Do you think you can judge a horse’s body condition with ease? Horse owners are invited to sharpen their Body Condition Scoring (BCS) skills with an online test to see who can spot an overweight horse or pony.

The makers of SPILLERS™ have created the visual  test with the aim of helping horse owners and carers become more familiar with what a healthy weight looks like for various types and breeds of horse and pony. In turn, it should give them greater confidence with using BCS to keep an eye on their horse’s condition and help nip unwanted weight gain in the bud.

“We all want to keep our horses healthy to give them the best quality of life and enjoy our partnership with them to the full, and making sure they are not carrying excess weight is a crucial part of this,” said Sarah Nelson, Product Manager at Mars Horsecare, home of the SPILLERS brand. “Obesity is detrimental to good health, not only because of the direct weight-associated effects, but also due to the increased risk it poses for certain clinical conditions, in particular laminitis.”

The Body Condition Scoring test involves assessing photographs of a total 15 horses and marking their BCS using the 1-9 scale.

“Whilst touch is the key part of Body Condition Scoring, improving the assessments we make by eye can be very helpful too,” said Sarah. “The more horses we look at the better we will become at spotting when they may be overweight. Different breeds and types can carry their surplus fat in different places but by being familiar, by both look and feel, with what’s healthy for our own horses we can keep unhealthy weight gain in check.”

Body Condition Scoring is a popular method of practically assessing the horse or pony’s level of fat covering across several areas of the body where fat is normally laid down. The assessment is made by eye and by touch using a numerical grading system. The SPILLERS team use the more widely validated 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993) but there are other scales available.

To take the test, click here.

If you would like support helping your horse to lose weight, visit the SPILLERS Slimmers’ Club on Facebook. It is a motivating and free club and provides practical information and advice including weight loss tips, details of how to body condition score and use a weigh tape, diet plans and weight loss records.

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