bsms. I wasn't there to see the sheepherders of which you speak. But the question is always for how long, as in how many years. Again, I wasn't there, but from what I've read US cavalry horses only lasted 4-5 years. After that, they were done. A 20% limit is not etched in stone. But I do believe it is a good target. Yes, there are a lot of variables that can increase that % safely, no doubt (as I stated). I can only go by my personal experience. Ibn is my only riding horse right now, since Amal's passing. Ibn is only 14 hands tall. When I get on him, he's carrying about 22% of his body weight. Amal was 14-3. When I got on Amal, he was carrying maximum of 20% of his body weight. Amal was 15 years old and Ibn is 18-19. So Amal was a little younger. But even when Ibn was in his early teens, I could notice the difference between the two of them going uphill. Ibn's breathing, going uphill, has always been more pronounced. So as a result, when we are climbing a steep hill, I always get off and lead him. Ibn may come down with cancer, like Amal did and have to be euthanized and take a big chunk of my heart like Amal did. I have no control over that. But I'll do everything within my power to keep Ibn serviceable for a long, long time. Maybe I'm being over cautious, but that's alright. My believe in the 20% target has nothing to do with what other people do with their horses.