Spillers has set up an online quiz for horse owners and riders to test how accurate they assess a horse or pony’s body condition score.
The quiz shows 15 images of different equines of varying sizes, breeds and weights. You then select whether you think each horse is poor (1-1.5), very thin (2-2.5), thin (3-3.5), moderately thin (4-4.5), moderate (5-5.5), moderate to fleshy (6-6.5), fleshy (7-7.5), fat (8-8.5) or extremely fat (9).
Correct answers and a score out of 15 is shown at the end of the quiz.
A statement from Spillers said the feed manufacturer wants to help “horse owners get their eye in” in a bid to battle the ongoing problem of equine obesity.
Obesity is a major welfare issue for horses and ponies, 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.
While touch is a key part of body condition scoring, the statement added that it is also very useful to learn how to make an assessment just by eye.
“These days, when we are exposed to so many images of horses and ponies on social media, it’s good to know if you can spot an overweight horse from a photo alone,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, marketing and research and development director at Mars Horsecare UK, home of the Spillers brand.
“Being able to spot an overweight horse is important as a first step in tackling the welfare issues that obesity presents our equines.”
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‘Is overweight normal?’
Body condition scoring is a method of practically assessing the level of fat covering several areas of the horse or pony’s body. The assessment is made by eye and by touch using a numerical grading system.
Spillers’ quiz uses the 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993), but there are other scales available.
“With so many horses and ponies in the UK carrying a few extra pounds, the question is — have we normalised overweight horses?” added Clare.
“We have designed our test to help you assess your ability to spot an overweight horse and ‘get your eye in’ on what constitutes a healthy weight.”
Take the test now.