Factors Affecting Weigh Tape Reading in the Measurement of Equine Body Weight

Katie Grimwood, Bryony Lancaster, Ian Handel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Accurate measurement of equine body weight is important for evaluating medication dosages and feed quantities. Different methods exist for measuring body weight, including weigh tapes (WT), though accuracy varies. Measurements could be affected by external variables, such as time of day, human error, or uneven surfaces, and also horse-based variables, such as height and body condition score (BCS). The aim of this study was to investigate how different horse-based variables affect WT reading. A retrospective analysis was performed using anonymised data from feed company nutrition consultations (Baileys Horse Feeds). Data included a range of horse-based variables, a WT reading, and true body weight measured on a weighbridge. All horses were over two years of age. Likelihood ratio tests were used to assess whether adding different horse-based
variables significantly improved the fit of the quadratic regression model. The variables included were height, BCS, breed, muscle top-line score, and bone type. Exploratory analysis showed that the WT generally underestimated body weight, particularly for horses with higher body weight. Adding height and muscle top-line scores did not significantly improve the fit of the model, suggesting no
influence on WT reading over and above actual body weight. Adding breed groupings, BCS, and bone density did improve the fit. Each 0.5 unit increase in BCS increased the WT estimate by 1.24 kg (p < 0.001). These results confirm that a WT does not provide accurate body weight measurements, and generally underestimates body weight, though more so for heavier horses, being more accurate in pony breeds
Original languageEnglish
Article number1330
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date13 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • weigh tape
  • bodyweight
  • estimation
  • horse
  • body condition scoring
  • equine asthma


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