body condition score cowgirl magazine

Equestrians use the Henneke Horse Body Condition Scoring System to determine if their horse is too skinny, overweight, or just right. Without a universal system, it would be difficult for vets, trainers, and riders to agree. Body condition can be interrupted differently, depending on who you ask.

Your Horse’s Body Condition Score

The scale ranges from 1 to 9. Please note that it isn’t healthy for your horse to be too skinny or overweight. Both come with their own set of health risks!

  • 1 = emaciated
  • 2 = very thin
  • 3 = thin
  • 4 = moderately thin
  • 5 = ideal or moderate
  • 6 = moderately fleshy
  • 7 = fleshy
  • 8 = very fleshy (fat)
  • 9 = very fat (obese)

Each number is separated by about 50 pounds. There are six areas to measure when determining your horse’s number. They include along the neck, shoulders, wither, across the ribs, down the back, and the tail head. You’ll need to see and feel, in order to accurately determine their number.

SmartPak created a video with helpful diagrams and pictures. Follow along to correctly rate your horse’s body score.

It can be very helpful to know your horse’s number when going into a new season like winter. You’ll want to monitor them throughout the cold months and notice any changes immediately.