Girls Horse Club Blog

Weight Watchers

Published by • Mar 21st, 2009 • Category: Horse Advice, Junior Blogger Archives

by Sweetie, age 12

Many horse owners don’t realise that their horses are overweight. You may think he is just cuddly, but it could be damaging his health. Here is a quick guide to the body condition of a horse. This should help you determine if you need to do something to improve his health.

Condition Characteristics Weight
Poor Spine, ribs, tail head, shoulder and hips showing. Hollow through the neck and quarters with little or no fatty tissue covering bones. Underweight
Very Thin Slight covering of flesh, although shoulder, spine and tail head are easily visible. Ribs stick out a lot, hollow through the neck and quarters. Underweight
Thin Hips and ribs just covered. Tail head visible, slight hollowness in quarters. Topline underdeveloped. Borderline
Moderately Thin Outline of ribs visible but covered. Shoulder, hips and neck reasonably well covered. Some topline. Good Weight
Moderate Ribs aren’t seen but easily felt. Well-muscled topline and the shoulders and hips blend into body. No hollowness and the tail head is well covered. Good Weight
Moderately Fleshy Slight crease or indent on spine. Fat over tail head feels spongy. Slight fatty deposits blow wither and behind shoulder. Borderline
Fleshy Crease along the spine is obvious. The ribs can be felt but there’s fat in between. Fatty areas on neck, behind shoulder and the wither. Borderline
Fat Definite crease down the back and definite fatty ‘pads’ around the tail head, shoulders and wither. Difficult to feel ribs. Apple-shaped quarters! Overweight
Extremely Fat Large fat pads over ribs, shoulder, neck, quarters and tail head. Very obvious crease along the back and large, apple-shaped quarters. Overweight

If your horse or pony is on the borderline, assess his diet and workload to improve his weight. If he is over or underweight, talk to a vet.

6 Nickers »

  1. That is a really good blog. There’s this one horse I saw and he was really raggy, and none of his owners ever came to see him. Poor horse…

    Awesome work!

  2. How does a being a little overweight hurt a horse? I’m just curious. Wonderful blog and a must-read for all horse owners and aspiring horse owners.

  3. Great blog Sweetie! Your right, many horses are overweight, and nobody even notices!
    Thanks for writing this.
    P.S. Im with Allison though. How does being a little overweight hurt anything???

  4. It doesn’t, but if you leave it and carry on feeding the same, the horse could gain even more weight so you’d want to make sure he stays just a little overweight, not very overweight.

  5. That makes a lot of sense, Sweetie. I’d never thought of it like that. Plus, I guess the horse is more athletic if he or she is a healthy weight.

  6. That helps! There is a horse that I think is underweight, but im not certain. Thanks for your help Sweetie!