How Much Weight Can A Horse Carry?

Ever try to go on a vacation trail ride and have to sign a waiver that includes your height and weight?  Have you wondered why they need to know, and why these facts might be important to your ride? How much weight can a horse carry?


Why Have Weight Limit for Horse Riding

Horses are strong, big-boned animals, so why do we need weight limits to begin with?  If you’re riding your own horse, in your own tack, the same as you do every day, weight limits are probably not something you have to deal with or think about on a regular basis.

What Contributes to the Weight a Horse Carries?

But, the rider isn’t the only thing that contributes to a horse’s weight limit. Think about what else your horse has to carry when you’re riding- the saddle! Some saddles are extremely lightweight.

Equine Characteristics that Contribute to Weight Limit

The most obvious characteristic of a horse that will contribute to its individual weight limit is height.  Typically, ponies are going to be shorter, smaller-boned, and overall weaker than a big horse.

How Much Weight Should a Horse Carry?

All of this is important, but it still doesn’t let us know exactly how much weight a horse should carry.  The general standard in the USA is that a horse can carry 20% of its body weight.  And, the general standard in the UK is that a horse can carry 10% of its body weight.

Weight limits are important for both the safety of your horse and for the safety of its riders.  It’s important to understand each horse’s physical limitations and to make decisions accordingly.  Horses can carry incredible weights if they aren’t asked for more than they can handle.


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