Breathing problems

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Breathing problems

This is a discussion on Breathing problems within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    11-10-2008, 09:34 PM
Breathing problems

Posting this for a friend.

She has just bought a 13.3ish Appaloosa gelding. He is about 8 I think. I’ll try and post a pic when I get home this arvo, as he is a very unique pony. He is built like a draft horse in miniature. Imagine this, but only 13.3 hands, and his neck continues to where I have drawn the red line. Plus some more feather!

( see attached picture... Can't figure out how to get the pic here!)

He has quite a low set neck, which is VERY thick, a short back, square barrel, and huge butt. The problem is… He had never done anything but the occasional trail ride when she bought him. She has since taken him to pony club, a mounted games competition, and together with me on my new horse we have been doing quite long trail rides everyday, as they both had a LOT of weight to lose. Now he has adjusted well to the change in pace, but he has a habit of whenever you ask him to do something new he doesn’t understand, or hold him back behind the other horse (he has a lot of go, which is perfect for MG, which is what she ultimately wants him for) He has a fit. And I mean a fit. He stays on the spot but his legs and head and butt are moving in every direction possible, and he hops around and snorts. We joke and say that his brains melts and will start dribbling out his ears… lol. Once he figures out what you want him to do, he’s fine. The thing is, after one of his fits, or when he is very excited and cantering on the spot, he breathes VERY heavily and very rapidly, almost like he can’t get enough air in his lungs. He begins to sweat profusely. None of this happens when he is calm, and he is reasonable fit.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Could stress obstruct his airway and cause him to not get enough air? Or could it be something to do with his low-set and hugely muscled neck? (which is what I am inclined to think) He travels with his head quite high and pulled in to his neck, he is ridden in a running martingale otherwise his head is in your lap. I would love any thoughts you guys have, or stories about similar things, we just want to understand what this is.

Any help appreciated, thanks!
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File Type: jpg untitled.JPG (46.7 KB, 106 views)
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    11-10-2008, 09:41 PM
That's not an appaloosa..
It's a draft horse..
Atleast, that's what it looks like to me
    11-10-2008, 09:53 PM
Oops, guess I didn't explain too well... I am at work and don't have any pics of him on this computer, so I used the draft horse to demonstrate his build and his low set neck. I'm going to try and find a pic of him when I get home. Sorry!
    11-10-2008, 09:55 PM
Here is one I found on the mounted games website of pepper. I'll try and find one that shows his neck when I get home.
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File Type: jpg pepper.jpg (34.3 KB, 110 views)
    11-10-2008, 09:59 PM
Oooooooooooooooooooooooh ok
That makes sense now. Sorry, I was like. That is definitely not an appy.. haha ok I get it.
Sorry I can't help though.. I've never really had experience with this.. but hopefully someone on here can help!
    11-10-2008, 10:29 PM
Ha ha that's okay!

I hope so. He doesn't cough or sneeze, so I don't think it's an allergy. All our horses are out on pasture 24/7 so nothing to do with stabling... Hmmm. It's a conundrum!
    11-10-2008, 10:53 PM
Green Broke
Something could be obstructing his airway...such as a polyp (sp?) - does he do this if he is on the lunge line?
    11-10-2008, 11:28 PM
I'm not sure, she hasn't lunged him yet, only had him for maybe a month and we are just working on general transitions/trail ettiquette at the moment. However my guess would be no... It only seems to happen when he gets stressed/worried, and that only happens when he is being ridden, he is very quiet on the ground. He is just a horse who's mind hasn't developed much, he has the brain of a two year old!
    11-11-2008, 12:09 AM
Is he on pasture or stall board? Sometimes horses that are kept inside the stall can devolope breathing problems.
I'd suggest getting a vet out to do a thoroough examination to see what is wrong.

For the high head set and thick muscles, yes that can definitely play apart of it. Check to make sure there is no pain anywhere...that will cause a horse to carry his head high.
    11-11-2008, 01:18 AM
We're on to that... Chiropractor is next on the list, then a visit from the dentist. They have both been wormed and had feet done. Both getting new horses at the same time has made it easier, bith need the same things done! However I don't think that pepper has much pain anywhere... He is very free moving and forward, he moves like a hackney. I would love to find out his breeding, a pony size, draft horse built, hackney moving appaloosa is intriguing.

The three of our horses are all on pasture 24/7, we don't have a stall even if we needed one, so nothing to do with being in a stall. We do have a lot of dust, but if that were the problem I think he would cough/sneeze or show symptoms more consistently. After they have been chiropractored, we will see how he goes and if it persists we will get our vet out. We haven't been urgent about a vet as it hasn't been having any adverse effects, it's just something we would like to figure out to make him happier.

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