Checking your horse's weight regularly is important to his health. Learn how to figure out if they need to gain or lose weight, then monitor their weight over time to detect changes.


In ‘Ask the Vet’ Nikky describes several methods for checking and monitoring the weight of a horse. A weighbridge is the most accurate but they are not always accessible. Here are two methods you can use with no more than a tape measure and calculator (for those of us who don’t love mental arithmetic).


Body Fat Scoring for Horses Instructions-chartWeight Calculation

All you need is a standard tape measure that records inches and a calculator, then perform the following calculation:

Measure the circumference of the animal, as shown in green in the picture. Measure the length of the horse’s body, as shown in white. Using the measurements from steps 1 and 2, calculate body weight using the formula HEART GIRTH x HEART GIRTH x BODY LENGTH / 330 = ANIMAL WEIGHT IN POUNDS.

For example, if a horse has a heart girth equal to 70 inches and a body length equal to 78 inches, the calculation would be (70 x 70 x 78) / 300 = 1,274 lbs. The number ‘330’ is a constant value that is used for mature horses.


Body condition scoring (BCS)

Reference:  Carroll, C.L. and Huntington, P.J. (1988) Body condition scoring and weight estimation of horses Equine Veterinary Journal 20, 41-45.


Method: Feel for fat coverage along the crest, withers, spine, ribs, behind the shoulder and over the rump. Check periodically and keep a record for comparison.


  1. Very Poor

        Very sunken rump

        Deep cavity under the tail

        Skin tight over bones

        Very prominent backbone and pelvis

        Marked ewe neck


  1. Poor

        Sunken rump

        Cavity under the tail

        Ribs are easily visible

        Prominent backbone and croup

        Ewe neck - narrow and slack


  1. Moderate

        Flat rump on either side of the backbone

        Ribs are just visible

        Narrow but a firm neck

        Backbone well covered


  1. Good

        Rounded rump

        Ribs just covered but easily felt

        No crest, firm neck


  1. Fat

        Rump is well-rounded

        Gutter along the back

        Ribs and pelvis hard to feel

        Slight crest



Video Demo



Here’s a great video demo by World Horse Welfare to help you with the BCS method -