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horse belching?

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  • horse belching?

    Has anyone heard/witnessed their horse belching?

    I am fully aware of the anatomical reasons why horses can't vomit (or if they do they're at death's door). So I assumed this extremely tight cardiac sphincter also prevented them from belching. About a year ago, I could've sworn I heard my Morgan (who is 17) belch while I was handwalking him, but his orthopaedic surgeon (he was in rehab at the time for a ligament injury) thought it perhaps was just air in the trachea moving around. It happened again, but given the above reason, I just ignored it.

    Then I was grooming my young TB a few days ago and there was a definite belch. I could smell it and everything. It was moderately comical; he stretched his head up slightly, belched, then the stench hit my nose. It made me feel a little better to witness it in another one of my horses, but in 17 years of owning horses, I've never seen (or heard) this before!

    Both horses are normal in every other way, but like I said I've never thought this was possible in horses. Thoughts? Should I be concerned, or just try to catch it on video for giggles?

  • #2
    I wouldn't be conerned, as my Dad's mare makes belching noises throughout the year. I know there's probably some scientific reason why it's not the exact equivalent to a human belch, but trust me- "looked" like a belch, smelled like a belch, sounded like a belch, so I'm calling it a belch.
    Standardbred Lover- owner of Studs Hooligan, aka Strider, ex- pacer, retrained for eventing and endurance
    Strider-OTSTB-, Gus-OTTB-, and Rio-rescued QH!
    Founder of the High Maintenance Horses Clique


    • #3
      When my mare was having gas colic issues, I'm CERTAIN she was burping, or doing the equine equivalent. You'd hear a loud gurgling sound in her stomach, you'd actually hear the gurgling move up her neck, then she'd nod her head a little, make an "urrrp" sound, and then yep, smell fermented grass.

      She only did it when she was having a gas colic. Typically the burping happened before the colic really set in, so if I gave the Banamine at the first signs of burping, I could stave off the colic.
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


      • #4
        I've heard a horse belch probably twice in my lifetime. It's a pretty rare anomally.
        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


        • #5
          When I was a kid my first horse used to make a sound that really did seem like a belch. She would stretch out her neck and put her chin up in the air and… burp! I think she was doing it on purpose because it got her lots of attention (all the kids at the barn would laugh when she did it, and she had other "antics" she liked to do to make people laugh) and it was pretty frequent. I have never seen another horse do it since.


          • #6
            my aged mustang makes a belching sound fairly routinely, its really a strange sort of yawn where he stretches out his throat and tongue, but it looks and sounds just like a loud belch ... its very funny. Never did smell though, so not a true belch
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


            • #7
              There can be an awful lot of air in the esophagus, and when it comes up, it can look, sound, smell and act like a "belch". And as tight as the lower esophageal sphincter is, it certainly DOES open to let stuff IN. Wherein things like a little bit of air can also be let OUT.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                Shetland pony does it all the time...


                • #9
                  my haffie did it all the time. a definite belch. and my new mustang does it too. not as much as my haffie did, but, Ive heard him a few times.

                  NOTE: both horses "easy keepers"

                  neither horse had to stretch his neck or anything.. just - burrrrp!

                  IDK about "science", or the anatomy of it.... but, now 2 horses I know belch like sailors


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    And as tight as the lower esophageal sphincter is, it certainly DOES open to let stuff IN. Wherein things like a little bit of air can also be let OUT.
                    LOL. Good point.

                    Thanks for the stories; It makes me worry less!


                    • #11
                      Mine does, at least, he will let out a blast of air with force behind it and a distinct whatever he was eating last/ferminting smell. After 27 years of his odd ball behaviors, I am used to it by now.
                      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                      RIP Barichello