FB Pixel How to Body Condition Score your horse

How to Body Condition Score your horse

Body condition scoring is a practical tool to help you objectively assess your horse’s condition. A score of 2.5-3 is generally considered to be ideal. Body Condition Score may vary throughout the year depending on workload and grass availability.

Top Tips

Stand your horse square on a firm, level surface before you begin. Using the assessment criteria, focus on three key areas: the neck, middle and hindquarters.

A visual and hands-on assessment will give you the most accurate result. In general, muscle will feel firm under your hands compared to fat which is spongy to the touch.

Use body condition scoring in combination with a weigh tape, making sure to use the same tape each time for consistency. Record your results to monitor any changes in condition.

Score 0

  • Obvious ewe-neck, skin feels tight over bones and no fatty tissue can be felt.
  • Ribs and bone structure easily visible with backbone and pelvis very prominent.
  • Very sunken rump with deep cavity under tail and large gap between thighs.

Score 1

  • Hardly any fatty tissue can be felt, little movement in the skin with a narrow, ewe-neck.
  • Ribs visible with a prominent backbone, croup and tailhead.
  • Sunken rump and angular hip bones, with a cavity under tail and gap between thighs.

Score 2

  • A very thin layer of fat can be felt under the skin, narrow neck with muscle structure clearly defined.
  • Withers and shoulders accentuated, ribs and backbone slightly visible.
  • Sloping rump with hip bones easily visible, small gap between thighs.

Score 3

  • Soft, muscled neck with a thin layer of fat under the skin. Neck and shoulders blend smoothly into the body.
  • The back is flat, spine well covered and ribs are not visible but can be easily felt.
  • Rump gently rounded, hip bones are just visible but not angular.

Score 4

  • Spongy fat present along crest with muscles hard to discern.
  • Fat present behind shoulders, shallow gutter along back and ribs difficult to feel.
  • Well rounded rump which appears apple shaped from behind. Spongy fat present around tail head.

Score 5

  • Firm, pronounced crest with fat pads. Muscle structure not visible.
  • Bloated barrel like appearance with fat pads around withers and behind shoulders. Deep gutter along back and fat deposits over ribs.
  • Bulging apple shaped rump, fat pads around tailhead and inner thighs pressed together.