How to Weigh a Horse

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Knowing your horses weight is important for deworming, feed rations, medication and getting a baseline for weight gain or loss. There are a few different methods of weighing a horse, some more accurate than others:


Scale

A livestock scale is the most accurate way to determine your horses weight. Your local large animal vet should have one.

Weight Formula Calculation

Using the girth and body length measurement in the calculation below may produce a more accurate measurement than using a weight tape. There are slight variations of the formula:

Horse weight formula from Texas A&M University:

Wt (lbs)=(Heart girth in inches x Heart girth in inches x Body length in inches)/330

Horse weight formula from the University of Guelph: Weight (kg) = [(girth measurement in cm)2 x (length measurement in cm)] ÷ 11,880

Adult horse formula from OMAFRA:

Weight (kg) = [(girth measurement in cm)2 x (length measurement in cm)] ÷ 11,900




  • Heart Girth measurement

  • Have the horse stand square with their weight bearing on all four legs. The heart girth measurement is taken immediately behind the elbow after the horse has exhaled.





  • Length measurement

  • Length is taken from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttocks. Note: this is not the same measurement for horse blankets.



Weight Tape

Weight tapes are simple and a good practical estimate for determining a horses weight by measuring around the girth of the horse. They can be found at most local tack shops. Weight tapes are not very accurate because they don’t take into account for fat/muscle ratio, height, body type, age, and overall condition.


Horse and Pony Weight Tape Instructions:

1) Have the horse stand square 2) Wrap the weight tape around the heart girth, directly behind the elbow.

3) Pull the tape tight

4) Overlap the ends of the tape.

5) Take the reading with the tape snugly in place, where the tape meets. This is the horses estimated weight.


Consult your vet for weight concerns, medical advice, medication, deworming and feed needs for your specific horses needs.



References

T.Sendel/OMAFRA. “Estimating Body Weight for Horses.” January 1999, http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/facts/10-085.htm


Equine Guelph-University of Guelph. “Estimating your horses weight.” n.d. https://thehorseportal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Estimating-you-Horses-Weight.pdf

P.G. Gibbs and D.D. Householder. “Estimating horse body weight with a simple formula”. N.d.

http://counties.agrilife.org/liveoak/files/2011/07/EstimatingHorseBodyWeight_16.pdf

Ellis JM, Hollands T. Accuracy of different methods of estimating the weight of horses. The Veterinary Record (1998)




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