Is this a heave line? - Page 2

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Is this a heave line?

This is a discussion on Is this a heave line? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Major muscles of horses
  • What are the major surface muscles in a horse

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    08-29-2012, 11:20 PM
I keep looking at your horse. She does have a line.
A heave line is generally caused by a horse having to work so hard to breathe that she develops the muscle. I have a hard time seeing the horse that you show performing having difficult breathing. It is not something that you can really diagnose from pictures. Heavey horses that I have seen were really sick. They couldn't perform. They were too thin. They coughed all the time.
What does your vet say?
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    08-29-2012, 11:41 PM

Here's an illustration showing the major muscles on a horse's body, looks a bit similar. My guess is that the line shows border between a toned muscled area and muscle attachments/less muscular tissue.
Celeste likes this.
    08-30-2012, 01:18 AM
I agree, I do not think that's a heave line.

I had a heavey horse in the barn once and she did not develop the heave line until the condition was quite chronic and really interfered with being able to work. That was after she stopped responded to oral steriods to manage the acute outbreaks.

The "heave line" is caused by the horse using their auxilary muscles to assist respiration. The corollary in humans is that people with emphysema or other COPDs are usually skinny but barrel chested.

If that was a heave line, you'd see her muscles contract and relax along that line as she breathed. Because she's be using the intercostal muscles (the ones between her ribs) to help breathe.

If she has allergies, you know what you need to do - maximize turnout and graving, minimize stall time and time in dusty environments, feed the cleanest hay you can find (timothy is the usual choice in my area) dampened if necessary, use steriods sparingly to manage acute episodes.
Celeste likes this.
    08-30-2012, 07:46 AM
Green Broke
Thanks everyone, I'm feeling much better about this now Since she never has issues performing, never coughs, and seems to be in pretty good shape, I won't worry about it anymore! Her allergies to alfalfa pollen and mold are pretty minimal, she never seems to have trouble breathing or anything. I have heard that another sign of allergies is a discharge from the nose, and she does always seem to have a little bit of stuff there, but nothing really noticeable and I thought that was pretty normal for all horses? You can't even really see it at all in she is wrinkling up her pretty nose because she loves to play with the bit
Celeste likes this.
    08-30-2012, 09:46 AM
I really think that she is fine. She is a lovely horse.
    08-30-2012, 10:38 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Celeste    
I really think that she is fine. She is a lovely horse.
Thank you!!
    08-30-2012, 07:45 PM
If your mare was a human, she'd have a killer 6 pack!! ;) lol!!! My mare had a nice toned barrel like that when she was in shape too!! I think there's a pic in her barn (Missy.) It's the one of us in drill, and you can see it pretty darn good!!
Celeste likes this.
    08-30-2012, 08:56 PM
Green Broke
Lol awesome!
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