How to use a weigh tape correctly

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There are different methods that we can use to ascertain the weight of our horses, each have their own pros and cons:

  • Weighbridge
    This is the most accurate method to measure a horse’s weight. Often access to a weigh bridge is not readily available, however, we do have a weigh bridge at our Rathmell and Martholme practices, we also now have a mobile weigh bridge which can be used on yard with prior arrangement. Please call the practice for further details. You can then be totally accurate with wormer, medication and feed calculations once you have an accurate weight.
  • Weigh-tape
    If you don’t have access to a weighbridge, a weigh-tape becomes an essential tool to keep in your tack box. A weigh-tape is particularly useful to monitor weight loss or gain. They are cheap to buy and used regularly will help you monitor weight gain and loss. The weigh-tape is used around the horse’s girth. The video below will help you use it accurately, use the same make of tape and keep a record of the readings.
    If more than one person is using the tape, make sure you are using it in the same way, at the same time of day and in the same place each time.
  • Weight formula calculation
    Also useful for monitoring weight gain or loss is a calculation where you measure your horse with a tape measure (in inches), and work out the weight using a proven formula.
    The common formula to use was developed at Texas University:
    The calculation: (heart girth x heart girth) x body length ÷ by 330. This gives the weight of the horse in pounds (lbs).
    The heart girth measurement: Take a measuring tape and measure all the way around the horse’s girth (from the highest point of the wither going around to just behind the elbows.)
    The body length: Measure from the point of shoulder in a straight line around to the point of buttock on one side. The result is in pounds (lbs).

If you need the weight in kilograms, you can divide this by 2.2.

  • Educated guess, using our ‘eye’
    obviously the least accurate method! But over time, and with experience, individuals can build their skills to be able to judge weigh more accurately. We can also use the body condition score system to help with this.