While knowing your horse’s weight is critical to making sure your horse is receiving the care it needs, tracking your horse’s Body Condition Score over time is an ideal (and easier) way to make sure your horse is doing as well as you want him to.
You can easily determine your horse’s BCS by looking at the amount of fat deposited in six key areas of your horse’s body:
Along the neck
Along the withers
Crease along the back
Over the ribs
Behind the shoulder
Over the tailhead
As a general rule of thumb, growing and performance horses, as well as general-use horses, should be kept at a BCS of 4-7, with a 5 being “ideal”. Broodmares should generally be kept at a 5.5-7.5.
Learning how to assign a Body Condition Score may take a little practice, and what you call a 4.5 might be a 5 to your neighbor, but what is most important to your own herd is that you assign scores to each horse, then track them over time to ensure that everyone is receiving all the care they need.
For your reference, here is a quick “how-to” video:
The plight of the unwanted horse is something on every horse owner’s mind these days. No matter the opinion on how the horse industry got here, one thing is for sure – these horses need proper care.
If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to take in a neglected horse, but haven’t ever had to rehabilitate one before, it can be a challenging opportunity. Care needs to be taken to bring a starving horse back to health in a slow and steady manner.
The main dietary goal in managing an HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) horse is keeping total dietary potassium under 1.0%. It is key to look at the total dietary potassium instead of just the hay or just the grain source.
To figure out total dietary potassium (or any other nutrient level), use the following formula:
((Pounds of hay x percent potassium in hay) + (Pounds of grain x percent potassium in grain)) / Total pounds of feed.
For example, if you are feeding 15 lbs a day of a grass hay that measures 1.0% potassium, along with 6 lbs a day of a grain mix that measures 0.8% potassium, then your calculations would be as follows:
((15 x 0.01) + (6 x 0.008)) / 21 = 0.942% total dietary potassium.
Find out the potassium of your hay source, and of your grain, and then you can figure out your horse’s total dietary potassium level.