Body Scoring question - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-19-2012, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Body Scoring question

Ok all, I will try to snap some pictures this evening when I go to feed so yall can help me out..but I am confused about Drifter's weight gain at this point and what he would be considered on the body score chart. He was about a 2.5 or 3 when I first got him, and he has gained considerably (amazing what happens when you actually feed an animal, huh? Who knew!).

I can no longer see his ribs when he is standing still (not even faint outline), but they can be felt even though you can also feel the layer of fat over them. I know this is a good thing, but here's where I am confused. When moving, he still has some noticeable shoulder bones and when he is trotting it is like BAM! ribs!

Would that mean he still has some way to go? He also has very prominent veins which I assumed were due to him being an appendix, since he is basically all TB in his mind (thin skin, shark fin withers, hard keeper, the works), but someone at the barn the other day mentioned veins are only prominent in very thin horses. i had never heard of that??

Just looking for some guidance I guess!
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-19-2012, 05:36 PM
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He sounds like a very good weight. Don't get caught up with fatting up your horse... A lot of horses today are actualy over weight because people perfer them that way, but it can be detrimental to your horses health.

Showing ribs when moving is fine, the skin and muscles are moving but bones aren't, so you will see some rib.

Pictures would help a lot though :)

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-19-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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I think he is a few pounds shy of perfect, myself. Just needs to build up muscle still. All of the people at my barn have the really fleshy/chubby type of horses and that is just not my cup of tea. I want Drifter to be healthy of course, but I would prefer a lean healthy as opposed to a fat healthy. Everyone just keeps telling me his ribs shouldnt be showing when he moves, which confused me because when I did eventing in high school my horse's ribs showed a little and he was never mentioned to be underweight by our vet.

I will get some video of him moving and pictures up soon. I meant to do it when I fed tonight, took my camera and everything and a storm blew up. Which is good news because its been so hot and dry here, but bad news for my picture plans. I am going out in the morning and I will try to grab some then.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-19-2012, 10:10 PM
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Ribs showing or not is just one indicator. Does his withers seem sunk in? Is his tail bone prominent? Does his hip bones stick out? All of these combined is what gives you the score.

With just the ribs, I would say he is close to a good weight. I wouldn't be that concerned if the rest of him looks ok.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-19-2012, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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just ribs. Along with seeing his shoulder outlines when he is moving as well. His tail head has a reasonable covering of fat over it. It is not super fleshy, but it is there.

I know my descriptions really arent enough to go on so I will be getting some pictures and video in the morning
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-20-2012, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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In the meantime, here is a picture of him that I snapped on June 25, so about 3 weeks or so ago. He has gained a bit since then, and his ribs are not as dramatically pronounced when he is stretching to the side like he was in this photo.

However they (along with the bones in his shoulder) will still present this way if he is trotting or stretching certain ways.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-20-2012, 02:04 PM
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He just needs some muscling. How much do you ride him?

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-20-2012, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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I usually ride 5 or so times a week for 3 to 4 hours. We have been doing a lot of hill work and transitions and I think it is finally starting to show. He looks more defined now than in that pic and I will get some video and pictures of him tonight, weather willing. He is also starting to feel better. Guess that comes with getting healthy :)
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-21-2012, 11:15 AM
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Thats is a good amount of exercise :) He will be packing on the muscle ;)

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-21-2012, 11:29 AM
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From the photo he doesn't look too skinny, and that was before you said he had gained some lbs, so my bet is hes fine. Many vets prefere horses to be slightly on the skinny side than the fat side because slightly skinny is way less detrimental to health than chubby! Ignore what other people are saying about your horses weight. If you don't mind a horse with some shape and tone, they shouldn't!

So many horses are overweight nowerdays because generally owners don't know what a fit, healthily weighted horse looks like. I a survey some welfare trust did, when people were shown a picture of a pasture pumpkin, they'll say 'good weight', shown a top class eventer they'll say 'skinny'. Some slight pointy bits and rib is ok, no tone and all covered in fat is not!

We lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there too ~Kristen Martz
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