Why Body Condition Score?
The first step to deciding what, other than forage, you are going to feed your horse or pony, is to establish his or her overall condition. This can be quite a subjective issue - your idea of “thin” or “fat” may be quite different from somebody else’s! For this reason nutritionists have developed a system known as “condition scoring” to describe the various states of condition.
Having established your horse’s current condition, the next step is to decide whether that is how you would like him to stay or whether you need to make changes in order to help change his condition. Here you will need to consider the work the horse is expected to undertake and the level of fitness he needs to attain. A dressage horse, for example, needs stamina and muscle tone for physical effort but carries more condition than a three day eventer who has to be fit and lean to gallop and jump. Familiarity with your particular horse or pony will also help you decide whether he or she is a good doer and needs relatively few extra calories to maintain or put on condition, or whether they are a poor doer who needs much more.
Step 2: What to look for in Condition Scoring