Condition scoring is an assessment of your horse's body fat coverage and should form part of your routine management plan. With practice, condition scoring is an accurate way of ensuring that your horse does not gain or lose too much body condition and shows results far more quickly than by the eye alone. This enables you to make any dietary adjustments before a problem has actually occurred. We recommend that condition scoring is done on a fortnightly basis in conjunction with weight taping.

Areas of Emphasis for Body Condition Scoring

Areas of Emphasis for Body Condition Scoring

A. Thickening of the neck
B. Fat covering the withers
C. Fat deposits along backbone
D. Fat deposit on flanks
E. Fat deposits on inner thigh
F. Fat deposits around tailhead
G. Fat deposit behind shoulder
H. Fat covering ribs
I. Shoulder blends into neck

1 Poor

Animal extremely emaciated; spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae, and tuber ischii projecting prominently; bone structure of withers, shoulders, and neck easily noticeable; no fatty tissue can be felt.

2 Very Thin

score 2

Animal emaciated; slight fat covering over base of spinous processes; transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded; spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae, and tuber ischii prominent; withers, shoulders, and neck structure faintly discernable.

3 Thin

score 3

Fat buildup about halfway on spinous processes; transverse processes cannot be felt; slight fat cover over ribs; spinous processes and ribs easily discernable; tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be identified visually; tuber coxae appear rounded but easily discernable; tuber ischii not distinguishable; withers, shoulders, and neck accentuated.

4 Moderately Thin

score 4

Slight ridge along back; faint outline of ribs discernable; tailhead prominence depends on conformation, fat can be felt around it; tuber coxae not discernable; withers, shoulders, and neck not obviously thin.

5 Moderate

score 5

Back is flat (no crease or ridge); ribs not visually distinguishable but easily felt; fat around tailhead beginning to feel spongy; withers appear rounded over spinous processes; shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.

6 Moderately Fleshy

score 6

May have slight crease down back; fat over ribs fleshy/spongy; fat around tailhead soft; fat beginning to be deposited along sides of withers, behind shoulders, and along sides of neck.

7 Fleshy

score 7

May have crease down back; individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat; fat around tailhead soft; fat deposited along withers, behind shoulders and along neck.

8 Fat

Score 8

Crease down back; difficult to feel ribs; fat around tailhead very soft; area along withers filled with fat; area behind shoulder filled with fat; noticeable thickening of neck; fat deposited along inner thighs.

9 Extremely Fat

Obvious crease down back; patchy fat appearing.