Equine Guelph makes a New Year’s Resolution!

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To help you optimize your horse’s nutrition. What’s yours?

Learn how to Body Condition Score your horse.
Learn how to Body Condition Score your horse.

Equine Guelph has made a New Year’s Resolution to empower horse owners to learn more about their horse’s nutrition and needs. January, dubbed by Equine Guelph as Nutrition Education Month, will be dedicated to increasing awareness of what caregivers can do to take control of their horse’s nutrition and health now and through years to come.

“We are delighted to be fulfilling our resolution by delivering Nutrition Education Month over the next four weeks”, says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. “Remember, good health depends on ideal body weight. So, make your resolution on behalf of your horse and let’s get started!”

Optimizing your horse’s nutrition starts with evaluating the horse’s current condition. This includes the horse’s Body Condition Score (BCS) which evaluates the amount of fat on a horse’s body. The Henneke body condition scoring system is commonly used in horses. It is a nine-point system where 1 represents an emaciated horse, and 9 represents an obese horse. You visually assess AND palpate the horse to determine the amount of fat present at six areas of the body. BCS can be used to determine whether your feeding plan is providing enough energy for the horse, or whether you are under- or over-feeding.

Equine Guelph has developed a new Body Condition Scoring Tool to help caregivers learn how to body condition score. The online tool, is available for free to the public. It can be found at www.TheHorsePortal.ca/BCSTool.

6 Key areas in Equine Body Condition Scoring

Users who visit the tool can start with the interactive BCS, where they’ll be able to body condition score the different areas of a virtual horse, find out the result, and learn what that means for the horse.  They can reinforce their learning with how-to videos on body condition scoring, and opportunities to learn about other equine assessment methods, such as topline scoring and cresty neck scoring. Then, users can check out the new BCS posters available for sale or print. Finally, we encourage users to head out to the barn with their posters and start practicing on real horses!

The body condition score is the start of your horse’s nutrition story. What you do with that score next will make the difference for your horse and their health. Equine Guelph’s new on-demand BCS course, Introduction to Body Condition Scoring, on TheHorsePortal.ca will help with that next step and give caregivers the tools to help determine whether a body condition score is appropriate for their horse, understand what actions should be taken next, and create an action plan for their horse’s weight and health goals.

Equine Nutrition Month, the new BCS tool, short online course and barn poster are all possible thanks to the generous support of Equine Guelph’s sponsor, Masterfeeds.

“We are thrilled to partner with Equine Guelph for Equine Nutrition Month”, says Jenna Beach, Masterfeeds Equine Media Sales Associate. “Masterfeeds prioritizes education on optimal nutrition and support for horse owners. Regular body condition scoring empowers owners for proactive, long-term equine health management.”

What is your New Year’s Resolution for your horse’s nutrition? What actions will you take to improve your horse’s nutrition and health this January? Visit the Body Condition Score tool now to determine your horse’s body condition score and then sign up for the on-demand Introduction to Body Condition Scoring course to start planning for the year ahead.  Registration for the course will open Jan 3 with student access available on Jan 15, 2024.