Return to Website

Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
This Forum is Locked
Formula for a horse's weight?

Hi Dr. Getty:

I usually use a weight tape to take my horse's weight. By the weight tape, my 15.2hh Percheron X mare is 1280 lbs, my 15hh Paint/QH gelding is 1120 lbs.
Recently found out how to use a formula using heartgirth and length (HG time 2; times length; divided by 330), which is supposed to be much more accurate, save putting the horse on a scale.
By this formula, my mare's heartgirth is 79", her length is 74". The result for her is close to 1,400 lbs! The gelding's heartgirth is 76", his length is 71", so his result is 1,243 lbs. Does this sound normal to you? My mare is a bit on the chubby side, could be called fat, she is heavy-chested to begin with. The gelding just looks healthy, can't see ribs, but can feel them, they're a bit spongy, but not bad.

These weights just seem like a lot to me, especially my mare! They are not ridden much right now due to extreme heat here at the moment. Should I put her in a restricted pasture? I can only feel her ribs back toward her flank, and she has a crease on top of her bum...her tailhead has ridges above on both sides that are soft, and her wither seems non-existent, like mutton-withers.

Also, when I start winter feeding oats, should I go with 1/4 lb to start, and work up to their regular ration at 1/4 lb increments...or would it be fine to go with 1/2 lb? I only feed a maximum of 1 lb per day, so they will eat their vitamins and flax.

Thank you for your time, sorry for the long post.

Where are you from? Ontario, Canada

How did you locate this forum? In my Favourites

Re: Formula for a horse's weight?

Hi Tamara,

Your weights are likely somewhere in between the weight tape measure and the body measurements method since you can easily be off by an inch or so when doing the measurements yourself. Nevertheless, your mare sounds overweight and it is important to take measures to reduce her weight. I would suggest that you avoid feeding her oats -- even a small amount -- because she is likely insulin resistant.

So, instead of offering oats as a carrier for the flax and supplements, try using hay pellets or beet pulp. Or, you can even purchase a low starch feed such as Triple Crown Low Starch.

Restricting pasture may or may not be worthwhile. It's important that she be able to nibble on forage throughout the day, so you don't want to pen her up in a dry lot for hours without any hay. You could give her hay during the afternoon and early evening hours instead of letting her graze on pasture, since the sugar levels are at their highest that time of day.

Keep me posted!

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Colorado