Body Condition Scoring and prediction of body weight in adult Warm blooded horses
Beurteilung des Ernährungszustandes mittels Body Condition Scores und Gewichtseinschätzung beim adulten Warmblutpferd
Kienzle E, Schramme S C
Starting point was an existing system for body condition scoring (BCS) in quarter horse brood mares with a scale from 1 emaciated to 9 obese. By scoring 181 warm blooded horses a BCS system for warm blooded horses (German standard bred horses) was developed. This system is based on visibility and palpability of bone structures and on externally accessible adipose tissue. Six areas of the body are scored: In the neck crest fat is measured (fig. 2), the side area (concave or convex) and the presence or absence of a shelf where neck meets shoulder are checked. In the shoulder area the visibility of the scapula and the ribs are important and the possibility to form a small or thick skin fold are tested. In the back and croup area visibility and palpability of the bone structure of the spine and ribs are considered. It needs to be checked whether the skin can be moved above the bones and muscles, whether subcutaneous tissue is soft and whether there are fat deposits over the ribs and the croup. In the area of the ribcage fat deposits are specially considered. Fat deposits over the hip bones need to be scored in a scale which is designed for warm blooded horses. The sixth area of fat deposition which is checked is the tail base. The abdomen of the horse is not considered for BCS, cow-bellied horses can be either lean or fat because the size of the belly depends on i) muscle strength and ii) filling of the hindgut which depends on roughage intake. For the estimation of body weight, biometric data were generated from 181 warm blooded horses, and the body weight was measured. The equation Body weight (kg) = -1160 + 2.594 x wither height (tape measure, cm) + 1.336 x heart girth (cm) + 1.538 x body circumference (cm) + 6.226 x cannon bone circumference (cm) + 1.487 x neck circumference (cm) + 13.63 x BCS (points) allows a satisfactory prediction of body weight (r = 0.94**; standard error 18.5 kg). Body weights estimated by this equation correlated highly with the actual weights of a control group 140 warm blooded horses (r = 0.92**; standard error 24.5 kg).