Several times a year, before we worm our horses, we weigh them. The vet comes twice a year – and weighs them. Even if we weigh our horses the day before, there is usually a discrepancy between our weight and the vet’s weight. Sometimes a few pounds, sometimes quite a few pounds.

Buttercup's weight using the weight tape

Buttercup’s weight using the weight tape

I have never been comfortable with the “weight tape” because even if you think you are putting it around the heart girth, it can slip. It can be at a different angle every time it is used. It can be tighter or looser than the last time. And what about the thickness of the horse’s coat?

Problem solved. We purchased a livestock scale! Okay, we got it to weigh our cattle to make sure they were market ready, but, horses can stand on it too. And so they did.

In my scientific study of the horse’s weight, I used the weight tape on the horse to get the tape weight.

Buttercup taped out at 1001 pounds. A respectable weight for this mare.

Buttercup getting weighed.

Buttercup getting weighed.

We walked her onto the scale, and, oh my! She gained 113 pounds between the time we taped her and she walked onto the scale!

Buttercup's weight using the livestock scale

Buttercup’s weight using the livestock scale

This held true for EVERY horse. Some of the horses varied by only 50 pounds, which is the acceptable range for the tape, but most weight in with a 100 pound or greater difference between the tape and the scale.

So, which do I believe? The horses claim the scale if off, but we checked it with our weight and it was only a few pounds more – but considering we had our boots and winter coats on, it was within two or three pounds of our scale in the house.

Looks like it will be exercise time in the arena for both the horses and me this spring!


Linda Watson is the owner and head riding instructor at Pretty Pony Pastures. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities at this facility.

Slick Chick "before"

It’s not often that you can see a Haflinger’s ribs.  In fact, we never saw them until we got Slick Chick.  Here’s a picture of Tom holding her when we unloaded her from the trailer.  You can count every rib, hip bone shows up also.  There was a bump on her hind end where the spine and croup join.  Never saw that on a horse either.  Had to ask the vet about that one.

Our vet body scored her at 3.5.  That was where I placed her as well.  But we were told with a good diet, exercise and love, Slick would do okay.

That was the fall of 2004. 

 Today Slick is fat, sassy, and well, just plain beautiful.  We spent the first two years slowly getting her weight up while also teaching her ground manners, doing some desensitizing, and most importantly, giving her lots of love.  She enjoys being groomed, so even while unrideable, she was used regularly in our Girl Scout programs for hands on work.

Aubrey mounts Slick ChickWe are now working with her under saddle. 

She has learned to stand square at the mounting block and not move off until given the signal.

She has a very nice trot and a fast walk.  She is very willing to learn and  will be an asset to our program next year.

 To honor this special horse, we are featuring her in our ornament series.  Each year we create an ornament with one of the horses from Pretty Pony Pastures.  At the end of the Christmas season, the ornament will be retired, making it a great gift and collectible.  The oval ornament is 2.3” wide by 3.25” tall and comes with a red ribbon, ready to be hung on your Christmas tree. 

ornament-sampleOn this year’s ornament, Slick Chick is wearing faux reindeer antlers.

Purchase your Haflinger Christmas ornament at  All items purchased at this Pretty Pony Pastures Gift Shop support our therapeutic riding program.

If you are looking for love, check out our Love me, Love my Horse section. We love all breeds of horses there