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I have been riding since I was 7 and that was a very very long time ago. I competed for 20+ years in english hunter/jumpers, western pleasure, and barrel racing. I am looking to buy a new horse, have not owned one for about 10 years and over that time I have gained weight. I am a 6'0" 295 lbs man. I am looking at a 12 yr old mare 17.2 hands very well built probably 1700-1900lbs. She is a very athletic jumper and strong mover, although my jumping days are over. Just looking for a horse to ride english flats and maybe western or bareback trails. I would have to say my riding balance is pretty good (confident, not cocky), but my size concerns me now. Before I buy her, I was hoping for your $0.02 regarding my weight and capability of horse without over stress. --- BTW this is my first post so sorry if this is an old issue.
 

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It isn't the height or the weight of the horse in question that determines if the horse is sturdy enough to carry your weight. It is the bone and back (short with strong loin) that give a horse the carrying capacity you are looking for. There are many drafts and crosses that are bearing burdens their backs aren't built to handle even if they have the bone. Suffolks, Hafflingers, Fjords and their crosses typically have shorter, stronger backs. The old style bulldog QHs that are built like tanks can handle a heavier person with out issue. You just need to be aware and find one that can handle it.
 

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At 6 ft tall and 295 lbs, you're heavy but not so heavy I'd be concerned about putting you on one of my horses and NONE of them are 17 hand and 1700 lbs. I've got a couple stock horses that are over 16 and probably close to 1500 lbs, and I'd put you on one of them in a hot second.

For me, it's about the build of the horse like QtrBel says AND it's about how the rider rides. Are you fairly well balanced, can you ride or post without bouncing around like a rock? With the kind of experience you've had, I'd expect that answer to be a yes, and I wouldn't be real concerned about it. If the horse is in shape, they'll help you get in shape real quick. Since you've not had a horse for 10 years, I'd also be expecting you'd start out fairly slow and shorter duration rides to build up your stamina and muscle memory again. I'd suggest in 6 months of regular riding, you wouldn't be asking that question again.
 

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If you are heavy, and you are, best not to ride bareback much. Too much weight concentrated inb one place.


I am a bit over 200. I feel hesitant about my weight on some horses, for sure. Add in nearly a 100 more, and I would feel even more hesitant. So, I feel for you. But, the horse sounds like a good match. Also, I bet you will take off weight, naturally, as you get back into riding.
 
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