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Illustrated Guide: Body Condition Score System

Don Henneke's nine-point body condition score scale takes the guesswork out of evaluating equine body fat levels.

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.

Body Condition Score System

(The article is in PDF format. If you have trouble viewing it, download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program.)

This article originally appeared in EQUUS 377, February 2009.

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