Cresty Neck Score

May 2021

Cresty Neck Score (CNS) can be used as an additional fat score to assess fat along the top of the horse’s neck (known as the crest).

Did you know the amount of fat deposited along the neck is heavily influenced by breed? A cresty neck can be less commonly seen in thoroughbreds and more in cob types and stallions.

Get hands on and score your horse’s crest from 0-5 by using the images and descriptions below.

A CNS of 3 or higher has been linked to an increased risk of laminitis and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)1. This means a healthy CNS is 0-2.

 

 

Crest fat builds and reduces more slowly than other places in the body and once developed is unlikely to fully disappear due to changes in the cell tissue2. Therefore, don’t be disheartened if the crest fat doesn’t reduce like other areas.

ZERO

 

 

No crest can be seen or felt

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ONE

 

 

No crest can be seen but small amount of fat can be felt

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TWO

 

 

A crest can be seen but the fat is spread evenly from the poll to the withers. The crest can be held easily in one hand and is flexible and easy to bend from side to side.

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THREE

 

 

The crest is thick with a larger amount of fat in the centre of the neck than the poll or withers. The crest fills a hand and is not so easy to bend from side to side.

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FOUR

 

 

The crest is large and thickened with hard fat and cannot be held with one hand or bent easily from side to side. The crest may have creases along the top.

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FIVE

 

 

The crest is extremely large and droops to one side.

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References

1. Fitzgerald DM, Anderson ST, Sillence MN, de Laat MA (2019) The cresty neck score is an independent predictor of insulin dysregulation in ponies. PLOS ONE 14(7)

2. Rendle, D., et al (2018) Equine obesity: current perspectives UK-Vet Equine. 2(5).

 

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