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Assessing your horse's body condition

Regular body condition scoring helps you keep your horse in good health. You and your vet can assess your horse's body condition by both visual means and palpation (feeling the horse's fat levels with your hands).

Run your hands along the following areas to feel how much fat is present:

  • Along the neck
  • Along the withers
  • In the crease down the back
  • In the tail head area
  • Over the ribs
  • Behind the shoulders 

Body condition score (BCS)

There are different scoring systems available to assess a horse's body condition.

The most commonly used ones use a scoring system of 1 to 9.

A BCS of 1 indicates that your horse is in poor body condition (emaciated with no fat palpable, and prominence of bones such as shoulder blades, hip bones and ribs) whereas a BCS of 9 indicates that a horse is very fat.

The ideal score in these systems is between 5 and 6.5.

Keep a written record of your horse's body condition, so you can monitor any changes over time.