‘It felt like my horse had been taken away’: rider raises consciousness on genetic situation

‘It felt like my horse had been taken away’: rider raises consciousness on genetic situation


  • A rider who’s properly on the way in which to “getting my horse of a lifetime again” after darkish months of lameness and confusion is hoping to boost consciousness of PSSM.

    Horses with polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) have irregular accumulation of glycogen, the type of sugar saved in muscle. This will trigger muscle stiffness and ache.



    Georgia Howell informed H&H her Irish mare Lemon’s situation baffled vets, and that she has realised she should have been unknowingly managing the situation for years.

    “When you suppose there’s one thing fallacious along with your horse, all the time belief your intestine,” she mentioned. “Lemon is comfortable now, and that’s the principle factor.”

    Georgia purchased Lemon, who’s now 14, about 5 years in the past, and “from the second I set eyes on her, I knew she was the one for me”.

    The pair hacked and did pleasure rides, and competed in dressage and eventing, till, in September 2021, “all the things modified”.

    “I’d determined to provide her per week off within the subject after an occasion and I believe that was a set off,” Georgia mentioned. “She was used to a day or two off however not that lengthy. Someday, I bought her in and he or she was stiff throughout and completely dog-lame.

    “The vets initially thought it was laminitis, however the farrier didn’t agree; he mentioned she was sore throughout her physique. Nobody might attain a conclusion as to why this completely wholesome horse was now in extreme discomfort, throughout her physique. She was lame in all her limbs and had extreme muscle wastage.”

    Image by Dobbin Pictures

    Lameness investigations discovered no solutions, and though Lemon’s situation improved, she then deteriorated once more. A buddy of Georgia’s advised PSSM however a blood check was regular.

    The vets advised Georgia put Lemon in foal, which she did, final spring.

    “I trusted the professionals,” she mentioned. “I had wished one other horse for some time, and thought what higher horse to breed than my very own great mare. I assumed I had been the accountable proprietor, doing my analysis into stallions, additionally taking a look at AI.”

    Lemon was sounder and extra snug, final yr, however some months after she conceived, she began exhibiting indicators that one thing was not proper. Georgia referred to as her physio, who really useful sending Lemon’s hair to be examined for PSSM.

    “In September it got here again that she had it, kind two,” Georgia mentioned. “Fortunately, typically PSSM will be managed by means of food plan and train and Lemon is doing properly after her prognosis. It seems I’d been managing it for years with out realizing; she all the time had low-sugar meals as I’d seen if she had carrots or apples, it affected her, and train is essential.”

    Lemon is now on a low-sugar, low-starch food plan, and “a lot happier”. Her foal is due in spring.

    “I’m assured I will get her again afterwards,” Georgia mentioned. “I’ll check the foal immediately to provide it the absolute best probability, however I managed her efficiently earlier than, with out realizing it; we had a lot enjoyable collectively and I believe we will get again to that; I’m looking forward to Lemon and the foal.

    “I need to elevate consciousness as so many individuals have by no means even heard of PSSM and it may well seem like laminitis or colic and it’s soul-destroying. I used to be in fairly a darkish place for months, not realizing what was fallacious as this horse means all the things to me. It was as if my horse of a lifetime had been taken away.

    “Now I believe we’re taking the suitable steps and moving into the suitable path.”

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    ‘It’s been nice to boost some consciousness and provides my pony a cool haircut within the course of!’

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