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[RC] COPD and conditioning - martina keil - DRG1


?COPD seems to me to be a generic term for mainly equine asthma or actual Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease. They are not the same disease if one looks at pulmonary function testing results.


I think long distance riding (ie: over 25 miles) would not be good for either type of horse, even with good management, unless it was so mild as to not require medication, or an alteration from what you used to ride.


Because, the heart & lungs really, act as functionally as 1 unit. So if theres a problem with one, the other will be affected too.


I was able to do 25 mile trail ride (NOT RACE) on my 17 YO Qtr horse with the following caveats:


  1. Make sure the horse’s living environment is immaculate. Compulsively get? rid of:
    1. urine, manure
    2. clean low dust shavings – ask the supplier
    3. make sure the hay or pellets are wetted down good always (How wet? I use ½ of a 5 gal bucket of water on just 1 4# flake of hay & stir it up to make sure its wet all over, ?etc. Dust is a big culprit as it is in humans).
    4. Give 8 hours a day of turnout time if you can ( = fresh air).
    5. Ride that horse 3-4 times a week & you must canter some (2-5x around the arena) to open up the lungs – gets rid of a problem caused by lung diseases called atelectasis, in which, without deep breathing, the sides of the lungs kind of “stick” together like velcro. Deep breathing from cantering will open them up again. Be compulsive about it – really!


  1. The horse does not need any “COPD or Asthma” medications for its “Activities of Daily Living” (Ie: your riding it), on a everyday or every week basis.



  1. Buy an equine heart rate monitor. Lung problems will cause the heart rate to go up with very little effort - & you must know what is “normal” for your horse. A good reasonably priced HRM I have is here: http://www.vmaxept.com/ VMax Enduro C. Even with a normal horse – for CTR or endurance, this is an essential piece of equipment, IMO.


Hope this helps & good luck! If I am wrong, I hope some vets who read Ridecamp will correct me.