Please view our detailed, illustrated publication on Body Condition Scoring for Horses by clicking the link below.  The article is also available in web form underneath the download link:

Body Condition Scoring


Areas of Emphasis for Body Condition Scoring

A. Thickening of the neck
B. Fat covering the withers
C. Fat deposits along backbone
D. Tuber coxae
E. Fat deposits around tailhead
F. Tuber ischii
G. Fat deposits on inner thigh
H. Fat deposits on flanks
I. Fat deposit behind shoulder
J. Fat covering ribs
K. Shoulder blends into neck

1. Poor  - Animal extremely emaciated; spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae, and tuber ischii projecting prominently; bone structure of withers, shoulders, and neck easily noticeable; no fatty tissue can be felt.

2. Very Thin - Animal emaciated; slight fat covering over base of spinous processes; transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae feel rounded; spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, tuber coxae, and tuber ischii prominent; withers, shoulders, and neck structure faintly discernable.




3. Thin - Fat buildup about halfway on the spinous processes; transverse processes cannot be felt; slight fat cover over ribs; spinous processes and ribs easily discernable; tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be identified visually; tuber coxae appear rounded but easily discernable; tuber ischii not distinguishable; withers, shoulders and neck accentuated.



4. Moderately Thin - Slight ridge along back; faint outline of ribs discernable; tailhead prominence depends on conformation, fat can be felt around it; tuber coxae not discernable; withers, shoulders, and neck not obviously thin.




5. Moderate - Back is flat (no crease or ridge); ribs not visually distinguishable but easily felt; fat around tail head beginning to feel spongy; wither appear rounded over spinous processes; shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.




6. Moderately Fleshy - May have slight crease down back; fat over ribs fleshy/spongy; fat around tailhead soft; fat beginning to be deposited along sides of withers, behind shoulders and along sides of neck.





7. Fleshy - May have crease down back; individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat; fat around tailhead soft; fat deposited along withers, behind shoulders, and along neck.





8. Fat - Crease down back; difficult to feel ribs; fat around tailhead very soft; area along withers filled with fat; area behind shoulder filled with fat’ noticeable thickening of neck; fat deposited along inner thighs.





9. Extremely Fat - Obvious crease down the back; patchy, bulging fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders, and along neck.


Illustration Courtesy of the:
Japanese Feeding Standard for Horses. 2004. p 16-18
Henneke, et al.,1983