In partnership with SPILLERS™

In our latest print issue, Sarah Nelson, SPILLERS Nutritionist explained the how and why of body condition scoring, so what better time to put your new-found knowledge to the test by completing the SPILLERS’ online photo quiz?

Is your horse overweight?

The horse’s weight, much like our own, is a just a number. When it comes to health and diet, being able to assess your horse’s body condition or ‘fat coverage’ is equally if not more important than knowing their exact weight. A body condition score (BCS) of 5 on the 1-9 scale is generally considered ideal while a score of 7 or above is considered obese.

Spotting an overweight horse isn’t always easy!

In a study published by Morrison et al (2017), 539 horse owners, riders and trainers were recruited from various UK equine forums and asked to take part in a two-tier internet-based questionnaire. As part of tier 1 participants were asked to identify overweight horses and ponies from a panel of 12 images. All of the horses used had been body condition scored by an experienced assessor.

  • 89% of respondents identified themselves as amateurs and 19% as professionals.
  • Only 11% of respondents correctly identified all 6 overweight horses and ponies.
  • Over 70% of respondents considered 2 horses (both cobs) to be overweight when they were in fact in ‘ideal’ body condition.
  • Two horses (a sports horse and a cob) were rated as being too underweight for showing compared to other disciplines.
  • There was no significant difference between amateur and professional responses.

Ready to take the quiz?

Click here to complete the quiz – you will see photographs of 20 different horses and ponies, all of which were body condition scored by one of the SPILLERS Nutrition Team. All you need to do is to select what you think the correct body score is. Your answers will be matched against the scores given by the nutrition team so you can see how many you got right. While touch is an essential part of body condition scoring, ‘training your eye’ can be helpful too, as can taking pictures regularly; subtle changes can be easy to miss when you see your horse every day.

Take quiz now:

Have you heard about Your Horse’s #FitNotFat campaign? Equine obesity is an enormous welfare problem and we’re on a mission to provide owners and riders with the knowledge, skills and information you need to keep your horse in tip-top health. It could be life saving! Find out more

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