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Tucker's Story

The struggle to diagnose and manage PSSM/EPSM, shivers and other muscle issues in horses can be tough. Take a minute to introduce yourself and your horse(s) and tell us your story.
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Tucker's Story

PostWed Oct 26, 2016 12:56 pm

[size=150][/size]I adopted Tucker from a PMU farm in Canada when he was 6 months old, in 2003.
His sire is Johnny Showtime, a Percheron (now deceased), out of a QH mare.
I trained Tucker to be an eventer. Our problems first began in the spring of 2010. Tucker is a very uncomplicated, easy going horse. He simply just wasn't right, but nothing that I felt that my vet could come out an pinpoint as he wasn't lame. So I began the process of elimination. Teeth checked. Saddle reflocked. Change bit. Chiropractor out. No changes and Tucker was becoming very girthy and even bucked while under saddle. Then I had an "ah-ha" moment and added fat to his diet, by way of Seminole Ultra Bloom, and within 2 weeks, he was normal again!!
Then in fall 2013, he suddenly could not pick up the canter and when he did, he could not maintain it for very long. Wondering if he was having a relapse, my research took me to Dr. Reilly, of Equine Medical Surgeons in Pennsylvania. Dr. Reilly was great, he answered my emails and phone calls. He had me tweek Tucker's diet, by decreasing the Ultra Bloom I was giving him from a cup to half a cup, and adding a cup of Seminole Equalizer Balancer. Because of his allergies, Dr. Reilly suggested that I keep him on the Seminole Ultra Dynamix, rather than changing to a more suitable high fat diet. By adding the Equalizer Balancer, that would balance everything out. He also had me give Tucker his hay in a slow feeder to prevent sugar spikes, and I started him on Dr. Reilly's pure Vitamin E. Initially it was a very high dose, over 16,000 IU but we were able to decrease it to half that. Tucker made lots of improvement, but was only about 95% 3 months later. At that point, I added magnesium, via Quiessence and within a few weeks, he was back to normal!! It took about a year of conditioning to get him back in shape for eventing. We began focusing on dressage to help increase his muscle tone. I also added electrolytes to his daily diet. Our first outing to school xc, I felt he took a few days to recover and Dr. Reilly suggested giving a few tablespoons of baking soda to help his muscles recover.
Other things I have done to help cope with the EPSM include using a Back On Track sheet during cooler weather, prior to tacking up, to help his muscles get warm. I live in Florida but as soon as the temps drop into the 50's, he goes into a sheet to help keep his muscles warm. If it is a very cold day, I ride with a quarter sheet. After hard work outs, I rub Hilton Herbs Muscle Magic into his muscles. From late September-December, I increase his Vitamin E, to help deal with the decreased levels of E in the grass.
We went to our first 3 phase event earlier this month and Tucker was stellar! We had our personal best dressage score of 32 and would have won had we not had a stupid moment in stadium where I almost passed a jump and we jumped it on an angle, resulting in a rail down, But I am ecstatic that he was clear on cross country, maintained a gallop and had a good recovery.
I am glad I found this forum and look forward to reading it thoroughly!
I have blogged about our issues here:

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