Hope you guys are all staying warm up there in the United States! My name is Terra Bella, and I’m a racehorse living down in Belize, a small country in Central America. One of Lord Nelson’s pals, Leena Roy, visited me this past winter break during her study abroad trip. I am proud to say that I was one of her patients during her class! One of the first skills Leena learned was how to perform a physical exam. A physical exam allows veterinarians to ensure an animal is healthy, and to catch problems early so they can be treated. Typically, most physical exams are performed head to tail, meaning Leena started by looking at my teeth and gums, and then eyes and ears. She then proceeded to check my breathing and airways, starting at my nose, then moving down the neck, and finishing by listening to my lungs with her stethoscope.
Leena listening to my lungs with her stethoscope to ensure they are clear and healthy!
Leena continued my exam by checking out my body physique. Specifically, she felt certain parts of my body like the crest of my neck, my ribs, along my withers, and near my loin for fat. Depending on how squishy the certain parts of my body feel, I am then rated on a scale from one to nine, with nine being the chubbiest! This evaluation is known as the Henneke Horse Body Condition Score. It allows two-legged people to assess if I am eating too much or too little! Leena gave me a 5 for my body condition score, which means that I’m strong and healthy! Check out the scoring system here so you can evaluate your horses at home!
Also, Lord Nelson wanted me to tell you guys that Body Condition Scoring will be featured as a topic at the Junior Breeder Symposium, which will take place at the Red Barn on the Rutgers Farm on Saturday April 7th!!! I highly suggest you guys register to learn about all things equine! Lord Nelson’s best friends will be discussing body condition scoring, specific types of hay and quality, and equine dentition and dental care. And I promised Lord Nelson I would keep this a secret, but the Equine Science Center has some new “models” you want to be sure not to miss. You can register for the Symposium here: https://esc.rutgers.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/NJ-Jr-Breeder-Livestock-Symposium-Registration-packet.pdf
It has been nice talking to you guys! I hope your warm season starts off on the right HOOF! 😉
With love from Belize,