Is my horse too fat, too skinny or just right?
In horses and ponies, both low body weight and excess weight can lead to health problems, which is why it is essential to keep a close eye on your four-legged friend’s weight. Easier said than done you might say because your horse or pony can’t exactly check whether he still fits in his favourite trousers. But there is an easy way to visually assess whether your horse or pony needs to go on a diet: the BCS or Body Condition Score.
How do I work out my horse’s body condition score?
The Body Condition Score (BCS) is a relatively straightforward method to objectively assess your horse’s body fat and muscle score. To check whether your horse or pony has lost or put on weight, take a close look at the following areas:
- tail head
- back or topline
- the area behind the shoulders
What is the ideal Body Condition Score for my horse?
The BCS scores horses on a scale from 1 to 9. 1 is poor, 9 is extremely fat. In other words, if your four-legged friend scores 5, his weight is just right.
Ideally, you should be able to feel, not see, your horse’s ribs.
BCS 1: your horse is extremely emaciated
A BCS of 1 means that your horse or pony is extremely emaciated. His ribs, spinous processes, hip joints and pelvic bones project prominently. The bone structure of his withers, shoulders, and neck are easily noticeable, and you can’t feel any fatty tissue whatsoever. Your horse is skin and bones.
BCS 2: you horse is very thin
A BCS of 2 is still emaciated but there is a slight covering of fat over the bony projections. Your horse's ribs and spinous processes are clearly visible.
BCS 3: your horse is thin
A BCS of 3 is still too skinny but the bone projections are less discernible. You can feel, but not see, your horse's ribs and spinous processes. His neck is narrow, yet strong.
BCS 4: your horse is moderately thin
A BCS of 4 is on the skinny side, but acceptable. Your horse or pony's ribs are faintly discernible, and you can feel some fat around his tail head. His withers, shoulders and neck are not obviously thin. His hip joints do not protrude.
BCS 5: your horse's bodyweight is ideal!
A BCS of 5 is the perfect score. You can feel, not see, your horse’s ribs. His back is level, his withers and rump are nicely rounded. His shoulders, withers, and neck blend smoothly into his body.
BCS 6: your horse is moderately fleshy
With a BCS of 6, your horse or pony is on the plump side. The fat over his ribs feels spongy. You can feel small fat deposits around his tail head, behind his shoulders and along his neck and withers.
BCS 7: your horse is fleshy
A score of 7 means that your horse or pony is overweight. While you can still feel his individual ribs, you can also feel fat between his ribs. The area behind his shoulders and along his withers is filled with fat. His neck is thickening noticeably.
BCS 8: your horse is fat
With a BCS of 8 your horse or pony carries far too much weight, which will have a negative impact on his overall health. You will find it difficult to feel his ribs because they are covered with a thick layer of fat. The area behind his shoulders and along his withers is filled with fat and your horse has developed a “thick neck” or crest filled with fat.
BCS 9: your horse is extremely fat
If your horse or pony has a BCS of 9, he is morbidly obese. Now you can no longer feel his ribs and his crest has become so big that it is hanging to one side. The fat around his tail head, behind his shoulders and along his withers is bulging.
How do you help an overweight horse ?
If your horse is overweight, he will be more prone to conditions like laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and other obesity-related ailments.
- Step 1: call out your vet and discuss how to best adjust his diet.
- Step 2: supplement your horse’s feed with Metabolic Care.
How do you treat a horse that is underweight?
If your horse is underweight, you will need to enrich his feed with extra energy. Avoid an excess of grain as that contains too many sugars. Instead, treat your horse to vegetable oils for sustained energy. Grow & Glow is a combination of three vegetable oils and has a high DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) content.
Our recommendation for you
Natural dietary supplements to restore the balance of your horse from within.
Vegan horse supplement
Grow & Glow | BCS Mix
PROMOTES BODY WEIGHT AND FITNESS. ✓ Supports Weight Gain ✓ Enhances Energy Levels (without the rush) ✓ Improves Gut Health ✓ Promotes a Shiny Coat Our 99% natural, science-backed Grow & Glow supplement is vet-formulated with the very best omega-3 fatty acids (in our DHA-rich Microalgae Oil) to help underweight horses put on weight and give them extra energy. It also supports a healthy immune system and skin and coat health. "I've tried many products to put weight on my mare, and with this one I see clear results after one month!" - Nohmi Hermans
Vegan horse supplement
Steady & Stable | Metabolic Care
SUPPORTS GLUCOSE METABOLISM AND STRENGTHENS THE HOOVES. ✓ Regulates the metabolism of fat and sugar✓ Promotes healthy liver function✓ Protects the stomach and intestines✓ Supports the health of the hoof A plant-based supplement with 10 clinically proven ingredients, that supports the liver and balances your horse’s sugar and fat metabolism. Bonus: improved blood circulation in the laminae, strengthening the hooves. Steady & Stable is packed with superfoods and acts as a veritable rejuvenation cure for your horse’s liver. 92% natural | Clean Sport
Vegan horse supplement
Guts & Glory
SUPPORTS DIGESTION AND PROMOTES A HEALTHY GUT. A plant-based supplement jam-packed with essential digestive enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics that improve your horse’s gut flora. Guts & Glory restores the health of your horse’s gut mucosa and strengthens the mucosal barrier. In addition, this supplement promotes gut detoxification, allowing you to support your four-legged friend from within. 96% natural | Clean Sport