Last Updated on December 27, 2022
It’s hard to determine average horse weight even when factoring in height. This is because there is a multitude of breeds, with vastly different conformation characteristics. For example, a Gypsy may only be 14-15 hands, but a healthy and average weight will be extremely different from a 14-15 hand Morgan. For this reason, many people use the Henneke Scale (shown below) as a gauge for proper weight. Here is an average horse weight chart using very loose guidelines:
Average Horse Weight Chart
When speaking about an “average” horse, most people think of a 900-1,100-pound 15-hand horse. However, average horse sizes range from 800 up to 1,800 pounds depending on the breed!
|Horse Breed||Weight (kg)||Height (hh)|
|American Cream Draft||725-905||15-16.3|
|American Quarter Horse||455-590||14-16.3|
The Henneke Scale
The Henneke scale is a good way to assess equine body scores among different breeds. The system uses visual and palpated fat scoring from the ribs, withers, loin, tailhead, shoulders, and neck. The scoring system is rated from 1-9, with 5 being ideal. The poorest condition, 1, is a state of extreme emaciation. At this point, most horses will start to experience organ failure. The highest number, 9, is extreme fat which poses an immediate danger.
|Poor 1||Prominent and project outwardProminent and project outward||Bone structure is prominent, the horse appears emaciated, no fatty tissues||Bone prominent||Spinous processes project outwardly||Bone projection, no fatty tissues||Bone structure is seen and felt|
|Very Thin 2||Almost no fat covering||ribs Horse still emaciated||Faint fat covering||Slight fat covering spinous processes, but still prominent||Tailhead still prominent||The shoulder line is highly visible|
|Thin 3||Very slight fat on the ribs, still visible||Highly visible withers||Neck Highly visible shoulder||Spinous processes are only half covered in fat, still prominent and traverse processes can’t be felt||Tailhead projects but individual vertebrae are hidden, pin bones not highly distinguishable||Accentuated|
|Moderately Thin 5||Faint||Neck not prominently thin||Withers is not obviously thin||Negative crease noticeable on the back||Fat can be felt, but not seen, hook bones are not discernible||Outline Not noticeably thin|
|Moderate 5||Ribs not visible, but easily felt||Neck blends into the body||Withers rounded nicely||Level back||Fat around the tailhead and starts to feel spongy||Shoulder blends nicely|
|Moderately Fleshy 6||Ribs not visible, but easily felt||Beginning fat deposits||Beginning fat deposits||Possible positive crease down the spine||Fat around the tailhead is soft||Beginning fat deposits|
|Fleshy 7||Fat filling between ribs, but ribs still separate||Actual fat deposits||There are fat deposits||Possible positive crease down the spine||Distinguishable Fat around the tailhead will be soft||New fat deposits behind the shoulder line|
|Fat 8||Difficult to feel ribs at all||Thickened neck and crest, fatty buttocks||Withers have fat pockets||All Positive creases down the spine||Tailhead very soft||No noticeable shoulder line|
|Extremely Fat 9||Patchy fat and no visible ribs||Bulging fat and crusty, buttocks may rub||Fat bulges||Large positive crease down the spine||Fat built up around the tailhead||Fat bulges|
So what is a proper weight for a horse, and why is it important? Ideally, a horse will score a “5”, which is a moderate weight and considered ideal. Distinct characteristics of this chart include smooth neck-to-body transitions, rounded withers over the spine, no visible ribs but easily felt, level back, and fat present around the tailhead. Serious irreversible medical issues can arise when a horse is too extreme in either direction on the Henneke Scale.
Horses suffering from obesity have increased stress on both the lungs and the heart. This can also be an issue in developing horses, causing bone and joint issues. Although not a problem in all animals, horses are also at increased risk of laminitis when overweight. No hoof, no horse!
Although many health problems can result in an underweight horse, nutritional gaps are the primary problem with underweight horses. Nutritional deficiencies can result in a multitude of problems. As horses become emaciated, they lose necessary muscling and protective fat layers. In the final stages, a horse’s internal organs will begin to fail.
Feed Control Methods
Feed control is the primary way to control weight on a horse. Exercise is a factor, but grass and feeds can make or break a horse’s diet. However, each corrective feeding method has its challenges. When putting weight on an emaciated horse, it must be done strategically and slowly primarily with easily digestible forage. When “dieting” a horse, it can be difficult to find low NSC hays or control pasture access/grass growth.
How Many Pounds Does an Average Horse Weigh?
Compared to humans, the weight of horses can vary by an enormous amount! It is impossible to find the true average weight of horses as many factors can affect this measurement.
However, we can take a look at what people consider to be the ‘average’ horse. The most common weight of an adult riding horse is 900 to 1100 pounds. Compare this to the weight of the smallest horse at 57 pounds, and the largest horse at 3360 pounds, and you will see that there is a huge variation in the weight of horses!
The interesting thing about horse weight is that it is not always proportional to the height of the horse. This is because horses come in several different body shapes, and these have three different classifications.
The finest and most lightweight horse breeds are called hot-blooded horses, and these have a very slim body frame. The most famous hot-blooded horse breeds are the Thoroughbred and the Arabian.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have cold-blooded horse breeds. These are thick-set, sturdy animals that are incredibly powerful. Cold-blooded horses are bred for their strength and stamina, whilst hot-blooded breeds are fast and incredibly athletic.
All draft horse breeds are cold-blooded, as are many native pony breeds. They are renowned for their calm and dependable temperaments, which is a big contrast to the excitable, flighty nature of hot-blooded horses.
In the middle, we have warmbloods, which combine the best of both worlds. Some of the world’s top equine athletes are warmbloods, as they have strength, stamina, athletic ability, and bold yet calm temperament.
Most warm-blood horse breeds were created by crossing cold-blooded and hot-blooded horses. For example, two of the base breeds for the Hanovarian warmblood are the hot-blooded Thoroughbred and cold-blooded Cleveland Bay.
What is The Average Weight of a 15-hand Horse?
The average weight of a 15-hand horse will depend on the breed and type of horse. A fine-boned 15-hand Arabian will weigh far less than a sturdy, muscular 15-hand Quarter Horse. The weight of an adult 15-hand horse can range from 850 to 1200 pounds.
If you are confused about whether your 15-hand horse is the correct body weight, the best thing to do is to carry out a body condition score assessment. This is a good technique to carry out regularly, as it will help you to quickly identify any weight gain or loss in your horse.
The process of body condition scoring a horse involves assessing areas of the body against a chart. This chart outlines horses at different weight levels, from severely underweight to obese. By comparing your horse to the chart, you can rate each area and calculate an overall body condition score.
For example, one part of the body which is assessed is the rump. The rump of a horse should be rounded, with a slight depression along the spine.
An overweight horse will have an ‘apple-shaped’ rump, with fat pads around the tail and a prominent depression along the spine. An underweight horse will have the opposite appearance, with the spine appearing to protrude out from an inward-sloping rump.
It is a good idea to carry out body condition scoring regularly, at least every month. This will help you to identify subtle changes in your horse’s body weight and make changes to their diet and exercise routine accordingly.
Although averages for horse weight are wide-ranging, this chart should give readers a good idea of what ideal and average body weights are. Where do your horses fall on the Henneke scale? If you have friends with horses, be sure to share this article!
How much does a rodeo horse weigh?
An average rodeo horse weighsbetween 1200 and 1500 pounds and is approximately 5.5 feet tall. These horses are extremely quick and can reach speeds up to 35 mph on a regular basis. The rodeo horse has a long, deep chest that allows it to breathe easily while galloping at high speeds.
In order to ride a rodeo horse, a rider must be at least tall. A rider’s height is also a factor in determining the size of the horse. In addition to being tall, the rider must also be able to withstand the extreme strain of riding a bucking horse.
What is the heaviest horse breed?
The heaviest horse breed is Shire. Shire is a British breed of draught horse, known for holding several world records both for the largest and the tallest horse.
But no matter the height, Shires have excellent stamina and can travel long distances. The Shire has a low center of gravity, making it easier to work with than other breeds. When the Shire was first developed in the 19th century, it was primarily a working horse, used for plowing, hauling, and similar tasks. Over the years, the breed has been used for other purposes, including driving and racing.
In recent decades, the Shire has become more popular as a family companion animal. The Shire is an active, athletic breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are good around children but can be too protective of them. They enjoy attention and can be overly sensitive to criticism or neglect. They can be stubborn, especially when young, but their temperament can improve as they grow older. The Shire is intelligent, alert, and responsive.
How much does a 16 hand Quarter Horse Weigh?
In average, a 16 hand Quarter horse weigh from 950 to 1,200 pounds. The height of mature animals is normally from 14.3 to 16 hands (57 to 64 inches, or 145 to 163 cm), and their weight from 950 to 1,200 pounds (431 to 544 kg). American Quarter Horses are very loyal and protective. They are incredibly strong and have a tendency to be courageous and lively. They have a calm, cooperative temperament. What’s more, they are a small, stocky horse that can do well in a variety of terrain. The most common color is the chestnut, followed by the roan and the bay.
What is the average height and weight of a horse?
An average height of a horse is 5 feet. The height of a horse is mostly determined by genetics, and is influenced by the breed, the individual, and the nutrition of the horse. There are many factors that determine a horse’s height, including the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that make up the structure of the animal. Genetics also play a role, as well as the weight of the horse and the way it’s put together.
The average weight of a horse is in between 900 and 1100 pounds. A horse’s weight is influenced by many factors, including the breed, age, and nutrition of the animal. A horse’s weight also varies by season, with some breeds being more suited to cooler temperatures than others.
Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.