what weight rider can horses carry

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what weight rider can horses carry

This is a discussion on what weight rider can horses carry within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    06-24-2008, 06:27 AM
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?
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    06-24-2008, 06:55 AM
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.
    06-24-2008, 06:56 AM
If she is very fine she can't 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.
    06-24-2008, 08:38 AM
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.
    06-24-2008, 10:39 AM
Super Moderator
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....
    06-24-2008, 11:41 PM
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
    06-25-2008, 01:08 AM
I've also heard they can carry about 20% of their weight. :) Ponies can definitely carry a bit more, or so I've heard.
    06-25-2008, 04:39 PM
Great article concerning the question: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Much-W...rry?&id=341252
    06-25-2008, 04:53 PM
Thanks Iride... that was very helpful!
    06-26-2008, 08:16 PM

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.

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