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How accurate/ inaccurate are weight tapes?

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  • How accurate/ inaccurate are weight tapes?

    Since I do all of my worming based on weight tape measurements, I'm just curious how 'off' they are. Does it overestimate/underestimate?

  • #2
    Depends on the horse, but if it's going to be off I've never heard it being over, always under.

    For my TB gelding it was nearly dead on.

    For my WB gelding and TB mare, it's under by 50-150lb.

    This is a much more reliable method, and you can then get a feel for how accurate the tape is for any given horse

    Face it, it's so much easier to whip out the tape than to take 2 measurements and plug in the calculator, so it's nice to find out the tape is valid for any given horse

    But regardless of being accurate or not, it's still very useful for seeing easily if the horse is gaining or losing weight without the need to be terribly accurate as to the actual weight.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • Original Poster

      Thanks so much JB. I hope I haven't been underdosing my horses. I'll do the more accurate way and compare. Thank you again (you're just helping me left and right tonight!)


      • #4
        I mentioned this in another thread, but it was 200lbs off for my mare.
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


        • #5
          Tape said 950#, scale said 1120#.


          • #6
            The math method said my horse weighs over 1900 pounds. He's a big boy, but I think that's way over. Then it said that little (but stocky) horse weighs 1300? I don't think so...


            • Original Poster

              Well, maybe it will be more accurate on mine (the weight tape that is) because these are all Arabs (short backs). Right now the weight tape shows my 15hh stallion at 1100lb. He's a bit chunky but has an EXTREMELY short back. It shows my 14.2 fat gelding at 960lb. And then a good condition 14.2 mare at 885lb and two lighter weight younger horses (14.2 or so) at 825lb or so. It doesn't look off to me, but only because that's the only method I've ever used.

              When I worm I always add about 50lbs worth to the weight to try not to under dose but I'm still worried I've been under dosing. Nobody looks wormy, but there are a couple of fat ones (hay belly look). I'll do the other method on Monday and see where it stacks up.


              • #8
                My understanding is that the weight tapes are not very accurate for getting the actual weight. But they are useful if the same person does the taping, to note gains and losses of weight on a horse.
                Cant speak to the fourmula.
                With my 15.2 guy who tapes just under 1,000 lbs, I always use the entire tube of dewormer on the basis that some doesnt get in and that the safety margin is high enough that I dont worry if it all does get in. I imagine it is a bit trickier with a smaller pony or a horse that is at the top edge of the dewormer's effectiveness. Any other weight-dosed medications have been prescribed by the vet who also estimates the dose.


                • #9
                  My pony weighs 50-100lbs more than the tape. I give her 1000 of wormer and save the last 250 for one of the mini donks. But by accident, I have dispensed a whole tube of wormer into a 250lb donk. Immediately called the vet who just laughted. Evidently, most wormer is really safe, just never use Quest on little ones.


                  • #10
                    For what it is worth, the weight that I get depends on the weigh tape I use. With the old one the horse checked in at 1073. With the new one, he checked in at 1183 on the same day. He has been on a weight loss diet for a month now, looks substantially better and is due to be weighed soon. Frankly, I only use it to establish a number of some kind, and then go up or down from there. If I can feel the ribs easily when running my hand across the rib cage, and there are no fatty deposits on the neck, alongside the withers or on the tailhead, we are doing well. The tape becomes a general guideline, only.

                    If you have some time one day, you can load up the horse and trailer him to a moving company. Drive the rig onto the scale, get the weight, then return the horse to the barn; return to the moving company and weigh the rig without him and do the math. That will be a much better weight to go by.
                    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                    • #11
                      My tape was only 10 lbs off on my weanling compared to the vet clinic's scale.
                      I'm not an outlier; I just haven't found my distribution yet!


                      • #12
                        Last week I measured my horse using a tape measure & level and she was exactly 15.2 (I always eyeballed her at that height)
                        Weight tape had her around 1000#
                        Today I was somewhere where they had a horse scale, and she was 1212#

                        She does not look like a hefty horse at all! It must be all muscle ;-D


                        • #13
                          It depends on the tape. Different tapes use different formulas.

                          This is an excellent article about estimating equine weight, and provides a formula that is even more accurate than the formula JB linked above.


                          • #14
                            I found with my gelding that the tape put him at 100lb less than he actually weighed on a scale. I have not been able to weigh my mare on a scale, but because they are built similarly, I add 100lb to whatever the tape says for both of them.
                            If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                            Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                            • #15
                              a tape weighed my mare at 930 lbs.
                              we then took her to A&M for surgery and the real scale showed 1140.

                              quite significant.

                              Also, those tapes also always measured my horse at 17.2h. (LMAO)
                              He's just under 17H.

                              not very good if you ask me.
                              Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                              • #16
                                For those who are having such drastic differences, how are you measuring?

                                Are you measuring behind the withers or on the withers? At an angle to the girth area?

                                Which / what brand / where did you get the weight tape from?


                                • #17
                                  My horse taped at 1147 and the scale said 1306. I took him home and taped him and marked it 1300 so I could use that as a reference from then on.

                                  I measure in the girth area, making sure that the tape is vertical and not slanted.


                                  • #18

                                    This is somewhat helpful. It shows where to place the measure.

                                    Found the reference I was looking for:


                                    • #19
                                      Don't know about the horses, but it was amazingly accurate on me My daughter measured around my chest, just under my armpits, and it was exactly on the pound! It was within 2 lbs of her weight too. But, it was about 20 lbs over on my husband (or so he said ).


                                      • #20
                                        Tape says 1170 scale said 990... still wondering how a 16.1 h TB can be under 1000 lbs...