Can a 15.1 hh, 1100 lb quarter horse carry a 300 lb man for a short 1 hr trail ride? - Page 4

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Can a 15.1 hh, 1100 lb quarter horse carry a 300 lb man for a short 1 hr trail ride?

This is a discussion on Can a 15.1 hh, 1100 lb quarter horse carry a 300 lb man for a short 1 hr trail ride? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    03-14-2013, 02:09 PM
[QUOTE=bsms;1937617]I disagree that a fat guy will carry more weight to the front of a saddle. Fat guys, like skinny guys, sit balanced for their total weight and body build. There is also no one weight bearing point in a saddle. The thighs can carry a lot of the weight, or not - depending on how someone rides. Does the guy lean forward a bit, or lean back, or stay straight up and down? Does his back flex to move with the horse, or is he a sack of potatoes?


Of course you are right. If you have a big belly, you will lean back to balance yourself, thus keeping the center of your mass over your center of gravity. Otherwise, a pregnant woman would topple over forward, right? This is physics.

This question of whether to allow your boyfriend to ride your 'weight seasoned" horse is really up to you. It's certain that your horse CAN carry that weight. That fact that you are concerned about it means to me that you have some doubts about the wisdom of letting him ride your hrose. It's your horse, and in your care. You know what's right for it.

If it were mine, I would probably say no. The woman who is riding, in my opinion, is at about the upper edge of what I would ask a hrose of that size to carry. If you wanted to let your Boyfriend get on for 5 minutes to feel what it's like, that's different. Again, it's personal . I would opt for no. (and btw, I am a large woman at 200lbs).

Having a concern for the horse carrying a heavy person is not being a "fat-hater".
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    03-14-2013, 02:29 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by bsms    
A lot of us have had trouble with getting a lighter rider...

And with my own horses, riding on the flat, I haven't seen any sign of struggle until pushing 30%. At about 30%, they very noticeably change how they move and balance. With little Cowboy, riding him at 32%, it is mostly noticeable in sharp turns. In a straight line, he'll cheerfully gallop with me and not even breath hard afterward.

With Lilly (since sold), when she was green broke, she had to learn how to carry my 210 lbs (including saddle) on her 800 lb body - 26%. It was noticeable when doing turns at a trot. However, after 3-4 rides, she figured it out and seemed to have no more problem with my weight.

Like most recreational riders, I don't spend 12 hour days in the saddle. But a lot of 200+ lb cowboys, using 40 lb saddles, would be in trouble if they needed to keep their weight at 20%. Trooper is an ex-ranch horse. He weighs <850 on a fat day, and wasn't fat on the ranch - yet he carried 200+ lb men with a 40 lb saddle for 10+ hour days in the mountains. And he is quite sound...although he also has the short Arabian back. However, he hated cutting cattle, which may have been because he didn't like working cattle, or it may have just been too hard of a job for a horse carrying 30% or more of his weight already.

BTW - why is 20% the top end that you would only carefully consider exceeding? What is your rationale?
If you see a horse struggling at 30% then you can bet the horse was uncomfortable way before that as horses are by nature prey animals which will go to great lengths to not appear vulnerable.

My rationale is based entirely upon how I have seen different horses respond to heavy riders and it is based upon personal experience (40 years of pony and horse ownership). I said very clearly that this would be unacceptable for my horses, I have seen horses backs damaged and believe that it is not something they should have to do. We have a responsibility to not cause them unnecessary discomfort for our pleasure. Carrying excess weight seems unnecessary to me.
    03-14-2013, 02:58 PM
By struggling, I don not mean staggering around. I mean taking shorter strides, to an extent that I can feel it. Or taking more care in the turns. At 32% of Cowboy's weight, he is more careful making a sharp turn than my bigger horses are. But I doubt anyone watching would notice.

I have never had a horse visibly struggle with a weight. And my biggest horse, the one I ride the vast majority of the time, carries 23-24% of her weight with me on her back. Trooper is at 25-26% every time I ride him, and I've never seen or felt any sign of difficulty with him, either. But since he has a lot of experience in his earlier life carrying 30-31% for 8-12 hour days, he probably thinks he has it easy here.

I guess the bottom line to me is that carrying 'excess weight' happens every time a rider gets on a horse, and that is how they earn their food. An 80 lb bale of bermuda hay currently runs me $18+. I don't feed them to stand around in a corral and look cute. Except for Cowboy. He get ridden about once a month, but earns his keep by playing the clown with the other horses.

The only scientific study I know of that suggests 20% is connected with reality is one where they had the horses in the study spend 4 months without being ridden. They then were worked for 45 minutes, with 14 days rest before the next 45 minutes of work.
"Results of this study suggest that, for lighter riding horses, a total weight (rider, saddle, other equipment) not in excess of 20% of the horse's body weight is quite acceptable and does not stress the horse."

I agree. If your horse is totally out of shape, then keeping the rider's weight down to 20% should prevent any soreness after a 45 minute ride. But then, I don't believe in riding a horse 2 times a month, for 45 minutes a ride. I would consider a horse used like that to be badly out of shape, just as I am after 4 years without regular jogging. The answer for me, with my body, is to get in shape - not to spend the rest of my life walking because anything else is too much work!

If I was a small female, I might feel free to think otherwise. But if I lost 20 lbs, I'd look like a pro boxer, and it isn't likely to happen. Everyone has to make the decision for their own horses. I personally start worrying at 30%...
    03-14-2013, 03:07 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by bsms    
B 30-31% for 8-12 hour days, he probably thinks he has it easy here.

I guess the bottom line to me is that carrying 'excess weight' happens every time a rider gets on a horse, and that is how they earn their food. An 80 lb bale of bermuda hay currently runs me $18+. I don't feed them to stand around in a corral and look cute. Except for Cowboy. He get ridden about once a month, but earns his keep by playing the clown with the other horses.
I don't expect mine to earn their food by having to carry weights that I feel are unreasonable and detrimental (which in excess of 20% can be) They provide me with the pleasure of riding them and their company and in return I keep them in the way I can. If I wanted to put heavier riders on my horses then I would buy much bigger, stronger, weight carrying types (Highlands, Clydesdales, HW cobs etc)
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    03-14-2013, 03:24 PM
Perhaps one should take a lungewhip and hold it from the riders shoulder, past the hip and to the heel and see how the weight is distributed. I taught one obese lady and her weight distribution scared me. A small stumble and I knew she'd be on the ground head first. Her legs stuck out to the side because of all the fat on the inside of her legs. There was no way she could touch her heels to the horse's sides. As she pointed out, when your butt is larger than your horse's, it's time to do something about it, and she did.
    03-14-2013, 04:31 PM
Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
I have to ask as politely as possible what is your beef with us fat people?
It's really not about fat people, it's about how much weight a horse can safely carry. As for instance I'm 6 ft and a pretty muscular 200 lbs, so not fat by any reasonable standard. I'm still concerned that I might be too heavy for my horse to carry comfortably, and so I bought the lightest reasonably-priced saddle I could find, don't expect to fill saddlebags with 50+ lbs of camping gear, etc.
Clava likes this.
    03-14-2013, 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by jamesqf    
It's really not about fat people,
My question there was specifically directed at Palomine, who always jumps up on these threads.

To your point, absolutely, it is about total weight the horse has to carry BUT, as I said earlier, I have watched many videos of a short and yes fat lady riding, her horse does not appear to be the least concerned with the weight, but her body shape appears to be making her a very poor rider, which must put extra stress on her boy.

I keep coming back to this being such a complicated subject, especially if you are not there to observe horse and rider working together.

This lovely lady is 5' 6" and weighs 300 pounds

This lady also weighs 300 pounds

She is 5' 10" and obviously has a different body type.

While it is about weight, it is also about fitness, and all sorts of other variables, and that is without thinking about the horse and all the 100's of variables that need to be considered on their side.
    03-14-2013, 05:17 PM
Either of the ladies pictured above are going to present a challenge to a small horse.
    03-14-2013, 07:43 PM
For a horse to carry any amount of weight correctly, it needs to learn to round its back up. That applies to an 80 lbs or 300 lbs rider. I would hope this is the concern that people have when riding. Is the horse using itself correctly? If not, the weight of the rider is a moot point, because damage is occurring regardless of rider weight.
    03-14-2013, 07:55 PM
Originally Posted by Celeste    
Either of the ladies pictured above are going to present a challenge to a small horse.
LOL, then we would have to define small! The question is though, in perception and in reality would they both be accepted and acceptable riding the appropriately sized horse?

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