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    The NPS is very grateful to World Horse Welfare for it’s help in producing some of these articles and guidance.
    • Feeding
    • Body Scoring
    • Winter Welfare
    • Stabling
    • Pasture Maintenance
    • Teeth
    NPS Welfare & Education Representatives
    • Mrs Joanna MacInnes
    • Council Member
    • Mr Paul Davis
    • Council Member
    C/S Neck Back & Ribs Pelvis
    Very Poor
    Marked ewe neck.
    Narrow and slack at base.
    Skin tight over ribs. Very prominent and sharp backbone. Angular, skin tight. Very sunken rump. Deep cavity under tail.
    Ewe neck, narrow and slack base. Ribs easily visible.
    Prominent backbone with sunken skin on either side.
    Prominent pelvis and croup. Sunken rump but skin supple.
    Deep cavity under tail.
    Narrow but firm. Ribs just visible.
    Backbone covered but spines can be felt.
    Rump flat either side of back bone. Croup well defined, some fat.
    Slight cavity under tail.
    No crest (except for Stallions) Firm neck. Ribs just covered and easily felt. No gutter along the back. Backbone well covered but spines can be felt. Covered by fat and rounded.
    No gutter.
    Pelvis easily felt.
    Slight crest.
    Wide and firm.
    Ribs well covered – need pressure to feel. Gutter to root of tail. Pelvis covered by fat.
    Need firm pressure to feel.
    Very Fat
    Marked crest very wide and firm.
    Fold of fat.
    Ribs buried, cannot be felt. Deep gutter along back.
    Back broad and flat
    Deep gutter to root of tail.
    Skin distended.
    Pelvis buried, cannot be felt.

    (Based on the Carroll and Huntington 1988 method)

    It is important to know and monitor your pony’s body condition score (BCS) for maintaining a healthy balance of feed and exercise.

    The method used for assessing body condition considers the deposition of body fat in different areas by separate examination of the neck, back, ribs, and pelvis. Individual ponies deposit their body fat in different areas of the body and this method takes account of the whole body. Individual neck, ribs and pelvis assessments are then combined to give an overall condition score.

    To obtain a body score, score each section out of 5 from the above table, add these three scores together and then divide that number by 3 and the outcome will be the overall BCS for that pony. For example, neck = 4, back and ribs = 3 and pelvis = 3, the overall score would be (4 + 3 + 3)/3 = 3.3

    Judges and competitors are required to take particular note of the Body Condition Scoring Index. Judges will be using this index as part of their assessment of your pony.

    0 No visual appearance of a crest. No palpable crest.
    1 No visual appearance of a crest, but slight filling felt with palpation.
    2 Noticeable appearance of a crest, fat deposited fairly evenly from poll to withers. Crest easily cupped in one hand and bent from side to side.
    3 Crest enlarged and thickened, so fat is deposited more heavily in the middle of the neck than toward poll and withers, giving a mounded appearance. Crest fills cupped hand and begins losing side to side flexibility.
    4 Crest grossly enlarged and thickened, and can no longer be cupped in one hand or easily bent from side to side. Crest may have wrinkles/creases perpendicular to topline.
    5 Crest is so large it permanently droops to one side.

    (Based on the Carter et al 2009 method)

    Cresty neck scoring (CNS) is a separate score to body condition, but is just as useful when monitoring and maintaining a healthy weight for a pony. A CNS can be generated by using the images and descriptions from the table above. Scores range from 0 – 5 (0 being no crest and 5 being a very large crest).

    For more information and a full guide on body condition and cresty neck scoring please follow this link to the Animal Health Trust Website http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/cal_weight.html