Delicate Question on Horseback Riding

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by NYboy, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. NYboy

    NYboy Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    White plains
    I am a big guy 6ft 250. I know alot depends on the horse, but when is someone to fat to ride?

  2. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    You just need a nice big boned horse. My hubby is 6ft 4in 290 and rides from time to time at a stable near here.

    Draft horses, mules, and draft horse crosses are very good options for a big guy.
  3. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Quote:A lot does depend on the build of the horse - not the size of the horse, but its conformation.

    It's not just the weight of the rider (and tack, don't forget to add that in) you need to take into account, it's also how experienced/balanced the rider is. An inexperienced off balance 200 pound rider can be harder on the horse than an experienced well balanced 300 pound rider.

    There's no really hard and fast rule as to when someone weighs too much to ride. The type of riding to be done, the horse's conformation, the weight of rider and tack, and the experience of the rider all need to be taken into account.
  4. danielle82

    danielle82 A Good Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Tonasket Wa
    Ive always heard rider weight should be about 1/5 of horse weight, but Ive heard some horses can go 1/4. So if you weigh 250 and want to follow with your weight being 1/5 then the horse should weigh around 1250 pounds.
    I don't think 250 pounds is even close to too big
  5. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Quote:No offense intended, but often draft horses are NOT a good choice for a heavy rider. They are built for pulling, not riding, and as such are not conformed in such a way to be conducive to carrying a heavy rider.

    Mules, on the other hand, are excellent. [​IMG]
  6. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    I know professional steer wrestlers who weigh close to 300 pounds. Big sturdy horses are the key. You have to remember pack mules and donkeys can carry several hundred pounds, but like it was stated, balance is the key.
  7. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    You have received good advice already. Definately remember your tack as it can be another 30+ lbs. And the experience of the rider it very important also.

    I am here to put a plug in for Draft Horses. I have a Spotted Draft and a Percheron. We ride them both and they are awesome. I saw a bumper sticker the other day and it said "Ride a draft, it makes your butt look smaller" I loved it.

  8. MomtoSyd&Emma

    MomtoSyd&Emma Songster

    Jul 13, 2009
    Southern VA
    I would LOVE to go riding again, but just cant bring myself to get on a horse weighing what I weigh lol

    But when I think of big men or women on a horse, I always think of John Wayne, he was NOT a small man, and rode plenty of horse!!
  9. BlackBart

    BlackBart Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    Fat or big? there's a difference.

    There is a woman in my area that is obese and she rides a large boned 16.2hh horse. She goes into dressage shows.
    She can't post properly. She comes down hard on the horses back. For some people it is difficult to watch. She rode that horse when it wasn't mature. Only time will tell if it created health problems for the animal.

    Pavarotti rode all the time and he wasn't thin.

    I think that weight isn't the biggest issue but strength is. If somebody is so overweight they just sit on top of the horse like a lump then it is not good.

    My best friend is 6'3" close to 250 pounds, physically fit and he rides a QH/Draft cross for his cattle work. No problem.
  10. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I think it's really nice that you would ask. Good for you! It's nice to see someone think about the horse first.

    Remember, these figures are with the weight of the saddle and saddle blankets - that can add up to 30 lbs itself, depending on saddle type.

    The 20% (1/5) was from the cavalry, originally, and they didn't much care if the horse survived the experience or not. So I stick with that unbearably annoying horseman's prerogative, 'It depends'.

    I generally stick to the 20% rule - if I make any adjustment to it, it's to LOWER the weight of rider allowed. Meaning not over 20% regardless.

    Meaning, ok, the horse is 1500 lbs, but has a weak back. He should have LESS than a 300 lb rider. The work is going to be fast? Then the weight of the rider allowed, goes DOWN. He needs a LIGHTER rider than 300 lb. More hours in the saddle? Again, rider weight needs to be LESS. Etc.

    That says a 200 lb man can ride a 1000 lb horse. Or a 300 lb man can ride a 1500 lb horse. A 1000 lb horse might be a modern Quarter Horse or a taller Thoroughbred horse. A 1500 lb horse is most likely, a very sturdy draft horse cross.

    It's not just the weight of the horse that makes a horse 'up to weight'. The actual bones and joints of the legs should be large and sturdy. The back should be muscular and strongly built (not dipping down). The horse needs a generally good build, with large hind quarters and all the right angles in each part of the legs.

    I COULD have a 1500 lb horse that I'd avoid putting a 300 lb man on, if the horse's back or hind legs looked weak, or it had other faults. I might keep a heavier person off an old horse, or one that was having a problem with leg pain.

    It's not always 100% about height, either. There are, rarely, draft crosses that are 15 or 14.3 hands, that are really, really massive all over, and just aren't very tall. They MIGHT be up to more weight, depending on just how they're built. But quite often, these horses have other faults in how they're built that DROPS the amount of weight they should carry back down to what their height indicates. Long weak back, narrow, small hind quarters that trail out behind them when they move, etc.

    SOME of it could depend on HOW the rider is big. If he was 5'6'' and had a huge amount of weight in a big heavy belly, he'd be able to 'carry' that and control it much less well on a horse, than the guy who's just very fit, muscular and powerful all over, and has a slim belly. Fat is uncontrollable weight, muscle is controllable weight.

    SOME of it could depend on how experienced the person is. I MIGHT want a beginner on a really solid, sturdy horse even if the beginner was fairly light.

    Then there's what you plan on doing.

    Top speed = rider's weight is 10%

    A jockey is usually about 100 lbs on a 1000-1200 lb horse. That's closer to 10% of the horse's weight. That to me says, that you can start at 20% for pleasure riding, brief, easy rides, and then start whittling away at what's ok as you get into more and more vigorous and demanding riding.

    Going to a more demanding type of riding, eventing ('3 day') riders that do dressage, run cross country and show jump, usually look like very lean, trim athletes. They usually run and do other sports in addition to riding to keep trim. They even lobbied to have a MINIMUM weight rule for the rider removed, and that minimum was 165 lbs. They showed from research, that jumping with more weight on the horse, makes a significant difference in the strain on the horse.

    Moderate speed and/or difficulty - rider's weight 15%

    Pleasure riding - brief rides on easy trails or in the ring, no jumping, advanced movements = rider's weight 20%

    And you'll hear a ton of argument about this. A lot of people don't follow the above guidelines and they get mad when someone blurts 'em out.

    So, what do you want to do? Ride casually around the farm once in a while on a borrowed horse? Or gallop and jump several times a week, raising those jumps higher as time passes and increasing the gallop speed? Ride endurance, spending many hours a day in the saddle? If you want to do something more stenuous, consider a lower weight limit.

    I don't see the 'big huge heavy man on the tiny reining horse' as a justification for putting a big heavy man on a small horse. I don't think they're doing any thing in the best interest of the horse, especially not for reining. And most of those guys are the worst kind of 'big' - a big uncontrollable belly. I watched one of the top reining trainers in the WORLD almost fall off a horse when he lost his stirrup in the World Equestrian Games this year and almost throw his horse down to the ground. Great big belly on the man. It just is not 'controllable weight'.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010

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