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.

Illustrations courtesy of the:
Japanese Feeding Standard for Horses. 2004. p16-18
Henneke, et al., 1983