Last Updated on December 24, 2022
How often do you check how much does your horse weigh? As often as you groom them? How much does the average horse weigh? Every time you see the vet? Knowing how much the average horse weighs is an important part of horse ownership. With my horses, I feel that I’m responsible for developing them to their full potential.
Watching them grow from a foal is a beautiful process, but it is a serious responsibility. Knowing how much an average horse weighs can help you understand if they are developing appropriately, determine how much food and medication can be given to the horse, and prevent any medical issues related to weight.
How much Does the Average Horse Weigh: Different Breeds
The average weight of a horse can span anywhere between 840 – 2200 lbs., depending on the breed. Given this wide range, it can be hard to know if a horse is around the correct weight. Age and how you are using your horse are also factors that determine what the appropriate weight of a horse should be. According to Horse Rookie, heavy horses are typically draught breeds who have the muscle and size needed to be workhorses while light horses are breeds commonly seen racing, performing ranch work, or used in riding.
*This information can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica
How to get the Average Horse Weigh: Tools
From new technology to ancient methods there are many ways to weigh a horse. Scales, weight tapes, and calculations are the most common methods in use today. Each of these options is a great way to track how much your horse weighs.
Modern technology has made accurately weighing horses affordable and convenient. EquiGym, an equine exercise equipment business founded by a member of the Association for Equine Sports Medicine (AESM), advises that you can use scales to: monitor weight gain/loss to establish correct feed regimes, establish the most efficient racing weight, monitor competition and travel stress and recovery rate, establish accurate dosage for worming, anesthetic, tetanus, and vaccines, and ensure your foal growth rate is controlled.
Scales can be purchased for use in a permanent location or for travel. Permanent location scales are used in stables and veterinary offices and are typically made of heavy, durable materials. Transportable scales are used for travel and typically come in multiple pieces that connect to form a sturdy base.
How much Does the Average Horse Weigh: Tape & Calculations
Weight tape is a less accurate, but more easily transportable way to find out how much a horse weighs. Ranging $5 – $10, weight tapes measure in inches, centimeters, and hands. It is meant to be used in conjunction with the formula below.
To estimate the weight of your horse on the spot, you can use the weight calculation formula. If you don’t want to do the math below, there are many sites online that have a calculator where you can plug in the measurements like these ones from Good Horse or LMF feeds.
- Measure the length of the horse from the point of chest to the point of croup in inches (L)
- Measure all the way around the horse at the heart girth (HG)
- Multiply the heart girth by the heart girth (HGxHG=Z)
- Take that number and multiply by length to find the total (ZxL=Total)
- Take the total and divide it by 330 to find the weight of the horse in lbs.
Formula: (HGxHGxL)/330=Weight in lb
Why is Knowing Weight Important?
Knowing how much a horse weighs can inform you on many decisions that need to be made. Cargill’s veterinary nutrition website states that proper nutrition and weight management should be part of a horse’s total health care program. Knowing the weight of a horse can make feeding and medical decisions much easier.
All horses need food and medicine/vitamins and the only way to make sure they are getting the appropriate amounts of both is to know their weight. A horse should eat between 1.5 – 3% of its body weight in roughage every day, which can come from hay or chaff. Medication like vaccinations, tetanus shots and worming all require the knowledge of a horse’s weight to determine how much medicine is necessary.
Obesity in horses can cause many health issues. Some, such as heart diseases and diabetes, are issues familiar to humans who are overweight, but many more are animal specific. If your horse is overweight, it could suffer from laminitis, the inflammation of tissue inside the hoof, or even suffer from heat intolerance.
Horses that are underweight have different kinds of medical issues. Causes of low weight can be from parasites, digestive conditions, infection or under-feeding. Luckily, there are many programs available specifically for helping underweight horses, like this one from Kentucky Equine Research.
Knowing is Caring
Knowing how much an average horse weighs is a tool to care for your horse to the best of your ability. Different types of horses weigh different amounts, so be sure to check out your horse breed’s average weight and check on your horse as regularly as you would like by investing in a scale or by calculating the weight yourself. Don’t forget this is an important step in your horse’s care to keep them healthy.
Comment below with any questions or strategies you use to maintain your horses’ weight!
How much does the average horse weigh?
The weight of a horse varies according to its breed. On average, a male horse weighs about 1,000-1,150 lbs while a female weight about 700-850 lb. Horses weight can vary depending on their breed or by how healthy they are. A well fed and exercised horse will weigh more than a horse that is malnourished and under exercised.
What is the heaviest weight of a horse?
The heaviest recorded weight of a horse is 3,914 lbs and this was recorded in February 2, 2011 in Australia. The heaviest horse in the world ever recorded was Big Jake which weighted 4,400 lbs and died in February 17 , 2015 . Big Jake was known to carry 10-12 people at once. He also carried the heaviest load ever on a horse at 7,818 lbs.
What is the minimum weight a healthy horse can have?
A minimum weight of a healthy horse will depend on their breed. On average, a minimum well fed and exercised male thoroughbred should not weigh less than 1,000 lbs while a female should not be below 700 lbs.
Healthy horses that are underweight can have serious problems and they need to gain weight as soon as possible. If an underweight horse does not eat properly, it will be at risk of developing many diseases such as laminitis which is inflammation in the hoof or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Underweight horses are also more likely to get injured since they lack the strength that is needed for certain tasks.
How do I know if my horse is too fat?
A horse that is too fat will generally have an accumulation of tissue around the middle which appears as a "barrel". A horse can be already too fat when you cannot see their ribs. A too fat horse will have difficulty reaching down to eat or drink. In addition, it may have a hard time going uphill due to its weight and girth .
When a horse is overweight it can also have problems breathing normally as the lung capacity of their lungs is reduced. Their heartbeats will become irregular and they can develop insulin resistance and will be at a high risk of laminitis.
A horse's bone growth can also be affected as too much weight on the bones can alter their development.
How do I know if my horse is too thin?
A malnourished horse will have a thin appearance with visible ribs, hip bones, spine and shoulders. A malnourished horse may be lethargic and will have reduced energy. They may also lack the ability to focus or see well depending on how malnourished they are.
Due to a poor diet and insufficient nutrients uptake a horse's growth is affected as their bones may not grow properly. This can lead to long term health issues such as skeletal malformations and shorter stature.
What percentage of a horses weight should a rider be?
A rider should not be more than 20% of their horse's weight. This is to ensure that the horse's spine is not overstressed and they are able to move at ease, changing directions easily. If the horse is carrying too much weight on their back, it will change the horse's centre of balance which can affect how they manoeuvre. The horse carrying too big load may also tire easily and risk injury.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.