Body condition scoring (BCS) allows you to make an objective assessment of your horse\'s current body condition and should form part of the routine management of your horse as a way of monitoring your horse\'s weight. BCS assesses the level of fat coverage using a numerical grading system. The amount of fat in each area is assessed by eye and by touch and given a score. Once each of the areas has been assessed, the scores are averaged to give an overall body condition score for your horse.
Why body condition scoring important?
It is recommended that you BCS your horse every two weeks as it can be difficult to notice slight changes in condition when you see your horse every day.
How does this app work?
This app uses the Henneke* 1-9 BCS system whereby you allocate a score to 6 areas of the body where horses store fat:\n\n- Neck\n- Withers\n- Loins\n- Tailhead\n- Shoulders\n- Ribs\n\nOnce you have scored each of these areas, the scores are averaged to give an overall body condition score for your horse.\n\n*Henneke et al. (1993). Relationship between body condition score, physical measurements and body fat percentage in mares. Equine Veterinary Journal 15, 371-372.
How accurate is body condition scoring?
Many factors affect the accuracy of body condition scoring, including conformation, coat length, pregnancy, gut fill and muscle development.
How do you differentiate between fat and muscle?
This can be difficult, but in general fat feels spongy whilst muscle usually feels firm. However, older or unfit horses will have softer muscle than can be confused with fat. Also, low muscle mass in older horses cause an underestimation of fat mass.