How Much Weight Can A horse Carry??

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How Much Weight Can A horse Carry??

This is a discussion on How Much Weight Can A horse Carry?? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    11-18-2012, 11:14 AM
Red face How Much Weight Can A horse Carry??

How much weight in % can a horse carry including tack and rider? I can't remember if it is 10% or 20% of his body weight.
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    11-18-2012, 11:16 AM
The general rule of thumb is 20%, which includes weight of the tack as well as the rider. That's just a very general rule though, and can be affected by how the horse is built as well as the physical fitness of the rider.
Clava likes this.
    11-18-2012, 11:19 AM
Originally Posted by Bryerhillfarm    
How much weight in % can a horse carry including tack and rider? I can't remember if it is 10% or 20% of his body weight.

They debate of the century

Breed, Conditioning, Age, Length of Time Ridden, Expertise of Rider, Etc.

Some use the 20% rule, some 25% .... so many factors are involved

    11-18-2012, 12:37 PM
Articles on riders weight effecting a horses soundness?

Bottom line: It depends. 20% is lower than necessary for most horses. 30% is probably near the upper end without noticeable degradation in the horse's performance. In between will vary with rider, horses and goals.
    11-18-2012, 01:07 PM
Green Broke
It also depends on what you are doing with the horse. If you are 20% (with tack) of the horse's weight (lets assume a 1300 pound horse) that is 260 pounds! That is a LOT if you are jumping 3'6" or 4' and it is a LOT if you are asking for any sort of strenuous work involving speed and agility (such as eventing or barrel racing). Is it too much on a trail ride? IMO it is.. but the one to ask is the horse.

There is a reason race horses are handicapped with weight.. because it absolutely DOES impact the horse.. and in the case of a race horse we are often talking 10% or less with tack.
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    11-18-2012, 01:40 PM
20% is not too much for a trail ride, unless there is something wrong with the horse.

If someone wants maximum speed or maximum jumping, the the less weight the better. But you don't need to be a 110 lb jockey to trail ride. With tack, I weigh 210. On my 900 lb mare, that is 23%. On my 830 lb gelding, that is 25%. Neither has any problem with my weight. I have ridden my 700ish mustang pony. That is 30%, and he has to noticeably adjust his stride and movement to carry my weight. He can do it - he can gallop with me and not breath hard afterward or show any signs of a sore back, but he is obviously taking shorter strides and compensating for all the weight. But yes, he can handle my weight for a 1-2 hour trail ride. No, he couldn't do much jumping with me...
    11-18-2012, 02:13 PM
Green Broke
Thats one of those unanswerable questions. How much weight can a person carry ? Not really any such thing as "A" horse. Also the horses weight has little to nothing to do with what it can carry, so saying any percent is and isnt good is ridiculous. At 170lbs I could carry a 100lb ruck all day long, at 220 I wouldnt last long at half that. Fitness and confirmation is way more important than body weight. Not to mention most people have never weighed a horse. So arbitrary percents based on an arbitrary weight.
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