All you need to know

We recommend that you monitor your horse's weight on a fortnightly basis - it is often difficult to notice changes when you see your horse everyday.

Ideally weigh your horse using a weigh bridge for a more accurate measurement, however when his is not possible you can use one of our Dodson and Horrell weigh-tapes. Our tapes have been scientifically formulated on research and can be trusted to be a consistent alternative to using a weighbridge.

How to use our weigh-tape:

  • Make sure that your horse is standing square.
  • Use the pony side for those 14.2hh and under and the horse side for those above 14.2hh.
  • Hold the blue block in one hand and pass the rest of the tape over the lowest point of your horse's withers.
  • Bring the tape up under the horse's stomach as close as possible to the elbow.
  • The tape should be in a diagonal position from the lowest point of the withers towards the elbow; it will not be in a straight line.
  • Read the number opposite the white line at the end of the blue block.
  • This is your horse's approximate weight in kilos.

We recommend that you monitor your horse's weight on a fortnightly basis - it is often difficult to notice changes when you see your horse everyday.

Ideally weigh your horse using a weigh bridge for a more accurate measurement, however when his is not possible you can use one of our Dodson and Horrell weigh-tapes. Our tapes have been scientifically formulated on research and can be trusted to be a consistent alternative to using a weighbridge.

Fat scoring:

  • It is important to determine what 'condition' your horse is in as an underweight house will need a different diet to an overweight horse of the same breed.
  • 60% of people's visual assessment of their horse's fat score is different  to their 'hands on' fat score.
  • You should aim to fat score your horse every fortnight to monitor the amount of fat being carried.
  •  It is important to determine what condition' your horse is in as an underweight horse will need a different diet to an overweight horse of the same breed.
  •  60% of people's visual assessment of their horse's fat score is different to their 'hands on' fat score.
  • You should aim to fat score your horse every fortnight to monitor the amount of fat being carried

Top Tip: Practise fat scoring on different horse's so that you get used to feeling the difference between fat and muscle.

Divide the horse into 3 areas. Each area isgiven a separate score out of 5. Check what you are feeling and score accordingly:

A. The Neck - everything forward of the shoulder blade.

B. The Middle - behind the shoulder blade to the hips.

C. The Bottom - hips, pelvis and hindquarters.


Neck - Crest and Suprascapular FatDeposits:

  • Start by finding the nuchal ligament and with your thumb and first finger, follow it along the neck.
  • Run your hand along your horse's neck, down towards the shoulder blade and feel around his shoulder.
  • Pinch the flesh behind his shoulder blade.
  • Check above his eyes (supra orbital fossa). Middle - Rib Area and Spinous Back Fat:
  • Run your hand diagonally across your horse's rib cage using a firm pressure.
  • Place your left hand at the bottom of your horse's withers at 90¡ to the backbone.
  • Place your right hand next to it, with your fingers pointing across (not along) the backbone. Relax the fingers of your right hand and note what you feel.

Bottom - Sacrum and Tailbone Back Fat, Subcutaneous Fat Over the Bony Prominences of Pelvis:

  • Place your hand flat on the top of your horse's bottom to feel the top of his pelvis.
  • Run your hand from his hindquarters onto his tail, feeling for his tailbone.
  • Find his 'hips' and curve your hand around to feel the outline of the bones.

0 - Very Poor

  •  Neck - marked 'ewe' neck, narrow andslack at base.
  • Back and ribs - skin tight over the ribs, ribs very visible, spinous processes have a sharp edge and easily seen.
  • Pelvis - angular pelvis, skin tight, very sunken rump. Deep cavity under tail and either side of croup.

1 - Poor

  • Neck - 'ewe' neck, narrow and slack at base.
  • Back and ribs - ribs easily visible, skin sunken either side of backbone. Spinous processes well defined.
  • Pelvis - rump sunken but skin supple, pelvis and croup well defined, cavity under tail.

2 - Moderate

  •  Neck - narrow but firm.
  •  Back and ribs - ribs just visible, backbone well covered. Spinous processes felt.
  • Pelvis - rump flat either side of backbone, croup well defined, some fat, slight cavity under tail.

3 - Good

  • Neck - no crest (except stallions), firm neck.
  • Back and ribs - ribs just covered, easily felt. No gutter along back. Spinous processes felt.
  • Pelvis - covered by fat and rounded, pelvis easily felt.

4 - Fat

  • Neck - slight crest, wide and firm.
  • Back and ribs - ribs well covered. Gutter along back bone.
  • Pelvis - gutter to root of tail. Pelvis covered but soft, felt only with firm pressure.

5 - Very Fat

  • Neck - marked crest, very wide and firm, folds of fat.
  • Back and ribs - ribs buried, cannot feel.
  • Deep gutter, back broad and flat.
  • Pelvis - deep gutter to root of tail, skin distended, pelvis buried and can’t be felt.

Contact us for advice on how to get the best from your horse

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