Safe weight for a horse to carry? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-26-2012, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Safe weight for a horse to carry?

I'm sure this is a question that's been asked before on here, but I wanted opinions for my specific situation... please =)

I have a 15 year old Arabian mare, about 14.2 hh, who at the moment is about 100 lbs overweight (cresty neck, etc.). I purchased her in January and she was very well loved, just not maintained (fed corn and round bales, no hoof work, no vaccines, wormer, etc.).

I've gotten her to drop about 75-100 lbs so far and am introducing her slowly back into work. My current saddle is about 26 lbs and I'm about 155 lbs. I've heard that 20% of the horse's weight is ideal. That means at her ideal weight, she could carry about 160 lbs. So, atm, with my saddle and equip we are probably teetering at about 190. I've already dropped 20 lbs off myself because I was worried, not sure if I need to do more?
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-26-2012, 12:19 PM
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20% is really just the ideal weight, and this scale was actually based on military horses that were made to work 6-8 hours a day at a trot and canter. At 190 pounds, as long as you keep your rides short at first as she's still loosing weight, and you condition her well before doing any strenuous riding, she should be perfectly fine. Arabians are very hardy little horses that can carry a grown man with ease. Just go slow with her, make sure that your saddle fits well, and go from there!

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post #3 of 3 Old 03-26-2012, 12:33 PM
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Well, I'm a 175 lb guy who regularly rides a 700 lb mustang pony, an Appaloosa gelding who weighs 830, and an Arabian mare who weighs 900 lbs.

The only one who has to adjust his movement any for me is the pony. The mare and the Appy can go for hours with me.

More info here:

Articles on riders weight effecting a horses soundness?

If you trot with her, and she feels a bit wobbly, then your weight is probably more than she can handle right now. I had a 750 lb Arabian mare who, when learning, did that. However, after a few weeks of riding, she handled my weight fine. I personally would not worry until your weight breaks 25%, and even then I'd just make sure she had the conditioning to handle it. With the mustang, the total weight is breaking 30%...he gets the job done, and will even gallop with me pretty easily, but I don't ride him daily, and don't ride him for over an hour unless it is all walking.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."

Last edited by bsms; 03-26-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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