MONITORING YOUR HORSE USING A WEIGHTAPE
Weightapes are a simple tool to help you assess your horse’s bodyweight and, whilst not precisely accurate, they will give you a good idea and are particularly useful for monitoring changes in bodyweight. Using one regularly is therefore ideal if you are hoping your horse will lose weight or gain weight.
However, bodyweight alone offers little information about body condition therefore bodyweight, condition and muscle/topline must be evaluated together. To find out more about body condition scoring click here.
How to Use a Weightape
It's important that you weightape your horse at the same time of day in exactly the same place on the girth. Weightapes may be less accurate for a deep barrelled horses and in these instances a weigh bridge can provide a more accurate weight if this option is available.
If you are using a weight tape for a youngster then you can use a Growth Monitoring Chart to plot growth from birth to 18 months. The chart is divided into 6 colour-coded areas which represent 6 different “estimated mature bodyweights”. Many growth-related problems can be prevented by charting a foal’s growth rate and body condition then selecting the correct feeding programme for their age and weight. Visit the Stud Area to download a chart and find out more.
- Remember, some horses, particularly youngsters, can be nervous about their initial encounter with a weightape!
- Standing on the horse’s near side, keep the end of the tape in your right hand and pass the rest of the tape over the horse’s back behind the withers
- The tape needs to sit where the girth would normally go, just back from the front legs and should be pulled snug to depress the flesh very slightly
- Read the weight by overlapping the tape and reading the measurement where indicated
- Tapes vary but should give you the bodyweight in pounds (lbs) and kilogrammes (kg)
- Take and record this measurement regularly (weekly) to monitor losses or gains