Evaluating Your Horse’s Body Condition

Body condition scoring (BCS), an impartial way to evaluate a horse’s weight and welfare, is a valuable tool that helps horse owners understand their horses’ well-being. It is an important aid that can be used to make sound decisions regarding general
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Body condition scoring (BCS), an impartial way to evaluate a horse’s weight and welfare, is a valuable tool that helps horse owners understand their horses’ well-being. It is an important aid that can be used to make sound decisions regarding general management, including feed and exercise levels.

Horses normally lose weight in the winter and gain in spring, summer, and fall. "We manipulate their weight with feed, blanketing, exercise, and management," Fernanda Camargo, DVM, PhD, assistant professor and equine extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, reminded her audience at a recent seminar held by UK. "That is why fat horses don’t lose weight in the winter."

The system widely used today to evaluate equine body condition was developed about 30 years ago by Don Henneke, PhD. He developed BCS while he was a graduate student at Texas A&M University.

"It is an impartial numerical system that evaluates a horse’s condition. The size of the belly is not important," Camargo said. "As you evaluate the BCS of a horse, develop a system and follow it each time

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