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Can you spot an overweight horse?

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SPILLERS™ is helping horse owners ‘get their eye in’ on Body Condition Scoring (BCS) by running an online test to see who can spot an overweight horse or pony. You can take the test here.

Obesity is a major welfare issue for horses and ponies, not only because of the direct weight-associated effects, but also due to the increased risk it poses for certain clinical conditions, in particular laminitis.

Whilst touch is a key part of Body Condition Scoring, it is also very useful to learn how to make an assessment just by eye. The test simply involves assessing photographs of a total 15 horses and marking their BCS using the 1-9 scale.

“These days when we are exposed to so many images of horses and ponies on social media, it’s good to know if you can spot an overweight horse from a photo alone,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, Marketing and Research and Development Director at Mars Horsecare UK, home of the SPILLERS brand. “Being able to spot an overweight horse is important as a first step in tackling the welfare issues that obesity presents our equines.”

Body Condition Scoring is a popular method of practically assessing the horse or pony’s level of fat covering across several areas of the body where fat is normally laid down. The assessment is made by eye and by touch using a numerical grading system. The SPILLERS team use the 1-9 scale based on the method developed by Henneke et al (1993) but there are other scales available. You can find out more about body condition scoring here.

“With so many horses and ponies in the UK, carrying a few extra pounds, the question is have we normalised overweight horses?” said Clare. “We have designed our test to help you to assess your ability to spot an overweight horse and ‘get your eye in’ on what constitutes a healthy weight.”

Take the test now to see how your skills measure up.

Call the SPILLERS Care-Line for friendly feeding advice on 01908 226626 helpline.horsecareUK@effem.com www.spillers-feeds.com

And don't forget LLEP clients can use the weighbridge at the practice free of charge. If you have concerns about your horse's weight, we are here for you. Call the practice to discuss your options: 01577 841010.