How to Body Condition Score Horses & Ponies

Body Condition Scoring Systems provide a useful way to objectively measure the body condition of the horse using a defined set of parameters. Body Condition Scoring systems in horses use a grading system, typically between 0 – 5 or 1 -9, to measure fat cover across the horse, and specifically looking at the neck, shoulders, ribs and rump to assess the horse’s overall condition.
A scoring system of 0-5, based on that devised by Carroll and Huntington in 1988, is commonly used here in the UK, however many nutritionists are now tending towards the American 1-9 score system, based on the system devised by Henneke (1983), as this offers a greater level of detail to be given within the scoring.
Equine Body Condition Chart – 1-9 Score System

Key Areas For Condition Score in Horses
Primarily body condition in horses is related to feed in-take, but also other factors such as fitness, age, pregnancy and general health will be influential in their body condition score. Therefore the optimum condition score for a particular horse will vary, however as a guide, a body condition score of less than 4 indicates that the horse’s minimum calorie requirements are not being met, whereas a score greater than 6 would suggest that the horse’s diet is supplying more calories than required.