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Horse breathing hard when flexed at poll

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  • Horse breathing hard when flexed at poll

    I just noticed that recently when my horse rounds when under saddle he makes this weird breathing noise. Its just like a heavy breathing. He is a Percheron/Qrt Horse cross. A girl at the barn has a Qtr Horse that does the same thing. Was wondering if anyone else experiences this issue with a Qrt Horse or other breed even. Thanks!

  • #2
    My horse does this as well. He is a Morgan / Warmblood cross, so he looks like a overgrown warmblood pony with a big, fat Morgan head. He is high balanced, and used to go rather inverted. The muscles in the underside of his neck became overdeveloped, and it seemed like they got in the way as he tried to relax through his poll. As he learned how to relax and push from behind, his muscle tone got sorted out in his neck and the heavy breathing became less frequent.

    Not sure if this applies to your horse or not. I know QH's aren't always known for being high balanced...

    Comment


    • #3
      One of my horses does that as well! Only right when he starts to flex, for a minute or too, and hes full hanoverian since everyone else was saying breeds

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Let's _Motor. I think that is the same problem my horse is having, thanks for the post!

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a mare that started to do that. Had her scoped at the University of Florida Vet School on their treadmill. There is a flap that can get "flipped" wrong, (I forget what it was called...DDSP???) in their throat. It's the one that decides if food goes down the windpipe or esphagus.. It CAN be sown back if you want, but doesn't always work . It happens with larger horses, especially with longer necks. "This mare was gorgeous!! It happened to her after she was 12!!!
          They cough to try to flip it back!! Sorry for the potential bad news.....
          www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fl...04678589573428

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          • #6
            DDSP is a dorsally displaced soft palate. If that helps. Google it. I'm sure you can find a video of a endoscope on a treadmill with sound, to know if it sounds similiar if your concerned. Also described as "Choking down"

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a mare that does something VERY similar. Scoped her twice, vet called it a mild roar. In addition to the tie-back surgery given above, there's apparently a laser option that is much less invasive. We're looking at doing that this fall ... The whole situation is pretty lame. I probably wouldn't bother to get it fixed except that my mare's a hunter and can get dinged for stuff like that - even though on her it's so mild ...

              PS: Mine is a Hano/TB. It is more common (I've been told) in horses of the longer necked (i.e. hunter type, ha) variety - something about the nerve runs through the neck and the longer the neck, the more likely it gets pinched/partially paralyzed. This is my VERY layman's understanding/explanation - someone else feel free to describe better.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is always a good resource for throat surgeries, although it doesn't talk about the newer laser trx options.

                http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle....D=14969&src=RA

                It's always good to do some research on throat surgery since there is no guarantee it works, and on some prcedures/conditions, less than a 50% chance of success, so it's not a slam dunk cure. It's an easier choice when you have a horse spitting out the bit and slamming on the brakes early in a race, but if you have a horse who is successful at his career AND has breathing problems, the choices get tougher.
                Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

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                • #9
                  My horse is a mild roarer and it does seem to be more noticable when he's asked to collect. Your vet will probably have to scope the horse to confirm the condition, or to discover that it's something else entirely.

                  Roaring is considered an unsoundness in the hunter ring (mine is primarily a dressage horse), so it is worth having the vet discuss the options if that is what the problem is. Tie-back or laser surgery is an option (which type the vet does generally depends on the size of the horse and the severity of the roar); however it is not without risk, both during the surgery and after-the risk of a problem from aspirated food is much higher than in normal horses, for example, because the surgery permanently opens the larynx.

                  It's definitely a good idea to ask your vet to give a listen!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Does anyone else have any experiences with roarers in the hunter ring? I'm just curious if anyone has been called out of the ring because of the roaring? What if the roaring is slight now, does it get worse as the horse gets older?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have not been dissmissed from the hunter ring, yet. However, at a SCHOOLING show this weekend the jugde either did not know what the sound was or knew very little about roaring and wrote on the cards "Horse cant breathe!", etc.

                      I had a lovely round and was not pinned at all and placed at the end of the pack in another class.

                      So yes, it does matter in the hunters. And, I think even in the jumper ring people give you dirty looks thinking you are killing your horse....yes, it sounds bad (mine gets louder if he is excited).

                      Its a tough call...the sugery can open the door for other issues as one poster stated and may not work alltogether. My horse loves to jump and loves his job and is safe...but the roaring is limiting where we can go in the show ring.
                      Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                      Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                      Green Alligator "Captain"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by relocatedTXjumpr View Post
                        I have not been dissmissed from the hunter ring, yet. However, at a SCHOOLING show this weekend the jugde either did not know what the sound was or knew very little about roaring and wrote on the cards "Horse cant breathe!", etc.
                        A reduction in the volume of air intake is pretty much the definition of a roarer. It sounds like the judge knew exactly what a roarer was. Now whether that reduction of air was enough to compromise the horse at that level of activity is another story, but I can't fault the description.
                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          True, DMK your description is correct.

                          I think its all going to depend on the judge, the show, the company you're with, etc. This judge was completely turned off by it whereas the judges at 2 locally rated shows did not knock us or make any comments, but they were also farther from the ring.

                          A friend volunteered at the AEC's last weekend and said she saw several roarers going around XC.

                          Again, a tough call. I dont show very much, 2 maybe 3 local shows a year. What I cant stand are the looks people give you, like you are killing your horse.

                          So, do you do the surgery and "hope" it actually works and doesnt cause any other problems such as choke...or, do you not do it and live with the sound and the looks?
                          Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                          Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                          Green Alligator "Captain"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have seen roarers do OK in local shows, but I think you will always place below someone with an equal trip (and I think that's fair), and then you will always have a judge who will place a higher value on that as an unsoundness and you can get disproportionately dinged.

                            I can see where in eventing - assuming your horse still has enough airflow - it wouldn't be an issue except as a small portion of the dressage score perhaps? Kind of hard to knock a roarer out of a s/j or xc trip unless he gets spun by the vet for not recovering w/in time frames (and then he should be spun). It was hot on Saturday though, I wonder if any of those roarers did get spun (assuming they were w/the upper levels that ran on Saturday)? They could have finished xc and still been eliminated or DQ's or whatever the terminology.
                            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              May not be a roarer

                              In the August issue of Equus magazine there was an article on what they called "turnover" which was essentially looking at neck conformation and where we ask our horses to flex. As you all probably know, the correct flexion when the horse is "on the bit" should result in the poll (right behind the ears) being the highest point.

                              The article contends that quite often we incorrectly ask for flexion such that rather than flexing at the first vertebra (the poll) we achieve flexion at the 2nd or 3rd. This can result in tension that can impede breathing and cause unusual noise. If your horse doesn't make the noise when you ride around on a loose rein, it may be that the way you are asking them to flex is causing some of the issue - and not that they have the soundess problem of "roaring".

                              In my own little experiment with my jumper who naturally overflexes and makes audible breathing noise (generally at the canter) when overflexed, I practised going around at the canter on a loose rein and than back to our normal, overly flexed position. When I loosened the rein, or tried to achieve a less flexed position, the noise stopped.

                              I'm not a vet or a trainer, nor do I play one on TV, but I wouldn't rush to conclude that you have a serious wind issue just yet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                One of my horses did that as well.. I had him scoped and vet said he had slight issues with his soft palate and yes he coughs when first starting his ride. Not quite a roarer but vet said the sides were also odd shaped.

                                I make sure "not" to over flex him and allow him a bit out with his throat latch. He doesn't do it anymore.

                                Also I find the better shape he's in the less he does it. And make sure the rings are watered well.
                                Live in the sunshine.
                                Swim in the sea.
                                Drink the wild air.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wonder if it would be penalized in the EQ classes like it is in the hunters?
                                  Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                                  Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                                  Green Alligator "Captain"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A friend almost bought a horse that was a roarer. At that point, the horse made a bit of a noise. The roaring wasn't the main reason they didn't buy him. Anyway, we saw him at a show over the summer (now roughly two years later) and it's more noticeable. Someone happened to talk to the judge at the end of the day and she mentioned the roaring and said she didn't penalize it heavily at this show (very much a schooling-level show) but would not have used the horse in the hunters at a USEF show. FWIW.

                                    No problem in eq from what I understand. Heck, according to the rules, you can show a lame horse in eq as long as it's not so lame as to be cruel. Or words to that effect.
                                    The Evil Chem Prof

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have dealt with this problem and have had good and bad results with different ways of coping with it.

                                      First, a displaced soft palate might result in a noisy breathing problem, but it is more associated with a horse who just plain is having his airway cut off because the palate has covered it. It is quite common in TB racehorses and can happen when they are running with their head and necks straight out in front of them.

                                      A roarer OTOH, has a paralyzed (or partially paralyzed) flap which cannot move out of the way when air flows over it. Hence the noise. A simple airway scope can determine if this is the problem.

                                      My horse (a large, heavy WB) started making a noise at age 4 (evidently a "normal" age to start having this problem). At that time, the flap was only 80% paralyzed; it was still making small fluttering motions, so the surgeon would not do a tieback procedure. He explained that the tieback would fail as the constant motion of the flap would stretch the hole made by the stitch until it broke and the flap reverted back to its original position. He told me to come back when the flap was fully paralyzed.

                                      Which I did 18 months later. He did the tie back, the horse recuperated for 3 months and all seemed well for a while. No noise, but we gradually noticed an "exercise intolerance", especially when he was asked to go in a frame and his airway was pinched.

                                      So off he went to another major medical center -- this time to a surgeon who lasered the flap off. The flap is gone -- It cannot come back. And this seems to have worked very well.

                                      CAVEAT: While this surgery seems simple, if done poorly the results can be a mess: a horse who swallows food down into his airway and it can come dripping out his nose. He must be fed a special diet (eaten off the floor)for the rest of his life (including no hay).

                                      Anyone who is considering surgery on a paralyzed flap should go to a major vet center with a specialist who does a lot of these surgeries.
                                      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Trooper2 View Post
                                        In the August issue of Equus magazine there was an article on what they called "turnover" which was essentially looking at neck conformation and where we ask our horses to flex. As you all probably know, the correct flexion when the horse is "on the bit" should result in the poll (right behind the ears) being the highest point.

                                        The article contends that quite often we incorrectly ask for flexion such that rather than flexing at the first vertebra (the poll) we achieve flexion at the 2nd or 3rd. This can result in tension that can impede breathing and cause unusual noise. If your horse doesn't make the noise when you ride around on a loose rein, it may be that the way you are asking them to flex is causing some of the issue - and not that they have the soundess problem of "roaring".

                                        In my own little experiment with my jumper who naturally overflexes and makes audible breathing noise (generally at the canter) when overflexed, I practised going around at the canter on a loose rein and than back to our normal, overly flexed position. When I loosened the rein, or tried to achieve a less flexed position, the noise stopped.

                                        I'm not a vet or a trainer, nor do I play one on TV, but I wouldn't rush to conclude that you have a serious wind issue just yet.
                                        I have had several horses that breath louder when flexed and never did I ever suspect there was a health issue. It only happened when the horses flexed and all were in great shape and had no stamina problems. I think Trooper 2 is on to something and I'd like to find that article. FWIW, I think 2 of the 3 horses made this noise to show how unhappy they were to be on the bit. They were very much against authority!

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