Body Condition Scoring

DEFHR uses Body Condition Scoring (BCS) to evaluate each horse upon arrival; this score is documented and used as evidence in court proceedings.

BCS is a system used to objectively evaluate a horse’s body condition. It is based on visually appraising the horse’s body and assessing six major points that are most responsive to changes in body fat:

  • neck
  • withers
  • back
  • ribs
  • loins
  • tail head

BCS uses a 1-9 scale to rate a horse’s overall body condition. A horse with a score of 1 is emaciated and in most cases in danger of starving to death, while a horse with a score of 9 is extremely obese.

Click here for a downloadable guide to Body Condition Scoring.

Learn Body Condition Scoring through DEFHR's educational programs, including: the Equine Cruelty Investigation Series, Horse Care Clinic Series, and Adult Legacy.

Identifying parts of the horse important for Body Condition Scoring