b'LEARNING/RESEARCHLow starch diets produce low blood glucose and insulin after meals, and may reduce glucose uptake by the muscles. Remember the high fibre, low concentrate diet, is an ideal choice for all horses as ponies, as its what they evolved to digesthowever, it does need balancing with supplemental vitamins and minerals. Energy should be provided as fat (oils), which are readily metabolised by horses and encourage the body to use free fatty acids for energy production over glucose. Oils should be introduced gradually to the diet, to allow the body to adjust to fat metabolism. Once adjusted, horses cope very well, and for performance horses we may provide up to 500 ml per day of oils such as linseed or soya, as a useful form of energy. Vitamin E, as the bodys major antioxidant, is well recognised for muscle health, working in synergy with selenium, and adequate levels should be included in the diet of PSSM horses. Further, for fat fed horses, it is important to balance the daily oil with vitamin E, roughly at a level of 1iu vitamin E to 1 ml of oil. Fresh, early season pasture is a good source of natural vitamin E, however levels will drop the season, so it is important adequate vitamin E is provided year round. However, a complex condition, like PSSM, requires a complex answer, and no single ingredient will be totally effective. Naturally sourced antioxidants that support the role of Vitamin E are recommended, such as turmeric, rosehip and chlorella; while natural adaptogens, such as ginkgo and omicha allow the body to adapt to stresses such as exercise. As a condition which has a strong metabolic link, it is advised to support a healthy metabolism with supplementation of a daily live yeast probiotic.Electrolytes are important for all working horses, but particularly those prone to tying up and muscle conditions. Allow free access to a salt lick in the field and stable, and add broad spectrum electrolytes to feed when horses have sweated or exercised. As horses are also often insulin resistant, dietary management may include a restriction of intake to avoid weight gain and to ensure a healthy body condition score is maintained. ExerciseAs signs are most likely to occur during very light work, it is important that a return to work, and build-up of fitness, is done gradually. Starting with just a few minutes walk on a loose rein, and taking several weeks of careful walk and trot before introducing canter. However, although exercise must be done carefully, it is important that it is done. Prolonged periods of rest, particularly on box rest, seem to encourage further episodes. Therefore, its important that exercise is very well-managed, with a very regular routine and minimum rest days. Limiting the intensity of exercise is more important than limiting the amount of exercise. Daily turnout is advised, though take care on rich, early season grazing. It may be necessary to use grazing muzzles, bare paddocks or schools to allow exercise without free access to lush grass. ConclusionPSSM has proven to be a career-limiting condition for affected horses. However, with increased knowledge of the best dietary approaches, and how to manage their exercise regimens, horses with either PSSM I and II can continue to lead active, useful careers so long as careful attention is paid to these two key areasdiet and exercise. November 2019|FORGE| 2318-30 NOV section 3.indd 23 29/10/2019 10:18'