Can You Pick the Right Equine Body Condition Score?

Can you spot an overweight horse? Check your skills with the SPILLERS test!

What body condition score would you give this horse? Take the Spillers test and see if you are correct!

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 normalized 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


The SPILLERS Brand is a proud partner in care and strives to lead, support and communicate research to continually expand knowledge and improve horse health worldwide. Having produced the first ever compound feed for horses back in 1958, the SPILLERS Brand now has feeds to suit all types of horses and ponies, including fibers, balancers, Laminitis Trust approved products and a superior range of Thoroughbred breeding and racing feeds.

All SPILLERS products are underpinned by science from the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, a world-leading authority on pet nutrition and home to the WALTHAM™ Equine Studies Group, led by Professor Pat Harris, MA, PhD, VetMB, DipECVCN, MRCVS.

About the Waltham Petcare Science Institute

The Waltham Petcare Science Institute is Mars Petcare’s pet research center. Our work focuses on the nutritional and behavioral needs of pets, as well as preventive health. We use this knowledge to support development of innovative products and services, advancing science to deliver our Purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group, which is headed by Professor Pat Harris, MA, PhD, VetMB, DipECVCN, MRCVS, is dedicated to advancing the science of horse nutrition and provides the scientific support for MARS Horsecare globally including the BUCKEYE Nutrition, SPILLERS, and WINERGY brands. By collaborating with key research institutes and universities around the world its work remains at the forefront of equine nutritional science.

The SPILLERS Brand is part of Mars, Incorporated, who put quality at the heart of everything.






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