weight vs size...

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weight vs size...

This is a discussion on weight vs size... within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-30-2009, 05:09 AM
weight vs size...

Does anyone else worry about their weight in comparison to the size of their horse? I ask for a couple of reasons. Firstly I have to state that I am a little on the hefty side at the mo. I am one of those lucky ladies that puts on weight with pregnancies. My daughter is three and I am still waiting for the baby weight to fall off. Anywho back to my point.

I had a very finely built gelding (QH/TB x) he was 15.2 hh but I always felt big for him. He seemed to hate being ridden out and I always felt like my weight was contributing factor. After I sold Comet I purchased the mare which I now have, Phoenix. PHoenix is a draft breed and weighs close to 600kg. She carries me effortlessly and I feel really good on her.

The other reason is a gf of mine has just purchased a new horse. My friend is newly returning to horse riding after quite a few years. I think this is a lot of the reason she has bought the horse that she has. It is a pony 14.3 hh so not overly short but it is SO petite. This mare is really finely built, the first thing that popped into my mind when I first clapped eyes on it was "it's tiny!". My gf is not a small woman either and I feel that she wanted something that didn't overwhelm her with it's size. I feel genuinely concerned about this little mare. We live amongst some pretty big country and my friend expects this pony to haul her up and down them.

I don't know. Maybe I am just putting my own feelings of self conciousness where they don't belong - on other people. I do wonder though does anyone else worry about how much weight a horse should carry?
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    10-30-2009, 09:11 AM
Green Broke
I believe the sought of excepted weight ratio is that the horse can carry 20% of its own weight. When they say this I don't believe that they mean a really fat horse either - a horse's weight at good condition I would say.

So with your horse you could estimate that it could carry 120kgs. Although you have to take out tack from that too.

If you know how much your friend and her horse weigh then maybe that can help you figure out if you should talk to her about it, or if it is just your insecurities.

A horse isn't made to carry things on their back but you and your horse sound good together :) Its good that you were observant of how your horse feels - a lot people over look things like that, just following the belief that the horse is meant to serve them.
    10-30-2009, 12:24 PM
The 20% rule as I understand it is mostly for pack horses and static loads. I am tall and fairly heavy and if I went by the 20% rule I would have to ride an 1800# horse. My horses range from 1100 to about 1200# at the moment and they carry me pretty good. If I have really hard riding I take two horses and switch out during the day. I don't think most people ride hard enough consistently enough to injure a horse by being to large. I have some old cowboy picturse and the horses probably didn't wiegh 700# but the riders were all over 140# for sure.
    10-30-2009, 12:50 PM
Also to take into consideration is the riding level of the rider. A heavier rider who knows how to balance herself is easier to carry than a light rider flopping all over the place.
    10-30-2009, 01:54 PM
Green Broke
I have seen some little cutting horses carrying some pretty hefty cowboys. Years ago I had the pleasure of riding a gorgeous QH gelding with 64 western pleasure points and 63 halter points. He was a doll and pretty much about the size of Red or maybe a little smaller. Red is 15.3 and probably weighs 1175 lbs or so. The horse, Mac, carried a BIG HEFTY (ie really very overweight) man who rode beautifully balanced. He had to have weighted over 300 lbs as he was tall and heavyset. (ie...a hang over cookie) Mac carried him like he carried me and I only weighted maybe 125 at the time. Horses are pretty strong creatures. I am overweight now and I am working on losing weight (7.5 lbs in 2 weeks...woo hooo) but Red is more than strong enough to carry me.
    10-30-2009, 04:28 PM
Green Broke
When you say pony, what breed are you referring to? Actual ponies can actually carry far more weight easily in comparison with a horse. They're built differently, hence why you often see adults riding tiny ponies like Gotlands with ease. There were a bunch on the endurance ride last summer and I swear they couldn't have been much taller then 12hh. They were on a 15 mile ride with smallish adults (the heaviest probably weighing about 130lbs). They had absolutely zero issues handling it.

I have a 14.3hh Arabian, which are also designed to be typically very hardy due to their short backs. I'm working at losing weight but right now I weigh in at 185lbs. At my heaviest, I was closer to 200lbs. Now, I know my weigth affects MY riding, hence my resolve to lose it. But Zierra definitely doesn't have a single issue carrying me with ease and prancing all over the country side for hours.

In my opinion, the average 14.3hh horse or pony typically doesn't have much issue carrying up to about 300lbs. You regularly see smallish stock horses doing cutting and roping with big beefy cowboys on them.

I don't base much of anything on a "20% rule" because it's like telling people they fit into a certain BMI category. We're all built different, and it's a case by case basis.

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