How Much Can A Quarter Horse Carry? (Correct answer)

Why Knowing a Horse’s Carry Capacity is Important

Horse Breed Horse Weight (lbs.) Carrying Capacity (lbs.)
Quarter Horse 1000-1300 200-260
Clydesdale 1600-1800 320-360
Andalusian 1000-1300 200-260
Appaloosa 1000-1300 200-260

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How much weight can a horse carry?

  • Most horses can safely carry 20% of their body weight. So a large draft horse weighing 2,000 pounds can theoretically safely carry a 400-pound person. Every horse has its strengths and limitations, and as a horse owner, it is your job to consider both.

Can a horse carry a 300 pound person?

Q: Can a horse carry a 300 pound person? Some horses can carry a 300 pound rider, but your balance is also important. If you don’t have a good balance then it’ll be very difficult for even the largest horses to comfortably carry the weight.

Can a quarter horse carry 300 pounds?

Though there is no set weight limit, few horses can safely carry more than 300 pounds. Some riding facilities will set weight limits to ensure the safety of the horses and riders. The weight limit can range from 210-300 pounds depending on the facility and their available horses.

How much weight can a 14.2 hand horse carry?

Horse servant As a general guide, a horse should carry a maximum of a sixth of his weight, so if he’s around 400 kg (about average for a 14.2) he can carry up to 67kg (including tack), so your 9/10 stone is spot on!

What weight can a horse comfortably carry?

It has been suggested that for optimal performance, horses should carry no more than 10-15% of their bodyweight.

Can a 500 pound person ride a horse?

The maximum weight a horse can carry is 400 pounds based on the 20% rule. Most horses can safely carry 20% of their body weight. So a large draft horse weighing 2,000 pounds can theoretically safely carry a 400-pound person. However, 20% of body weight is a safe, research-based estimate. 5

What horse can carry 400 pounds?

The Suffolk Punch horse is usually between 16 and 17 hands tall with a weight of 2,000 – 2,200 lbs. This means the Suffolk Punch could easily carry a rider and saddle weight of 400+ pounds.

How heavy is too heavy to ride a horse?

How Heavy is Too Heavy? One of the most frequently cited recommendations on matching horses and riders comes from the U.S. Cavalry Manual of Horse Management. It recommends that the rider and gear weigh no more than 20 percent of the horse’s weight. The mention of gear is important.

Can a horse carry a gorilla?

The rule of thumb is that a horse can safely carry 20% of its own weight, tack included. A 200 lb gorilla would be no more difficult than a 200 lb man for a horse weighing in at or over 1000 lbs, which is pretty average horse size.

Can I ride a horse if I’m overweight?

There is debate about this percentage, but the general rule is that a horse should carry no more than 20 percent of their weight. 2 Remember that this weight also includes the saddle and other riding equipment, in addition to the rider. An overweight horse cannot necessarily carry a heavier rider.

Is 14.2 a horse or pony?

A pony is 14.2 hh (hands high) or smaller, while a horse is anything taller than 14.2 hh. So, a pony is any equine 58 inches at the wither or shorter, and a horse is anything taller than that. While size is the main difference between horses and ponies, there are some other differences you can expect.

Is 14.3 a horse or pony?

For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers. Standard horses are 14.2 or taller.

How much do Quarter horses weigh?

The height of mature animals varies from 14.3 to 16 hands (about 57 to 64 inches, or 145 to 163 cm), and their weight varies from 950 to 1,200 pounds (431 to 544 kg). They have a calm, cooperative temperament.

How do I know if I’m too heavy for my horse?

Am I too heavy for him? A: Laurie, the basic rule of thumb for a horse’s weight-carrying capacity is 20 percent of the horse’s weight, or, say, 200 pounds for a 1,000-pound horse. (Two hundred pounds would be an approximate upward limit, not an average of what he can carry.)

Do horses like to be ridden?

Most horses are okay with being ridden. As far as enjoying being ridden, it’s likely most horses simply tolerate it rather than liking it. However, many people argue that if horses wouldn’t want us to ride them, they could easily throw us off, which is exactly what some horses do.

How do you know if your horse is carrying too much weight?

If a horse is carrying too much weight, you may see them breathing abnormally heavy. They may also show shortened strides and lack of symmetry if they are bearing too much weight. After working, they may appear to be sore or show signs of discomfort.

8 Best Horse Breeds for Heavy Riders (Over 250 pounds)

If you weigh 250 lbs or more, you can still enjoy horseback riding as long as you ride the appropriate horse for your weight. The safety of the horse and rider should always take first, which is why it is critical to pick the correct horse breed that is capable of carrying hefty riders. Please keep in mind that we are not providing medical or veterinary advice on this website. Always consult with your veterinarian before riding to ensure that you are riding your horse in a safe manner.

Finding the Right Horse Breed for Heavy Riders

As a general rule of thumb, a horse can comfortably carry 20 percent of its own body weight during horseback riding. As a result, if you weigh 250 pounds, you should strive to ride a horse that weighs at least 1,250 pounds. This will assist to assure the horse’s safety as well as his capacity to perform his job. The ability of a horse to carry a large amount of weight is also dependent on its ability to maintain balance. Fit and balanced riders are more likely to have an easier time supporting their horses than uncoordinated riders who might throw off the horse’s balance and induce tiredness.

8 Best Horse Breeds for Heavy Riders

Riding larger breeds of horses is frequently the best option for riders who weigh more than 250 pounds. A horse does not always have to be taller in order to be more durable, but they should be built with strength in mind. The ability to bear additional weight will be greater in horses with a stockier body than in polished, lean types. The circumference of the cannon bone is frequently used to determine the strength of a horse. Because the cannon bone is a weight-bearing bone, horses with bigger cannon bones are frequently able to sustain greater weight.


Clydesdales are huge horses that stand between 16 and 18 hands high and make excellent riding companions for larger riders. In fact, they are becoming increasingly popular when it comes to riding horses for show and pleasure. Because of their stocky physique and kind dispositions, they are suitable for riders of all abilities. With an average Clydesdale weighing between 1,600 and 1,800 pounds, they have a carrying capacity of around 320 pounds. That is approximately the weight of a 280-pound rider wearing a saddle weighing around 40 pounds.

Thiscold-blooded horse breedis known for being kind and loving, which makes them excellent riding mounts for beginners and experienced riders alike.


Shire horses are one of the largest horse breeds in the world, and they are both strong and docile. They may make excellent riding partners, despite the fact that they are not often considered of as such by horse enthusiasts. With an average Shire weighing between 1,700 and 2,000 pounds, they have a carrying capacity of around 340 pounds. That is approximately the weight of a 300-pound rider wearing a saddle weighing around 40 pounds.

Despite their massive size, they are rather agile, which makes them excellent mounts for riders who want to be on the go. Shires were also included in our list of the finest horse breeds for beginning riders, which included Shires.


The Friesian horse is a superb riding companion because he is elegant, graceful, and strong. It is well-known for its energetic gaits and attractive carriage, as well as its long hair and feathered hooves In most cases, an AFriesian will have 15-17 hands on the table. For a Friesian to properly transport a rider weighing 250 pounds while also carrying a saddle weighing around 20 pounds, the Friesian must weigh approximately 1,360 pounds. Horses of this breed are well-known for their versatility, since they are frequently displayed in categories like saddle seat, hunt seat, western, dressage, and driving, among others.

Please also have a look at our post, “8 facts you didn’t know about the Friesian horse breed,” for more information.

Irish Draught

Irish Draughts are about 15-17 hands in height and weigh between 1,300 and 1,400 pounds on average. In order for an Irish Draught to properly transport a large rider weighing over 250 pounds while also carrying a saddle weighing around 20 pounds, the Irish Draught must weigh at least 1,360 pounds. Their powerful physique, along with their athletic disposition, make them excellent partners for all sorts of riders, whether they are tiny or of bigger stature. They frequently perform well in dressage and jumping, and they make wonderful show or pleasure horses as a result.

They are well-known for their level-headed demeanor and their incredible endurance.


Photograph courtesy of Criadero Sumatambo The Percheron breed is renowned for its strength and dedication to its task. These gentle giants are most usually employed for driving and farmwork, but some of them may also make excellent saddle horses if they are properly trained. Percheron’s typical weight is between 1,800 and 2,000 pounds, and they have a carrying capacity of around 360 pounds. That is approximately the weight of a 320-pound rider plus the weight of a saddle that is around 40 pounds.

Despite the fact that they are not traditionally considered of as riding horses, many heavy riders have discovered that they make reliable mounts.

Spotted Draft Horse

When fully loaded, a typical American Cream Draft can carry up to 300 pounds. It weighs between 1,500 and 1,600 pounds and stands 16-17 feet tall. This is about the weight of a 260-pound rider with tack that can weigh up to 40 pounds combined. Despite the fact that they are a rare breed, the Spotted Draft Horse has earned a reputation as a magnificent riding horse. The amazing coat patterns on these wonderful drawings make them stand out from the crowd.

Spotted Drafts are more nimble than other popular draft breeds, and they are calm and ready to please their owners. As a result, they are an excellent breed for bigger riders who desire the ability to do more than simply leisure riding.

Cleveland Bay

The Cleveland Bay is a magnificent riding mount because it is large, strong, and graceful. They are well-known for their beauty, endurance, and reasonable temperaments, which make them excellent horses for riders of all ages. Cleveland Bay horses, which typically reach between 16 and 16 and a half hands tall and weigh between 1,400 and 1,500 pounds, can carry up to 280 pounds. That is the equivalent of a person weighing around 260 pounds with a saddle weighing up to 20 pounds. These magnificent horses must be bay, with black tips, and the only white that is authorized is a star marking on their forehead.

American Cream Draft

Despite the fact that the American Cream Drafthorse is a rare breed, it has a large following of admirers. These lovely horses, who are distinguished by their cream coats, are the only draft breed to have originated in the United States. The American Cream Draft is around 15.1-16.3 hands in height and weighs between 1,600 and 1,800 pounds on average. They are capable of transporting riders weighing up to 320 pounds (including 40 lbs of tack). Their distinctive coats range in color from delicate cream to a deep golden, and they are well-known for having amber eyes, which are a hallmark feature of the breed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for a horse’s back to be damaged when riding? Riders who are well-balanced and do not weigh more than 20 percent of the horse’s body weight should not cause back problems in animals who are well tack and properly balanced. As long as these guidelines are followed, the majority of horses will not get back issues as a result of riding. What Kind of Horse Is Capable of Carrying a Large Rider? The ability to carry a hefty rider on a powerful, well-muscled horse with solid legs of greater size is common.

  • Is it possible for a horse to carry 300 pounds?
  • Always consult with your veterinarian before getting on a horse!
  • Despite the fact that there is no established weight limit, few horses are capable of securely transporting more than 300 pounds.
  • The weight restriction might range from 210 to 300 pounds, depending on the facility and the horses that are available.
  • Generally speaking, your weight should not exceed 20% of the weight of a horse’s total weight.

Please keep in mind that we are not providing medical or veterinary advice on this website. Always consult with a veterinarian before attempting to ride your horse to ensure that it is safe for you to do so. You may also be interested in:

  • A Horse’s Capacity for Carrying
  • Horse Breeds’ Height and Weight Chart
  • What Is the Average Weight of a Horse
  • Differences between Shires and Clydesdales

Too Heavy for My Horse?

What is the maximum amount of weight that a horse can safely carry? The thought that I could be too hefty for my horse worries me. Maintaining my physical fitness is a continual challenge for me, and I currently weigh 175 pounds at 5 feet, 5 inches tall. My Quarter Horse-cross gelding is 14.1 hands tall and weighs around 900 pounds. Is it possible that I’m too big for him? -Laurie Handley, a Nevada resident A: Laurie, When determining a horse’s weight-bearing ability, the fundamental rule of thumb is 20 percent of the horse’s total weight, which would be 200 pounds for a 1,000-pound horse.

  • For the sake of not placing undue stress on his joints and ligaments, a 900-pound horse like your gelding should not be expected to carry more than roughly 180 pounds, including equipment, on a regular basis.
  • Without regard to his overall weight, the kind and build of the horse would be the first consideration.
  • With regard to a horse’s bone content, which refers to the size of his weight-bearing major bones, as measured by the circumference of his cannon bone, is directly tied to the sturdiness element.
  • Additionally, your general fitness (as opposed to just your weight) is taken into consideration.
  • It also has anything to do with your riding abilities.
  • Entire, provided that (1) you are adequately fit for riding and possess sound fundamental abilities; (2) your horse is a solid gentleman with decent bone; and (3) your equipment does not add more than 100 pounds to your overall weight, you should be alright.

11 Best Horse Breeds for Riders Over 250 lbs

*This post may include affiliate links, which means that I may get a compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links I give (at no extra cost to you). Because I am an Amazon Associate, I receive money when people make eligible purchases. Please see mydisclaimer for more information on this subject. As a person who is a little heavier than average, I understand the dilemma. You are well aware that you are overweight, but you still want to ride. Whether you are a fit 250 or a fat 250, the issue is the same.

The fact of the matter is a persons love for horses doesn’t decrease s their weight increases.

So how do heavier riders find a horse that can comfortably carry them but still be an enjoyable ride?

While this post is aimed to give you some specific breeds that should be easily able to accommodate large riders, be sure to refer to my much more detailed post aboutchoosing the right sized horse for your height and weightfor a more detailed answer and chart.

I also strongly encourage you to read the book, FitFocused in 52 (available on, regardless of your weight. It is a weekly mind-and-body training companion for equestrians. Let’s look at some breeds that are great choices for riders over 250 lbs.

1. Friesian Horse

Most articles of this nature begin with “draft” horses (and we will discuss them in detail later), but there are also really excellent lighter horses that can be large enough for heavy riders. One of these horses is the Friesian horse. This breed might be a fantastic choice if you enjoy dressage or if you want a horse that is both beautiful and functional. It is all up to you. Despite this, the Friesian horse is quite adaptable, and you may find the breed to be particularly well suited to whichever equestrian activity you choose.

2. Belgian Horse

I really worked with a Belgian who happened to be owned by a friend of a friend. He was a fantastic trail horse, and I highly recommend him. It’s a breeze to manage and even easier to ride. Funny enough, she didn’t weigh more than 125 pounds, but he was still amazing and a terrific horse to go out on the trail with even the most inexperienced riders. Big Jake, the Belgian live horse that holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s highest living horse, was born in 2010 and is the world’s tallest living horse.

(source) The Belgian is a draft horse breed that normally weighs more than 2,000 pounds on average.

3. Clydesdale Horse

The Clydesdale horse is one of the few breeds of horse that is virtually universally known by the general public in the United States. Made famous by the Budweiser corporation, this gentle behemoth is most known for its carriage-pulling advertisements, but did you know that it also makes a superb riding horse as well? In addition to purchasing Clydesdales via the Budweiser breeding program, it is possible to purchase breeding prospects from private breeders that specialize in selling riding prospects.

Despite the fact that they are aesthetically pleasing, they can be difficult to maintain.

It is customary for a Clydesdale horse to weigh at least 1,800 pounds and stand at least 16 hands tall or taller.

4. Shire Horse

This is another another draft breed, but if your family like Warmbloods and jumping horses, why not consider getting a shire for the more experienced riders in the group? A mare may be easily crossed with a variety of different breeds to produce good jumping horses if you purchase her. Crosses of the shire are frequently seen at the highest levels of show jumping and dressage competitions. Ever since 1850, Sampson, a Shire gelding, has been the holder of the Guinness World Record for the tallest horse.

Can you believe it?

(source) The Shire horse is normally at least 1100 pounds in weight and can grow to be over six feet in height.

According to the world record holder’s weight of 3360 lbs, Sampson was an impressive feat. That implies that this Shire horse, Sampson, could comfortably carry a combined rider and saddle weight of 672 pounds without a second’s hesitation.

5. Mustang

Here’s another light horse breed that you might not have considered before. Some mustangs are really rather tall and broad, and may readily fit a rider of average height and build. In my own training, I had a mare who was 15.2 hands and built like a brick building. Despite the fact that I did not have a scale to weigh her, I am confident that she weighs at least 1500 lbs. I will agree that taller, broader mustangs appear to be more difficult to come by, but it is not impossible. I have a 16.1 hand palomino paint mare that has a very great build and is a pleasure to ride.

What’s nice about mustangs is that you can either adopt them as wild animals from the Bureau of Land Management (and receive a $1,000 reward for doing so) or you can adopt them as trained animals from various programs such as the Mustang Makeover or the Prison training programs.

Because this is not a pedigreed breed, the size and structure of this dog can vary greatly.

A 250-pound rider wearing a 40-pound saddle would need to find a mustang that weighs around 1400 pounds.

6. Suffolk Punch

When compared to some of the other draft breeds described above, the Suffolk Punch is a lesser-known breed, but it is a fantastic draft horse that is well-suited for heavy riders and carts. This breed of horse is known for its gorgeous red color, as well as its size and power. It is said to have originated in Suffolk, England. They were bred to haul heavy farm equipment, as were most draft breeds, but they also make great riding horses because of their size and strength. (source) They are so well-liked, in fact, that they are one of the few breeds to appear in the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 (also known as Red Dead Redemption 2).

This implies that the Suffolk Punch is capable of towing a rider and saddle weighing more than 400 pounds.

7. Quarter Horse

This is a popular light horse breed that can accommodate riders of varying weights. Quarter horses of the “bulldog” kind can be found in some lines. These strongly muscled ranch horses may grow to be 15 – 16 hands tall or even taller, and they have the muscle and heft that makes them a wonderful choice for riders who are over 6 feet tall. Because I am a bigger lady who is also tall (5’8″) and weighs 275 lbs at the moment, there are a few sorts of quarter horses with whom I am really comfortable.

Standing at 16.2 hands, this mare was both tall and incredibly broad.

I still regret not being able to purchase her when she was being offered for sale by a friend of mine.

Quarter Horses normally vary from 14 hands to 17 hands with taller (and shorter) members of the breed as well.

Weight is normally between 950 and 1500 pounds, with lighter and larger horses being feasible, as previously stated. In most cases, a 1500 lb Quarter horse should be capable of supporting a combined rider and saddle weight of 300 pounds with ease.

8. Paint Horse

It is possible to discover American Paint Horses that are bigger and broader than Quarter Horses, just as it is with Quarter Horses. They also have the added advantage of being available in a broad range of colors and designs. Paint horses and horses with white markings that were too high were barred from the Quarter Horse Registry when it was first established in the 1960s. The rest of the qualities, on the other hand, remained essentially unchanged. The horses selected as the founding members of the American Paint Horse breed were stock horses capable of hauling a cowboy about a ranch for several hours every day for several days in a row.

Because of the physical similarities between registered Paint Horses and registered Quarter Horses, the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) registers breedings between them.

Typically, American Paint Horses stand between 14 and 17 hands tall and weigh between 950 and 1500 pounds, depending on the breed.

9. Warmbloods

In spite of the fact that most horse breeds are classified as “Warmbloods,” what I am referring to is the typical Warmblood breeds that you would encounter in the show jumping or dressage arenas. These horses are often tall and large-boned, and they are best suited for riders who are above six feet in height. These colossal creatures of the horse world, capable of standing between 16 and 17 hands or even taller, are an excellent choice for bigger riders. Consider this: not every warmblood horse bred for jumping or dressage is fit for these disciplines.

However, while high-performing members of the different breeds may sell for several hundreds of thousands of dollars, I have personally had a couple in the $1,500 to $3,000 price range that were fantastic low-level English show horses or simply beautiful horses to ride along the path on.

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It is possible for warmblood horses to weigh up to 1,500 lbs or more depending on the breed, height, and muscular mass of the horse.

10. Andalusian

Because of their lovely, Spanish appearance as well as their flexibility, the Andalusian horse is extremely popular in many nations. A broad range of colors are available for this breed, and they are well-known for having horses with muscular, compact bodies. The Andalusian horse, which was originally designed for combat, had to be able to carry a knight and all of his equipment while yet remaining nimble and swift on his feet in battle when the situation demanded it. Andalusian horses are typically at least 15 hands tall and at least 1200 pounds in weight, which indicates that the larger members of the breed are appropriate for heavier riders due to their size.

A 1,500-pound Andalusian horse would be able to effortlessly handle a combined rider and saddle weight of 300 pounds with no problem at all.

11. Mules

Mules are another another “breed” of horse that is often neglected, but who may be excellent for hefty riders. Okay, I understand that they are not a horse breed, nor are they really a horse at all. The reality is that, depending on the size of the Jack and the size of the mare, certain mules can grow to be rather substantial in stature. Furthermore, because of their hybrid vigor, they have a very long lifespan, and their intellect makes them well-suited to a broad range of fields. It is estimated that the current world record gigantic donkey stands at 17 hands tall and resides with his owner in the state of Texas.

Draft mules, like as the one depicted above, are not commonplace in the United States.

Draft mules, as well as mules generated by marrying enormous jacks to big mares, may easily reach 17 – 18 hands in height and weigh more than 2,000 pounds, according to some estimates.

Final Thoughts

Mules are another “breed” of horse that is sometimes disregarded, but who may be excellent for big riders if they are properly trained. To be clear, I am well aware that they are not a horse breed, nor are they even a horse in the conventional sense. Although some mules can be extremely enormous, it is true that this can vary depending on the size of the Jack and the size of the mare. Their hybrid vigor also allows them to live a relatively long life, and their intellect allows them to excel in a broad range of fields.

(source) As a result of the great size of mammoth donkeys, the mule offspring they produce can be equally large, depending on the size of the mare from whom they are conceived.

In truth, you could mix a donkey with any of a number of different horse breeds to acquire the size and color of horse you choose.

A draft mule, depending on the weight of the rider and saddle, could easily carry an individual weighing 400 lbs or more, depending on the weight of the mule himself.

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry?

While the majority of healthy horses are capable of carrying a rider and a saddle, they do have their limitations. In recent years, experts have established a weight threshold at which a rider is too heavy for a horse to comfortably carry. According to the experts, their conclusions are based on thorough data gathered from eight horses that were ridden while carrying ranging from 15 to 30 percent of their total weight. The horses’ weights ranged from 400 to 625 kilos, depending on their size (885 to 1375 pounds).

Physical indicators altered dramatically when they were packing weights of 25 percent, and they got much more pronounced when they were packing weights of 30 percent.

Following a day of trotting and cantering with heavier weights, the horses’ muscles showed much more discomfort and tightness than the previous day.

In light of these findings, the authors of the research urge that horses should not be loaded with more than 20% of their body weight at any given time.

It’s interesting to note that this research from the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute has come to the same conclusion as the US Calvary Manuals of Horse Management, which were first published in 1920.

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry? (Weight Limit to Ride)

Despite the fact that horses are enormous and strong creatures, they have their limits. Any overloading can result in damage and a reduction in their capacity to function. What is the maximum amount of weight that a horse can carry? This is an important topic to ask whether you are new to horseback riding or an experienced rider who wants to learn more about the horse. Let’s have a look at this.

How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry

The key to a safe and enjoyable ride is to keep an eye out for stiffness in the horse’s muscles. When transporting a human weighing more than 20% of the animal’s body weight, you should be aware that the animal will begin to experience substantial strain and suffering. Consequently, the maximum weight carrying capacity of the horse, including the rider and saddle, is 20 percent of its maximum carrying capacity. Keep in mind that the average western saddle weighs around 50 pounds (22.7 kg), whereas the average English saddle weighs approximately 20 pounds (9 kg).

Furthermore, stockier horses can carry more weight than the typical horse, making them more ideal for riders who weigh more than the average.

Never allow a young or aged horse to carry an excessive amount of weight in order to avoid damage.

Proper Horses’ Sizes for Particular Riders

One of the most important aspects of a safe and pleasurable horseback ride is to be on the lookout for aching horse muscles. Consider that when an animal is forced to carry an individual who weighs more than 20 percent of its own body weight, it feels substantial strain and suffering. So the maximum weight bearing capability of the horse is 20 percent of its total weight, which includes the rider and saddle. Keep in mind that the average western saddle weighs around 50 pounds (22.7 kg), whereas the average English saddle weighs approximately 20 pounds (7.5 kg) (9 kg).

As a result of their larger carrying capacity, stockier horses are more ideal for riders who weigh more than the normal amount.

If you want to avoid injury, never allow a young or old horse carry too much weight.

The reason for this is that the horse’s back receives a better balance of living beings than normal freight.

weight limit to ride a horse

As previously stated, 20 percent reflects the greatest amount of a person’s and equipment’s total weight that a horse is comfortable carrying.

Riders should not weigh more than 15 percent of the horse’s total weight in most circumstances.

Weight limit to ride a horse

Horse’s weight Weight carrying capacity – 15% Weight carrying capacity – 20%
700 pounds (317.5 kg) 105 pounds (47.5 kg) 140 pounds (63.5 kg)
800 pounds (363 kg) 120 pounds (54.5 kg) 160 pounds (72.5 kg)
900 pounds (408 kg) 135 pounds (61 kg) 180 pounds (81.5 kg)
1,000 pounds (453.5 kg) 150 pounds (68 kg) 200 pounds (91 kg)
1,100 pounds (499 kg) 165 pounds (75 kg) 220 pounds (99.5 kg)
1,200 pounds (544 kg) 180 pounds (81.5 kg) 240 pounds (109 kg)
1,300 pounds (590 kg) 195 pounds (88.5 kg) 260 pounds (118 kg)
1,400 pounds (635 kg) 210 pounds (95 kg) 280 pounds (127 kg)
1,500 pounds (680 kg) 225 pounds (102 kg) 300 pounds (136 kg)
1,600 pounds (726 kg) 240 pounds (109 kg) 320 pounds (145 kg)
1,700 pounds (771 kg) 255 pounds (115.5 kg) 340 pounds (154 kg)
1,800 pounds (816.5 kg) 270 pounds (122.5 kg) 360 pounds (163 kg)
1,900 pounds (862 kg) 285 pounds (129 kg) 380 pounds (172 kg)
2,000 pounds (907 kg) 300 pounds (136 kg) 400 pounds (181.5 kg)

In any case, if you want to know what horse kind will be able to appropriately transport you, you should consult one of the online calculators.

An Ideal Horse for Riding

These are the characteristics that are most frequently taken into account when selecting a horse for riding:


It is vital to concentrate on breeds since some of them are more thin, such as the Arabian, while others are stockier, such as the Haflinger, and so on. You should select the one that is the most appropriate for your riding abilities and your own preferences.


Confirmation refers to the form or structure of the horse, as well as its proportions. When acquiring a horse, it is important to consider its intended use because this impacts the weight bearing capabilities of the animal.


A horse that has not been properly taught will demand a lighter rider since it is not as balanced as a horse that has been properly trained.


A horse that has never been used for regular labor and has not been allowed to run freely for an extended period of time is likely to be in bad condition. As a result, it will be better ideal for riders who are less in weight.

Body condition

The amount of fat present in the horse’s body is referred to as its body condition. A horse that is underweight or overweight will always require a lighter rider since its carrying capacity will not be at its maximum level.

Horse’s age

It is the amount of fat that is present in the horse’s body that determines its bodily condition. Because the carrying capability of an underweight or overweight horse is not at its maximum, a lighter rider is always required.

Horse breed that fits particular rider height

Rider height Horse and pony breeds
Short rider, up to 65 inches (165 cm) Haflinger, Appaloosa, Fjord, Dales Pony, Highland Pony, Irish Cob, Hanoverian
Average rider from 65 to 70 inches (165 – 178 cm) Irish Draught, Percheron, Fresian, Irish Cob, Haflinger, Fjord, Draft Cross, Cleveland Bay, Quarter Horse, Lusitano, Paint, Hanoverian, Knabstrupper, Holsteiner, Morgan
Tall rider, over 70 inches (178 cm) Clydesdale, Irish Draught, Percheron, Draft Cross, Cleveland Bay, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Knabstrupper

Rider’s age

When acquiring a horse for a younger rider, selecting a horse that is taller or stockier is the most appropriate option for the situation. It will be proportionate to the rider’s potential adult height and weight. A shorter horse, on the other hand, is more ideal for seniors since it makes mounting and dismounting easier and reduces the chance of injury.

The Best Horse Breeds for Beginners

Equine companions that are simple to teach and retain positive memories of their training are the most suitable for inexperienced riders.


Morgans are a kind and fearless breed that is always willing to satisfy its owners. It will put out great effort in working with any riders and will be consistent in determining their needs.


Because of its lively demeanor and proclivity to roll around in the mud, the Friesian is sometimes compared to a Labrador Retriever (Lab). In addition, because horses are loyal to their owners, it is the perfect option for riders who desire a long-term engagement with their mount.


Many beginning riders are intimidated by the prospect of riding a large horse, therefore the Icelandic horse is a good compromise. A rider, particularly an inexperienced one, will find it more comfortable because of its height and the smooth rendition of a rapid stroll that it offers.

Tennessee Walking Horse

Its walk is so smooth that you may comfortably have a cup of tea while riding it. Additionally, it is a fantastic answer for individuals who have saddle soreness after a lengthy riding session.

Connemara Pony

Connemara Pony started out as a farm worker and eventually became more.

Due to the fact that this horse stands around 14 hands or 56 inches (1.42 m) tall, it is ideal for accommodating shorter equestrian riders. Despite the fact that it is a pony of a smaller breed, it is an athletic animal that will become a faithful companion in future contests for you.

Welsh Cob

Welsh Cob horses were developed via crossbreeding between the Welsh Mountain Pony and bigger breeds such as Arabians or Thoroughbreds. The fact that it may be used in a variety of disciplines makes it popular among European riding schools.

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The Best Horse Breeds for Plus-sized Riders

Despite the fact that horse size and strength can vary within a single breed, some horses are regarded to be the ideal choice for plus-size riders due to their size and strength. These horses have good, firm hooves, thicker bones, and are often larger and stronger than other breeds.


Appaloosas belong into the group of shorter horses, making them more suited for riders who are shorter or larger in stature than other breeds. They tend to have placid demeanor, which allows them to be an excellent fit for riders of all skill levels. Traditionally, this breed has been employed in western disciplines like as cutting and reining, among others.


As a result of their height and the size of their barrels, Clydesdales are the greatest horses for tall and plus-sized riders. However, despite their outgoing personality, they are not appropriate for all riding styles. Although they are not very adept at jumping, they are an excellent choice for pleasure riding on trails, pulling, and driving duties.

Dales Pony

Dales Ponies are a suitable match for riders who are shorter in stature and average in height and weight. They are well-known for their courageous demeanor and for their outstanding performance in driving contests. They are also good jumpers, excellent for dressage, and well-suited for leisure horseback riding as well.


Despite the fact that most of them aren’t particularly stocky, Hanoverians are suitable for riders of all sizes. Because of their exceptional athletic abilities, they make excellent sport horses. This is why jumpers for dressage and competitions are made out of them.

The Horse’s Purpose

Another important consideration when acquiring a horse is determining whether or not the horse is fit for the discipline in which it will be utilized. Horses of a lower stature are more suited to barrel racing or gymkhanas, whilst taller animals are better suited to dressage. Furthermore, some disciplines need a greater amount of horse labor. This covers elements such as how frequently and for how long you bike, as well as how strenuous the ride is. The greater the intensity of the effort, the less weight the horse is capable of towing at a given time.


Because the average rider is becoming heavier, it is important to ensure that the horse does not get overburdened. As a result, if you keep your animal’s weight within reasonable bounds, its performance in the duties you assign it will be improved. As a consequence, you will have a long-term partner in your endeavors in the coming years.

How Much Weight Can Your Horse Safely Carry?

Have you ever carried a typical schoolkid’s bag around with you? It was not that long ago, while some of us were in school, that we just had two or three textbooks with us at all times. Nowadays, however, because many schools have eliminated lockers for security concerns, students are frequently required to carry all of their stuff with them during the day. One survey of 3,498 middle-school pupils conducted in 2004 discovered that the average backpack weight was 10.6 pounds, with some kids carrying as much as 37 pounds.

  1. In other words, the bigger the weight of the backpack, the greater the possibility that the kid would complain of discomfort.
  2. The burdens imposed on a 1,000-pound horse would be confined to 100 to 150 pounds if the same restrictions were followed in the equestrian community.
  3. However, this does not imply that there is no expense.
  4. Our investigations focused with energetics, specifically how to measure the costs of carrying a large amount of weight, according to the study team’s leader Dr.
  5. The effects of weight on horse biomechanics, metabolism, and prospective soundness were among the topics covered in the research.
  6. Wickler adds that his results might have far-reaching ramifications, including those for recreational trail mounts and backyard horses, among other things.
  7. National Center for Health Statistics reports that the average height and weight of the American population has increased over the past several decades, and the number of obese individuals has increased as well, as has the number of overweight people.

The majority of the time, the answer is “It depends.” However, raising your horse’s awareness of weight concerns can go a long way toward keeping him healthy and sound for years to come in the future.

The muscles they need to run, jump, fly, and climb out of harm’s way, as well as the hoof and horn, tooth, and claw they use to wage their conflicts, must all be carried with them.

Growing and sustaining such tools, on the other hand, necessitates the use of energy, which must be obtained from readily available food supplies.

As Wickler explains, “Human engineers will overbuild in order to anticipate extremes.” “For example, an elevator with a stated capacity of eight passengers or a weight limit of 1,500 pounds may be constructed.

However, biological systems do not behave in this manner.

When a horse carries a rider, it is this “reserve capacity” that is responsible for bearing the additional weight; nevertheless, the horse must alter the way he moves and uses his muscles to accommodate the additional weight.

The amount of oxygen the horses used while trotting on a treadmill while wearing face masks was assessed by the researchers.

With the addition of weights that accounted for around 19 percent of the horses’ total weight, which is roughly similar to a 150-pound rider with equipment, the horses’ metabolic rate climbed by an average of 17.6 percent at all speeds, the researchers discovered.

With each extra pound added to the burden, the metabolic work required to move that load increases by a comparable amount–and this is on level ground.

Economy It should come as no surprise that horses who are free to pick their own speed prefer to slow down when they have additional weight placed on their backs.

This portion of the study involved the training of seven Arabian horses, including geldings and mares, to walk and trot along a level fence line in response to spoken orders.

It was estimated that the saddle and lead together weighted 85 kilograms (187 pounds), which accounted for around 19 percent of the horses’ total body weights.

According to Wickler, “Not only does their metabolic rate increase, but their preferred speed decreases as well.” He adds that the most important finding was that the horses’ preferred speed was the most economical in terms of moving a given distance while carrying the additional weight, which was the most important finding of the study.

  • “When you add weight to a horse when it is standing, the power of the weight is distributed evenly across the animal’s four limbs,” Wickler explains.
  • Each horse’s fore- and hindlimbs were filmed so that stride duration could be assessed, and normal (vertical) and parallel (horizontal) forces, as well as the time each foot spent in contact with the plate, were recorded.
  • However, there are considerable variances in the amount of force that is borne by the front and hind legs when comparing the two.
  • When going uphill, the pattern of distribution varies, with the forelimbs supporting 52 percent of the weight and the hindlimbs supporting 48 percent of the weight.
  • The two feet remained on the ground for approximately the same length of time while traveling at greater speeds, but when traveling at slower speeds, the hind limbs tended to spend less time on the ground–an observation that had never been made before in quadrupeds, says Wickler.

Gait Cal State researchers trotted five Arabian horses at a consistent speed on a treadmill under three different conditions: on a flat surface with no load, on a 10 percent incline while carrying a saddle and weights that totaled approximately 19 percent of their body mass, and on a level surface while carrying a saddle and weights that totaled approximately 19 percent of their body mass.

  1. It was discovered that while the horses were carrying a weight, they trotted for an average of 7.7 percent longer time than they did when they were trotting unburdened.
  2. In brief, notes Wickler, carrying a load causes a horse’s stride to be shorter, his feet to remain on the ground for a longer period of time, and the distance his body travels (the “step length”) with each stride to be greater.
  3. “Forces are harmful,” explains Wickler, “and keeping the foot on the ground minimizes peak forces, which in turn reduces the likelihood of an injury occurring.” Is it a difficult road?
  4. Clearly, horses have been transporting riders for thousands of years all across the world with little to no negative consequences.
  5. If there is any force sent from one foot to the other that is not absorbed by bone and tendon, it must be transferred to the muscles.
  6. While fitness training helps horses build up and develop their muscles and bones, it also helps them build up their reserve for absorbing the pressures of exercise.
  7. “Losing even a tiny amount of weight may make a significant effect,” adds Wickler.

“For racing performance on a short track, a 10 percent improvement is a significant improvement,” Wickler explains.

While carrying a single heavy rider on a one-day ride is unlikely to cause major injury to a horse, a constant program of this type of activity over a long period of time might result in chronic injury.

It is possible that chronic overwork leads to a large number of little microfractures, which can accumulate and eventually cause a catastrophic break.

So, what is the maximum weight that a horse can safely carry?

A horse that staggers under the weight of a load is clearly overburdened.

Time and terrain are also important considerations.

Because of the lack of scientific research, historical sources are the next best source of information on maximum weight loads for horses.

“ ‘American mules can carry up to 20% of their body weight (150 to 300 pounds) for 15 to 20 miles a day in mountains,’ according to U.S.

“There have been some anecdotal tales of mules weighing 350 to 400 pounds, and an 1867 reference to mules weighing 600 to 800 pounds.” According to India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965, the maximum weight for mules is 200 kilograms (about 440 pounds), and the maximum weight for ponies is 70 kilograms (about 230 pounds) (154 pounds).

Faster movement means more forces on the limbs and more metabolism is required,” says the instructor.

For example, the National Park Service does not allow riders who weigh more than 200 pounds to participate in mule trips into the Grand Canyon, which are operated by the National Park Service.

“It’s clear that’s not going to happen.” People, on the other hand, must be conscious of the amount of weight they are placing on a horse.” This comprises not just the rider’s weight, but also the weight of the saddle, as well as the weight of any other items that are being transported.

Australian, endurance, and synthetic Western saddles are all lighter than traditional Western saddles, weighing between 13 and 22 pounds.

Gel-filled saddle pads, as well as any additional equipment worn by the rider or tucked inside saddlebags, can add several pounds to the rider’s total weight.

“I’d want to shed a few pounds,” Wickler confesses candidly. “It’d be better for me, and it’d be better for my horse as well,” says the author. Original publication of this article appeared in the January 2005 issue of EQUUS magazine.

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