Body Condition Scoring
The effectiveness of a nutrition program is often evaluated by observation of Body Condition Score, but this gives an incomplete picture.
The Henneke Body Condition Scoring system was developed in the 1980s to measure the horse’s body fat over 6 areas of the horse’s body and then rates the combined evaluations on a scale of 1-9. It can be complicated by conformation, breed, and fitness.
Equine science has evolved considerably since the original body scoring system, and we now know that fat coverage over the ribs is the most accurate place to determine if a horse is taking in too many or too few calories.
Discreet fat deposits over the crest of the neck and on either side of the tail-head are more indicative of equine metabolic syndrome and/or insulin resistance than merely too many calories. It suggests the horse is sensitive to the NSC (non-structural carbohydrate = sugar + starch) content of the diet. Thus, we need to alter the type of calories fed to these horses by providing more calories from fat and fiber and reducing the intake of traditional grains and molasses.
Topline evaluation is more indicative of amino acid status than fat cover, except in obese horses. If a horse is a body score over the ribs of 6 or less, that crease is most likely due to muscle, not fat.
The Tribute® Equine Nutrition Wellness System combines evaluations of fat cover, topline muscling and discreet fat deposits to give a more holistic picture of a horse's condition. Contact our team today for help in evaluating your horse's condition and feeding program!