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Body Weight

Body weight monitoring is important for feed management, medication and animal health. Subtle changes may not be noted using body condition scoring. A change in weight of 16-20 kg is necessary for the body condition score to vary by 1 (eg. 4 to 5) Weight loss/gain may indicate a health problem that requires veterinary assistance. The only accurate way to know your horse’s weight is by using a scale. This can be accomplished by purchasing a livestock unit or by using a feed mill’s weigh scale. Weights should be recorded in the health record for future reference.

Horse health - nutrition - portable scales

An inexpensive alternative method is purchasing a horse weight tape from your local feed store. Place the tape around the barrel or girth of the relaxed animal. Make sure the tape is not twisted and is snug. Read and record the weight. This method is most suitable for certain body conformations. Depending on the horse, this method may underestimate the weight by as much as 150 lbs. However, if the weight is determined regularly with the tape, this at least provides some means of weight monitoring.

Horse health - nutrition - weight tape

Another way to calculate weight is by using a quilter’s tape and measuring the girth (inch) and body length (inch). The weight in pounds is obtained by the following formula:

girth (in) × girth (in) × length (in)
330

Horse health - nutrition - weight calculations 1

A similar approach is taken in estimating the horse’s weight in kilograms. Measure the girth and the length to the hip in centimetres. Calculate according to formula:

girth (cm) × girth (cm) × length (cm)
8700

Horse health - nutrition - weight calculations 2

Courtesy of the Equine Research Centre
Guelph, Ontario, Canada