a normal and happy life.

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Our main goal is to find the source horses for genetic diseases. In the meantime we also provide information to help Breeders, Buyers and Owners make good choices when breeding buying or selling their horses.

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