There is a nerve on the under side of the horse that will cause this reaction. As Arabs are more thin skinned, it is possible the nerve is very close to the surface.
However, hyperventilating can also be a sign of a lung issue. That could also explain the poor times the horse had. He couldn't breath - so he couldn't go any faster. I would be curious to look at his card to see how he vetted.
Not sure that is it. I know for certain that the doctor who owned him would not have run him at all if even the slightest thing had even SEEMED wrong (other than the obvious cinching problem). Also, if the cinch is pressing on that nerve, which is would be the entire time he's cinched, you'd think he'd be hyperventilating all the time and you absolutely couldn't get him saddled. That's not the case. Once he's saddled, he's an absolute dream with no more issues.
I wouldn't think so. My impression of them is its like taking ibprofen when you have a headache. It takes away the pain of the headache, but if you bump in to something, you still say "ow".
Its just meant to make the situation, for him, less stressful. Since it is definitely a psychological issue, I would spend a lot of time with corino's method and not ride, just desensitize. Then (hopefully) he would be able to be weaned off as his reactions became less drastic.
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Hmmmm...I'll have to tell my friend about this. I think it might work for her. I really don't want her using the cribbing collar because I think it would do more harm than good and treat the symptom, not the real issue (like the trainer did with my old gelding).