How Much Does a Racehorse Weigh?

Last Updated on May 23, 2020

Racehorses are elite animals. Their speed, strength, power, and endurance make them top athletes. With being such an athletic being, reaching some of the fastest speeds in the animal kingdom, some might wonder: what is the average weight of a racehorse? 

Their athleticism allows them to reach speeds up to fifty miles per hour. Racehorses are built and bred to be fast runners. Conformation and genetics play a large part in making a racehorse.

Average Weight of a Racehorse

When most people think of racehorses, they think of Thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds are raced all around the world and people spend top dollar breeding them. They race in the well-known Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont.

Though Thoroughbreds are the most common racehorses, many other breeds of horses also participate in different races. Quarter horses, Standardbreds, and Arabians are the other most commonly raced horses.

Average Weight of a Racehorse: Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds are an English breed of horses that have been used for racing for hundreds of years. Developed in the 1700s from imported Turk, Barb, and Arabian stallions and large English mares, the Thoroughbred quickly gained popularity. Throughout the late 1700s, many Thoroughbred horses were imported to America.

Thoroughbreds are known for their slim build, refined heads, and broad chests. They have long legs, well-muscled bodies, and deep shoulders. All these features contribute to a fast horse.

A Thoroughbred horse typically weighs 1,000-1,100 pounds due to its light build. They generally stand around 16 hands tall.

Thoroughbreds are raced all over the world. Each year, the Thoroughbred racing industry brings in millions of dollars.


Average Weight of a Racehorse: Quarter Horses

Though one might not think of racing when they hear of Quarter horses, they are used as racehorses. Quarter horses are generally raced in quarter-mile races, though some races are longer. They can run a quarter-mile faster than any other breed of horse, hence the name Quarter horse.

Quarter horses are raced throughout America and Canada. They are popular racehorses due to their strength and sprinting ability.

Quarter horses are one of America’s oldest and most popular breeds of horses. In addition to being used as a racehorse, they are also used as show horses and working western horses. They are known for their calm and easy-going dispositions.

Quarter horses are known for their short and stocky bodies. They are well-muscled and have broad chests. Quarter horses typically weigh 900-1,100 pounds and stand between 14.3-16 hands.


Average Weight of a Racehorse: Standardbreds

Standardbreds are well known for their harness racing. They are shown at either a trot or a pace. Standardbred harness racing is popular in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.

The Standardbred breed was developed in the 19th century in the United States. The foundation sire for the Standardbred breed was Messenger, a Thoroughbred stallion imported from England. Morgans and Hackneys were amongst the other breeds that contributed to the foundation stock, due to their great trotting capability.

Standardbreds have long bodies, refined heads, strong shoulders and are well muscled. Most Standardbreds stand between 15-16 hands, though it can be anywhere from 14-17 hands. Standardbreds typically weigh 900-1,000 pounds.

Standardbreds are also popular in English and Western divisions. They are popular show horses and can even be seen shown in the exciting Roadster division. They are also common driving horses for the Amish.


Each year, the harness racing industry brings in millions of dollars. Racetracks are generally half a mile to a mile long, though they can be two miles. Unlike Thoroughbred racing, they have a starting gait pulled by a car that is driven in front of the horses and then pulled away.

The Standardbred is driven in a light cart called a sulky. They can be raced at a trot, a diagonal gait, and a pace, a lateral gait. If they break gait while they are racing, they will be penalized.


In the late 1950s, racing Arabians in America rose to popularity. They are still raced around America and even throughout the world. Though most people don’t associate Arabians with racing, it is still a well-loved pastime.

 Arabians are also raced in the desserts of the Middle East in endurance races. It is an ancient tradition, with horses and riders put to the test in over 70 miles of racing through the harsh desert. Elite horses and riders strive to come out on top of this grueling race.


Arabians originated thousands of years ago in the Middle East. They are a popular breed of horses and are known for their versatility inside and outside the show ring. They are popular show horses, competing in saddle seat, hunt seat, western, Dressage, endurance, and driving divisions.

Arabians are known for their refined dished noses, elegant heads, compact bodies, arching necks, and high tail carriage. They are athletic horses, known for their endurance and speed. Arabians typically stand between 14-16 hands and weigh 900-1,000 pounds.

Other Horse Racing

Many other breeds doing racing as well. Most carry on the tradition to celebrate their breed of horse. Horse racing has been a popular practice for thousands of years.

Each year in Vermont, Morgan horses compete in trotting and galloping races, to celebrate the tradition of versatility in the Morgan breed. Figure, the founding stallion of the Morgan breed, could out trot, outrun and out pull any horse he went up against. Morgans are elegant horses, standing between 14-16 hands and weighing between 850-1000 pounds.

Average Weight of a Racehorse: Standardbreds

Appaloosas, developed by the Nez Perce, have recently become a large part of the racing industry in North America. There are several states in America that hold Appaloosa racing. Appaloosas are known for their beautiful spotted coats and stand between 14-16 hands, weighing around 900-1,000 pounds.

Mongolia holds the longest and toughest horse race, spanning an impressive 621 miles over rugged landscape. Racing Mongolian horses is a long-held tradition, and The Mongol Derby honors that. Mongolian horses are compact and tough, known for their endurance, standing at 12-14 hands and weighing around 600-800 pounds.

What Makes a Racehorse

Racehorses are light, athletic built horses. They are well-muscled and are known for their speed, power, and endurance. Most breeds of racehorses stand around 15-16 hands and typically weigh around 1,000 pounds, with Thoroughbreds being the most popular racing breed.

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