How much weight should a horse carry? New study - Page 3

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How much weight should a horse carry? New study

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    03-25-2013, 02:15 AM
All I can say is Wow, I need a bigger horse and a lighter saddle! Lol, I don't believe that at all!
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    03-25-2013, 08:54 AM
I just read a different article on the same study, and I burst out laughing.

Firstly, the average thoroughbred in a race carries weights over 10%. There goes the 'sport of kings'.

Secondly, according to the BMI scale (another study I find to be ridiculous), in order for me to be 10% of a 1000lb horse I would have a BMI of 15.7. So basically, my option would be not ride a horse, or be seriously underweight. Hmm.

I'd love to hear the input of professional riders on this. All this study is doing is enforcing the image that the media forces upon us - to be unhealthily skinny. I have a few choice words to say to the people that conducted this study, none of which are suitable for viewing by a general audience.
    03-25-2013, 09:05 AM
Green Broke
Shoot..there isn't even horses big enough to carry me then xD
I weigh 225# and my saddle 50#..Not sure horses have been bred to weigh what I supposedly need xD
I've never had a horse have detrimental effects from me riding..except maybe get a good whack on the butt or a bop between the ears, haha.

Guess I need to go be skin and bones and ride bareback! lmao
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    03-25-2013, 09:28 AM
Green Broke
I Currently weigh 17% of Reeco and he certainly doesnt struggle to carry me ever.

Also essentialy that study says the fatter your horse is the more it can carry when the opposite is true (if it is carrying excess weight then if can carry less on its back)

Nor does it take into account that a good rider will ride lighter then a novice (most riding schools add 14lb to the weight of a begginer when calculating which horse to put them on).

I'll stick by my 20% which is a figure that has been around for a long time and makes sense.
    03-25-2013, 09:33 AM
Any "study" that defines weight-carrying ability in terms of weight ratios should be discredited, IMO. SO much more than weight goes into calculating carrying capacities. You need to look at conformation, bone density, soundness problems, rider ability, and the type of work the horse will be asked to do. The 20% rule is a guideline that is correct in a lot of cases, but it is not a hard-and-fast rule.
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    03-25-2013, 09:44 AM
Green Broke
Equinphile, I use 20% on daily basis as a guide. Obioulsy few lbs over for an experianced rider is not a problem, but for a complete begginer I'd want to go closer to the 10% mark!
    03-25-2013, 11:23 AM
Faye, the 20% is generally correct or close to correct when used as a basic guide. However, when actual studies are conducted, it would be more accurate to determine weight carrying ability based on bone structure and fitness rather than weight. For example, a 15.2hh, stout quarter horse with fantastic bone, great conformation and ideal fitness may weigh 1100lbs. However, a 14.2hh pony with terrible legs, a weak back and a few hundred pounds of extra fat could, realistically, weigh the same. Can they both comfortably carry 220 lbs? Absolutely not. The pony would struggle significantly because of his lack of fitness and poor conformation, though the quarter horse would probably be fine with more than that figure.

If a horse isn't a conformation trainwreck or vastly overweight, the 20% rule is fine to go by. I use it with my personal horses. All I'm saying is that it would be more accurate to take into account the horse's level of fitness and conformation, especially if the rider's weight is questionable.
    03-25-2013, 11:39 AM
20% is based on having almost no effect at all on the horse. The one study I've seen used out of shape horses, and 20% was the guideline for no discernible effect on the out of shape horses (not ridden for 4 months, then tested with a 45 min ride with 2 weeks off between rides). The cavalry came up with that figure for riding daily, 8+ hours at a shot, with no effect after weeks of riding. Very few recreational riders use their horse like that!

I've read a number of studies, and I've never found anything suggesting a weight limit below 20%.

If 10% or 15% was needed, almost no men would be able to ride horses. That defies a few thousand years of history...
    03-25-2013, 11:40 AM
Green Broke
Equinphile I was just pointing out that I KNOW that and there is no need to lecture me ( you come across as very condicending!)
    03-25-2013, 11:41 AM
Sorry, Faye, I didn't mean to sound condescending. It's no secret that your experience in the horse world is far greater than mine . Just wanted to clarify.

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