Heavy Breathing After Riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-10-2012, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Heavy Breathing After Riding

Hello, Just wanted some opinions. I have an almost 5 yr old paint mare, owned her about 3-4 months. She is beautiful and looks very healthy. I know her previous owners and she has always been taken regularly to vet and given all shots, etc. She is spunky and "the boss" over our other mare. She eats well.

My question is that after we ride, even after a short ride of about an hour in my pasture (mostly walking around but some trotting, galloping), she breathes very heavy. No sounds like gasping or wheezing, just heavy, fast breathing. My daughter's 16 yr old horse doing the same ride does not breathe near as fast or heavy. My horse is active and perky and doesn't act lethargic or in pain...

Do you think it could be nerves, either on her part from still learning or sensing nervousness from me? I am gentle with her and we seem to have a good relationship, but I do feel a little anxious inside sometimes-just my nature. Do you think it could be equipment fit, bridle fit? Could I be too heavy handed on the bit and causing this in some way? Could she just be out of shape a little? Do you think she needs more in-depth tests at the vet?

I pray she is fine but just worried a little so wanted some opinions. Thanks so much for your input!!
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-10-2012, 10:45 AM
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have you had a vet check her breathing??

even my horse with a damaged breatheway and no excerise doesn't have a hardtime breathing after an hour. i would have another vet check for breathing and have them focus on that.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-10-2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chelley View Post
She eats well.

Could she just be out of shape a little?
Is she over weight?

What has her exercise been like prior to this?

What is the air temperature?
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-10-2012, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mls View Post
Is she over weight?

What has her exercise been like prior to this?

What is the air temperature?

She is not overweight-looks good, eats well, up to date on shots and worming. Air temp has been lately around the 50s-live in Central US, so temps can vary greatly. The people I purchased her from broke her and rode her off and on but she was not their primary horse. She has been trail riden in hilly, rocky areas a 3-4 times a year on the weekends and pasture riden off and on throughout the year-no regular heavy usage. We are weekend riders as well, so she is not used for heavy work here, just pleasure riding.

Last edited by Chelley; 01-10-2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: forgot to add statement
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-12-2012, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Here she is this morning feeling frisky with the cold weather change.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-12-2012, 02:09 PM
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I think it's probably just conditioning.

Ride her more and build up her endurance.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-12-2012, 02:10 PM
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IF your Vet says she's okay, then you probably just need to plan her exercise so that you gradually increase the work. She may just have a cadio-vascular system that is out of shape. Check her at-rest heart rate, take it after she's had ONE workout--don't tie her up when she's breathing hard after a workout--then walk cool and take it again. Plan on a slow warm-up, a 35 minute workout and a longer cool down--MY lessons were 10 minute walk (warm-up), 40 minute lesson (20 review, 20 min. new stuff), and 10 minutes cool down (they were woked 10 lessons/week, btw, and in very good shape.) I found that if you stay in the saddle while walking cool the heart rate drops quicker than getting off and walking bc we don't cover as much ground as a horse does at a walk.
Race horses are walked "cool" about one hour after a 2 minute race, to get their heart rates down.
Also, I suggest that you go look at some training videos to compare, while you're online. I know that when I watch Clinton Anderson's training videos he will get a horse pretty winded, breathing hard, in about 15 minutes. It's the RECOVERY that is important. If you research human athletes, especially those who run marathons, you'll discover that people in super-good physical shape recover their breath rather quickly, and their blood pressure shows a slower heartbeat than the average person has.

Last edited by Corporal; 01-12-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-12-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the posts. I was hoping that was it but I am still learning as well and just tend to worry I guess. She does seem to recover fine and like I said no wheezing or difficulties otherwise. I think we both just need more riding time together. I will keep looking into it though and watch some videos like suggested, and next time we are at the vet I will ask her to specifically check lung sounds and breathing.

Also, I would like to get some good training videos for myself and my daughter to watch (they are sooo expensive). Have you guys seen many and who would you suggest? We have watched that documentary "Buck" about Buck Brannaman and really liked it and his philosophies. Anyone seen his training DVDs? Clint Anderson's series? Anyone else?
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