Am i too overweight to ride? - Page 2

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Am i too overweight to ride?

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    12-01-2012, 11:37 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Thats the thing. Its a standard. As some others said, there are going to be exceptions to this standard. Some, such as many light boned Thoroughbreds, really ought to be carrying less than 20% unless well conditioned, while others, such as the Shetland, Mustang (in some cases) or Welsh Cob can easily carry 25-30% if in good condition without negative effects.
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    12-01-2012, 11:51 PM
Here are some links on this topic from recognized sources. Extra weight on a horse taxes their heart, lungs and joints as it does in humans. It's best to avoid or limit it as these sources say.

From a 2008 study, posted by a vet

Question of the Week: How much weight can a horse carry? -

Stress markedly increases in study of horses when carrying 25 percent or more of their weight

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry? - Horse Science News

20 percent with exceptions, at a present day schooling business

Horses can carry more, but it comes at a cost...Equus Magazine

How Much Weight Can Your Horse Safely Carry?
Palomine and Clava like this.
    12-01-2012, 11:56 PM
No you're not. I'm 253 lbs and while I am taller weight is still weight. I ride a 1100 lb Appaloosa. Just make sure any horse you ride is comfortable with anyone's weight. I do suggest either a taller or a wider butted mount as that helps them carry weight easier. Since you are shorter look for a fjord. Short stocky and great temperament. I'm told they can make great low jumpers also.
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Red Cedar Farm likes this.
    12-02-2012, 12:03 AM
Still repeating a lot of the same study. A couple of things to think about, those horse were being asked to carry 30% trotting and cantering all day, and showed some soreness, what about an hour walking and trotting?

What tack were they wearing, would and impact pad have made a difference?

I am **** sure that after a day of stacking and carrying firewood, or putting up hay bales, I am sore and need rest and a massage, but I recover.

I'm not promoting over burdening a horse, but the rules are different for each one.
    12-02-2012, 12:18 PM

There is another factor nobody is considering, besides the comfort of the horse, and that's the safety of the rider. I have put on a lot of weight and can feel my balance is not as good as at my proper weight. Overweight riders have a much higher center of gravity as the extra weight is disproportionally at or above the waist making a person top-heavy.

Simple physics would demonstrate that person is more likely to be thrown out of the seat with a lurch, bolt or stumble. If you want a feel-good forum that encourages people to be in denial of the scientific evidence the stress caused to horses with overloading, then you should title the forum as such. But if you really want to be safe and keep your horse happy and sound, you should follow the experts and research this rather than let a bunch of strangers saw "awe, you're fine" without any info to base that on other than your weight.

You are not too heavy to ride the appropriate horse at 247. At 5'3' you are probably top-heavy and would need a well trained reliable horse capable of comfortably carrying you and your tack. Most of the time, your horse is not going to complain when you and I would under equivalent pressure, because they are genetically designed to hide and mask pain in order to survive as a preyed upon herd animal. That instinct is alive and well even after centuries of domestication.

I have several thousand dollars of vet bills from a state veterinary hospital proving that irreparable damage can exist in a horse who was injured from overloading, even when a well respected trainer, the experts who frequent his barn, my own vet and a vet chiro could not find an issue. The horse demonstrated no obvious signs of pain, she only refused to take her right lead in training. That was the only clue. She has an irrepairable stifle stress injury she will have for life. I spent a year and a half trying to make her sound. None of the experts thought she was in pain. Your average horse owner would not have had a clue. Do you really know if your horse is suffering? Not likely, if they are not displaying signs.

Also, I have a crushed knee from a top-heavy related unseating when my well trained (and appropriately sized) qh stumbled at a lope. As a former barrel racer, and avid trail rider including competitive trail, I had never been unseated in my whole life. It was like I had a sack of feed strapped to my back when the inertia took over. I am a strong legged muscuar person. Now I have a disabled knee that causes me daily pain.

So I am a little put off by those in this forum who are saying it's fine to overload a horse. Please publish proof before you encourage someone into danger and injury for both horse and rider.
Druydess, Palomine and horsietori like this.
    12-02-2012, 12:36 PM
Originally Posted by Zubiedoobydoo    

So I am a little put off by those in this forum who are saying it's fine to overload a horse. Please publish proof before you encourage someone into danger and injury for both horse and rider.
This has been discussed for years on this and other Forums, I could post a dozen studies where 247lbs is not too heavy for a lot Horses.

I think we all know Bone Structure, Breed and many other factors are relevant to what a Horse can Safely Carry without harm to Horse or Rider

I think we all know most rider over 200lbs are not trying to ride a 700lbs thin boned 13 hand Horse also.

Please be a little more considerate with one sided opinions.

    12-02-2012, 12:40 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Endiku    
Also, contrary to popular belief, drafts cannot carry a huge amount of weight on their backs. Really they shouldn't carry more than their lightweight counterparts can, if not less. They aren't built to be ridden, they're built to pull. A lot of weight on their back can cause major problems.

I'd suggest a 15-16hh 'stout' (good bone, fairly wide. And by wide I don't mean fat, but rather wide by bone structure) horse. Perhaps a nice QH (be ware of the 'stocky' ones with tiny feet. They look strong but really shouldnt even be ridden at all...) or even an appy or cob type horse.
Just out of interest which drafts are poor weight carries? (other than a horse with poor conformation and not to type)
jaydee likes this.
    12-02-2012, 01:01 PM
Originally Posted by Zubiedoobydoo    

So I am a little put off by those in this forum who are saying it's fine to overload a horse. Please publish proof before you encourage someone into danger and injury for both horse and rider.
I don't think that anyone is saying it is fine to overload a horse, the discussion is always around what the actual fair load is. I of course have a vested interest, I will state that, being an overweight rider, and I totally get what you say about centre of balance and other factors, I know that I am a better rider when I am lighter. I also promote any size of rider increasing their fitness, again my son is 6' 4" tall, weighs 250 pounds of mostly muscle, and I would let him ride my little Haffy with no issue, because he could support his weight and so could she.

Again, the study that you quote was looking at horses being ridden all day at trot and canter, and it makes sense to me that if you are going to be doing that then you need to maybe look at the weight ratio differently from an hour walking on the flat.

I don't know where you have suddenly popped up from, but this is a continuing discussion on this forum, and many others, and the only conclusion I have drawn is that when it comes to weight carrying the only answer is "It all depends"

There is no one formula or one single study that will be able to take into consideration the vast array of shapes, sizes, ability and fitness level of a rider, with the same variables in the horse. Now add the extra variables of tack, terrain, length of ride and the exertion level required, and you would have a formula many pages long I feel.

I still struggle with the notion that 20% is fine to go and do what the hell you like, (according to some people) but at 23% I am 'overloading my horse' when all I want to do is walk and trot him 2 or 3 times a week for half an hour to an hour. Is it better that I just let him sit, and the day I hit 20% I can just get on him and go for a gallop, because hey I'm now reaching the magic formula.

So yes, an argument without end, yes there have to be limits, and most of them are based in common sense.
    12-02-2012, 01:11 PM
Super Moderator
You judge a horses weight carrying ability by bone - the leg is the most important part of that as its supporting the rest of the horse
For your height a cob would be ideal - the gypsy cobs and draft crosses are well up to weight but anything above 15.2 and you are going to maybe struggle to get on otherwise things like percherons are great
I hope you won't take this wrong as I'm saying it out of concern for your health alone - if you are only 5ft 3 you really should get some help in losing quite a lot of that weight - certainly owning a horse does help keep you fit and so would be a great start for you
Clava likes this.
    12-02-2012, 01:16 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
I still struggle with the notion that 20% is fine to go and do what the hell you like, (according to some people) but at 23% I am 'overloading my horse' when all I want to do is walk and trot him 2 or 3 times a week for half an hour to an hour. .
I think the common sense approach is not that you can "do the hell you like" at 20% , but at that level you're at the top end of the horse's limit and so caution should be applied to avoid injuries.

horse size, overweight rider

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