The body condition score (BCS) system offers an objective method of estimating a horse's body fat levels.
Developed 25 years ago by Don Henneke, PhD, as part of his doctoral research, the BCS scale ranges from 1 (poor) to 9 (obese). Horses are scored based on visual and hands-on appraisals of six body areas where fat tends to accumulate in a predictable pattern. Download an illustrated guide to the system below.
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This article originally appeared in EQUUS 377, February 2009.