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MAGENTA_FIRE's Photo MAGENTA_FIRE Posts: 27
1/11/11 12:19 P

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The rule of thumb I use us this.

20 pounds of human for every 100 pounds of horse.
Ex. My 950 pound quarter horse can easily carry up to 180.
But for a young horse doing light work you should be able to safely change the ratio to 30 pounds of human to ever 100 pounds of horse ( with heavy bone structure and a short back. )

For the hight it really depends on the persons leg length.
Ex. I am 5,4 with fairly short legs, my horse is 14.3 hh from the ground you can see when I am on him my toes just reach the point of his shoulder or just above the heart girth.

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MONTANAROWAN's Photo MONTANAROWAN SparkPoints: (6,175)
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6/11/10 10:04 A

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You def. have to keep in mind the experience of the rider. A heavier rider that is well balanced and sympathetic is a much lighter load to carry than a lighter person struggling to find their balance, flopping around and jerking on the mouth. I'd never even considered my weight for the most part, when riding, since I am fairly fit and balanced.

At it's best, riding centers us above our horses. When we are centered above our horses, we are centered above the earth, and for that moment-however brief-we are centered in the natural world, we are harmonious with it and we are at peace-Jimmy Wofford


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MURPHY481's Photo MURPHY481 Posts: 9
6/7/10 8:32 A

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I think riding ability should be taken into account as well. A heavier rider who has balance and a good seat would be less taxing on a horse than a smaller non-rider who doesn't have a seat or balance and is just bouncing along for the ride.

I am a heavy girl I had a thoroughbred mare that I rode in an english saddle - to mount her I would use a mounting block and then stay in 2-point and gradually slowly sit down on her back. Even skinny people getting on her she didn't like sitting on her back right away. She just had a cold back so you had to warm her up some before sitting on it. Otherwise she would moan and bow her back out a bit - very embarrassing when you got on. I worked with a trainer who said that she wished all her students got on as carefully.

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RTLISA's Photo RTLISA SparkPoints: (51,334)
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6/6/10 7:29 P

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I used to exercise a friends Arab - stood about 14-14.1 hands, small frame, and was only ridden by me for a couple of years. At the time, the horse was carrying myself and saddle for a total weight of about 200 lbs. I would occasionally ride my own horse, a 15.2 Appy built like a tank, and ask a friend (lighter than I) to ride the Arab. It never worked. I found that I was one of just a few riders over 150 lbs that he could carry without difficulty. It was a matter of balance, using the right saddle, and simply enough experience as a rider to help him out.

If you aren't putting an experienced rider on a small horse/pony or even on a very narrow, taller horse like many TBs, I would stick with the maximum of 20% of the horses estimated weight until you know the capabilities of the horse and any rider you may put on the horse's back.

As an interesting side note, as your vet just how much your horse does weigh - I'm surprised how many people overestimate the weight of their horses. I've done it myself. I was even surprised when my vet said my current horse would only weigh in around 750-800 lbs. She's a 15.2 h Arab, and when I bought her she was carrying me (215 with tack) on rough mountain trails 8-15 miles each time at all speeds.

Who I am really keeps surprising me.
Nikki Giovanni


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PALOMINOGIRL3's Photo PALOMINOGIRL3 Posts: 1,090
6/6/10 11:29 A

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I'm so glad you posted this question, WILDWOMAN! This is something I've always wondered. I've heard of the 20% rule, but I don't think it rings true in every situation. I definitely think the build and breed of the horse are super important, as well as the way the rider carries themself. I've seen 200+lb cowboys ride these tiny little mustangs and the horses seem to have no problem (they're SO sturdy!)and then I've seen my 160lb friend ride a 16hh thoroughbred and that same horse was MUCH happier carrying me at 125. I think you have to take in all the factors. My biggest fear right now is that I might be too big to ride my horse, Trigger! He's just over 800lb and barely 14.1hh and I feel like I might be a GIANT on him at 131, although my trainer says he's the perfect size for me (he is a mustang). I guess it all comes down to whatever the individual horse is comfortable with???

I love everybody's responses!

"Do, or do not. There is no "try".
- Yoda

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures!"
- George W. Bush


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NEDERLUNG's Photo NEDERLUNG Posts: 931
6/5/10 10:10 A

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WW - not sure if it helps, but my computer has some MSN picture software. I adjust my pictures there and then upload to my photo page.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~ Winston Churchill

Smiles - Debie

www.echoriverranch.com


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WILDWOMAN57's Photo WILDWOMAN57 SparkPoints: (7,032)
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6/5/10 8:09 A

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Posted pics but how do I rotate them so they are not upside down?? I somehow got them loaded ,not even sure how!! LOL!! emoticon

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WILDWOMAN57's Photo WILDWOMAN57 SparkPoints: (7,032)
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6/5/10 7:13 A

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WOW! emoticon Every Posting a treasure!! emoticon I will trust my instincts .. putting together riders weight,height/experience (for balance) and Sunshines condition!! I will also adjust the Trail ride time AND skill level/terrain to the rider! She is really fit right now with good feet... I'm trying to figure out ,again, how to post pictures on Sparkpeople home page from my photo's on Facebook!! I do have some Terrific ones of my 2 horses! emoticon Raining here today so maybe today ............! You are all so helpful! TY again!

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NEDERLUNG's Photo NEDERLUNG Posts: 931
6/4/10 11:49 P

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The comment made by BAILEYS7OF9 regarding the big draft horses, reminded me that I rode once with a gal that had a belgium gelding. The poor thing could barely pull his own weight up the hills, let alone hers to, and I don't think she was much more than 200 pounds.

I truly think it is a combination of the horse and the riders abilities. Size is not a factor.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~ Winston Churchill

Smiles - Debie

www.echoriverranch.com


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KATHLEENS1964's Photo KATHLEENS1964 Posts: 3,173
6/4/10 11:17 A

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Lots of good input on this string! Our teaching to our 4H kids has always been the 20% rule. Rider plus tack should be no more than 20% of the horse's weight. So a 1000 lb. horse would carry up to 200 lbs. But I agree with previous posters that it also depends on the horse's build, condition, and conformation, as well as rider experience, terrain, length of ride,etc.

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BAILEYS7OF9's Photo BAILEYS7OF9 SparkPoints: (122,388)
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6/4/10 10:33 A

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Interesting. I agree that ponies and Morgans can carry more than what people think. In High school, we would ride my morgan cross double all the time and he did not have a problem with it. combined weight was probably 215-230

I used to work on a livery line and we would turn away people that were around 300. Our horses worked hard and they didn't need that. Then we pulled our Belgins and Clydes into the line and had the rule that they had to get on by themselves if they wanted to ride. some did, some didn't.






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JRAUTIO's Photo JRAUTIO Posts: 1,704
6/4/10 7:45 A

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Lots of good points here. I've always felt that the build of the horse is important. Some smaller sturdier horses seem capable of carrying more than a larger horse with a delicate build.

~~Julie~~


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NEDERLUNG's Photo NEDERLUNG Posts: 931
6/3/10 10:52 P

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HEATHYRIDER - good point about those hooves. None of my horses have that smaller hoof.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~ Winston Churchill

Smiles - Debie

www.echoriverranch.com


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NEDERLUNG's Photo NEDERLUNG Posts: 931
6/3/10 10:46 P

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I have a picture of me tightening the saddle on my 15.1 hand mare. I weighed well over 300 at the time. I started riding that mare when she was three, she is now 18 and just the other day I was complimented on how great her top line was.

What I can add is, that I always rode balanced and with a lighter saddle that distributed my weight. Because of my weight, I cannot mount from the ground and everyone of my horses will readily step into a ditch or side up to a tailgate or stump without any fuss in order for me (or anyone) to climb on.

Because of this, I do not set weight limits on riders who ride my horses. But I also make sure the saddle is adjusted appropriately and the length and terrain of the ride are also within the abilities of my horse to perform comfortably.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~ Winston Churchill

Smiles - Debie

www.echoriverranch.com


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HEALTHYRIDER's Photo HEALTHYRIDER Posts: 237
6/3/10 10:26 P

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I have read in the past that for most breeds a horse can carry approximately 1/6 of its own weight comfortably. This changes a bit with Arabs and most pony breeds, which often can carry up to 1/4 their own weight. One thing to keep in mind is that when they are discussing the weight of the horse they mean a horse that is in fit condition--not one that just pigged out on spring grass and gained 100 lb! Another thing that can play into the equation is the size of the hooves. Many modern QH have very small hooves under very large bodies, especially many of the "show bred" horses. When you have that situation, you have to take into consideration that the horse is already carrying a good deal of extra weight on those small feet. I tend to feel like the others, I would rather err on the light side. Your vet might be able to give you some advice for your particular horse.

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4THBASKETEER's Photo 4THBASKETEER Posts: 101
6/3/10 7:57 P

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I visited an endurance barn once which specialized in Arabians and the trainer there had a rule, rider plus tack equal no more than 20% of horse's weight. However I have also known folks who thought the horses could take more weight than that. I'm no expert but I think it also depends on the build of the horse. Shorter backed horses can probably carry more weight than longer backed horses, and big boned horses can probably carry more than fine boned. That seems logical but again, I'm no expert.

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SHRLZI's Photo SHRLZI Posts: 4,088
6/3/10 6:39 P

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Most dude ranches, trail riding stables, etc. put a limit of anywhere from 180 to 250 lb, depending on size/strength of horses available. I had 15.2 Morgans who got cranky with anyone over 160 lb, but they were spoiled cuz i was a skinny 115 then -- since your QH is actually pony height, I'd keep weight under 100-120 at least until she is well-conditioned and strong. If rider is not balanced, even lighter. She may be able to carry more than that (people with specific QH experience, chime in!) but I'd rather err on the lighter side, to keep her sound and happy! If lighter rider is not available, get her conditioned by ponying her with full tack plus sandbags, building up the weight gradually.
my 2C --
Have fun!

...there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. ~John O'Donohue
being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/
inner-landscape/transcript.shtml


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4HORSEGAL's Photo 4HORSEGAL Posts: 95
6/3/10 6:36 P

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Boy, this is such a good question and, as far as percentages, I don't have an answer--but I've found that with every weird question, someone out there in SparkLand knows it and will share. I can't wait to see the responses.

I'm a contributor to Practical Horseman Magazine and I have to say, every time some article mentions a rider's weight, there is a storm of letters from people saying they do just fine at a higher weight.

So it's a touchy subject. Having said that, I'll plunge in.

I was a riding instructor for years, teaching Western as well as hunter-jumper and three-day eventing. I had very tall, very thin riders, very short, overweight riders and everything in between.

For me, I want my students' legs to be able to be on the horse. An experienced rider can handle the leg being a little lower on the belly, but not a beginner. The leg against the belly offers support and balance.

I had two sisters who rode with me who got very tall and eventually, their ankles were far below my 16 handers' bellies. So I had to send them to another trainer, who had 17 hand warmbloods that could handle a longer leg.

To me, it's not so much a percentage or how tall a person is, but...yep, how much they weight. And you know there have been times when you've seen a really overweight rider on a too-small horse. You know you felt bad for the horse. So I think you need to do what seems reasonable to you, and use your common sense.

A few years ago, I had to take my horse to UC Davis vet school. In the lobby, prominently featured, is a skeleton of a horse--a real one, about 15.2 hands tall. All it takes is one look at that delicate bridge between the shoulders and the hips, and you think, "Oh my, I need to lose weight. My poor horse!"

It might be helpful to keep this image of your dear friend's spine in mind as you approve riders for her. My husband had a very slender, refined QH mare, just over 14.2 hands; I wouldn't let anyone on her over 175. If she had been a stockier girl, I might have gone up to 200. But no more than that.

It's just kindness to your horses to make sure whoever is on their backs will not hurt them or make their job more difficult. A heavy-set person should be on a bigger horse who can handle the job without pain.

Again, that's just me. I recently wrote on the message boards about the McGraths, who are currently riding across the USA, from California to Delaware. They had a lot of tack and supplies on those horses, a lot of weight.

Then again, the McGraths are each weight appropriate for the size of their horses. And the supplies they are carrying are placed all over the horses, rather than on the spine where a rider makes so much impact.

Gosh. I wasn't helpful at all, was I? Grrrr.

WILDWOMAN57's Photo WILDWOMAN57 SparkPoints: (7,032)
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6/3/10 6:01 P

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I have a second horse for riding trails... so she is a small quarterhorse approx 14.2h weighs approx 900-950 lbs. What's the percentage of weight horses can carry?? 20%? How about height of rider?? and... Does it matter if rider is green with less balance if they are larger for horse to carry on trails?? Sunshine is great on trails ..solid ,not spooky and safe but fairly new to being ridden,.. Thanks for input ahead of time!! emoticon emoticon

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