I bought my horse in late 2011. He was quirky, traveled crooked, and had minor issues that could easily be blamed on a young, unbalanced horse. He had an amazing mind and athletic ability, so there was no real hint that anything could possibly be wrong with him.
In early 2015, I trailered him 1.5 hours for a trail ride. He had always gotten a little shaky on trailer rides, and he was really shaky after this one - I again, as usual, chalked it up to nerves. (I'm very careful when driving the trailer, the other horse with us had no problems). He was nervous and weak during the ride, and slipped and almost went down. I decided to take him back to the trailer, and he tripped and went down to his knees and couldn't get back up. I jumped off - he was really shaky now - gave him a rest, and hand walked back to the trailer. He spent the next month lame, vets had no answers other than 1) maybe he pulled something or 2) possible SI issue.
A month later I started slowly bringing him back into work. He did well, no spasms or major issues. Throughout 2015, he slowly started having more issues - his stifles started catching, he was really becoming a hard keeper, he couldn't handle cold, started dragging his toes, very skin sensitive, back pain - things just kept piling on. He started walking like a cripple in the pasture - no more running or playing. In January 2016, he colicked. I changed his feed (I had been giving 2-3 lbs of sweet feed that the barn was feeding all the horses). I didn't start working him because his skin sensitivity and back pain was pretty bad, and I didn't feel right putting a saddle on him. His behavior was changing at this point as well. My normally stoic, happy horse was grumpy, didn't want to be touched (for obvious reasons), and started going after both people and other horses in the pasture. I tried handwalking him but he was so spooky he couldn't walk down the road we had been on at least 100 times before that.
By May 2016, I'd been reading about PSSM for a while, but the main symptom on all the websites was tying up, and Jax had never tied up. But I decided to try the diet anyway. I also started trimming his feet (he could no longer hold them up for the farrier, and our farrier wasn't doing a great job anyway), and I started back on groundwork. My horse was on lush pasture by this time - he had always been kept in a drylot before this, never stalled. He started doing better on some things, but I still couldn't ride him and the strange twisting with his hinds wasn't getting any better. His tightrope walking was also worse than it had previously been (he's always done it).
In September of 2016, our progress was stalled. He could move around now and was a little more comfortable, his attitude was better, but I still couldn't actually use him for anything. I decided to go ahead and test for PSSM1, as by that time I had found the PSSM Forum on Facebook and learned that tying up wasn't the main symptom. Before I got the results back, I saw the first, very minor, spasms that I had seen on him (there was another when he was 4, but the barn owner explained it away as a "tired" horse). I moved my horse the next day to a place with less grass, trails to work him, and an indoor to keep him worked year 'round. I got the results 2 days later - he was heterozygous positive for PSSM1 - n/P1.
Even though I knew he had PSSM, I cried when I got those results. I didn't want this for him. I wanted a healthy horse I could use. From the end of 2015 until diagnosis, I did a ton of vet visits, chiro visits, saddle fittings (nothing fit but treeless) - nothing helped the back pain. The diet changes helped the skin sensitivity but it didn't go away. I was told by a chiro that because she couldn't contort his body without him throwing a fit that he was spoiled - that horse is a saint and never puts a foot wrong when he feels good - but he tried to kill her. He was hurting, and no one, NOT ONE PROFESSIONAL, ever tipped me off to PSSM.
After moving him, I started riding for about 10 minutes at a time doing suppling exercises and trying to get him to loosen his muscles. I was massaging with a percussive massager daily, working him daily, tweaking and trying to find the right diet. After 6 months, he really started improving. He still had lumbar pain some days, but was starting to trot finally, and could even canter on occasion. I was seeing some muscle loss, and because back pain and stifles are more associated with Type 2 and those things weren't getting better, I decided to tweak his diet for both types. There was a massive improvement. He's now a year into management for both types, and I recently received the n/P2 diagnosis, still waiting on Px results. UPDATE: He is also n/PX
The last 5 or so vet visits before the n/P1 diagnosis, they just looked at me like I was crazy. They had no more answers, hadn't had answers for some time. The body workers didn't understand why his muscles wouldn't hold their adjustments. The saddle fitters didn't understand why his musculature didn't support a treed saddle. The farrier didn't understand why he couldn't hold up his feet, and again, told me my horse was just spoiled. Despite all these things, finding the right combination P1/P2 diet and exercise routine has my boy doing really well again. He still has setbacks, and he may never be 100% normal, but he feels good, he moves good, and for the most part he's comfortable. I'm so thankful to finally have answers for this boy.