Does body condition scoring portray an accurate representation of a horse's condition when compared to other morphological techniques?

Alicia Turner, Stella Chapman
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Background: The assessment of a horse's condition is generally carried out using body condition scoring, cresty neck scoring or weigh taping. Aim: The objective of this study was to investigate the accuracy of body condition scoring in comparison to other commonly used morphological condition assessment techniques. Methods: A recognised and well-established body condition scale adapted from <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B9">Henneke et al (1983)</xref> was used, and the subsequent scores from this were compared to cresty neck scores, rump width measurements and belly and heart girth measurements. The study was carried out using seven horses and seven volunteers, who assessed each horse identifying any differences or similarities in each assessor's condition assessment. Results: The rump width measurements were the most accurately assessed condition assessment; however, using rump width measurements alone, a whole-body condition assessment cannot be made. Conclusion: It is therefore recommended that it should be combined with other condition assessments to create a whole-body assessment, with detailed localised adiposity information.

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