10-03-2009, 08:23 PM
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I find that a lot of older horses have to cough and clear out their old folk lungs. It also happens when the area you ride in kicks up a lot of dust.
Is your horse coughing or snorting? Snorting is a physiological sign that he is using his body properly, so snorting is good. =]
My horse typically coughs about three times when we first start trotting, more so in the summer when my pasture is dry than the winter. When I start riding, we take a few laps at a loose rein, and then I gather her up and ask her to carry herself through walk to halt transitions, side-steps, leg yields, haunches in, and shoulder in. Then we start trotting and she almost always give a cough or two, and then she's fine. I was thinking it was because of the way we warmed up, so I skipped the "collecting" part of our warm up and went from loose rein walk to loose rein trot and she didn't cough at all. So I went back, did my warm up, and when I asked her trot, she coughed.
I wouldn't be too concerned.