You are here:

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/2 year olds flaring nostrils even at rest


Hi ma'am. I have a question for you above nostril flaring in horses. Hope this is within your expertise.

Question : I work in a thoroughbred racing stable. My boss the trainer is getting worried about the 2 year olds which flare their nostrils frequently even at rest and I suspect that they are suffering from heaves. In INDIA, we use a term called DRY COAT for horses that flare their nostrils every second even at rest. Does this
affect their performance? I mean does it lead to ROARING? Last year youngster now a 3 year old roars badly but won a big race.

Are these out of the same bloodlines or different?  If your stable is on backstretch, are other horses also showing more flaring?

Normal respirations for horses at rest would fall between 8-16 breaths each minute, are these what you are seeing, or are they taking more breaths than this when resting.

If more than that, could be something related to the hay being fed, or even the bedding, in presence of dusts or molds, could be medical problems such as heaves, or inflammatory airway disease, also can be upper or lower respiratory in location too.

Lower would be heaves, the IAD mentioned above and exercise related hemorrhage too.

Upper would be the roaring you mentioned, soft palate displacement, epiglottis or pharynx issues.  Heaves should not cause roaring in other words.

Vet would be best to consult, diagnostics used and testing to see how much oxygen is in the blood, as well as looking for other things.

But...and don't know where your stable is, at racetrack, or private barn, or what your security is, or who else has access to your horses, but is there any chance the horses are being sponged, so their air flow is compromised?

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Melanie Rowley


Questions relating to first time, or inexperienced horse owners. Other questions as needed. Questions on American Saddlebreds. Old fashioned training advice, riding advice for beginners, and general care questions. Behavior problems, with emphasis on thinking through aspects of problems that might not seem an issue at first.


About to turn 55. My father was a Saddlebred trainer, and I grew up around horses. I have also worked as a Master Saddlebred Show Horse Groom, working with Dale Pugh, Art Simmons, Sonny Sutton, and others. I also have worked with Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds on a mare and foal operation in Alabama. I have owned for years, and currently have two teenaged geldings. I also for many years have taught riding lessons, to adults and children, working with beginners just learning, and older adults who have lost their confidence, or wanted to get "back in the saddle." I was lucky to be around many of the best horsemen in MO, and AL and learn from them, and strive always to think through a situation and work to keep riders and horses safe. Those also include the many talented grooms, and farriers I met along the way.

Some college. General studies towards a nursing degree, which derailed due to divorce. Horse skills learned through over 50 years of watching, learning, doing and absorbing as I grew.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]