Measurement is knowledge

In order to make an estimation of the weight of your horse we will take your horse’s measurements. Special measuring tapes are available for this purpose.

The formula developed by Carroll and Huntingdon provides the most accurate estimation of the horse’s body weight. You will need to measure the girth and the length of your horse and put these data in the formula in order to calculate your horse’s weight. This is how it is done:

This is how the measuring tape should be used:

  1. Make sure your horse stands square. The weight should be equally divided over four legs and the horse has to look ahead.
  2. Put the measuring tape around your horse’s chest slightly diagonally forward. To this end, you put the measuring tape just behind the withers and around the horse like a girth.
  3. Carefully pull the tape, but make sure you do not press the skin. Look at the centimetres on the tape. That is the chest circumference.
  4. Now you measure the length of your horse: you place the measuring tape in the middle of the points of the shoulder (where the neck starts), up to the seat bone just below the tail.
  5. Now calculate as follows: [girth measurement (cm) x girth measurement (cm) x length measurement (cm)]: 11,877 = the current weight.

A handy, but less accurate way is reading the kilograms on your measure tape. In that case, you will only need to follow step 1 to 3 and instead of reading the centimetres you read the kilograms. Using the Carrol and Huntingdon formula is much more preferred.

Measure three times and use the average of the outcomes.

How much weight should your horse lose?

We recommend that you measure your horse’s weight on a weekly basis. This will give you a reliable insight if you are on the right track. The goal is to realize a weekly weight loss of 0.5 to 1%. By measuring, you can adjust the program, if required. For that matter, losing weight too fast is not good and can lead to health problems. You may think ‘Great this is working well’, but when the weight loss exceeds 1% per week, you will need to adjust your program.

After your horse has reached his ideal weight, you should continue measuring and checking your horse’s weight regularly.

It is hard to tell how much weight your horse should lose, or what the ideal weight for your horse will be. There is no standard. Every horse and every breed is different. The measuring tape is a tool to check whether you are on the right track. The body condition score is always leading for the weight loss.

It is perfectly normal that you do not see impressive results during the first weeks. However, if you do not see any difference after two months, it would be wise to contact a veterinary surgeon.

“You should measure your horse on a weekly basis. This will give you a reliable insight whether you are on the right track. The goal is to realize a weekly weight loss of 0.5 to 1%”.

Nutritionist and Veterinarian Veerle Vandendriessche