Body Condition Score Chart
The body condition score chart is used to evaluate body condition of the horse by rating the amount of fat covering certain parts of the body.
The parts of the horse examined are the (1.) crest of the neck, (2.) either side of the withers, (3.) behind the elbow – girth area, (4.) ribs, (5.) loins and (6.) tailhead. The areas should be inspected visually and felt with the hand. Click here to see picture.
The scoring system is:
A walking skeleton. The horse is emaciated with no sign of body fat. The tops of the vertebrae (spinous processes), ribs, tailhead, point of hip (tuber coxae), and the point of the buttocks (ischii) project prominently. The bone structure of the withers, shoulders, and neck is easily seen. Click here to see picture.
2. Very Thin
Emaciated. There is a slight covering of fat over the base of the vertebrae. The broad flat lateral bones projecting from the lumbar vertebrae (transverse processes) feel rounded. Vertebrae, ribs, tailhead, points of hips, and buttocks are prominent. The structure of the withers, shoulders, and neck structure is faintly discernible. Click here to see picture.
There is fat buildup about halfway on the vertebrae, but they can still be seen. The lumbar vertebrae cannot be felt. There is some fat over the ribs, but they are still easily visible. The tailhead is prominent, but the individual vertebrae cannot be seen. The points of the buttocks are not distinguishable. Withers, shoulders, and neck are accentuated. Click here to see picture.
4. Moderately Thin
There is a slight ridge along the back. A faint outline of ribs can still be seen. Depending upon conformation the tailhead may be prominent, but some fat can be felt around it. The points of hips and buttocks are not discernible. The withers, shoulders, and neck are not thin in appearance. Click here to see picture.
The back is flat with no crease or ridge. Ribs are not visible, but can be felt with very slight pressure. Fat around the tailhead feels somewhat spongy. Fat along the withers and over the top of the back vertebrae make them somewhat rounded. The shoulders and neck blend smoothly into the body. Click here to see picture.
6. Moderately Fleshy
There may be a slight crease beginning to form down the back. The fat over the ribs will feel spongy and the fat around the tailhead will be soft. Fat will be starting to form along the sides of the withers, behind the shoulders, and along the sides of the neck. Click here to see picture.
There may be a slight crease down the back. Individual ribs can be felt, but there is a noticeable filling of fat between them. The fat around the tailhead is soft. There are deposits of fat along the withers, behind the shoulders, and along the neck. Click here to see picture.
There is a crease down the back. It is difficult to feel ribs. The fat around the tailhead is very soft. The withers and area behind the shoulders are filled in with fat. The neck is thick with fat and fat deposits are along the inner thighs. Click here to see picture.
9. Extremely Fat
There is an obvious crease down the back. Patches of fat cover the ribs. There is bulging fat around the tailhead, along the withers, behind the shoulders, and along the neck. The inner thighs may rub together and the flank will be filled with fat. Click here to see picture.
(Body Condition Score pictures courtesy of Buckeye Nutrition)