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Weight Management Tools

Body conditioning scoring tool
Body conditioning scoring tool What is it?

Body condition scoring is a 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. Follow our guide to assess by eye and by touch using a numerical grading system. We recommend using the 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993).

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Body conditioning scoring tool

How to use the calculator

  1. 1Ensure your horse or pony is stood on a firm, level surface.
  2. 2Your horse/pony should be relaxed, bearing weight on all four feet and ideally stood square.
  3. 3Feel each of the six body areas on the diagram below and score these from 1-9. Click each area of the diagram, or hover over the question marks in the calculator below, for help on how to do this.
  4. 4Enter your horse's score for each of the six body areas into the calculator to find out your horse's first Body Condition Score estimate.

BCS Calculator

Please fill the score for each section below:

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1
1
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Waltham
Body conditioning scoring tool

Your results

You have scored your horses body condition as:

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is emaciated. Seek immediate advice from your vet in the first instance followed by a nutritionist.

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is very underweight. Seek advice from your vet and a nutritionist as a matter of urgency.

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is underweight. It is advisable to seek advice from your vet and/or a nutritionist

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony may be underweight. If he/she is losing weight rapidly or continues to lose weight, it is advisable to seek advice from your vet or a nutritionist.

Based on the information you have provided, your horse or pony is at an acceptable condition. Continue to monitor his/her weight by condition scoring regularly to help maintain this.

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is at an acceptable condition. However, if your horse or pony is prone to laminitis it is advisable to aim for a BCI of 5. It is common for native types to reach a BCI of 6 in summer months but if your horse or pony is continuing to gain weight think about dietary adjustment. It may be advisable to have poor-doers at a BCI of 6 going into the winter.

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is carrying some excess condition. It may be advisable to adjust his/her diet which may include some level of pasture restriction.

Based on the information you have provided your horse is carrying excess condition. It is advisable that you adjust his/her diet which may include some level of pasture restriction. A nutritionist will be able to offer more advice on this.

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is overweight. Seek advice from a nutritionist and possibly your vet on how to reduce his/her BCI

Based on the information you have provided your horse or pony is extremely overweight/obese. You should seek advice from your vet and a nutritionist as a matter of urgency.

Contact the Careline
Contact the Careline

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 for further dietary advice.

Contact us

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 for further dietary advice.

Contact us

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 or email the team careline@spillers-feeds.com for further dietary advice.

Contact us

Would you like a nutritionist to visit your yard to accurately assess your horse’s diet and condition? Contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line to book your visit or to seek further advice on 01908 226626.

Contact us

Would you like a nutritionist to visit your yard to accurately assess your horse’s diet and condition? Contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line to book your visit or to seek further advice on 01908 226626.

Contact us

Would you like a nutritionist to visit your yard to accurately assess your horse’s diet and condition? Contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line to book your visit or to seek further advice on 01908 226626.

Contact us

Would you like a nutritionist to visit your yard to accurately assess your horse’s diet and condition? Contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line to book your visit or to seek further advice on 01908 226626.

Contact us

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 or email the team careline@spillers-feeds.com for further dietary advice.

Contact us

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 for further dietary advice.

Contact us

Contact a SPILLERS® Nutritionist on 01908 226626 for further dietary advice.

Contact us
Very Poor Very Thin Thin Moderately Thin Moderate Moderate to fleshy Fleshy Fat Extremely Fat
Body conditioning index tool
Body conditioning index tool What is it?

It’s a more objective method of assessing body fat, similar to the Body Mass Index (BMI) used in humans. The BCI uses a mathematical equation to calculate a score between 1 and 9 using four body measurements. The BCI may be useful when body condition is monitored by more than one person or by those less familiar with body condition scoring.

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Body conditioning index tool

How to use the calculator

  1. 1Start by tying your horse or pony up on a firm, level surface (concrete is ideal).
  2. 2Ideally he should be relaxed, stood squarely and bearing weight on all four feet.
  3. 3Measure your horse/pony’s height, neck circumference, heart-girth and belly-girth in centimetres as shown in the pictures below taking particular care when measuring your horse’s belly girth if this is new to the horse.
  4. 4Enter your scores into the calculator below for the final estimate of your horses BCI score.
Body Conditioning Index Tool
Guidelines

Neck Circumference: Midpoint of Neck.

Heart Girth: Slight angle behind shoulder.

Belly Girth: Widest point of belly.

Height to withers: Please avoid following the contour of the horses body for a more accurate result.

BCI Calculator

Please fill in the fields below:

Waltham
Body conditioning index tool

Your results

's body Conditioning Index is:

Very Poor: No fatty tissue can be felt on neck or withers; bone structure on neck, withers and shoulder easily seen; individual vertebrae and ribs visible; tailhead and spinal processes very prominent; hips prominent.

Very Thin: Minimal fact covering on neck & withers, bone structure visible; spinal processes & vertebrae noticeable; tailhead & ribs prominent; noticeable bone structure on shoulder.

Thin: Neck looks thin; minimal fat covering onwithers & over spine; spinal processes still visible; tailhead prominent but individualvertebrae not seen; shoulder prominent; ribs still visible.

Moderately Thin: Neck & shoulder not obviously thin; withers accentuated; negative crease along back, fat can be felt on tailhead; faint outline of ribs seen.

Moderate: Neck blends smoothly into body; withers rounded; back level; fat around tailhead feels spongy; ribs easily felt but not seen; shoulder blends smoothly into body.

Moderate to fleshy: Some additional fat deposited on neck, withers & shoulder; slight positive crease down back; fat around tailhead feels soft; fat over ribs feels spongey.

Fleshy: Crest forming; obvious fat deposits on withers; positive crease down back; soft fat deposits around tailhead; noticeable fat between ribs but individual ribs felt; fat deposits behind shoulder.

Fat: Crest enlarged; area along withers filled with fat; obvious positive crease/ ridge down back; fat around tailhead very soft;ribs difficult to feel; area behind shoulder flush with body.

Extremely Fat: Crest bulging, may droop to one side; bulging fat on withers; very prominent crease down back; bulging fat around tailhead; obvious fat deposits over ribs, ribs cannot be felt; bulging fat behind shoulder.

Extremely Fat: Crest bulging, may droop to one side; bulging fat on withers; very prominent crease down back; bulging fat around tailhead; obvious fat deposits over ribs, ribs cannot be felt; bulging fat behind shoulder.

Extremely Fat: Crest bulging, may droop to one side; bulging fat on withers; very prominent crease down back; bulging fat around tailhead; obvious fat deposits over ribs, ribs cannot be felt; bulging fat behind shoulder.

Contact the Careline
Contact the Careline

Would you like a nutritionist to visit your yard to accurately assess your horse’s diet and condition? Contact the SPILLERS Care-Line to book your visit or to seek further advice on 01908 226626 or email us.

Email us
Very Poor Very Thin Thin Moderately Thin Moderate Moderate to fleshy Fleshy Fat Extremely Fat Extremely Fat Extremely Fat
*This BCI method was developed in conjunction with the University of Melbourne and validated in pony breeds, Standbreds and Andalusions to give an estimate of Body Condition. In breeds with very different conformation e.g. Shetlands and Shires accuracy may vary. If you are at all concerned that your horse's score is not representative please call the SPILLERS Care-Line.
How to use a weight tape
How to use a weight tape

Weigh tapes are easy to use, and if used in a consistent manner by the same person, they can be very effective for monitoring trends in weight gain or weight loss. Weigh tapes give an estimation of the horse or pony’s weight, but depending upon a number of factors including breed, conformation, fitness etc., their accuracy can vary. If you require an accurate weight for your horse, a weigh bridge may be necessary.

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How to use a weight tape
  1. 1Try to make sure your horse is stood as squarely as possible. You may need to ask a friend to help or tie your horse up if safe to do so. Make sure he’s not eating!
How to use a weight tape
  1. 2Place the weigh tape over your horses back at the base of their withers, making sure that the black arrow is pointing towards the ground. Next, bring the tape underneath the girth area just behind the foreleg and elbow.
How to use a weight tape
  1. 3The weigh tape is likely to be on a slight angled line (/). This is correct and where the black arrow meets the tape will be the indication of your horse’s estimated weight.
How to use a weight tape

Tips on improving the accuracy of your weigh tape:

  • If your weigh tape is positioned on a vertical line then the tape has been positioned too far back and will give an inaccurate reading.
  • Always use the same weight tape if comparing measurements. Ideally your horse should also be weighed by the same person to avoid individual error when monitoring weight over time.
  • If possible weigh tape your horse at the same time of day as gut fill can make a big difference.
  • Weigh tapes are not accurate for pregnant mares, foals and youngstock, you can contact a nutritionist for advice on with monitoring their weight and body condition.