Advice on choosing a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-06-2012, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question Advice on choosing a horse?

Hi, I'm new to this site, but I've been looking at several posts made in the past by users and also researched the subject online, and it's just a big jumbled mess. Anyways, my question is, what breed/cross is best for a beginner "plus sized" rider? Plus sized as in roughly 250 pounds, I absolutely love horses and I'm still a student but I'm looking into riding lessons, but the closest stable only teaches small children how to ride. I'm not interested in participating in eventing of any sort, just leisure riding. Some people say that larger draft horses are suited for larger riders, while others say that equestrian vets say otherwise. I've also read that people are sticking to the "20%" rule, if that's the case I would have to ride a relatively large draft horse. Other people suggest that a stocky QH would be the best. I have never ridden a horse, but I'm trying to find a horse suitable to be ridden by a larger person like me. I love the look of a Percheron, their such big beautiful creatures, but I'm not sure if they're designed to carry weight without harming them. Does anyone have a logical suggestion, or possibly pictures to show what I should be looking for? I'm sorry for re-posting yet again another one of the same ranting thread posts, but I'm horribly confused.

I had this posted originally in the wrong forum, so I re-posted it here, sorry about that.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-06-2012, 11:10 PM
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It has more to do with the build of the horse than the breed. Shorter backs and thicker leg bone with appropiately sized hooves are better for heavier riders in general. However, it's really horse specific. Quarter horses, draft crosses, and halflingers tend to have more horses that can carry heavier riders comfortably. Not every horse of those breeds is a good weight carrier though. But you can also find thoroughbreds, that are known for being a more fine-boned breed, that can carry heavier riders too. Call around to some local barns and see if they have horses that you can take lessons on at your current weight. Different barns have different weight restrictions and different horses that may or may not be able to carry you.

I personally own a quarter horse gelding that isn't particularly stocky, and I'm close to 300 lbs. His previous owner was tall, thicker built man, and I knew he'd be fine with me. I originally took lessons to first learn to ride at the barn I board at before I bought my horse. They have a trail riding business and have a few draft crosses and stockier horses that I was fine to take lessons on.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-06-2012, 11:15 PM
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When you look at horses, look for one with thick legs. Really, you can tell when you get on the horse. If the horse seems like he/she is easily able to balance themself while you mount, they should be fine. A thick quarter horse would be my choice. They're tough, versatile horses, and they're great in lots of disciplines, including trails.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-06-2012, 11:22 PM
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Agreed, the build of the horse is a ton more important than breed. In addition to the build traits that callidorre mentioned, look for a horse with a wide chest/hip and a big barrel. The wider their chest is (the farther apart their front legs come out of their chest) the better they are able to balance, in my experience. Those stocky, compact horses are great for carrying heavier weights.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-07-2012, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the advice, I'll call around.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-12-2012, 06:25 AM
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You've gotten great advice and I do NOT want to discourage you, but I do have a suggestion. Please take some lessons before you get a horse. Larger people can ride very well, but it sometimes takes them a little longer to find their balance on horseback when they first begin. A larger rider with good balance and a decent seat makes a HUGE difference to a horse when that horse is asked to carry weight. Without that balance and a good seat, any horse can end up with a sore back...even when ridden by people of a more usual weight.

Lesson horses can help you find that balance better than a horse who is totally inexperienced in carrying lots of weight. It will be safer for both of you.

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post #7 of 8 Old 08-13-2012, 05:03 PM
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My suggestion would be to look for a trust worthy trainer and a very horse savvy friend to help you out on your search. There are people in this business that will do absolutely immoral things and will take advantage of your lack of experience. If you have anything pop out as you as a red flag please take it seriously. If you'd like to discuss any of the things you see and if you should be concerned please message me. I say this because I am a beginning rider of around the same weight as you and the lengths people went to hide problems that their horses had was absolutely insane. If you'd like to message me about your process, please feel free.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-15-2012, 10:55 PM
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One thing, is a PPE is absolutely essential for you when you begin to purchase a horse, as that will give you some insight on potential health issues of a horse.

And make sure your saddle fits you well, too many overweight riders let the correct sizing of saddles go out the window, and cram themselves into a saddle that they are basically covering with their rearends, and their belly aprons.

That is hard on not only the saddle, but it will keep you from feeling secure, and possibly make it impossible to keep your legs in correct position.

I would still try to stay with the 20% rule, and that is also including the saddle too, as you be making it easier on your horse too.
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advice , horse breeds , overweight rider

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