October 2019 SmartPak SmartTip of the Month: Keeping Your Horse at a Healthy Weight

It's important to evaluate your horse's body condition score on a regular basis to keep him at a healthy weight.

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Horse not at a Healthy Weight
Keeping your horse to a healthy weight is important for his overall health. Photo by Callipso/Shutterstock

Thumbs up: Knowing your horse’s body condition score for a healthy weight

It’s hard to resist the urge to squeal over how adorable a chubby pony is. But unfortunately, overweight horses and ponies aren’t cute—they’re unhealthy. Being too thin also comes with risks and health concerns. But who decides whether a horse is too fat, too thin, or just right? You do, thanks to the Henneke Body Condition Scoring Scale! Developed by Dr. Don Henneke and universally used by veterinarians, nutritionists, and other equine health professionals, the scale provides a standard scoring system for horse owners and professionals to use when evaluating a horse’s fat cover to determine if they are at a healthy weight. The scale ranges from “1,” which is the thinnest, to “9,” which is the fattest, making “5” the ideal score for most breeds and disciplines. To learn how to use the Henneke Horse Body Condition Scoring System with your horse, check out this how-to video from SmartPak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY3yVC4l8K4.

Thumbs down: Not monitoring your horse’s weight this season

Because some horses tend to drop weight or gain weight over the winter, it’s important to stay on top of your horse’s condition by evaluating his body condition score on a regular basis. To make sure you have an accurate picture of your horse’s weight, be sure to remove his blanket and work your fingers through his coat to feel his body condition. By regularly assessing your horse’s body condition, you’ll be able to notice changes right off the bat. Then you can implement diet and management changes to help your horse get back on track.

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