Henneke Body Condition

Q. I am looking for a body score chart in layman's terms. I would like to include this chart in our handbook for Personal Ponies, a national nonprofit organization, but many people (including me) don't know what these terms actually mean. The two I can't find are the "transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae" and the "spinous processes." It might be something to add to your magazine or site someday also.

Barb, via e-mail

A. You can search the Web for "Henneke body condition" or go to http://uknowledge.uky.edu/anr_reports/10/. The spinous process is a pointy part of the vertebrae that sticks up in the air--the withers are actually the spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae. These are often felt on slim or thin dogs/cats as you run your hand directly over their backs. The transverse processes are both right and left, are at 90º to the spinous process, and are most prominent on dairy cattle just behind the ribs (on the lower back lumbar vertebrae). On a very emaciated horse, you can see these as bony projections just above the flank area.


Download a free copy of The Horse's Equine Body Condition Scoring poster at TheHorse.com/30154 or purchase a high-quality poster at shop.thehorse.com

About the Author

Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM

Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, is a professor within the University of Kentucky's Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and editor of Equine Disease Quarterly.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More