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Welcome to the Equestrian Outreach Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart PageCave Drawing Image Placeholder

Owner Education - Body Condition Scoring Chart

Table 1. Descriptions of Anatomical Differences Between Body Condition Scores




Back & Loin 


 Hind Quarters

 0 Very thin

bone structure easily felt- no muscle shelf where neck meets shoulder

bone structure easily felt

3 points of vertebrae easily felt

each rib can be easily felt

tailhead and hip bones projecting

 1 Thin

can feel bone structure- slight shelf where neck meets shoulder

can feel bone structure

spinous process can be easily felt
- transverse processes have slight fat covering

slight fat covering, but can still be felt

can feel hip bones

 2 Fair

fat covering over bone structure

fat deposits over withers - dependent on conformation

fat over spinous processes

can't see ribs, but ribs can still be felt

hip bones covered with fat

 3 Good

neck flows smoothly into shoulder

neck rounds out withers

back is level

layer of fat over ribs

can't feel hip bones

 4 Fat

fat deposited along neck

fat padded around withers

positive crease along back

 fat spongy over and between ribs

can't feel hip bones

 5 Very fat

bulging fat

bulging fat

deep positive crease

pockets of fat

pockets of fat

As a guide to learning the scoring system and interpreting the results, examples of "typical" condition scores are listed below. There will be a range of condition within each score so it is sometimes convenient to assign +'s and -'s or half point scores as in 2.5 or 3.5.

 Score 0


  • with sunken rump and deep cavity under tail, skin tight over ribs; e.g., severely debilitated older horses with abnormal teeth occlusion, starvation.

 Score 1.0


  • very thin with prominent pelvis and croup, ribs visible

 Score 2.0


  • thin with flat rump, croup well defined, some fat; e.g., mare that has been severely dragged down by milking while on poor pasture.

 Score 2.5


  • e.g., racing condition or endurance horse.

 Score 3.0


  • ribs and pelvis covered with fat and rounded; e.g., a halter horse in prime show condition.

 Score 3.5


  • e.g., mature mare in mid-gestation.

 Score 4.0


  • fat covering ribs and pelvis requiring firm pressure to feel; e.g., an easy-keeping, mature horse on pasture with little or no work.

 Score 5.0

 Very Fat

  • severe over condition with ribs and pelvis that cannot be felt, deep gutter in back; e.g., a fat pony prone to founder (laminitis).

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