I'm trying to decide how much weight my horse can carry. I know the 20% rule and have read pretty much every point of view on this issue. The problem is, I'm not sure how much she weighs, so I'll tell you all the relevant information I know and let you guys tell me what you think!
My horse is an 18 year old (she's healthy and sound) quarter horse (which are known for their weight-carrying abilities). I don't know exactly how tall she is, but I think she's around 15 hands (her withers are about level with the middle of my face, and I'm 5'4). I'm not sure of her weight (she seems to be of average weight for her size - she's not especially slim or stocky, and doesn't have a very wide chest). She's not very big boned, but she's not especially fine boned either.
My first question is: How much do you think she weighs? Best estimate?
I don't think I'm too big for her (I weigh 150 to 155) - she seems absolutely fine with me (I'm just getting her back into shape (well, I'm riding her, but not very hard)...she's a rescue and she used to do barrel racing (so she's obviously used to hard work) but then once she came to my barn she was only very occasionally ridden, for maybe a month and half until I started riding her - and on this topic: she was too skinny when she came in (her old owners didn't take good care of her)). She wasn't extremely emaciated (like some of the other rescues we've gotten), but she was still much too skinny. She's been on a weight gaining supplement and started to really fill out once I started to spend time with her. Right now she's around at a healthy weight. I don't work her hard (I ride for less than an hour and have still more or less stuck to a walk so far - soon we'll trot).
So here's my second question - my parents might start riding her (once she gets more mellowed out (even though in my opinion she's good now...at least while being ridden!)). My dad weighs around 180 (I THINK - I'll find out soon and update this thread!). Definitely less than 200 pounds. My Mom weighs around 160, I think (again, I'll update this accurately as soon as I find out exactly). They'll be doing light riding as well. Will it be okay? I just want to make sure we don't strain her or make her uncomfortable at all!
Addition detail: I ride bareback, and they'll be doing the same.
Thanks for the help!