Because the health consequences of obesity are severe, it is important for horse owners to learn how to accurately and objectively assess their horse’s body weight and condition. Body weight estimation equations are available for light horse breeds, ponies and growing horses, but the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science has published a study that developed body weight (BW) estimation equations for warmblood and draft types of horses.

Catalano and others published work entitled: Estimation of actual and ideal bodyweight using Morphometric measurements and owner guessed bodyweight of adult draft and warmblood horses (10.1016/j.jevs.2015.09.002). The team of researchers evaluated 227 draft and warmblood horses for body measurements including body condition score, height, mid-length neck circumference (neck), girth circumference (girth) and body length (designated as “BL straight,” taken from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock by a perpendicular line, i.e. Not wrapping the tape around to the buttock). Body weight estimation equations were determined:

Draft Horse BW (kg) = girth (cm)1.528 x BL Straight (cm)0.574 x
Height (cm)0.246 x neck (cm)0.261
Warmblood BW (kg) = girth (cm)1.528 x BL Straight (cm)0.574 x
Height (cm)0.246 x neck (cm)0.261

Using information generated from horses with “ideal” body condition (score of 5 on the 1-9 Henneke scale), the authors also generated an ideal body weight equation for these horses, such that a horse that weighed significantly more than ideal could be considered overweight.

Draft Horse BW (kg) = (4.92 x BL Straight (cm)) + (4.64 x height (cm)) – 951

Warmblood BW (kg) = (4.92 x BL Straight (cm)) + (4.64 x height (cm)) – 1.016