Heave line on my new 3 year old! Help!

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Heave line on my new 3 year old! Help!

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  • "heave line" horse
  • Heave line sign of fitness

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    12-04-2011, 11:46 PM
Heave line on my new 3 year old! Help!

HELP! I'm freaking out! My new horse has a heave line! Does it mean she has heaves? Will she be okay? What should I do? Can I still ride her? Will she die? Does this mean she has heaves?
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    12-04-2011, 11:52 PM
That may not necessarily be a heave line. A heave line is usually quite pronounced. There is a bit of a line normally as that is part of the structure of the muscles for breathing. They become more developed when the horse has to push air out to exhale.
    12-05-2011, 07:43 AM
Super Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.
Does she have any other problems?
How long have you had her?
Is there any dust in her hay?
Does she cough when she is worked?
Is her breathing labored?
More information is needed her to help you evaluate her situation.
    12-05-2011, 08:28 AM
I have rode her 3 times and I purchased her Friday. Her previous home actually didn't give her hay. Our hay is really nice T/A . I gave her a really hard workout yesterday and she didn't cough but her heave line was really standing out more then usual. Every time she would exhale it would stick out a lot!
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    12-05-2011, 09:04 AM
Super Moderator
You may have ridden her harder than what her level of fitness was ready for. You should work her a little easier and give her a chance to get 'legged up' and get more fit.

I'm curious. If the previous owners did not feed any hay, what was her source of roughage? What was her diet before you got her?
    12-05-2011, 09:38 AM
She got purina senior and grass . She was in a 5 acre field with 4 other horses. Also, should I be worried about this? Could it just be muscle not a heave line? She is only 3!
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    12-05-2011, 10:48 AM
Is it a heave line or is she nicely muscled?

A photo would help a lot.
    12-05-2011, 11:04 AM
If you just got her 3 days ago and are that worried, why did you buy her without asking first?

BTW, 4 horses on 5 acres is not a lot of grazing especially this time of the year. Some pics would go a long way to see what you see.
    12-05-2011, 11:14 AM
Watch a race horse breath after running a race. They are so slender and the muscles so tight, it looks like they have heave lines also.
    12-05-2011, 05:45 PM
'Heave Line' is created by the abdominal musculature, however it is not the only thing seen in a 'heaves/heavy' horse. A horse with heaves or COPD/RAO essentially has allergic reactions to mold/dust in hay/barns/etc. They usually have a few common clinical signs: cough a few times when warming up during riding which stops after they are a little warmed up, a clear or slightly opaque nasal discharge at the onset of coughing or while eating, they may cough while eating hay - especially dusty or moldy hay, and they have a 'heave-line'. The 'heave-line' is important to differentiate from normal hard breathing - it is actually a double expiration. Basically, they exhale a normal amount (showing the line especially when out of shape) and then they have another short exhale after that to expel the extra air in their lungs which cannot escape as in a normal horse because of the smaller/inflammed airways. If you carefully observe your horse, you will be able to differentiate an out-of-shape horse from a horse with 'heaves'.

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