top of page

Body Condition Scoring your horse

Its the time of year when it seems our horsey friends live off fresh air but still seem to be piling on the pounds. Equines have a very unusual digestive system, to say the least! it can be very tricky to get the balance right when it seems they are eating fresh air but piling on the pounds. When sugars are so high in short stressed grass but it seems the fields are bare!

Have you checked your horse's body score recently? Here's some help from the BHS

"Fat Scoring (also referred to as Body Condition Scoring) is an ideal way to assess your horse’s overall fat covering to help determine whether they are a healthy weight.

There are three key areas to consider; neck, body and hindquarters and you will need to look at and get hands-on to help you determine between muscle and fat.

Fat will feel spongy whereas muscle is firmer. However, dangerous crest fat can start to feel hard and become difficult to move from side to side.

Score each of these key areas individually from 0-5 using the images and descriptions below. A healthy fat covering is a score of 2.5 – 3 out of 5 for most horses, unless your vet advises otherwise.

It can be normal for some horses, such as fit event or racehorses, to maybe look underweight. However, they’re in fact physically fit and healthy with well-developed muscles.

Fat scoring should also be used alongside weight taping and a Cresty Neck Score (CNS) so you can monitor your horse’s weight.

Worryingly, up to 50% of horses are obese with this figure creeping up to 70% in some native pony breeds1. Horses carrying too much fat can be at an increased risk of health issues such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), laminitis and arthritis which can be detrimental to their welfare. Recent research has shown that excessive weight gain more than doubles the risk of laminitis in horses and ponies2 - highlighting the importance of regularly monitoring your horse’s weight."

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page