How can you see if you are to heavy for your horse?

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How can you see if you are to heavy for your horse?

This is a discussion on How can you see if you are to heavy for your horse? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How do you know if you are too heavy for your horse
  • Extremley out of breath after only a few minutes rising trot

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    04-06-2010, 07:24 AM
How can you see if you are to heavy for your horse?


I'm riding and training a 5 yo pony gelding. He is about 3.51 ft and as far as I can see, he is quite sound. The only thing is that he is overweight.

He's a speedy little guy that loves to gallop, when I ride him. To be honest I'm often impressed by his endurance and speed. However, after a long gallopp he's short of breath and it takes at least 10 minutes till his breath is absolutely normal again (absolutely normal = like before work). He also tends to sweat on his chest, but never on his back (where the saddle is).

He has been ridden for about half a year now, on average 2 times a week.

Everybody keeps telling me, that I'm not to heavy for him, and I also think so (because he is relaxed and spirited, when I ride him) but could his "being out of breath" be a sign for a too heavy rider? (I'm weighing about 99 lb, and I'm about 5.1 foot high).
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    04-06-2010, 08:22 AM
If you ride well you weigh nothing, if you ride poorly you are the weight of the world. 5 feet and 100 lbs is on the light side, enjoy : )

Is there any chance the pony can learn to trot longer, and gallop less until he is a little less heavy? Ten minutes to recover is not bad if he's been "bouncing around" for a half hour or more, but if he just ran off quick for a few minutes, I would really try to spend less energy over a longer period of time untill he looses some of the weight and fits up a bit.
    04-12-2010, 03:06 PM
I have to figure out how many hands that is 10.1 is that right?
I agree to bring him into shape slowly while he losses some weight.
If you feel you are oversized for him, do as I do and just get off once every hour and give him a break.
    04-12-2010, 03:15 PM
Green Broke
It doesn't sound to me like you are too big, it just sounds like your pony is out of condition, as the others said. Trotting is great conditioning as it works them more than cantering. Also walking in the sand is really good as well. Just imaging how it is for you walking in may only be walking, but there is way more work being done there.
    04-12-2010, 04:06 PM
He doesn't sound too bad to me, it might just be because he's overweight and maybe unfit.. I've always found that when I rode ponies I was a little too heavy for, they used to grunt when I was doing rising trot..
    04-13-2010, 01:36 PM
I know when I'm too heavy for a horse because the horse will hollow his back and take short little mincing steps, so they end up being extremely uncomfortable to ride. They just generally look and feel uncomfortable. I've only ridden two horses that were too small and I felt really bad afterward. If you're too heavy for your pony, you'd probably be able to feel it, if not see it. Like everyone else said, you don't sound too big and he's probably just out of shape.
    04-13-2010, 05:09 PM
Yea, he just seems over weight to me as well. I'm guessing when you say he usually sweats a lot on his chest, that his chest is pretty jigglly? Lol. That's probably why. Horses don't usually get a lot of fat on their back, yet they should still sweat somewhat. Any ways, since you're only 99lbs, and just above 5ft, there's no way you are too big for him. I weigh around 120 and I'm 5'3" and I've rode a POA before, which isn't much bigger than the pony you're talking about you riding. He's just out of shape.
    04-14-2010, 12:07 PM
I'd have to see a picture to say for sure, but it's very likely that your pony is out of shape. Try gradually getting him back into shape. Being out of breath doesn't necessarily mean you're too big for him. But like I said, I'd need a picture to say for sure. And it's more than weight. It's length of leg and torso as well. =]
    04-14-2010, 10:08 PM
In regards to the weight question, a general rule of thumb is as long as the rider is less than 20% of the horse's body weight you should be ok. IE. 1000lb horse, 200lb rider, and so on.

This isn't a steadfast rule however. There are additional considerations such as the frame of the horse (light framed or stout), the condition of the horse, and the rider's balance.

I'd have to agree with the rest of the posters that your pony is probably a little on the unfit side of things (just a guess as we haven't seen any photos). The other thing to consider is how long you are actually galloping for? I think it's reasonable for some horses/ponies to need to catch their breath after running full out for any sort of extended period of time.
    04-17-2010, 04:24 PM
Thank you for your suggestions and opinions. I think that it would be better for him to lose some weight but he lives in a free stall barn (Is this the right word? I'm talking of a stable where the horse can go in and out whenever it wants to) together with an Arabian gelding. During the day, some other Arabians join them and they have hay most of the time (which is very good for the digestion of horses, but not very good for horses that are already overweight). So the problem is that I can't put all the horses on a diet just because he is "a little bit fat". However, I think that at least a part of his fat will turn into muscles if he has enough exercise :)

I haven't got any sand here to ride on but I rode him a lot in the snow in winter - he did that very well and enjoyed it.

Here are some photos of my cute little Mister (they were taken in September)


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