Average Horse Weight Chart

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
Average Horse Weight Chart
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 BreedWeight (kg)Height (hh)
American Cream Draft725-90515-16.3
American Quarter Horse455-59014-16.3
American Saddlebred455-54514.3-16.1
American Standardbred545-60014-15
Belgian Draft860-100014-17.3
Dutch Warmblood545-59015.3-16.3
Miniature Horse110-2257.3-9
Tennessee Walker410-63514.3-15.3
Welsh Pony205-34012-13.1
Welsh Cob270-45513-14.1

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 that poses an immediate danger.

Condition LevelRibsNeckWitherLoinTailheadShoulder
Poor 1Prominent and project outwardProminent and project outwardBone structure prominent, the horse appears emaciated, no fatty tissuesBone prominentSpinous processes project outwardlyBone projection, no fatty tissuesBone structure is seen and felt
Very Thin 2Almost no fat coveringribs Horse still emaciatedFaint fat coveringSlight fat covering spinous processes, but still prominentTailhead still prominentShoulder line highly visible
Thin 3Very slight fat on ribs, still visibleHighly visible withersNeck Highly visible shoulderSpinous processes only half covered in fat, still prominent and traverse processes can’t be feltTailhead projects but individual vertebrae hidden, pin bones not highly distinguishableAccentuated
Moderately Thin 5FaintNeck not prominently thinWithers not obviously thinNegative crease noticeable on the backFat can be felt, but not seen, hook bones are not discernibleOutline Not noticeably thin
Moderate 5Ribs not visible, but easily feltNeck blends into the bodyWithers rounded nicelyLevel backFat around tailhead and starts to feel spongyShoulder blends nicely
Moderately Fleshy 6Ribs not visible, but easily feltBeginning fat depositsBeginning fat depositsPossible positive crease down spineFat around tailhead is softBeginning fat deposits
Fleshy 7Fat filling between ribs, but ribs still separateActual fat depositsThere are fat depositsPossible positive crease down spineDistinguishable Fat around tailhead will be softNew fat deposits behind shoulder line
Fat 8Difficult to feel ribs at allThickened neck and crest, fatty buttocksWithers have fat pocketsAll Positive crease down spineTailhead very softNo noticeable shoulder line
Extremely Fat 9Patchy fat and no visible ribsBulging fat and cresty, buttocks may rubFat bulgesLarge positive crease down spineFat built up around tailheadFat bulges

Proper Weight

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. At the final stages, a horse’s internal organs will begin to fail.

Underweight horse

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 own 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.

 Final Thoughts

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.