what weight rider can horses carry - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 674
• Horses: 3
what weight rider can horses carry

I have a 14.1 8 yo standardbred mare. See http://www.horseforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=11120 for pics. Anyway, I want to know how can I work out how heavy a rider she could comfortably carry? She is rather finely built so not suitable for heavier riders.

And for any horse, how can you tell how heavy a rider they should carry without causing themselves injury. I've always wondered about this? Is there a percentage of the horse's bodyweight or something, just as a rough guide?

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare
sempre_cantando is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orange County, NC
Posts: 6,226
• Horses: 5
I have always been told 1/4 to 1/3 of the horse's weight and that it is more dependent on the back than the legs. I know that our Paint mares (which are stocky horses, about 1000+ lbs) can easily carry a lot of weight all day.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
PaintHorseMares is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: QLD, Australia
Posts: 754
• Horses: 0
If she is very fine she cant handle to much, maybe between 60 and 70 kilos??

I know that ponies can generally carry more weight (unless they are the refined showy types) that larger horses, because they have a stronger back.
Miss Katie is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Durham, UK
Posts: 298
• Horses: 0
The general rule is 20% of the horse's body weight (NOT 1/3!) - Texas even has a law stating so. BUT this can vary up or down - there are a LOT of things to consider - back, legs, rider ability and overall size being the most important.
Good, sound, well put together conformation will ALWAYS be able to stand up to more than a horse with faults such as being back at the knee, sickle hocked, post legged etc. Specifically with legs, you want to look at how much 'bone' a horse has - this is taken by measuring the circumference of the bone just below the knee. (apparant stockiness doesn't matter - this measurement does). BIG feet also make it much easier on the horse.
All this makes people believe drafts or draft crosses, due to their height and 'chunkiness' are the best weight carriers, which often isn't true due to other factors - drafts were usually bred to PULL a lot of weight, not to carry it, and therefore are conformed to fit that speciality. Their size also often counts against them: they have more of their OWN weight to support before they start with the riders'.
Likewise the back must be well put together with a strong loin coupling to carry more weight comfortably. A shorter back, also, is a great help. Deformities such as swayback or roachback will NOT help. A stocky horse with good legs will never be a weight carrier if they have a long weak back.
A lot depends on a rider. The old saying is that 'every pound on a beginner counts double'. An unbalanced rider who doesn't know how to carry themselves on a horse is going to be much harder to cart around, so while a horse may be able to carry up to, say 200lbs nornally, for a beginner that might only be 150lbs.
Generally, the best 'weight carriers' are well put together cobs, which I know are rare in the US but that's what we have here. Where I work the horses for larger riders are a 14.1hh and 15hh cobs.
Kyani is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 09:39 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 22,168
• Horses: 7
To answer the question... a horse can carry half it's weight. That is what a horse can carry. Now for riding purposes... I think the rule of thumb is around 20% of the horses weight, so if your horse weighed 1000lbs then it could carry about 200lbs comfortably....
farmpony84 is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 06-24-2008, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 674
• Horses: 3
well, using a weight tape, she weighs about 360 kgs... 20% of that = 72 kg. Would that be including the saddle and everything?

I know some saddles are quite heavy - mine's gotta weigh something like 8 kg. But that's ok, because I weigh just over 50kg and even if my saddle and riding equipment weighs 10 kg, its still only around 60 ish kg that she's carrying.

The reason I ask this is that my brother was wanting to ride her... i don't really want him to lol he's hardly ridden at all and my horse is a bit iffy with beginner riders. He's probably borderline too heavy because he's around 65kg and if the saddle and stuff is 10kg = 75kg. So would be too much for her as 20% is 72 kg. Yay, hehe now I have a good excuse :P

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare
sempre_cantando is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 06-25-2008, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 13,399
• Horses: 1
I've also heard they can carry about 20% of their weight. :) Ponies can definitely carry a bit more, or so I've heard.

Ride more, worry less.
PoptartShop is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 06-25-2008, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Posts: 13,165
• Horses: 3
Great article concerning the question: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Much-W...rry?&id=341252

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
iridehorses is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 06-25-2008, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 6,004
• Horses: 0
Thanks Iride... that was very helpful!

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

Dumas'_Grrrl is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 06-26-2008, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Christchurch
Posts: 10
• Horses: 0

Hi, I've been told by my riding coach that Jockeys are usually 18% of the horses body weight. So I guess it really depends what the rider needs the horse for? How long do you ride it for? How often etc...

But for casual riding, upto 25% is comfortable for the horse.

Equine Trader is New Zealands one stop equestrian website where you can Buy and Sell Horses. Also keep updated with the latest equine news and events.
nourozi is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome