View Full Version : Riding with breathing problems? Riding CAUSES breathing problems?

Oct. 9, 2009, 08:48 PM
a couple of weeks ago i had a very, very bad upper respiratory infection. stayed home all week and was in and out of Dr's office, everyone saying ehhh it's just a cold you're fine. I could hardly breath! well i woke up in the hospital with an oxygen mask and tubes down my throat ('am i on one of those TV medical dramas?') :lol: yeah.

so ive been back at school and riding for about 2 weeks now. i feel pretty normal other than coughing. some days it's okay and hardly bothers me, other days, particularly when i ride, it seems to be absolutely awful.

i only ride about 3-4 days a week *usually* because i have way too much to do (work--well, i work at the barn too, college apps, AP classes, etc.) but on those days that i ride, i find my cough gets a LOT worse.

I thought it may be a coincidence before, but now I am having unusual breathing issues (inhalation is normal, but when i exhale it's like the air does not want to come out all the way--then i cough and the air comes out. no mucus. chest and sinus are not congested at all)

I know i should go to the doctor again soon, but I can't just stop riding and going to work (at the barn) right now. i am thinking it could be all the dust in the arena that's causing the problems? It seems like the only way i can ride without feeling like my lungs are broken is if I ride right after the ring's been watered. And that generally happens in the mornings. When I'm in school. :/ mostly because it's tough to do it later because there's lessons all afternoon, but the morning is pretty quiet. but by the time i get there, it's a dust bowl. I feel like i'd be asking for way too much, if I were to ask if they could water the ring on my schedule, not theirs, you know? It would hold back the lesson schedule and stuff. But what are my options?

I'm sorry this is somewhat long, but I have no idea what to do anymore. my doctor has not been very helpful at all :[ "you'll be fine in a few days" .. it's been weeks..

Oct. 9, 2009, 08:58 PM
I'm having similar issues.. well minus the hospital!!! I have trouble breathing when I work out at all though and from past experience and urgent care visits I'm pretty sure that mine is allergies and stress (my own fun version of anxiety attacks). Have you ever had issues like this before? Maybe a doctor can prescribe you an inhaler?

I hope it works out!!!! and feel better soon!!!

Oct. 9, 2009, 09:33 PM
Do you think it's possible you might have asthma? I do, and I sometimes get really wheezy if it's dusty. Particularly when the seasons are changing and everything.

If you do, an inhaler could really help your situation. I'd talk to your doctor about it!

Oct. 9, 2009, 10:27 PM
In the meanwhile, I understand if your barn can't change the schedule for watering down the rings, but your trainer/BO might be understanding if you tell them about your problem and reschedule watering at least one ring for the dead time between 2pm and 3pm to help you out.

This is not a solution to your probelm though, only to the effects of it. As you know you will have to have this evaluated. You could have a lingering infection still and in that case staying away from anything but mild exercize until you get completely well is better for you. Remember that a lingering infection could also affect your heart and even if it doesn;t, you will do yourself a favor if you make sure you get some rest and proper time to get well.

It could be that you have developed asthma or even exercise induced atsthma. Your doctor will be able to tell you and prescribe medication or an inhaler.

I'm not sure how it works with people but I believ that in horses an untreated infection or a long time spent in a dusty environment could lead to something called OCPD, I think it stands for obstructive chronic pulmonary decase but i'm not sure. In any case, phlegm builds up in the lungs and prevents proper oxygen exchange from taking place. In a resting state you might not thionk too much about it but you will notice it if you do something that requires a little more from you.

This is quite serious and I don't think that this is what is causing your porblems but rather could possibly be something you might have to deal with if you ignore whatever symptoms you have right now for a longer period of time.

My advice is to see your doctor again and in the meanwhile stay away from anything that triggers your symptoms. So be it if you can't lesson the next week. You can double up the week after and you will not make anybody happ if you can only perform at half speed anyways!

Good luck!

Rio Blanco
Oct. 9, 2009, 11:23 PM
I would definately look into the asthma aspect. I have it so bad (have had it since i was tiny, spent MONTHS in the hospital when I was 2 because of it) that I have my own nebulizer... we call it my lung-in-a-box.... and it's the only thing that saves me. I routinely get upper respiratory infections with the change in weather, it's super hard for me to breath in the cold while walking to class - let alone while riding my horse, etc.

I have the lung capacity of someone with emphasema (...sorry, I can't spell...) on a good day, I ****HATE**** the meds for my lung-in-a-box (steroids) because they make me shake/tremble and it's the pits, I feel like a crack addict, but doing treatments every 3-4 hours is sometimes the only way I make it through the day, and I hate to break it to you, but some days riding is just. not. worth. it. (and I had 3 URI's while working for a very BNT, you'll all find a way to make do for a day or two)

Good luck. I feel your pain. Fall is bad and winter is the pits for someone like me :(

ETA: I was going to tell you to ask your doctor for a steroid pill that you take for about a week and it's like night and day, but I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. Prednisone? I think that's it. They gave me that the last time I was hospitalized and aside from making you have the munchies, it was a godsend.

Tha Ridge
Oct. 9, 2009, 11:42 PM
Seasonal asthma.

I was just diagnosed two years ago. Never had any issues before, but a summer living in Los Angeles really messed me up and being back in Dallas, I was coughing at night, wheezing and constantly short of breath.

Next time you go to the doctor, ask for a peak flow test. It judges your exhalation. Mine was very low, so I took a few puffs of an albuterol inhaler and then retested - much better. It's a pretty simple fix.

Oct. 10, 2009, 04:10 PM
I rather suddenly developed exercise-induced asthma several years ago. It was quite frightening - one night I started to have *severe* trouble breathing after a lesson. I managed to keep calm and get home ok - never did go to the doctor for it. It happened a few more times, always when it was cold and dry, but I just worked through it...

When I moved out to San Diego, I started having problems again (this time, just going up stairs was a problem). Finally went to a doctor, and with a combination of inhaler-based therapies, we got it under control. Now (10 years later), I just use Albuterol right before I ride, and everything's fine.

Do go and get it checked out. In my experience, one you get your lungs sufficiently annoyed, they're never quite the same.

Mimi La Rue
Oct. 10, 2009, 06:52 PM
I had a horrible upper respiratory infection earlier this year. I didn't go to the hospital but I was out for a week and on heavy antibiotics for a few weeks. It took a good month and a few weeks where I felt I could breathe normal again. Coughing a lot, which I certainly did while sick, really takes a toll on your lungs and throat. It takes some time to heal.

Oct. 11, 2009, 02:03 AM
I would get checked for asthma, mine really kicked off after I had a horrible cold/respiratory infection my first year of high school and they've never been the same... Ask to see a respirologist and have a methacholine challenge test, that will tell you if your lungs are reactive whereas a peak flow test will only tell you how much air you are passing out of your lungs.

My asthma would make me cough to the point where I would dry heave, so it's not just being wheezy that makes you asthmatic... Once I got in with a respirologist instead of just my family doc we finally figured out the right drug combination to keep everything under control and my coughing is pretty much gone now unless I'm pushing myself too hard during a run.

Good luck figuring it out, it really sucks when you can't breathe!

Oct. 11, 2009, 05:15 AM
How about riding with a wet bandana around your mouth/nose. I would come home from the barn and blow my nose adn the kleenex was brown from ring dust. Ugh

Oct. 11, 2009, 03:36 PM
Thanks for all the info everyone :)

will be making an appt. with respiratory doc in the next week. was in NYC last night (and we all know how gross the air can be there) and breathing got pretty bad. i started dry heaving on the train ride home :cry:

Oct. 11, 2009, 04:12 PM
Mr Kestrel used to have his life dictated by the state of his asthma, which can be triggerd by allergies to dust, animals, plants - you name it. Now the medications are so much better, that with the care of an excellent allergist who stands up to the insurance companies to get the exact meds that he needs, Mr Kestrel now lives a normal life. Unless he goes into a house with a cat. :(

Mr Kestrel had a severe upper respiratory infection as a child, and his asthma began immediately after. Get thee to a good Dr and don't waste time hoping things will get better on their own.

Feel better soon!

Oct. 12, 2009, 10:20 AM
Do you think it's possible you might have asthma? I do, and I sometimes get really wheezy if it's dusty. Particularly when the seasons are changing and everything.

If you do, an inhaler could really help your situation. I'd talk to your doctor about it!

I would also agree with this. I have never been diagnosed with asthma, but do have respiratory allergies. When the ring gets really dusty in the dry winter season down here, especially when there are multiple other horses kicking up dust in the ring as for a group lesson, show, or clinic, my breathing can be very aggravated.