Body Condition Scoring Tool

Strive for 5! A body condition score of 5 (Moderate) is considered ideal for most horses – depending on the individual horse and situation.

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is a system that evaluates the amount of fat on a horse’s body and determines a numeric score to facilitate comparisons between horses. A score of 1 is considered to be a poor or emaciated horse with no body fat, while a 9 is extremely fat or obese.

Remember, Good health depends on ideal body weight. Perform BCS on your horse!

Please note: The information in this tool provides guidelines only and should never replace information from your veterinarian or nutritionist. Remember to always be cautious about safety when working around your horse. Talk to your vet about how to stay safe while you are performing BCS. Have someone hold your horse during the assessment whenever possible, or the horse should be tied or in cross ties to maximize your safety.

Get Your Horse’s BCS

Perform a visual assessment and hand palpation of six areas (both sides as one side can be different) on your horse and assign scores to each:

  1. Along the neck
  2. Along the withers
  3. Tailhead
  4. Loin area/crease down back
  5. Ribs
  6. Behind the shoulder/elbow

Always perform in same order (on both sides) to maintain consistency.

BCS Results

Once you have submitted scores for each of the 6 areas, you will receive the results of your horse’s overall score.

Guidelines on next steps – if any – will also be provided.

Equine Guelph has based this resource on the Henneke horse body condition scoring system, developed at Texas A&M University in the early 1980’s.

Check out Equine Guelph’s online courses to learn more!