Obesity is a major welfare issue for horses and ponies, not only because of the direct weight-associated effects, but also due to the increased risk it poses for certain clinical conditions, in particular laminitis. But can you spot an overweight horse? With so many horses and ponies in the UK, carrying a few extra pounds, have we normalised the condition?

There are several ways to monitor your horse or pony’s condition such as Body Condition Scoring or using the Body Condition Index tool. You can find out more about these methods here.

Body Condition Scoring is a popular method of practically assessing the horse or pony’s level of fat covering across several areas of the body where fat is normally laid down. The assessment is made by eye and by touch using a numerical grading system. At SPILLERS, we use the 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993) but there are other scales available.

Whilst touch is a key part of Body Condition Scoring, it is useful to learn how to make an assessment just by eye. These days when we are exposed to so many images of horses and ponies on social media, it’s good to know if you can spot an overweight horse from a photo alone. Being able to spot an overweight horse is important as a first step in tackling the welfare issues that obesity presents our equines.

Take our test to see if you can spot an overweight horse or pony.

Below you will see photos for 20 horses and ponies. All you need to do is select what you think the body condition score for each horse or pony is. Your answers will then be marked against what our team of nutritionists gave each horse and pony to see how many of them you matched correctly. Good luck!

Select the body condition score for this horse.

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Can you spot an overweight horse
Not an easy task!

It's not an easy task trying to body condition score a horse or pony from a photo alone which is why we also recommend touch to assess their fat distribution as well.
Good effort!

It's not an easy task trying to body condition score a horse or pony from a photo alone which is why we also recommend touch to assess their fat distribution as well.
Bingo!

You've obviously got a good eye for assessing a horse or pony's body condition from a photo alone. Good effort!