Weight Limits For Ponies - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-01-2017, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Weight Limits For Ponies

I'm not really new to horses, been around them my whole life and been active in riding and caring for them for 7 or so years now. But I'm willing to accept that time spent with horses /= I always know what I'm doing. There is still a lot I don't know. I lurk this forum a lot and have discussed my chronically lame mare a lot, but not much beyond that. Through lurking the forum, I realize there are massive gaps in my knowledge of horse-related things. So in a sense, I think some of my posts do belong in the New to Horses board. This is a pretty basic question, so I guess I just figured it belongs here. Apologies if I'm wrong.

So when I was a teen (15-16 years old) my mom and I purchased a 3 year old welsh pony (or at least part welsh). We didn't do much with her until she was about 5. With the help of a trainer, we trained her up basically from scratch and she is now 9 years old and quite an excellent little pony. I love her quite a lot. The original plan was to lease her out to some nice kid looking for a good hunter pony, but it never happened. For a few years, she was staying at my trainer's barn and she was being ridden by a kid. But we stopped using that trainer and we brought her home and she has been here ever since. I've been really focused on my lame mare and helping my sister with her horse, so I haven't been on her in a while. I've never really done any heavy work with her or ridden her super consistently. Just pleasure rides, mostly flat work in an arena and occasional jumping (usually only like 2' 3'', 2' 6'' tops).

My trainer I had when I was a teen (just learning to ride and care for horses) never seemed concerned about me riding her, so I never really thought about it I guess. I actually did a good portion of her training (with instruction, of course) when she was still really green. I was still green at that point, too, so I'm really glad she actually turned into such a wonderful little hunter pony. I know it could have gone worse. But I learned a lot from working with her and she turned out well, so all is well. But recently I started to worry I am actually too heavy for her. She is something like 12.2 hands (I am pretty sure, I haven't measured her in quite a while) with a medium build. Not super slender and fine-boned but definitely not cob-like either. I weigh 110 pounds, so I am pretty small. When I was a teen I was closer to 100 pounds and even smaller than I am now. She never seemed to struggle to carry me or anything and I have jumped her many times. But am I too heavy for her? We have an arena with a mix of sand and rubber footing, so the ground has a lot of shock absorbance. She's always been 100% sound and seems to enjoy our rides.

I definitely wouldn't want to put too much stress on her joints. I do enjoy her a lot, she is like a little sports car. I have a close bond with her. I'd just like to know if I'm too heavy for her, or if there should be a hard limit on what I should do with her given her size.

Here is a pic so that you can see what kind of build she has. Just took this pic a few minutes ago. She's mostly shed out, so I took her blanket off for the pic and put it back on after.
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Last edited by Espy; 04-01-2017 at 01:17 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-01-2017, 10:59 PM
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I really don't think you're even close to being too heavy for her. If she's not in shape I would take it easy on her, as in no jumping or constant cantering, until she is. Listen to her and she'll tell you if you're too heavy. Things like heavy breathing and excessive sweating that is beyond what would be normal for the activity & weather. Reluctance to go or do certain activities if she's normally a get it done kinda gal.

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post #3 of 17 Old 04-01-2017, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Well that's good to know. I just wanted to be sure. I love riding her and was hoping to try doing trails with her. She's such a sure-footed and sensible pony, I feel like it would be a lot of fun. I've never seen excessive breathing hard or sweating. I do notice that she gets off balance easily if I throw my weight around (not that I try to, but the occasional lost stirrup or poorly timed jump can throw you off balance) more than larger horses, but other than that she seems good!
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-01-2017, 11:56 PM
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You should be just fine. Our 12.2hh pony (Icelandic) is granted heavy set and build to carry weight but she carries my mother just fine (180+ saddle). I wouldn't be pushing her super hard but it sounds like what you've been doing with her is more than absolutely fine..though I probably wouldn't put my mom and that bulky saddle on her XD.

If you go by the 20% rule even you're still way in the safe zone.

Enjoy your pony, she is cute! At your weight you should be able to ride most ponies as long as you are both comfortable.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-02-2017, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I think she's adorable. Too smart for her own good. I'm hoping to work with her a lot this summer since my mare won't be able to do anything beyond rehabilitation. I want to try doing trails which I have very, very little experience with. Never trusted my grey mare because she is clumsy and I was fallen on by a horse once, so I tend to be really cautious about it now. I trust this pony's footing a lot.

I read about the 20% rule but I don't know how much she weighs.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-02-2017, 10:20 AM
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So it is fine to go "by the rule" but please figure into that equation that you are a quiet rider, balanced and not flopping around on the pony.
I wrote this on another post recently too..
Quiet riders can ride smaller sized mounts because you don't interfere with the animals movements.
A bouncing, unbalanced rider is a hindrance to a animal.

Large riders ride small horses {many are NOT 14 hands} all the time with no one thinking much about it {western reining and Paso-Fino trainers come to mind immediately}...the secret is being "quiet" astride!

I would not be concerned for that pony and your weight...
Go slow and recondition that ponies muscles to the rigors of more riding activity then....
GO ENJOY!!
...
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-03-2017, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espy View Post
Thanks! I think she's adorable. Too smart for her own good. I'm hoping to work with her a lot this summer since my mare won't be able to do anything beyond rehabilitation. I want to try doing trails which I have very, very little experience with. Never trusted my grey mare because she is clumsy and I was fallen on by a horse once, so I tend to be really cautious about it now. I trust this pony's footing a lot.

I read about the 20% rule but I don't know how much she weighs.
Even just throwing out a random # of 700 that is plenty for you and a saddle (140lbs). It's just a general guideline so guesstimating is ok :)

Ultimately as long as everyone's happy and the work is appropriate that is what matters. You understand fitness and how you balance/riding effect her and it sounds like you're both just fine. As you said, maybe not the best choice for 2 hours/day of hard work but absolutely fine for having fun with!!

Trail riding is great when you have a surefooted horse!
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-04-2017, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, thanks everyone. That all makes sense to me!
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-05-2017, 05:04 AM
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Hi, agree with others. My kid's 12.2hh welsh mountain(lighter looking type to yours) was deemed fit to carry only 40kg + tack & no jumping, by the vet chiropractor, because he has hip & hock issues. But if your pony is fit & sound, she should be fine for most stuff with your weight - I looked it up & 110lbs is only 50kg - quite light weight! As someone else said, just don't jump or do anything 'hard' on her until she's fit though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Espy View Post
Never trusted my grey mare because she is clumsy and I was fallen on
Might be 'by the by' but if a horse is 'clumsy' to the point of regular/frequent stumbling, let alone actually falling over, it is highly likely there's a soundness issue needing attention.

Quote:
I read about the 20% rule but I don't know how much she weighs.
You should work out how much she weighs, because you need to know that for worming & other meds. People usually don't actually weigh their horses, but work it out roughly, with a weight tape, or by the height by length by girth method. I'd guess she's somewhere around 250kg at her size(which would make you 20% of her weight) but of course I don't know the other measurements aside from height.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-05-2017, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Might be 'by the by' but if a horse is 'clumsy' to the point of regular/frequent stumbling, let alone actually falling over, it is highly likely there's a soundness issue needing attention.
You are exactly correct here; my grey mare has major soundness problems and always has. She has a thread in Horse Health called "Horse with Chronic Pain - Please Provide Insight". For what it's worth, I have only seen her fall once, during turn out. The horse that fell on me during a trail was a different one. But not to worry, we have worked so hard to get her figured out. She is currently being rehabilitated. 10-15 minutes of trotting each day whenever I can do it (not recently because of snow and mud). She's muscling up nicely.


My vet knows how much my pony weighs. I just forgot what it was.
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Last edited by Espy; 04-05-2017 at 09:35 AM.
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