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Horse VS Rider size

This is a discussion on Horse VS Rider size within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
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    07-16-2011, 11:36 AM
The conservative estimate used is that a horse can carry 20% of their weight, but most horses can carry a lot more. Our stocky Paint mares can easily carry 30% of their weight all day with energy to spare.
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    07-16-2011, 11:40 AM
A horse can carry 20% of their weight at a time. :-D
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    07-16-2011, 03:53 PM
Green Broke
An Arabian is a pretty darn tough little horse and you are no where near a weight limit or no one would be riding a horse EVER!!!

Years ago I knew a guy that showed Western Pleasure on QH's. Big shows - not little local of the horses he rode (for a client) was a horse named Mac. Mac was probably about 15.2 and a good sized horse body wise. He had 64 Western Pleasure Points and 63 Halter Points with AQHA. Mike was humongous and I mean that literally. He weighed every bit of 325 lbs if he weighed an ounce and he would get on any of the QH's and they never flicked an ear or grunted or anything. He got on...rode them, trained them, etc. and they were just fine. The famous AQHA cutting horse Smart Little Lena was all of 13.3 hh - and I am sure he was carrying a cowboy that wasn't tiny.

I am by no means a light weight...I am certainly queen sized and Biscuit carries me just fine up and down hills, etc. He is around 15 hands, built like a foundation QH. My friends ride Arabians and they are tough as nails so have a good time and banish that thought.
    07-16-2011, 11:34 PM
Thanks everyone for your replys! That makes me feel a lot better about my weight.
Im planning on trying to drop a couple pounds this summer and get into a better shape, hopefullly everything goes well.

Your comments were appreciated!!
    09-15-2011, 08:20 AM
I maintain a resource center for plus sized riders (not that you are plus sized!) and I ran an article called "How Big is Too Big?- The Great Weight Debate" where I touch upon the weight bearing capacity of horses. Here is a summation of my article:

Scientific studies show that horses can safely carry 20% of their body weight with little indication of stress, while horses who carries 25-30% of their body weights experiences higher heart rates, faster breathing, and more muscle soreness and tightness. The article concludes that a 1200lb horse would be best suited for carrying no more than 240lbs of tack and rider.

Other research demonstrates the importance of equine fitness in correlation with weight bearing capacity, concluding that the standard for a horse is to carry 20% of it’s body weight safely, but it is strongly suggested that “it depends” on factors such as the horses health, overall fitness level, and type and duration of riding he is used for.

I have another article coming up next week called "How to detect lamness in your horse" where we go over ways to make sure your horse is sound with proper fitting tack to prevent lameness potentially caused or exacerbated by a rider's weight. Briefly:
  • Look for non-specific signs
  • Look at the whole horse
  • Watch your horse move
  • Listen to your horse's footfalls
  • Feel for under saddle clues
  • Observe your horses feet
I think at 155 pounds your horse is MORE than capable of carrying you, but if you have cause for concern check your tack for proper fit and keep him/her well conditioned to avoid potential soundness issues. It is nice to see owners who are respectful of the horses well-being!

rider fitness, size, weight

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