Description of the Equine Body Condition Score System

Study the BCS Chart below to learn more about how the scoring numbers 1 - 9 correlate with a horse's visible fat stores on their body.

SCORE 1: POOR

Animal extremely emaciated. Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead and hooks and pins projecting prominently. Bone structure of withers, shoulders, and neck easily noticeable. No fatty tissues can be felt.

SCORE 2: VERY THIN

Animal emaciated. Slight fat covering over base of spinous processes; transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded. Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead and hooks and pins prominent. Withers, shoulders, and neck structures discernible.

SCORE 3: THIN

Fat built up about halfway on spinous processes; transverse processes cannot be felt. Slight fat cover over ribs. Spinous processes and ribs easily discernible. Tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be visually identified. Hook bones appear rounded, but easily discernible. Pin bones not distinguishable. Withers, shoulders, and neck accentuated.

SCORE 4: MODERATELY THIN

Negative crease along back. Faint outline of ribs discernible. Tailhead prominence depends on conformation; fat can be felt around it. Hook bones not discernible. Pin bones not distinguishable. Withers, shoulders, and neck accentuated.

SCORE 5: MODERATE

Back level. Ribs cannot be visually distinguished but can be easily felt. Fat around tailhead beginning to feel somewhat spongy. Withers appear rounded over spinous processes. Shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.

SCORE 6: MODERATE TO FLESHY

May have slight crease down back. Fat over ribs feels spongy. Fat around tailhead feels soft. Fat beginning to be deposited along the sides of the withers, behind the shoulders, and along the sides of the neck.

SCORE 7: FLESHY

May have crease down back. Individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat. Fat around tailhead is soft. Fat deposits along withers, behind shoulders, and along the neck.

SCORE 8: FAT

Crease down back. Difficult to feel ribs. Fat around tailhead very soft. Area along withers filled with fat. Area behind shoulder filled in flush. Noticeable thickening of neck. Fat deposits along inner buttocks.

SCORE 9: EXTREMELY FAT

Obvious crease down back. Patchy fat appearing over ribs. Bulging fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders, and along neck. Fat along inner buttocks may rub together. Flank filled in flush.