Because with (our) horses, things are rarely simple…

Horse people know how fragile these lovely beasts are...and dressage riders know that keeping our performance horses comfortable and happy in their work can be easier said than done. We also know there’s no better feeling than riding your horse when they’re comfortable and happy…and even though we know that, with horses, things can change for the worse quickly, it’s still always shocking and heart wrenching when it does. That’s exactly what happened with Ollie. He had a GREAT summer. Was working lines of changes, playing around with the beginnings of canter pirouettes, improving the degree of collection while maintaining a more solid and through connection. And then all of a sudden…he looked like this in early September😭

After two trips out to try to diagnose and treat what was going on, our amazing sports medicine vet couldn't pinpoint anything on the farm. So, a trip to the vet clinic with all the fancy diagnostics to get to the bottom of it: bone scan, X-rays…nothing. The team was totally stumped. The surgeon half-heartedly suggested a muscle biopsy; however, he thought it highly unlikely that there would be some sort of muscle pathology operating, given Ollie's overall musculature and condition and his level of training up to this point. But what were the options? Before taking him home from the clinic, Emilie made the decision to do the muscle biopsy, because what the heck...?!?

And a week or so later, the lab results from the biopsy were in from Michigan State (on 10/13 to be exact): PSSM2/MFM (myofibrillar myopathy). It was indeed a muscle pathology, and we were simultaneously relieved (just to have some answers) AND sobered by the reality of the disease.

Stay tuned for more about what Emilie has done in the last month-and-a-half to manage Ollie. It's been a roller coaster. But we're feeling optimistic, because after a complete change in feeding routine, turning Ollie out 24 hours a day, and giving him time completely out of work to adjust to the new routine (and this horse does NOT do well with time off 😬) was the first day that Emilie felt that she was starting to have her dressage horse back. And that is indeed something to celebrate.

So here's to new challenges and discoveries that are ever a part of horsewomanship. Stay tuned to the blog to learn more about Ollie, his diagnosis, and Emilie's journey with him (past and present...there's never been a dull moment :)

Have you had experience with PSSM2? If so, drop us a note...and be sure to check out today's videos of Ollie and Emilie, both happy to be working again.

---Elisabeth (big sister to Emilie, of whom I am constantly proud)

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