“I’ve been meaning to tell you…”

As a card-carrying member of Team Be Anxious About Everything and Assume the Worst I don’t love getting texts from J that start out that way. Especially when “I’ve been meaning to tell you” ends with “Phoebe is definitely a roarer.”

This post brought to you by puppy pictures because duh. Meet Sunny girl. She’s my numero uno.


Cue the anxiety burps (yeah, they’re real and they’re super fun, I just love uncontrollable belching) and mildly irrational thoughts. Such as: she’s never gonna be an appropriate horse for me to ride and I will need to sell her except who would buy a horse that roars. Or: what if I do the tie-back procedure and Phoebe falls in the small percentage of horses who either show no improvement or have complications and she’ll asphyxiate on her hay and no one will notice and I will come home to a dead horse.

Tiger. Likes sleeping in empty pots. Sheri is his person.

I know. I’m not at all jumping headfirst down a slippery slope with things like that running through my head. Since I am fairly well versed in how my brain works I pretty much just let the bad thoughts run their course, take a night or two then make a plan. Currently, Phoebe is physically fine. J is not asking her to work beyond her capabilities and there is no damage to her lungs with what is essentially light flatwork at this point in her training. Right now Phoebe needs consistency in her training. I would be wasting my money to take her home and get her evaluated/potentially surgery, then rehab which would very likely put me back at square one with training.

Jack. Jack is good dog. Please feed Jack. He is very hungry. He lives with my dad but visits the farm often.

So the plan for now is to keep her where she is, then when she comes home to me I will make an appointment to have her scoped at WSU vet school (recommended to me by a trusted friend who owned a horse that roared). Then I can better make a decision on whether or not surgery is the best course, or a career change, just careful fitness, etc.

On a happier note Phoebe has graduated to being ridden off the lunge line and she continues inching forward in the right direction

11 thoughts on ““I’ve been meaning to tell you…”

  1. aw yea, i never like those texts either 😦 good luck with getting her scoped and getting expert opinions!

    i’m definitely *not* an expert and have very limited experience so… ya know. take whatever i say with a grain of salt haha. but in my experience, roaring often sounds way worse than it actually is. most horses seem to do ok with it provided they’re not operating at maximum capacity regularly. my horse has a tie back too, and yea he has to eat everything off the ground, and yea he’s had a trachea wash before, and sometimes aspirates his soaked grain (if you stand in front of him after he eats you WILL be covered in nasal sprayed little bits of boogery grain). but mostly? he’s pretty much fine. we just adjust his care as needed.


    • It’s always good to hear about happy outcomes, I know it’s a relatively common procedure and hopefully my outcome is similar! I don’t care if Phoebe sounds like a freight train or covers me in snot if she’s feeling good and able to do her job haha


  2. My horse Stampede had tie back surgery in 2006 prior to me purchasing him. He actually had exercise intolerance. He could be ridden at a low level and not on contact but once you went further he would refuse to go forward and act up. Since he wasn’t huffing and puffing it wasn’t that obvious why he was being obstinate. He was a different horse after surgery. We’ve not had any issues (knock on wood) since the surgery. I do feed him grain in a slightly lowered bucket but otherwise I don’t adapt anything. So don’t be too scared about the surgery option, I’m sure it’s improved since that time as well! Feel free to contact me if you have questions.


  3. My old horse was a roarer, they never did the surgery. He did Training level eventing and the 3’6 hunters. No problems with him, just needed thoughtful conditioning and we gave him more breaks than probably were necessary during rides. If I had another roarer, I’d probably hold off on surgery until I see that it’s affecting the horse negatively. My guy never seemed to care about it.


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