Body Condition Scoring System Keeps Equine Professionals On The Same Page

This standardized method to determine a horse’s ideal body weight is an important tool for horse owners, trainers, farriers and nutritionists

Jessica Normand discusses equine body condition scoring at the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit.

Body condition scoring is something every horse owner and trainer should know how to use in order to evaluate if a horse is too skinny or too fat, says Jessica Normand, senior director of equine health for SmartPak.

“One of the challenges in the horse world is, ‘ask 10 horse people how to do something and you’ll get 11 answers,’” Normand told attendees at the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit. “Which horses look fat? Which ones look skinny? You’ll get a variety of opinions depending on that person’s background.

“Equine metabolic syndrome should be on everyone’s radar,” Normand continues. “It’s a condition that happens in middle-aged horses, particularly with easy keeper-type horses. It’s closely linked to obesity and the development of cresty neck and insulin resistance, but is not the same thing as Cushing’s disease. Definitely check out more about metabolic syndrome if you have a lot of horses with cresty neck.”

What is Body Condition Scoring?

Lydia Gray, staff veterinarian at SmartPak, describes body condition scoring as a numerical-based standardized system of assessing fat cover in a horse. It ranges from 1 to 9 with 1 being extremely emaciated, 5 being ideal and 9 being obese. Each number on the scale represents about 50 pounds.

By developing this universal system of body condition scoring, horse owners, veterinarians, nutritionists and other equine professionals are able to talk and be on the same page when discussing a horse’s weight…

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Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson has been at American Farriers Journal for 9 years. She serves as an assistant editor for AFJ and the production manager for all the Lessiter Media titles. A native of Wisconsin, she has written for numerous newspapers and magazines.

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