This past weekend was my first advanced level competition in 19 years and DRS’s first attempt. We have been so excited how his fitness, soundness, rideablity and plan had been working…Until it didn’t.

DRS “tied up” on Saturday. The scientific name for tying up is “rhabdomyolysis,” which simply translated means muscle (myo) breakdown (lysis). The causes are several but the result is the same, muscle cramping. This is our fear running a horse with PSSM1 (Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy) at this level and what we are constantly trying to prevent.

The constant conversation we have with colleges, vets, friends and in our hearts just got more difficult.

DRS tries so hard and communicates his feelings and emotions the best he can. He is my bud, the most talented horse I have ridden and he makes me feel safe. I asked him to do a job that he couldn’t do on that day.

So, as always more questions. Questions that make smoke come out of my ears and my heart hurt.

-Why is this happening?
-How can we prevent this in the future?
-Can it be prevented at this level?

With these questions always on our minds, we are marching forward with DRS. We will continue his health and fitness regiment and always monitor his progress and setbacks.

We will constantly be learning and being the best stewards of our sport and most importantly, our partners: our horses.

I will keep listening to him, let him know I will not ask him to do something he can not. Make sure I have done everything I can for him: fitness, nutrition, and general health.

I will ride him the best I can, always making sure he has a chance and feels prepared.

I will wait to feel him return to his full spirits before putting on the trailer (he is 90% there).

I will ride him at a level he feels like a champion until he knows he is one and I will keep looking for advice, information and guidance from you, our supporters, friends, and colleagues.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with us.