Horse Body Condition Score

Overview
Husbandry topics are items that help the horse owner manage the horses in their care. There are a lot more topics to add, but these will get you started with the basics.
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[memb_is_logged_in] Discussion:
Most people do not have access to a scale to weigh their horse. A solution was created that has been accepted throughout the world that allows us to scale the body condition of our horses. It’s called the Body Condition Score. I abbreviate as BCS.

A BCS of 1 is a horse on death’s doorstep. A BCS of 9 is a horse that if you put him in a pond, he would float like a fishing bob. A BCS of 5 is ideal. Does this make sense?

An overview of this BCS system follows in this video.

Feed for FUEL, not EMOTION

I’ve got a secret right here that can save you a ton of money and keep your horse as healthy as possible. For this secret, let me ask you a question. What diseases of your horse do you see with a BCS of 7, 8, and 9? Lameness? Laminitis? Metabolic disease like insulin resistance?

Now, what diseases do you associate with a BCS of 4 or 5? Horrible looks from your fellow horse owners filled with their opinions- “What kind of person are you to let your horse get so thin?” “That horse needs about 200 more pounds.” “He looks so unhealthy” “You should be ashamed.”

Let me give you assurance – if your horse has a BCS of 5, he is very healthy, he will save you on lameness exam bills, he will save you on veterinary calls, and he will be an athlete for a long time. The obesity epidemic that is affecting humans throughout the world is also affecting the horses.

Horse Body Condition Score 1 – “Poor”

Extremely emaciated with no fatty tissue anywhere. All the bones of the skeleton are visible. There is a large space between the inner thighs. What I call “On death’s doorstep.”



Horse Body Condition Score 2 – “Very Thin”

Emaciated. The skeleton is clearly visible but there is still a little fat tissue under the skin and the horse has some vitality to the skin. There is a space between the inner thighs. Common in very old horses that are “fading away.”



Horse Body Condition Score 3 – “Thin”

Slight fat covers the body so the skeleton is still discernible but doesn’t pop out. There is a narrow space between the inner thighs. Common in starved horses.



Horse Body Condition Score 4 – “Moderately Thin”

Spine ridge and rib outline are visible. The tail head may be visible. Common in race horses or horses that are worked hard but not fed enough for their caloric output. Also a good place for a horse with laminitis to be due to the insulin resistance the horse probably has (he can’t tolerate sugar).



Horse Body Condition Score 5 – “Moderate”

The spine and ribs cannot be seen but can easily be felt with a light touch. The withers, shoulders, and neck are smooth and rounded. Fat can be felt at the tail head. This is an ideal weight of a healthy horse.



Horse Body Condition Score 6 – “Moderately Fleshy”

A slight trough above the backbone but not the tail head. Fat can easily be felt over the ribs and tail head and fat deposits can be seen along the withers, neck, and shoulders.



Horse Body Condition Score 7 – “Fleshy”

A moderate trough along the backbone and more fat covering the ribs, tail head, withers, neck, and shoulders. It is a progression from BCS 6 and is hard to place a horse in this score unless you have seen a lot of horses. Maybe a horse in this score should be a lame BCS 6.



Horse Body Condition Score 8 – “Fat”

The trough along the back bone can collect water. It also appears over the tail head. Fat is deposited on the withers, shoulders, neck, inner thighs.



Horse Body Condition Score 9 – “Extremely Fat”

Deep trough along the backbone and tail head. Patches of fat on ribs, tail head, withers, shoulders, neck, flanks, and inner thighs.[divider_line]


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Discussion:

Most people do not have access to a scale to weigh their horse. A solution was created that has been accepted throughout the world that allows us to scale the body condition of our horses. It’s called the Body Condition Score. I abbreviate as BCS.

A BCS of 1 is a horse on death’s doorstep. A BCS of 9 is a horse that if you put him in a pond, he would float like a fishing bob. A BCS of 5 is ideal. Does this make sense?

An overview of this BCS system follows in this video.
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