A horse I ride at my stable, Rupert, has pretty bad breathing problems. He usually just breaths really hard, but when it's humid, he like, weazes when I canter him and jump him.
They just bought him this September, and here is the imformation I know about his problem/his history:
He was an eventing horse, even did fox hunting. One of my trainers told me that if you ride a horse that has a cold, it'll ruin their lungs, and she thinks that's how the problem began. After that, they tried to do an operation to fix it and instead of fixing it, it made things worse. . I'm pretty sure the problem is permnent and he isn't my horse. . But is there anything I can do for him other than constant walk breaks/taking things easy? Like, I'll finally have him cantering the course like I want, and then he'll be breathing too hard and I've got to stop. It bothers me and I'm sure it bothers him, too, since he has to go around and around over and over after we have to stop.
A few people have commented saying it doesn't seem to bother him, but he does throw his head up/put it down. Is that reacting to the problem or is he just doing it?
Here are some pics of what I mean..
http://ashfordfarm.com/rupert04.jpg See how his neck is back and his ears, too? Is that just his jump or is it abnormal?
http://ashfordfarm.com/rupert06.jpg You can kind of see how his head is down in this one..?
http://ashfordfarm.com/rupert03.jpg another pic..
You know I have a horse with breathing issues and he hates to jump (so we don't jump - he does dressage).
He was raced when he had a fever and was sick - likely the flu - and developed a rather non-traditional COPD in that the excess effort of racing while sick did damage to the lungs that healed with excessive scar tissue disrupting his breathing. I had him scoped to find out the severity and it turned out that no surgery would help as his lungs were torn up with scar tissue throughout. As a result, we put him on steroids short term to reduce the swelling (his throat swelled severely and he was having a hard time eating or swallowing as well as breathing). After a short while we gradually switched him over to a more natural supplement - and after testing many products foudn that Jet Breath (got it through equisupps.com) worked best. It reduced the scar tissue in his lungs and he was able to be off the steroids completely and now (years later) he's only on some basic allergy supps. He can finally canter w/o stopping to cough and choke! Yes - he was THAT bad he couldn't even breathe enough to canter!!!
Nice little side effect we found of the Jet Breath - it increases the oxygen level in the blood to help the lungs function better - and also helps to break up scar tissue....so Lucky not only wound up with better breathing but his two rather large foreleg splints that had calcified are now completely gone! It was pretty nifty!
It's not a cheap supplement, but worth every single penny imo if the owners of this horse are interested. As for his breathing, hard to say w/o knowing him but it could be from roaring (an issue with the flap in the esophagus) and he could have had either tie back or laser surgery or traditional surgery. Either way it's not always successful, and it can absolutely interfere with the oxygen intake into the lungs, which can affext a horse's performance. I don't see any reason for the horse to have his ears pinned in the jumping pic you showed as you are not on his back or face - so it's quite possible that he dislikes it b/c it causes discomfort. Just ask anyone with asthma what it feels like to run while having an attack...it's outright painful!
He seems like a really cute horse so I hope you're able to help him. Please keep us posted!
Working a horse with a cold won't ruin their lungs. However, it does add stress and can increase the risk of secondary infections including pneumonia.
What you describe should be checked out by a vet. It could be any number of things, but COPD/Heaves is one of them and if that is the case then management changes need to be made to help him breath more comfortably and medical treatment during times when he can't breath well needs to be implemented. Heaves can lead to chronic progressive changes in the lungs which can make breathing harder even on days when nothing has caused an attack because the airways can thicken and narrow.
Thanks for advice everyone! =]
I'm sure he's been checked out by the vet already, but I'll be sure to ask about it the next time I'm at the stable (probably this weekend or earlier).
He's worst in humid weather but when I rode him Saturday it was about 70 degrees and I had him cantering jumps and such, though it wasn't easy for him.
It's really not a good idea to work a horse hard that is having trouble breathing.
I give him tons of breaks,no worries. I just take him around half the ring and stop most of the time. If he won't go, I'll stop but he's willing, so.. yeah, if he wants to do it so do I.
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