Are you worried about your horse's breathing?  Equine Breathing can help!

Over breathing has a direct and damaging effect on the physiology which can result in symptoms such as headshaking, allergies and sweetitch.

What do your horse’s nostrils look like? Above on the left; normal nostril – relaxed and narrow. On the right; over breathing nostril – open and flared.

With Equine Breathing you can help the horse to reduce over breathing which enables the physiology to start to recover

This information is not a substitute for veterinary care

Why is my horse breathing heavy?

For answers view the video or read the articles below

This is the most frequently asked question and comes in different forms, including:

Why is my horse's breathing loud and heavy?

Why is my horse breathing hard and fast?

Why is my horse panting?

Why is my horse's breathing shallow and rapid?

Why does my horse breathe loud/heavy in hot weather?

Why does my horse breathe heavy / hard in exercise or work?

Why does my horse take a long time to recover its breathing after work or exercise?

Please note:- heavy or fast breathing may be a sign of pain - check with your vet


More FAQs

Over breathing is where more air is taken into the lungs than normal. Over breathing becomes a habit and chronic over breathing is quite common in horses as it is in people. A horse can over breathe at high, low and normal breathing rates (bpm).

Over breathing has a direct, damaging and fundamental effect on the physiology which can result eventually, in a wide range of symptoms. These include symptoms such as sweet-itch, headshaking and lack of energy which are not generally thought to be related to breathing.

Over breathing becomes more obvious when the horse is active or worked, with loud, heavy or even difficult breathing. The over breathing horse may take a long time to recover after exercise.

The horse may lack energy, or alternate between high energy adrenalised behaviour and lethargy.

Over breathing becomes more obvious in warm or hot conditions.  Read more in this article 

Extreme cold may increase breathing.

Looking at the nostrils, normal optimal breathing is imperceptible at rest, with no movement or sound. The nostril is narrow, slit like and relaxed. Whereas movement or flaring of the nostril during the in breath or noisy breathing indicates over breathing and the nostril tends to be round and open.

Read more in this article

If your horse has chronic symptoms such as allergies, headshaking or sweet-itch;  or behavioural problems such as anxiety, excitability, nervousness, irritability, aggression, windsucking, weaving, box walking etc then they over breathe. If they do not have symptoms there are certain signs and clues that indicate over breathing, including the shape and performance of the nostrils and more.

Over breathing signs

Horses that over breathe don't get enough oxygen. This is because the body needs carbon dioxide to enable it to use oxygen, but over breathing reduces carbon dioxide levels.

To get more oxygen the horse needs to reduce its breathing in order to improve carbon dioxide levels. But over breathing is linked to adrenaline production in a vicious cycle, the one increasing the other. So the over breathing tends to get worse over time unless it's addressed.

When a horse over breathes they use more of their lung capacity at rest and therefore have less potential to increase lung capacity during exercise.

For more on the respiration physiology see How does it work?

Yes, with Equine Breathing training the horse is able to reduce their breathing back down towards normal and this enables the physiology to recover.

Over breathing reduces oxygen availability so that muscle cells are more readily starved of oxygen and have to go on to anaerobic respiration instead. This provides only a tiny fraction of the energy produced by aerobic respiration when oxygen is available - and this results in low energy levels and lethargy

For more on the respiration physiology see How does it work?

Horses with symptoms over breathe. Many people do not realise that over breathing has a direct and damaging effect on the physiology which can eventually manifest in any of a wide a range of symptoms.

If you don't believe this you could give yourself symptoms in a minute or so just by over breathing! Simply take very big rapid breaths until you feel the effects. Remember to breathe gently afterwards to reverse the effects. However, I don't recommend that you actually try this as it's not good for you, and certainly don't do it if you have a medical condition.

There are numerous ways in which the biochemical changes resulting from over breathing impair the physiology so that normal healthy functioning is compromised.

For more on the respiration physiology see How does it work?

You can help your horse by doing Equine Breathing with them. Owners report good success with COPD and other breathing problems, and it's easy to try Equine Breathing using the free instructions for 1N.

Improving (reducing) the breathing helps the horse to breathe more easily and get more oxygen and it reduces adrenaline production so it's soothing for them.

More about COPD / asthma

Every horse is different so there is no set time but if you do 1N for 30 minutes a day for a week I would expect you to be able to start to see the effect. People commonly report a reduction in symptoms fairly soon,  but it can take much longer for the symptoms to disappear completely and longer still for the body to heal completely.

Excessive snorting or yawning are signs of over breathing. Over breathing is damaging to the physiology and can lead to symptoms so even if your horse has no other symptoms at the moment, I would encourage you to reduce the over breathing to relieve the excessive yawning / snorting.

It's easy to start Equine Breathing using the free instructions for 1N

Equine Breathing is simply a way of training breathing back towards normal levels. It enables owners to help their horse recover from chronic ailments and behavioural problems. Equine Breathing is natural and holistic. It is not a veterinary procedure and anyone can do it using the free instructions for the basic technique of 1N. Equine Breathing is soothing and relaxing and horses enjoy it.

See more

A common problem in horses (and people) is chronic over breathing. It is damaging to the physiology and can result in chronic symptoms.

Equine Breathing works by training the over breathing back towards normal levels. The damaging effects of over breathing on the physiology are reversible. As the breathing is improved, the physiology improves and the body heals itself. This process is known as holistic healing and it's very different from treating specific symptoms with drugs or procedures. Equine Breathing is relaxing and enjoyable for the horse which further adds to the beneficial biochemical improvements.

It costs absolutely nothing to do Equine Breathing using the 1N method. It's easy to learn from the free instructions.

If you find that 1N benefits your horse but you don't have time to do as much as you and your horse would like, then you can buy a Breather for a more powerful and efficient effect. These come with their own training video.

See more

It's not usually necessary to get help from an Equine Breathing Trainer. Most people can do Equine Breathing using the free instructions and videos for 1N and then if they would like more help there's a 30 minute 1N training video

Those then wanting a more efficient and effective method can buy a Breather - all designs come with their own training videos and include support by email and phone.

There's also a range of courses available including telephone and skype courses

There are facebook support groups for headshaking, COPD / asthma, sweetitch and windsucking / cribbing

Clare is always happy to answer queries and provide support to anyone using or thinking of trying Equine Breathing.

[email protected]