How to estimate the body weight of your horse?

It is important to know the weight of your horse for a number of reasons:

  • To calculate your horse’s ration.
  • To accurately identify weight loss and weight gain. Allowing you to keep your horse or pony at a healthy weigh by  adjusting feed and grazing accordingly.
  • To identify any sudden weight loss which may indicate a health problem.
  • To enable the correct dosage and administration of medication, supplements and wormers.
  • Determining the maximum weight a horse can carry (preventing musculo-skeletal problems sum of rider and gear should not exceed 15-20% of the live weight).

There are two ways to calculate the body weight of your horse. The first and most accurate way is to weigh your horse on an equine specific weighbridge, which will provide the correct calculation of the bodyweight. However, these facilities are not widely accessible. The second method is by using a measuring tape and formula.  Using a weight formula can be reasonably accurate when done correctly for mature horses. The estimation is not effective for foals, growing horses, pregnant horses and miniature horses.  The following formula of Carroll & Huntington (1988) can be used to estimate the weight:

Weight (kg)=(girth2 (cm) x length (cm))/11877 

Estimated body weight:

Make sure that your horse is standing square and is relaxed. Use a measuring tape that is long enough to measure the length of the horse. It is also ad-vised to have another person or helper present that can assist with holding the horse and tape when measuring.

Girth is measured around the front part of the body immediately behind the elbow and at the base of the withers (after the horse has breathed out).

Length is measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock.

Too hard? No calculator handy? Let our automated horse-weight-calculator do it for you!
Click through to:

Carroll, C.L. and Huntington, P.J. (1988) Body condition scoring and weight estimation of horses. Equine Veterinary Journal 20, 41-45.

FACT SHEET: Download your “How much does your horse weigh” fact sheet here

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