Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Estimating Horse Weight




Horse Weight: Two Methods Of Estimating It

Knowing your horse's weight, at least approximately, can be very helpful for such things as calculating feed rations, knowing how much of a de-wormer to administer, and more. While it's not always practical to find a scale big enough to accommodate a horse, there are several ways of calculating a horse's approximate weight. In the article below we describe how we tested two common methods.

Height / Weight Tapes Vs. Calculating Weight Yourself

Probably the most common method people use to estimate their horse's weight these days is to use a height/weight tape. To use one of these tapes you simply put the tape around the horse's girth (aka "heart girth") and read the estimated weight on the tape. These tapes have been on the market for years and many horsemen consider them to be reliable.

Another way to estimate a horse's weight is to use a "regular" tape measure - the kind that measures in inches - to measure a horse's girth and length. Then, you perform the following calculation:

Heart girth X heart girth X length, divided by 300, + 50 = weight.


Taking The Measurements

The first way we estimated our horse's weight was to take her heart girth and length measurements and apply the calculation we mentioned above. In the next two steps we'll show you how we took the measurements

Measuring Heart Girth

To measure a horse's heart girth, measure (in inches) from the base of the withers down to a couple of inches behind the horse's front legs, under the belly, then up the opposite side to where you started. Notice this will cause your tape measure to run at an angle as shown by the blue line in the photograph at right. The measurement you arrive at is your horse's heart girth.

Measuring Body Length

To measure a horse's length, measure (in inches) from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump. Notice this may cause your tape measure to run at an angle as shown by the blue line in the photograph at right. The measurement you arrive at is your horse's length.

Calculating The Results

To approximately figure our horse's weight, we calculate like we mentioned above:

Heart girth X heart girth X length, divided by 300, + 50 = weight.

The horse in the photograph had a 77 inch heart girth and was 66 inches long. So our calculation is:

Heart girth X Heart girth X Length Divided By + 50 = Approximate
Weight
77 X 77 X 66 300 + 50 = 1,354.38

Using the calculations above the approximate weight of the horse in the photo is 1,354 pounds. She's 15 hands tall, has a wide chest and heavy hip, is heavily muscled, and is in good condition but we still thought this estimate was a little heavy.

The Height / Weight Tape

Next, we took a store-bought height/weight tape, placed it around our horse's heart girth, and read the results. According to the tape, the horse is between 1,235 pounds and 1,250 pounds. We're guessing this is closer to the correct weight.

So, The Answer Is...

The best answer to find out how much your horse weighs is to find a livestock scale that will accommodate a large animal and weigh your horse. If that's not practical, you can use methods to estimate your horse's weight like the two we mentioned above. In our experience we feel the height/weight tape came up with the most accurate estimate but it's still fun to use both methods and compare the results.



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