Hello! I've been looking into body condition scoring because I want to keep an eye on my mare's weight gain. However, I'm having trouble following the standards listed online because of Lizzie's body shape. She's a Morgan in her mid to late 30's with Cushings. She also has a swayback, which she's had since I met her 8 years ago but has worsened. She's between 15.1 and 15.2 hands
I bought Liz 4 years ago and moved her to a boarding barn 2 years later. There were some problems there and she dropped a ton of weight and then gained some back. I moved her to a new barn in September and she's gained a lot back since then. At the second barn, I was able to get her weighed on a scale 2 years in a row. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to get her weighed this spring.
So I used this site for information: The University of Maine - Cooperative Extension Publications - Bulletin #1010, Body Condition Scoring for Your Horse
Loin: I don't think Lizzie will ever have any sort of crease there because of the swayback. I'm not quite sure how to measure this on her.
Ribs: right now, I can't feel her ribs when I run my hand down her side. I can if I push with my fingertips, though
Tailhead: her tailhead blends smoothly into her body, but with the lack of muscle in her rump, it's kind of hard to tell what's what.
Withers: this is my main issue. She has high withers and a swayback, so her withers aren't ever going to blend smoothly into her body. She doesn't seem to have fat deposits around her withers.
Neck: her neck is much thicker and more solid than it used to be. I'm not sure if she has fat deposits there, though
Shoulder: her shoulder definitely blends more smoothly into her barrel now.
Pictures: I don't have many pictures of her at her thinnest... I couldn't bear to take pictures of her body then!
About 6 months after I bought her, Sep 2009. Pre- cushing's diagnosis/treatment. When I moved her, she looked basically like this with less of a potbelly and more back muscle IMG_0295.jpg
Spring 2011- at boarding barn that caused problems. She had been there for about 5 months. 808 pounds. 227992_227369053945483_7826746_n.jpg
June 2011 2011-06-03 17.08.40.jpg
August 2011. Having her 10 minutes of grass 2011-08-20 15.06.33.jpg
October 2011. Ribs visible, could feel every single one with a quick rundown of my palm 2011-10-09 08.55.47.jpg
April 2012, after a bath. She was weighed about a month after this and was 852, so 44 pounds more than the year before. 2012-04-16 15.10.13.jpg
Then she lost some more weight. She looked about how she did in the October 2011 picture, maybe a little thinner.
This is after 2 months at the new barn. Can't feel ribs easily anymore. She's gained a few pounds since this picture and her butt and back muscle has improved. 2012-10-31 09.55.15.jpg
So, how do you think she looks? Also, what number on the body condition scoring system do you think she was at her worst? And finally, any advice on using this scale with a horse with a swayback?