Making sense of the weigh tape


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
I have weigh taped Sid morning and evening since I got the tape.

Friday evening: 550

Saturday morning after overnight on track: 560

Saturday evening after long grass and muzzle: 540

Sunday morning after overnight on track: 500!

Is it usual for it to vary so widely? Will the readings ever make sense?

I'm also very curious to know if anyone else's horse measures between 500 and 500 kgs and how tall that horse is (though perhaps I don't really want to know).


chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
I think there will be some variations but 60kgs is a lot. Are you getting it in exactly the same place each time. I use to find if it was up the withers just a little bit more it could make a difference to the reading.
I did find something on the net about measuring the girth with an ordinary measure and taking the horses length and to get a rough idea if you dont have a tape.
Might be worth doing.

I wouldnt get to worried about measuring daily. Once a week or once a month and make a note in the diary.

I put a peice of bale string round my two on Friday, and tied knots in it. So at least i now have a rough idea. Although i know both of mine have lost as the girths are doing up easier than a few weeks ago.
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
First of all don't use it so often, once a week is enough - you wouldn't weigh yourself morning anf night if you were on a diet.

Weigh tapes are, obviously, not like standing on the scales, they work on a calculation. This means you'll get a different figure if he's standing differently or even if he's on uneven ground. So take a look at how and where he's standing when you tape him and try to keep to that position when you next tape him. As a guide to how important it is Jim was a cribber and if I took a reading mid crib he'd easily be 40kg heavier than a few seconds earlier because he was braced on his toes, neck arched and rib cage fully expanded and braced. It wasn't a proper weight change, it was stance. Likewise he'd give a higher reading if measured straight after a schooling session when, despite a cool down, his body was still lifted and engaged.

Remember tapes are only a guide, a good one but a guide. Combine it with condition scoring, and don't let it become an obsession.


Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
you get that all the time. I can measure one, and go back 2 minutes later and get a totally different reading. Main thing is to perhaps do it at same time of the day, same circumstances and make sure the tension on the tape is the same. I tend to do them on a Sunday morning after breakfast before they go out and if i get a wild fluctuation i re-do it just to check
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Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
Yup, only weigh weekly at most, same time of day (morning for us) and Belle can change by about 40kg depending on if her head is up as in eating from a haynet or down as in hoovering the floor, I always use the very last hairs of her mane (where it stops on her withers) to the edge of the tape as again if it’s not quite the same place it will change the reading quite a bit.
Belle weighs in at 451 kg right now but I don’t mind at this time of year, I wont let her get any bigger though, she’ll drop down to about 400 - 420 coming out of winter and is 14.2 on the stick, full up chunk of Haflinger so not a skinny type.


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Yep I concur, I would weigh less often. A horse can eat their normal 24 hour grass ration in 3 hours if they are restricted for part of the day only, so I can imagine they can get the bloat to go with that but that won't accurately reflect fat deposits.
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