how big is too big? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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how big is too big?

Have looked into taking a riding vacation with a friend.....most of them seem to limit riders at 200 lbs. My friend (female)weighs more than this but she is not enormous or completely out of shape. I believe that a great percentage of men are over 200lbs. I wonder if this is a reasonable restriction. Do you think that the stables who do these kind of rides are just being cautious with their animals or do you think there is another reason? I tend to believe the" average" horse can carry more than 200 lb easily so I wonder why this restriction is so common.
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post #2 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 07:20 PM
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But carrying full tack can put them carrying well over 200lbs depending on the weight of saddle.
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post #3 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 07:26 PM
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There is a big difference between a well-balanced larger rider and a floppy off-balance one. There is also a big difference between dead weight (a sack of flour) and live weight (a person). Most horses, even little ones, can pack around large amounts of dead weight no problem, but when an uncoordinated large amount of weight is one their back, that can become a problem. I've seen plenty a large warmblood be thrown off balance by a little girl crawling up its neck at just the wrong time over a jump. Plus, a lot of the horses I recall from paid trail rides were usually pretty scrawny.
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post #4 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 08:27 PM
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Last summer, we took a trail ride near Payson, AZ. If there was a weight limit, they didn't mention it. They had a range of horses, and some were big enough to easily handle a 250 lb man plus saddle.

Western saddles distribute the weight over a greater area than English, so that might make a difference with some horses. Also, if the vacation involved more strenuous riding than just a couple of hours of walking, then the owner might need to be more restrictive. A quick Google look here in AZ (trail rides az weight limit) had many places with a 250 limit, and one at 200 lb.
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post #5 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 10:23 PM
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I was just about to ask something similar to this. lol I weigh a little over 200 pounds and was curious about how much the average QH could carry. I've trail ridden on a few, but I felt bad that they had to carry me! XD The western saddles seem pretty heavy so I thought it was a little much. I was thinking of buying a light synthetic one when I get my own horse in the future.

I trail ride and will be doing lessons at my friends ranch and they ask that people tell them if they weigh over 225... I think thats when they bring out my favorite horse... Thunder Bill! He's a percheron/QH cross. lol Big guy.

So I suppose that people have different opinions that range between 200 and 250...

RIP Thunder Bill... I will never love another as I have loved you. <3
I go where the sound of thunder is.
We have always been dreamers in Montana.
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post #6 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 10:50 PM
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It is much EASIER for a horse to carry live weight than dead. However, live weight that is off balance, bumping on the back and slumping alond is hard on a horse for any length of time. If you learn to carry your weight well, your typical horse will be fine.
As for a synthetic, just make sure it fits. FIT is far more important than the extra 20 lbs of a heavy western (20 more than a synthetic)
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post #7 of 49 Old 01-22-2011, 10:56 PM
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Sorry I only meant to compare dead weight to uncoordinated live weight. I guess I didn't make that clear enough.
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post #8 of 49 Old 01-23-2011, 01:49 AM
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Some people go by the 20% rule. So a 1000 lb. horse could carry 200 lbs., and a 1200 lb. horse could carry 240 lbs.
It's probably good for trail riding outfits to have some sort of general rule like that. A lot of it depends on the length of the ride and type of terrain also.
But can actually be quite strenuous on a horse's back to carry a rider that sits down heavily at the walk for a long period of time.
How much a horse can carry seems more complicated to me than this simple rule. Is the horse in good shape? Does the horse have a very short back and thick bones? Then the horse can easily carry more than the 20% rule. Certain breeds like Icelandic horses and Arabians are bred to carry a lot of weight. I let riders a little over 200 lbs. ride on my 800 lb. Arabian, as long as they are good riders. But I wouldn't let a beginner rider I know who weighs around 250 lbs. ride her. A rider has to have good balance to ride on a horse that is smaller than the 20% rule or they might unbalance the horse and make them fall down.
I wouldn't put a large rider on a 1400 lb. horse with a sway back, bad arthritis, or spindly legs.
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post #9 of 49 Old 01-23-2011, 03:19 AM
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*snorts* sorry but over here you are lucky to find a place to ride at all if you are over 180lbs.

Whilst i might put a 200lb EXPERIANCED rider on some of my old horses it would only be for a short amount of time as I value thier backs too much!

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #10 of 49 Old 01-23-2011, 05:02 AM
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Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. We are talking about living, breathing creatures here and the barn / stable owners are entrusted with providing for their health, well-being and comfort.

Why would anyone want to draw the line at what is "physically possible?" If I were the owner of the horse I would be more concerned with what would be comfortable for the horse and what would be unnecessary strain on his/her back.

Getting into horse back riding is probably one of the better reasons to lose weight and be fit and active. I know its on my mind when my weight fluctuates and a very good friend of mine is going to take riding lessons as a reward to herself when she looses a particular (healthy) amount.

I'm not saying your friend or anyone else here or in the world "needs" to lose weight so no one jump down my throat about that. That's their own business and I could care less.

I just think it's interesting that the validity of the restriction is questioned as though its potentially unfair, biased or discriminatory (based on the end of the OP). Sorry if I read too much into this, it's late and I should be in bed :)

This might be inappropriate to say but it sort of reminds me of the Biggest Loser (used to love that show). Towards the end of the season they have the contestants carry the weight that they lost or wear it as body weights and they are always shocked and amazed at how uncomfortable it is now. I think a horse owner has every right to set restrictions for their animals.

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