Body Condition Scoring Horses: Step-by-Step

As we understand more about the impact that obesity and emaciation have on equine health, it is imperative that we strive to keep our horses at an optimum body condition.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

body condition scoring horses
Many athletic horses are kept at a BCS of 5, sometimes 6, depending on their discipline. Some equine athletes, such as endurance horses, will have condition scores between 4 and 5. | Photo: iStock

By Fernanda Camargo, DVM, PhD; Laurie Lawrence, PhD; and Bob Coleman, MS, PhD, PAS, of the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences

As we understand more about the impact that obesity and emaciation have on animal health, it is imperative that we strive to keep our horses at an optimum body condition. Since 1983, a procedure developed by Don Henneke, PhD, has served to provide a standard body condition scoring system that can be used across breeds and by all horse people. The system assigns a numerical score—1 through 9—based on the amount of fat that has accumulated in the important areas used to assess horses’ body condition.

The Body Condition Scoring System

The Henneke system assesses accumulated fat both visually and by palpation in each of six areas: ribs, behind the shoulder, withers, loin, tailhead, and neck. A numerical value is assigned based on the fat accumulated in all six areas (Table 1).

Body Condition Scoring Horses
[et_pb_text _builder_version="3.17

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use slow feeders or slow feed haynets for your horse? Tell us why or why not.
250 votes · 250 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!