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Weight Management in Horses

Managing weight and body condition properly is critical to ensuring the overall health and well-being of horses.  Given the range of body types, exercise levels, and metabolism levels found in the general horse population, this can be a challenge for horse owners.  With a few simple tools, however, it can be a very manageable process.

Body Weight

Knowing the correct weight of a horse is key not only for feeding the proper amount daily, but also for providing medications and supplements at the appropriate level.

Few horse owners have access to a large scale, so weight taping is often the standard measurement.  Traditional weight tapes are a great starting point, however utilizing the Equine Weight Formulas that incorporate both heart girth and body length measurements can provide increased accuracy.

Body Condition Scoring

Beyond knowing the weight of a horse, regularly estimating the Body Condition Score can help horse owners track the progress of their animal over time to evaluate feeding program needs, as well as provide a consistent measurement through situations such a long winter hair coats or growth spurts, or across breeds with conformational differences.

Managing the Extremes

While the ideal body condition score for typical horses is around a 5, horses are often found at both ends of the scoring system.  For details specific to those extremes, please visit the pages in our "Common Conditions" section of this website.