EAST LANSING, Mich. — Overall appearance is typically a good indication of the general well-being of a horse. Body Condition Score (BCS) of a horse can assist the equine caretaker when making management decisions to help maintain a horse at a healthy weight. Extension horse specialists in eXtension HorseQuest have created an app to help equine caretakers body condition score horses. This app covers the various locations on the horse’s body including the ribs, loin, tailhead, withers, neck and shoulder that are used in combination to formulate a BCS for that respective horse. Additionally, the app contains pictures of horses ranging within the BCS range of 1 (extremely thin) to 9 (very fat) that can be used as a reference. Another unique aspect of this app allows you to take a picture of a respective horse and put the condition score of each location on the picture as you are conducting the BCS evaluation. Once completed, you then have time and date stamped documentation to base future management decisions on.
Michigan State University Extension recommends body condition scoring your horse(s) on a regular basis, at least monthly for the healthy horse and more often for horses that have difficulty maintaining a health body weight. This practice will allow you to evaluate each respective horse and adjust the horse’s feed intake and exercise (if necessary) to maintain appropriate body condition. For the mature healthy horse, a moderate BCS in the range of 5 – 6 is considered optimum by most equine nutritionists. Furthermore, it is imperative that equine caretakers monitor BCS during the winter months when hair coat makes visual observation more difficult and the horse is utilizing extra energy to maintain body temperature.
Watch this video to learn more about the HorseBCS App.