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Re: Measuring body fat in horses

Kristine, there's a research study or two on my website on the relationships
between body fat (which is referred to as body condition score) and
performance in endurance horses.  It was my master's thesis.  There's also
an article on there about what to look for in condition scoring horses and
some photos and things.

No, they don't use the little pincer things in horses, they aren't all that
accurate even in humans.  You can measure the thickness of fat pads at
certain anatomical locations with ultrasound, but it's not the kind of thing
most people do at home.  The condition scoring thing does correlate pretty
well to certain fat percentages, though I can't remember what they are off
the top of my head, other than I do know even a close-to-death, emaciated
horse still has body fat % around 8%.

Anyway, the take home information is to take a look at the stuff on
condition scoring.  The optimum window of fatness for endurance horses is
between a score of 4 - 5.  Too much above that and heat dissipation probably
beomes an issue.  Below a score of 4 and the likelihood of a metabolic pull

Oh yeah, the website is at

Susan G
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kristene Smuts" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 3:09 AM
Subject: RC: Measuring body fat in horses

> Hi guys
> Another strange question.  When measuring the body fat in people, a
pincer-like instrument is used and some flesh on your belly or thereabouts
is pinched and the measurement taken - that then equates to your body fat.
> Now, is there any way one can measure horses for body fat?  I know a
practiced eye can quickly spot fat vs muscle, but if one wants to measure
the actual fat percentage in the body, how would you go about it?  And if
so, what would the optimal measurements be for endurance horses?
> Thanks
> Kristene
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