How do you know if your horse is too fat, too thin, or just right? The Henneke Body Condition Score (BCS) system assigns a value from 1 (extremely emaciated) to 9 (extremely obese). Most horses are considered healthy at a score of 4 to 7. Watch the video below to find out how to judge a horse’s body condition.
1. Poor: Extremely emaciated; bone structure of withers, shoulders and neck easily noticeable; no fatty tissue can be felt
2. Very Thin: Emaciated; withers, shoulders and neck bone structure faintly discernible
3. Thin: Slight fat layer over ribs but ribs easily discernible; withers, shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body
4. Moderately Thin: Faint outline of ribs discernible; withers, shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body
5. Moderate: Back has no crease or ridge; ribs not visually distinguishable but easily felt
6. Moderately Fleshy: May have slight crease down back; fat over ribs spongy; beginning of fat deposits along the side of the withers, behind shoulders and along sides of neck
7. Fleshy: May have crease down back; individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat; fat deposited along withers, behind shoulders and along neck.
8. Fat: Crease down back; difficult to feel ribs; areas along withers and behind shoulders filled with fat; fat deposited along inner thighs
9. Extremely Fat: Obvious crease down back; patchy fat appearing over ribs; bulging fat along withers, behind shoulders, along neck; flank filled in with fat.
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