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Mild roarer?

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  • Mild roarer?

    I have been horse shopping for ages now and I was just sent a handsome TB that fits all my qualifications- except that he is a mild roarer. He was unraced- I wonder if it was due to his breathing issues?

    I am trying my best to be realistic. I will probably never event over training level (it will be a miracle if I do training!) but I do love fox hunting. I am an adult amateur but I really don't want an lameness/health issues.

    Does anyone have experience or opinions on this? I hope you all don't mind but I'm going to cross post this on the hunting forum as well.

  • #2
    I have recently been talking with a woman whose OTTB has a laryngial fold that is either partially or completely paralyzed. He is quite a loud roarer. Apparently there is surgery that can fix it, but she is avoiding that route. From what I understand, she just has to make sure he is worked regularly because it is very hard to bring him back into condition once he is out of shape. He needs to take breaks (but don't we all), but overall it doesn't present much of an issue for her as a LL eventer. They are eventing at BN (or N? I don't remember now.)

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    • #3
      We have two horses in our barn that are roarers. One successfully did H/J shows and BN and N level eventing, and just last year had the tie back surgery to fix the roaring problem. I'm not sure why the owner decided to do it now, because he is getting older, hasn't shown in a few years, and will likely retire very soon. The other horse is a young teenager and would also probably be considered a "mild" roarer. He shows in local 2'6" and 3' divisions. Neither of these horses have really had to do much work where they weren't able to catch their breath, so I don't know if a long fast hunt would be problematic or not. For the horses I know, the roaring is more of a "cosmetic" issue due to the noise rather than a performance problem.

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      • #4
        I have an OTTB with a moderate roar. He raced until he was 7 and hunted for year or so before I bought him. He did novice easily and we would have moved up except for me inconveniently starting med school. His roaring never held him back and he always had plenty of gas in the tank, but he is very loud on xc. I agree that it's mostly a cosmetic issue at the lower levels.

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        • #5
          I suppose it depends on how mild, but I wouldn't do it. I've heard my vet say she would never recommend a roarer for fox hunting. (Of course it also depends on how fast the hunt is--I have a pretty severe roarer that I hunt, but only with a small farm pack that is quite slow).

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          • #6
            I had a roarer who had the surgery and something went wrong along the way. I was not the one to have the surgery done on him. His food and water came back out his nose, he had chronic infections due to aspirating his food and water. He was a very hard keeper because half of his food came back out. I tried to get him back up to weight but I decided just to retire him and be done with it. He also coughed a lot while ridden. This does not happen to every roarer. I have had ottb's that had the surgery and were just fine.
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            • #7
              It's not the noise it's how much air he gets...you need a proper scope evaluation to determine the exact throat malfunction an the percentage. If a 1 or 2 and his cardio recovery is good than you can live it. If worse and you live in an area of high humid weather than corrective surgery needs to be in your budget.

              Also roarers get penalized in the Show Hunter Ring....regardless of the quality of the trip they will pin lower than a non roarer.

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              • #8
                I have a roarer whose roar is absent at the trot and very light at the canter. He only gets loud if he is fighting me (i.e., he doesn't want to get round or work off his back end or whatever.) I do not event - he is a jumper - and he is only five so we aren't doing high levels yet. However, he has no problem doing long conditioning sets (2 x 20+ minutes) or courses and he always catches his breath quickly afterward. At the moment, anyway, he is the fittest horse in the barn.

                He was scoped - on the seller's dime - before I bought him at 3 and the PPE vet said there wasn't any significant obstruction. But I negotiated $1000 off his price in the event that I might need to do the surgery at some point if it got worse. It has not.

                The only issue I have had is that he coughs under saddle during the summer when the weather is hot and humid and full of allergens. Last year I put him on allergy medicine and the coughing stopped, so I am not sure if it is roar related.
                I have spoken with my vet however, and based on how it presents, he wants me to scope to see if it is not in fact a flap issue, but instead a small congenital growth that grows on the flap and weights it down so it doesn't move properly. Apparently they can be easily removed and are often misdiagnosed as a roar when they first present because they can be very hard to see.

                I would suggest, if you are seriously considering, to make sure he is scoped as part of the PPE. That will give you a much better feel for how serious an issue it is. I would also ask to see him do a heavy workout so you can get a feel for how much of a problem it might be for his wind. Those two steps will allow you to make an educated decision and, if you still want him, negotiate a price that reflects the likelihood that you might need surgery at some point if the roar gets worse.

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                • #9
                  More FWIW stuff... My now-retired LL horse is a mild roarer, but is only noisy when he is out of shape. When he was training level-fit, he was quiet. All horses are different.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you all!

                    Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions. I have never dealt with a roarer and I haven't had a chance to speak with my vet yet. When I began this search I really wanted that one super nice, eye catching horse that everyone notices when he comes off the trailer (just once in my life that was what I wanted.. Yes, it was totally vain)... Now I will settle for "doesn't limp when he gets off a trailer"

                    Time will tell if this guy is the 'one' and if not then I will keep looking.

                    Thank you again for all your help!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BluesBuster View Post
                      Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions. I have never dealt with a roarer and I haven't had a chance to speak with my vet yet. When I began this search I really wanted that one super nice, eye catching horse that everyone notices when he comes off the trailer (just once in my life that was what I wanted.. Yes, it was totally vain)... Now I will settle for "doesn't limp when he gets off a trailer"

                      Time will tell if this guy is the 'one' and if not then I will keep looking.

                      Thank you again for all your help!
                      Ahahahahahahahaha! The joys of horse shopping. I started my search about three months ago with the same agenda, now I'm willing to take anything that isn't completely lame. I suppose there's a reason why the "super nice, eye-catching horses" are all $20k and above!

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                      • #12
                        My younger boy is a roarer. I haven't done any diagnostics as of yet. He seems to handle BN easily and will be moving up this summer. He is very loud but seems to recover pretty easily.

                        The only thing I have noticed is that he is taking a long time to get fit after his 3 months off and colic episodes.

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                        • #13
                          I've never owned a roarer but had one boarded at my farm for a time and have a neighbor who owned one. They seemed to do okay at the level of work required. However, if you think this is a horse you would resell at some point, I would take a good hard look at the roaring. It's a harder sale to make.
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                          • #14
                            I have an imported hanoverian gelding who was diagnosed as a roarer at about 4 years old. As a youngster in light work, it didn't bother him at all, and honestly was hardly noticeable unless he was working hard. Due to show plans and an incease in his work levels, I elected to have to tie-back procedure when the horse was 6. The surgery went well, and we were very conservative in bringing him back into work. Horse is now 8 yo, and happily jumping 3' courses at home and schooling higher. He's showing successfully, and there's virtually no trace of the issue. It's just a little pathetic when he tries to whinny. It's not the cheapest or easiest procedure (there's a yuck factor during recovery) but in this horse's case, it worked out.
                            Incidentally, we recently purchased a 2yo Oldenburg who also seems to have a minor roar. He'll get the tie-back procedure in a year or two once he's started under-saddle and we see if it is an issue.
                            But I agree with above posters, get a good vet out to scope and evaluate -- don't base your assessment on noise alone. Some horses with a "loud" roar still have adequate oxygen intake, while other, "quieter" ones, have a more significant problem.
                            Bottom line, if the horse is able to happily and comfortably do what it is you want him for, it's likely not a huge problem. With a "prospect", I'd look into the degree of the problem, and seriously consider the tie-back. Good Luck.
                            A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

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