Body Score

STEVE: I utilize a body score of a 1 to 10 scale with half points in between, meaning plus or minus. Usually just a plus, I stay on the plus only because we try to stay away from negativity in this camp. But anyway, what we’re looking for is, we are looking for a horse that is somewhere on the order of a 5 plus to a 6.

I utilize body scores primarily for working athletes. You can give a body score to horses that are coming along in development, but it is probably a little tougher. It is probably a little bit more reserved for a finished athlete, in finished performing and/or race horse. We’re looking for a horse that be described as probably spot-on for having plenty of reserve but being in good shape as far as an athlete is concerned.

You can’t see their ribs but you can palpate them rather easily. Over their back, the lower loin, you can basically have a flat area – meaning that they’re not concave – meaning that there is excess fat there to the dorsal vertebral spine’s process so there is not a trough there. Or that they don’t come to a point – meaning that there is not enough reserve on each side. And over the tops of the tail head – meaning that there is not a big, large mass there but it is not caved in as well so it is nice and flat.

If the horse would fit into that area where you can’t see the ribs but you can palpate them readily, they are nice and flat on their back, and they are nice and flat across their hip, and they have a good gloss and color and development of muscle, I would say that would fall into a 5 plus or 6 category – meaning that they are probably spot-on for a working athlete.

ALEX: This is something that people that have horses need to pay attention to this all the time because you want to keep them in that range.

STEVE: It changes. Its dynamic. Its not something that happens. We find that after horses have big events, maybe they go out and have a roping every weekend, or barrel racing, or a race, we’ll see that they’ll drop a condition score.

And one of the things that we look for is the amount of recovery or how quick that recovery time can occur. Not only by body condition score, but also, we have the luxury of some outfits that I work with, that have a scaler. So we know what the target weight was for that performance, how they performed – meaning if they ran well or if they raced, or performed well for you – and then when we start getting back to that target weight or how quickly that body condition score gets back to where it was and when they reach that target weight again.

ALEX: Yeah.