Body Conditioning Scoring Tool
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 numerical grading system. We recommend using the 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993)
Body Conditioning Index Tool
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.
How to use the calculator
1. Start by tying your horse or pony on a firm, level surface (concrete is ideal).
2. Ideally he should be relaxed, stood squarely and bearing weight on all four feet.
3. Measure 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. Enter your scores into the calculator for the final estimate of your horses BCI score.
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.
How to use a weigh 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.
1. Try to make sure your horse is stood as squarely as possible. You may need to ask a friend to help or tie your horse if safe to do so. Make sure he's not eating!
2. Place the weigh tape over your horses back at the base of their withers, making sure that the blak arrow is pointing towards the ground. Next, bring the tape underneath the girth area just behind the foreleg and elbow.
3. The 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.
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.