Just a baby or.....?

True, but after time off, it comes back worse, not better. First time she gave a little bit of resistance I have her 3 days off, and she came back MUCH worse. Which is another reason why I believe it’s PSSM. She does not come back refreshed after time off.

She’s ridden, but really and truly not much. 1 day trail ride, 1 day jumping, three days of 30 minutes flat with lots of walk breaks. And not all in a row - her routine is:

Sunday - trail ride
Monday - Flat lesson
Tuesday - Pro Ride
Wed - Off or walkabout
Thursday - Lesson
Friday - Light flat/active recovery
Saturday - Off

7 hours in a dry lot vs 16 hours on lush grass is a huge change in nutrition. And my horses are much more tired after night turnout with the longer time outside.

I agree with the others suggesting she is tired because she’s young and was not that fit to support 6 rides a week.

The only other ideas I have are Insulin Resistance (IR) and maybe Lyme’s? would do a metabolic panel (bloodwork) to see if there is anything there.


Have you checked in with the seller?

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My gelding did the planting thing even with pros out on trail – wouldn’t go forward or back to barn!! Trainer was stuck with him for hours.

I did the complete medical workup, checked for PSSM, MRI, ulcers, etc. Took a year of trying things. Finally gave up. Put him on Equioxx and said “if he doesn’t improve, it is out to pasture and I will get another horse”

He turned around! And then was given a regular work schedule with a different trainer, but same facility and location. To this day (3 years later) he has been fine, and I don’t need Equiox anymore.

I have no clue. The only thing we did change was shorten toes and change shoers, as he was trippy, but he did it with the new shoes too – maybe his whole hoof needed to grow out with new shoer??

Now, three years later, no one can believe he was earshy, nippy, pulled back, reared, hated whips and spurs – all that is gone and he is the steady Eddy and Mr. Reliable at the barn.

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You can do an exercise test to answer the question on muscle enzymes. There is a specific protocol in the MSU website along with dr. Valbergs work.

Blood before lunging, lunge for set amount of time, pull blood 4 hours later and compare.

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It’s pretty easy to test Vitamin E and Selenium levels. Might help you know how much E to give. Like, is 5000 IU enough for possible PSSM support or do you need 10,000 or more?

If she went from doing ok on 9lbs of feed to now being an easy keeper that might need a muzzle, you might want to do a fasting glucose test too.

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Glucose testing could be interesting as well. With the feed regimen, though, I’m not surprised at this result. She was a bit underweight when she came up from transport, and the grass here started early/has been VERY rich this year so far.

Vit E and Selenium I’ll ask my vet about. Would also TBH like to get another vet’s opinion…and would like to try to time it when she’s presenting with more symptoms.

That said, I’m starting to transition to the KER Releve today and talking with my equine nutritionist once my hay is tested to see if she improves on the PSSM2 diet/exercise plan. If no change, then at least I’ll know.

Well the good news is that if you stick to the PSSM2 plan of diet/supplement and exercise, you will either know it helps or be able to take that off the table and its not a super pricey medical procedure to do(vs.MRI or other stuff). Good luck! I hope you get answers because dwelling in the gray unknown area is the worst.


Could you ask your vet to teach you how to draw blood and give you the vial so you can pull it when your horse plants and take it to them for testing?

The grass increase and grazing muzzle so she doesn’t “puff up” any more makes me wonder about insulin resistance too.

Apparently it is not unusual for PSSM2 to show face after a “major event” in a horse’s life. I have a gelding that was imported from Europe at 8 years old where he was doing 1.30m no problem. Walked straight into the 3 foot hunters in Florida, did great, but within months his performance declined. He is 11 now and is still exercise intolerant for seemingly no reason. I suspect PSSM2 with him and I think the import triggered the symptoms to come to the surface.

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Posting an update!

My mare is now halfway through the transition to KER Releve feed and has been on her Vit E + Tri Amino supplements for 2 weeks now. She’s also been 2 weeks in her grazing muzzle.

Starting on Monday 5/2, she seemed to perk up a bit in our lesson - more overall energy and less resistance to the canter / to work in general. The week got better from there, with a stellar lesson on Thursday and then two great little flat days over the weekend in the indoor ring, which usually makes her VERY sticky.

Still too early to celebrate, but if the coming week continues this trajectory, I think it will be safe to say that she did indeed have some sort of muscle disorder and the new diet/exercise regimen is making her much more comfortable in her work.

Stand by for another update next weekend!


Hi, great!! One question, Can Anyone tell me where i Can find thé pssm protocol? Thank you

Here are two great resources:



I would read through all of the articles there, though.

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My first read-through PSSM didn’t jump out at me, but some form of exercise intolerance or fatigue did. Five is still young, and they don’t have much in the way of baseline fitness - five is also around when the responsibilities and workload jump up significantly from anything they’ve ever known.

Five is the year many start testing their riders, too. It’s not uncommon for a baby who has been reasonable to work their third and fourth year start to push back on rider requests. They’re a bit more confident in their body and in carrying riders. I liken the 5 y/o year as the year they constantly ask “why?” just like IRL kids.

I wouldn’t rule out a physical component though. Unfortunately many the symptoms you described overlap with several different clinical diagnoses so it’s really anyone’s guess over the internet what the root issue is. Could be PSSM. Could be footsoreness. Could even be a respiratory or heart issue. Best bet is your vet and you knowing her best.

Stopping and needing encouragement even after the work is done makes me think something isn’t quite right. Has a vet listened to her heart, how good is her recovery? When you have difficulty with the canter is it one direction in specific or is it dependent on how long you’ve been working her? Is there a specific routine to every ride? Do you possibly think she is bored or burned out? Everyone has a different program and this does not come from a place of judgment; maybe she needs a bit more variety in her work, or a break from the ring? Has her canter ever truly been an installed button?

Do you have a video of her going around?


@beowulf The diet/exercise protocol seems to have done the trick. :slight_smile: My update post laid out the improvement in her behavior, so even if it wasn’t PSSM it may have been some other muscle related issue for which she just needed some more support. She’s forward, happy, and her canter button is back.


Great news! :+1:

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