Merck Manual

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Body Condition Scores for Horses

Body Condition Scores for Horses

Score

Description

1

Emaciated

Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae, and ischii prominent. Bone structure of neck, withers, and shoulders easily visible. No fat palpable over lumbar vertebral transverse processes.

2

Very thin

Slight fat covering spinous processes and tailhead. Transverse processes slightly rounded. Ribs, tailhead, and tuber coxae and ischii prominent. Bone structure of neck, withers, and shoulders faintly discernible.

3

Thin

Fat buildup halfway on spinous process and tailhead; both prominent, but individual vertebrae in tailhead not visible. Transverse processes cannot be felt. Slight fat buildup over ribs and tuber coxae but easily visible. Tuber ischii not discernible. Withers, neck, and shoulder accentuated, but bone structure not visible.

4

Lean

Slight ridge visible over loin, faint outline of ribs visible. Tailhead prominence depends on conformation, but fat palpable around it. Tuber coxae not visible. Withers, shoulder, and neck not obviously thin.

5

Moderate

Loin is flat (no crease or ridge). Ribs not visible but easily felt. Fat around tailhead is spongy, withers rounded over spinous process, and shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.

6

Moderately fleshy

May have slight crease down loin, ribs barely palpable with light pressure, and fat around tailhead soft. Some fat palpable on side of withers, neck, and behind shoulder.

7

Fleshy

May have crease down loin, and ribs difficult to feel. Fat deposited along withers, behind shoulder, and along neck.

8

Fat

Crease down loin. Ribs very difficult to feel; fat around tailhead very soft. Fat filling area over withers and behind shoulder with noticeable thickening of neck.

9

Obese

Obvious crease down loin. Patchy fat deposits over ribs. Fat bulging around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders, and along neck. Flank filled with fat (no abdominal tuck).