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Discuss how much can a horse hold?? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

I am curious as to how much weight a horse can hold. I am refering ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member Teaka_Winnie's Avatar
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    how much can a horse hold??

    I am curious as to how much weight a horse can hold.

    I am refering as to a rider on the horse...

    so ye, how many pounds can a horse hold comfortably? thanks
    Last edited by Teaka_Winnie; 07-11-2007 at 03:50 PM.
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    Senior Member Shodan VIV's Avatar
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    I think you need to know how much the horse weighs to find that out.

    I think it is about 10%-20% of the horses body weight.

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    Well there are a whole bunch of other factors such as age of the horse and type of riding. Telling a horses height without weight does not work either... for instance if the horse is 16 hands high but only weighs in at about 900 pounds it will not pack as much as a horse that weighs in at 1300 pounds. Also unless the horse is over 3 years of age and all the joints have sealed it should not be packing much!

    Just for the record my husband is 6'4" and weighs in about 235. I am 6' and weigh in about 175... we ride horses a lot that weigh in around 900 to 1000 pounds and some have only been 13.3 hands!!!!

    We had a great stallion that was short... he was barely 13.3, but he had over a million dollars of cutting earnings on the face of his papers. Jason and I both rode him packing in the area here one day... LOL Dalton Kruse trainer was here to pick him up for a client and he wanted to know if the horse would pack. I climbed on and Jason ran a reining pattern with me back there!!!! Between us we probably weighed about 350.
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    There are so many considerations that go into it, like the build of the horse (legs and back), the condition of the horse, the age of the horse, the type of riding, the type of tack, etc.

    A standard rule of thumb is around 20%. It can go up/down from there based on the above considerations.

    For instance, my gelding weighs 900-1000. I weigh 250-255 (my saddle/pad is around 25-30), so in total, about 28-31%. He has no problems packing me around for short distances/rides. I'm working on his conditioning to be able to carry me longer. He has good strong legs and a nice short back (arab), so those things help increase his weight carrying capability.
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    We had the weight dilemma over a 'large pony' last year, and asked the vets opinion. The pony 13.3/ 750 lb would be- in the vets opinion- ok with me up, @120 lb, but not the other person/kid in question, who was 150+lb.
    Short answer, vets rule of thumb was 20%.
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    It is not out of the norm for endurance horses doing up to 100 miles in a day to carry 28%. They figure the ideal would be 23% or under. They also found that (in general) the combined weight of horse and rider as it went over 1200lbs factored in to the over-all performance and the line dropped from there for THIS sport.

    Rider ability, and horse's comfort (tack/saddle), the horse's conformation, are going to be the biggest factors in how well the horse handles weight. Fitness is grand, but if the other factors are missing it won't help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Temposmom View Post
    Rider ability, and horse's comfort (tack/saddle), the horse's conformation, are going to be the biggest factors in how well the horse handles weight. Fitness is grand, but if the other factors are missing it won't help.
    Well said. That's why I'm taking riding lessons and just bought a new saddle that fits Meteor VERY well. I studied everything I could about saddle fitting because I KNEW with my weight, it would be VERY important.
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    Senior Member+ 4horsem0m's Avatar
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    I've always been told 20% of the horses weight, a friend of mine sticks very strongly to that. I feel guilty and bad for my horse asking him to pack me around! I'm at 5'6" and am down to 160, I saw a picture of me mounted and thought I looked awful, just my terrible self image I suppose.
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    The following if from:


    CHERRY HILL'S HORSEKEEPING NEWSLETTER
    June 2006

    CarryingWeight

    A horseís body isnít really designed to carry extra weight, but it can by virtue of its suspension-bridge features.

    How much weight can a horse carry? This will depend on several factors including the horseís weight, bone, conformation, breed, condition, type of riding, riderís skill, and type of saddle used.

    An often quoted thumb rule is that a horse can carry 20% of his ideal weight. (If a horse is overweight, that extra weight he is already carrying must be taken into consideration.) This would mean a 1200 pound horse could carry 240 pounds which would include rider plus tack. Horses with denser, larger bone might be able to carry more than the 20%. Bone is determined by measuring the circumference of the foreleg just below the knee. Average is about 8 Ĺ inches for a 1200 pound riding horse. If a horse has lighter bone, he would likely be able to carry less than 20%. If he has heavier bone, he would likely be able to carry more than 20%. Horses with short strong backs, short strong loins and tight coupling tend to be able to carry more weight than average. Thatís why Icelandic, Arabian and some Quarter Horses are suited to carry higher weights. A horse in peak condition will be able to support weight better than a thin, poorly conditioned horse. A horse used for walking and posting trot work might be able to carry more weight than a horse that is used for galloping or jumping. But even that depends on the skill of the rider. A skilled rider sits in balance and moves in harmony with the horse. A loose, crooked or imbalanced rider continually throws the horse off balance and thus makes his work more difficult. Therefore a skilled rider might be able to ride a smaller horse while a novice rider might require a larger, more solid horse to compensate for the erratic movements of the rider. Finally, the type of saddle can affect the weight carrying capacity of a horseís back. A riderís weight as well as the weight of the saddle itself, is distributed on the horseís back by the bearing surface of an English saddleís panels or the tree of a Western saddle. An average English saddle has a bearing surface of about 120 square inches and an average Western saddle has a bearing surface of about 180 inches. So when using a Western saddle, a riderís weight will be borne by an area that is 1 Ĺ times the size of the bearing surface of an English saddle. When comparing, you will also need to take into consideration that a Western saddle might weigh 15-40 pounds while an English saddle would weigh between 10-20 pounds.

    Because the back ligaments weaken with age and use, we need to fit saddles well and learn to ride effectively in order to preserve our horsesí comfort and usefulness.

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    Senior Member+ Preppy_Ponies's Avatar
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    It's not so much how tall the horse is rather depends on their confirmation and fitness level. Heavier, horses with shorter backs are better suited to carrying weight than taller horses with long backs. But 20% is a good rule of thumb. Also the riders ability greatly affects how much a horse can carry. A 200lb rider who knows how to ride properly is easier to carry then a 150lb beginner who just kind of flaps around. Does than make sense? I am 260 or so and have ridden many different hores from a 18hd hanovarian to a 13.2hd appy pony. All where fine carrying me but before getting on a new horse I always run through it in my head to make sure the horse will be okay.

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