Good Feeding Guide
How much does your horse weigh?
You can work this out in several ways. Either take your horse to a public weighbridge;
visit a yard which has a horse weigher; use a weight tape; or use the formula below as
Calculating approximate bodyweight using body length and girth measurement:
Measure the horses girth and length (from point of shoulder to point of buttock) and
use the following calculation to give an approximate figure for bodyweight. This is the
same calculation used by most weight tapes – they just do the hard work for you!
For bodyweight in kg: girth (cm) x girth (cm) x body length (cm)
11877 (Carroll & Huntington, 1988)
Body condition scoring your horse or pony
Knowing your horse’s weight is essential if a correct feeding level is to be achieved.
However, as important as knowing your horse’s weight, is having an appreciation that
your horse is not too heavy. Research carried out by Allen & Page on 250 horses found
that over 50% of owners under estimated their horse’s body condition score, therefore
believing their horse was “thinner” than they really were. In order to know that your
horse is at a healthy weight, it is essential that you fat score them as well to ensure you
are not over or under-feeding. The condition scoring system on the link below is
based on the Carroll and Huntington* method of grading.
How much to feed your horse?
Your horse or pony should be fed according to bodyweight, not height. Do check your
horse’s condition regularly and adjust the amounts fed as necessary. As a guide, you
should be able to run your hand across your horse’s ribcage and feel his ribs, but not
see them. Good quality forage should be fed to form the majority of the horse’s diet,
or at the very least a minimum of 50% of the diet. This is only a guide as to how much
to feed – all recommendations should be adapted for variations in individual horses.
The table below is an easy method of estimating weight as you only need to know the
height of the horse. Although this method can give you a rough idea of weight, it does
not take into account the condition of a particular horse, so it is not necessarily
It is very important that your horse’s diet is based upon the correct amount of calories needed for the level of work he is in. Over-estimating the level of work your horse carries out in a week can lead to over-feeding and obesity. The guide on the link below is based on the most up-to-date research (NRC, 2007*) and will help you to decide
the level of work your horse is in.