12 Mar Don’t guess your horse’s weight (but please guess ours!)
Knowing your horse’s weight is a really important aspect of horse ownership, yet it’s amazing how many horse owners are simply taking a guess. We talk to owners about their horse’s diet daily and rarely do we hear a confident answer about our questions relating to weight.
Without having an accurate weight measurement, it’s likely that many horse owners are not providing a balanced feeding program. Likewise, it’s just as vital to know your horse’s weight when worming or administering medication.
There are many ways to keep track of your horse’s weight and if you have access to one, a livestock measuring scale will give you the most accurate result. Another popular way to measure your horse is to load up your horse in your float and take them over a truck scale. The downfall of this measuring hack is you’ll need to know the exact weight of your towing vehicle and float unloaded, as well as have your fuel tank roughly the same on weighing day.
You can purchase weight tapes from saddleries and stockfeed stores and these will give you a good “guestimate”. The problem is that these tapes vary between suppliers depending upon what formula they’ve used, so you may get different results.
A recent study by Auburn University researchers showed the most accurate DIY way to measure your own horse’s weight is to use the estimation formula: (kg)=(heart girth2 x body length) / (11,880 cm3) with length defined as “measuring from the point of shoulder to the point of buttock”.
You’ll need a measuring tape or a piece of string or binder twine for this. Ensuring your horse is standing as square as possible on a level surface, place your tape on the point of your horse’s shoulder and run it up to the point of the croup. Grab a friend to help to get the most accurate result.
Don’t worry if maths is not your strong suit, once you have the length measurement, you can use this calculator to determine the weight for you.
Make sure to record your horse’s weight measurement somewhere safe so you can track it regularly. This will help you evaluate how your horse manages condition and health through different feeding and exercise programs.
Of course, an accurate feeding program involves more than knowing your horse’s weight – you also need to weigh your feeds. No, a dipper of this and a scoop of that is not precise enough to meet dietary requirements. We often sound like a broken record repeating this so often, but if you don’t weigh your feeds, it’s unlikely that your horse is getting the correct nutrition for his/her size, workload and age.
Inexpensive kitchen scales are easy to find and will become your best friend in the feed shed. By weighing your feeds you can be certain that your horse is getting the right amount of feed. If you’re feeding a complete feed like one from Thompson and Redwood’s equine range, you might even find that by giving the correct amount, you can stop adding expensive supplements. There’s no need for an added vitamin and mineral premix when feeding T&R horse feeds at the recommended rate.
Would you like a little extra help to work out an accurate feeding program for your horse? Thompson & Redwood offers a custom diet plan designed around you and your horse’s unique needs. Click here to request your free recommendations.
For your chance to win…
Let’s see how accurate those “guestimates” really are.
Here’s the lovely Hazid Road owned by T&R Sponsored Rider, Sophie Warren. He’s a 16hh, 9 year old thoroughbred and two star eventer.
This photo is him on the scales after a summer of light work – he hasn’t jumped since Equestrian in the Park.
What do you think he weighs?
Our competition has now closed (congratulations to Sara Falconer for being the first person to guess the correct weight)