Quick, heavy breathing during workout
A bit of background, Bud is a 13 year old paint cross (potentially draft, big boned) 15 hands. I've had him for about a year now. He's in regular work, several rides per week for about an hour per ride- walking, trotting, a bit of cantering. He doesn't have any health issues, his saddle fits (could fit better but for the most part fits well, he does not pin his ears buck or otherwise act out because of it, I just get picky about the itty bitty differences in the distribution of pressure. He couldnot care less from how he responds in other saddles, western, or bareback.) During warm up he'll cough and sneeze a few times, the longer and more gradual the warm up, the less he'll sneeze.
I understand respiration will increase with work, this just seems excessive to me.
However, what concerns me is that when I ride he begins to breath very fast, sounds like panting to me. He does not weaze. He does not pin his ears or show discomfort. He does not lag behind or get slow or lazy, he moves off promptly and happily. He just huffs. I figured with exercise he would get better but he just seems to remain the same. He does not slow down any during the cool down either. His breaths are less heavy, but still just as quick. After I dismount it takes only a few minutes to return to normal. It just seems odd to me. Is this normal? Do other people find this issue?
If I forgot to mention anything that might help, just ask.