A body-conditioning test will help the horse owner to determine what stage their horse is at according to the body weight chart. And by completing the test, a First Place Feed consultant can help you find the correct feed that will assist your horse with its developmental progress.
Scoring is based on visual appraisal and hand scoring is based on visual appraisal and handling (particularly in scoring horses with long hair) of horses. Conformation differences between breeds or types do not affect scoring when all criteria are applied. Muscle tone affect scoring when all criteria are applied.
Henneke et al Texas A&M 1983
1. POOR Animal extremely emaciated. Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, hooks and pins projecting prominently. Bone structure of withers, shoulders and neck are easily noticeable. No fatty tissues can be felt.
2. VERY THIN Animal emaciated. Slight fat covering over base of spinous processes, transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded. Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, hooks and pins prominent. Withers, shoulders, and neck structure faintly discernable.
3. THIN Fat build-up about halfway on 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. Hook bones appear rounded but easily discernable. Pin bones 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. Hook bones not discernable. Withers, shoulders, and neck not obviously thin.
5. MODERATE Back is flat (no crease or ridge). Ribs cannot be visually distinguishable but easily felt. Fat around tailhead beginning to feel spongy. Withers appear rounded over spinous processes. Shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.
6. MODERATE TO FLESHY May have slight crease down back. Fat over ribs is fleshy or feels spongy. Fat around tailhead feels 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 is 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. Patches of fat appearing over ribs. Noticeable fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders and along neck. Fat along inner buttocks may rub together. Flank filled in flush.