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Question for owners of a horse that roars

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  • Question for owners of a horse that roars

    I posted awhile back about my new horse and her noisy breathing at the trot and canter and by the replies I got back and the articles I've read I'm leaning towards her being a roarer. I do have the vet coming out on Thursday for a diagnosis. But in the meantime I was curious for anyone who has a roarer and did not have the tieback surgery done what type of riding to you think she will be able to handle? I pleasure trail ride a couple times a week. I bought her last July and both myself and my girlfriend never heard her breathing loud while we tried her out, especially at the canter. Could the seller have treated her with something to quiet her breathing, if he did what could it have been, and can I use that on her to ease her breathing? I'm tempted to call the seller and ask but I'm sure I wouldn't get an honest answer and he will deny her having the problem. I did not to a prepurchase exam and I'm kicking myself everyday for not doing it. I'd love to hear from anyone with experience with roaring. Thanks.
    Moving on doesn't mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happended and continue living.

  • #2
    Honestly for what you plan on doing the roaring will never be an issue. We have had 2 confirmed roarers in our barn and we work them 6 days a week and they are eventers. Both were lower level types, one went through training the other did a couple easier prelims. The training guy sounded like crap, but it never affected him. Never heard of anything you can give them short term to decrease the sound though so perhaps when you tried him you didn't stress him enough to need that much airflow. We would do surgery if they were going to be asked to do more but the vet hospital didn't see the need at the levels they were doing.


    • #3
      For what it's worth, the one horse I owned who roared (confirmed via scope when he was in training as a youngster) actually made much LESS noise as his fitness increased. If he was hard-fit, he didn't make any noise at all. Obviously, it's important to build fitness and stamina gradually over some time, but it seemed to work for me.

      Good Luck!


      • #4
        We have a 3yr old right now that is a roarer. my wife rides him about 4 or 5 times a week. does a lot of ring work and also takes him trail riding. your vet will tell you better when he scopes him ,i don't think the tie back surgery should be nessesary unless your going to compete at a real high level. i've had a coulpe race horses that had the tie back and they were always getting infected from food getting trapped. when they drink ,water and grain comes out there nose . they winnie funny to. i heard they now do a tie forward surgery but i haven't heard that it is any better. whatever you do good luck with your horse.


        • #5
          I have a foxhunter who is a roarer. Not a very severe one I would say. He hilltops just fine. It has never been an issue with his health--just a bit noisy when we come cantering up behind someone. But he recovers so quickly that I don't see it as an issue for him.


          • #6
            when talking with my equine dentist, she mentioned a possible correlation between roaring and dentistry. That its possible that roaring is a result of a jaw that is out of alignment, or to that affect, she was just setting out to begin her thesis on that which would take several years of study. Her own horse is a roarer that had tieback surgery before she owned him, and it did not go well and he's had severe complications since.

            I don't have an personal experience or knowledge of roaring myself.
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


            • #7
              My 14-year-old grade QH is a roarer. I'm doing dressage with him, while he was out on lease, he was used for trails primarily, and before that he was a lesson horse in a hunter barn. It's nbever been an issue for him beyond the noise, although I've noticed it more this year than before I leased him out. My vet says that it is unlikely to ever keep him from doing anything I want to do with him. He was a working ranch horse before the hunter barn, and those horses work hard. Some horses can progress until tieback is necessary, but my vet said that many hosrses can roar their whole lives and not have an issue beyond the noise.


              • #8
                Mine had a vocal cordectomy

                Fred, my now 15 yr old OTTB was diagnosed at 12 as a roarer. When we scoped him, it was suggested that we have him looked at by the team at Cornell. They scoped him with the initial plan of a tie back operation. When they scoped him at Cornell it was determined that he also had COPD. Not badly, but that diagnosis eliminated the tie back surgery because of that added diagnosis. So, the decision was made to do the vocal cordectomy.

                His breathing improved dramatically after the surgey, getting about 30% more air. He still coughs at times when ridden, but he is so much better! I am very glad I pursued the surgery as I think had I not, he would not be able to breathe as well or be ridden...


                • #9
                  I have a roarer. It's mild to moderate. He, like KLS's horse, roars less the fitter he is. He has not had the tie back surgery yet, as it has not been necessary. We completed a long format CCI*. It took some extra effort to make sure he was extra fit, but he had no problems with the competition itself.
                  He attacked everything in life with a mix of extrordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
                  - Douglas Adams


                  • #10
                    We have a roarer. I think he had the tie back when he was in race training, but it didn't work and he never raced. I know his show home had the tie forward done, and it failed.

                    They think it affects him and retired him (at 5) and we took him as a husband horse. He is awesome. We promised never to show him or stress him too much, and we plan to keep that promise. It must have affected him to some extent if they asked that. We've only walked him so far, but I've heard the roaring when he canters in the field, and the poor guy cannot whinny, which is kind of sad I hate hearing him call for his buddies. However, he's very happy with us! What a great horse.
                    "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bacchus View Post
                      We have a roarer. I think he had the tie back when he was in race training, but it didn't work and he never raced. I know his show home had the tie forward done, and it failed.

                      They think it affects him and retired him (at 5) and we took him as a husband horse. He is awesome. We promised never to show him or stress him too much, and we plan to keep that promise. It must have affected him to some extent if they asked that. We've only walked him so far, but I've heard the roaring when he canters in the field, and the poor guy cannot whinny, which is kind of sad I hate hearing him call for his buddies. However, he's very happy with us! What a great horse.
                      Yeah, mine can't whinny either. He is a pleasure horse, but we do lots of trotting and galloping and he does fine. He only has issues when galloping or maybe trotting up steep hills. We just have to be sure not to do too much without a breather. Once he is fit he recovers quickly though, so his breathers get shorter.


                      • #12
                        I have one too. He didn't roar at all when I bought him--I had him thoroughly vetted. It started to develop about two years later. At that point my vet did not recommend immediate surgery, as he felt that it was better to wait until the progressive paralysis was as complte as possible. He deteriorated over the course of a couple of years to the extent that he would be standing in the pasture sweating, and was always anxious, and very, very exercise intollerant. He had surgery, which was very succesful and really did change the quality of his life--I swear he grew a couple of inches after and became a much more relaxed horse, much easier to keep weight on and generally a more happy citizen.

                        I've never had a problem with food or water coming out of his nose, infections, coughing or anything else. He is more prone to respiratory allergies than my other horses. I feed him at ground level and water him out of a standard trough (which he likes to dunk his entire head in.) I do wet down his pellets, but that's about the only management concession he gets.

                        He tends to panic if you trap him into a false frame, or close his throatlatch excessively, so if you want him on the bit, he has to get there honestly or boy, are you busted...