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Body Condition Scoring and Weight Estimation of Horses

Body Condition Scoring and Weight Estimation of Horses

The ultimate goal of every horse owner is to keep horses healthy and happy. A horse requires more attention and care than any other animal. Whether you own a horse as a pet or you are a professional breeder or own a horse for competition purposes, you would want to maintain his health at all times. Moreover, it is a long term commitment and you may have to put in extra efforts to keep your horse at his glorious best.

There are so many factors that affect a horse’s health and at times it becomes difficult to evaluate the exact cause. A breeder may give close attention to animal nutrition, training, and health care treatments, etc. Despite all the care some health-related anomalies can still go undetected and become a reason for horse’s deteriorating health as well as performance. This often translates into a financial loss for breeders. One of the best ways to evaluate horse heath is through body condition scoring systems.

What is Body Condition Scoring?

Body condition scoring (BCS) is an assessment system for the horse’s body fat level. Furthermore, it involves visual assessment of body fat deposition in areas such as tail head area, along the neck, behind the shoulders; crease down the neck and above the ribs. Based on this assessment animal is categorized into very thin, thin, moderate and fat, etc. Though body fat varies according to age, breed, and size of the horse, common categorization remains the same. After assessment horses are given scores, a horse with sufficient levels of body fat is given score around 3, while score around 3+ and 4 indicates above-average fat deposition.

Body condition score


 0 (Very poor)

 Deep sunken rump, deep cavity under tail, tight skin over bones, prominently visible pelvic bone, clearly reflects starvation

 1 (Poor)

 Sunken rump, noticeable cavity under tail, easily visible ribs, a prominently visible backbone

 2 (moderate)

 Flat rump, visible ribs, firm neck area, backbone well covered under the fat

 3 (good)

 Rounded rump, ribs well covered but can be felt with hand

 4 (fat)

 Well rounded rump, ribs cannot be felt, feels firm

 5 (Very fat)

 Bulging rump, lumps of fat, ribs completely buried and  pelvis cannot be felt

As there is a close relationship between height, weight and condition score, this assessment can be used for weight estimation of horses.

Weight Estimation of Horses

Horse weighing scales are equally significant in monitoring your equine companion’s health. Not only breeders but veterinarians, individual horse owners can benefit from using horse scales. Apart from the BCS score, significant weight gain or weight loss can be an indicator of animals overall health. The inability to weigh an animal accurately often leads to overfeeding or underfeeding them, which ultimately deteriorates their performance in the long term.

Horse weighing scales are specifically developed keeping in mind the requirements of equine management. These scales are robust, made to withstand higher weights and easily movable.

  • Important reasons to buy equine weighing scales:
  • Monitor equine weight trajectory on a regular basis
  • Quick weight monitoring to determine exact dosage deworms 
  • Accurately determine feed requirements for foals as well as stallions
  • Frequently monitor growth in young horses and foals to determine their feed
  • Quantify required supplements and nutrients requirements based on the weight assessment
  • Maintain moderate weight conditions in case of broodmare and foals
  • Achieve and maintain the most efficient Horse racing weight
  • Determine the exact weight prior to the medication, vaccinations, etc.
  • It eliminates guesswork

Furthermore, horse weight estimation is important for pregnant broodmare as well. A breeder must ensure they manage lactating mares in a way that ensures the growth of her foal. Even after weaning, feeding of the broodmares must be regulated to restore their desired body condition within 8 weeks, as it ensures successful breeding in the future as well. Meanwhile, non-lactating pregnant broodmares also should be monitored closely for their nutrients requirements. All of these procedures become simpler and easier with the use of weighing scales.

  • Factors to look for while choosing a horse weighing scale:
  • Make sure the scale is accurate and reliable. It must be able to produce accurate reading each time.
  • The scale must have a considerable weighing limit to weigh large animals so that heavier animals can be easily weighed by using the same scale
  • Durable design for heavy use.
  • It must have the flexibility for different types of loading and unloading applications.
  • Portability, battery operated and equipped with a clear display for smooth functioning

All the advantages make these scales an inseparable part of horse breeding programs as well as livestock management programs. A good scale provides you with actionable data to make well-informed decisions, which translates into increased profits for your breeding programs. Feel free to Contact Active Scales and choose from a range of our horse weighing scales for sale.