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MCMILLEN
Apr. 9, 2008, 04:29 PM
I recently leased an Arabian from my neighbor and have been doing quite a bit of trail riding after about 26 years of not riding. I always had quarter horses and no experience with Arabians. The horse I am leasing is a 14 year old 14.2 hands, not sure of weight but stockily built, looks more like a Morgan, former endurance horse. I am 5'4" and 160 pounds. I know I am overweight and have been deligently working on losing pounds and getting back in shape. My problem is she keeps making little comments about me being a little too heavy for the horse. Since I only know about Quarter Horses is she right about me being to heavy for this Arabian? Nothing like being told you are "too heavy for a horse" to make you feel really bad about your weight!!

Roan
Apr. 9, 2008, 04:32 PM
If she's so concerned about your weight and her horse, why did she let you lease it?

Just kinda confused.

Eileen

billiebob
Apr. 9, 2008, 04:46 PM
Does the horse have soundness issues that you're aware of?

A lot of things factor into how much weight a horse can easily handle. The general rule of thumb is that the rider and tack should be no more than 20% of the horse's weight. So at your current weight your mount should weigh about 900 pounds (could be less, but I don't know how much a saddle weighs so I gave it a little leeway). The horse's conformation and how well you ride are also issues, so it's kind of hard to tell without actually seeing you too in action. Also, remember that someone who is 5'4 and 160 lb. is going to look heavier than someone who is 5'10 and 160 lb. so your neighbor might have a bit of a distorted view on this. If the horse doesn't appear to be sore and is happily doing his job, I think you're probably OK.

QuzqosMa
Apr. 9, 2008, 04:54 PM
I'm about your height (1" shorter actually), about your weight, and my Arabian is 14.2! We've had no problems, either for short arena-enclosed rides, or 4 hour treks across the county! They're a lot stronger than we think, and if the horse isn't having issues, I wouldn't either! :-)

Plus there's nothing like an Arabian-generated aerobic workout to help get in shape! :)

Guilherme
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:13 PM
The 20% "rule of thumb" is often quoted yet I've never seen anyone tell me why 20% as opposed to 19% or 21%.

One prominant clinician says 250 lbs. is the absolute maximum on any horse, ever.

The Army remount standard called for a 15-16 hand TB-type horse weighing 900-1100 pounds. That horse was expected to carry 230-250 lbs. as a matter of routine in the field. That meant it might have to cover 30-35 miles per day, and maybe have a fight or two along the way.

I think that works out to 21%-28%.

Riding skill has a LOT to do with how much a horse can carry. If the rider is an "old sack of wheat" then 20% is liekly too much. If the rider is skilled in balance then maybe 35% is not too much.

A proper saddle will also make a big difference.

Also, are we talking about a slow walk down a trail or riding a cross-country jumping course?

And, of course, the horse's height has nothing at all to do with its weight hauling capacity.

"Rules of thumb" are just that (presuming you even want to go that far). Ride lightly and balanced on the horse and you'll do just fine.

G.

hunterrider1025
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:18 PM
Have you ever seen the size of some men who ride western on ranches and such? They MUST be 200+ pounds and their horses are tops 15 hands. Honestly, I think you're fine.

Shadow14
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:28 PM
My last high mileage horse was 14.3 and weighed 870 pounds. At a weigh in I would run about 220 with all tack. I weighed in with water bottles full, all gear including saddle blankets and bridle.
My guy completed many 50's with straight A's and never once got pulled.
I would not run him in a 100 since I felt the weight ratio was off but 50's never fizzed on him.
At 160 you are fine.Arab's can carry weight.
I have loped circles in the arena at 350 pounds riding double and he handled that fine

Rancher
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:28 PM
Have you ever seen the size of some men who ride western on ranches and such? They MUST be 200+ pounds and their horses are tops 15 hands. Honestly, I think you're fine.

uh ya. My Dad is 250lbs and he owned a 14.2 HH QH that he used to gallop around on all the time. The horse fell 3 times though...but he was galloping him down a hill all three times...and my dad is a VERY poor rider. My Dad broke ribs all three times before he finally gave up riding like a fool. If my Dad had of been a better rider and NOT galloped the horse downhill I am sure the horse would have been okay and not fallen.

Gayla
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:33 PM
I think most healthy horses can carry 300lbs on easy terrain. Now that would be a load for the horse...don't get me wrong. I just read an article last night by a guy who raises Morgan horses. He and his 2 brothers have competed against each other for years to see how far they can push their horses. He admitted to breaking down several horses in the process and was regretful. In the end he said that he only bred horses that were 15.1 or over because with a saddle and gear he and his brothers were easily 300lbs on the horse. They would then head off to the mountains of ride through snow all day. He found that the smaller horses carried them fine (so would be fine for arena work or trail riding) but for serious endurance riding or mountain riding that little bit of extra size and length of stride gave the horse more endurance. It was an old article from a real horseman. Is the horse sore? Check out some of the guys on this site. I think they weigh a hair over 160...tell her you weigh 125 and let her think what she wants. I weigh 125 too :D.....
Diamond B Training (http://www.diamondbtraining.com/results.php)

Gayla
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:37 PM
uh ya. My Dad is 250lbs and he owned a 14.2 HH QH that he used to gallop around on all the time. The horse fell 3 times though...but he was galloping him down a hill all three times...and my dad is a VERY poor rider. My Dad broke ribs all three times before he finally gave up riding like a fool. If my Dad had of been a better rider and NOT galloped the horse downhill I am sure the horse would have been okay and not fallen.
OMG The image of your Dad made me laugh so hard. Here, alone in my house. Your Dad must be a riot! :lol::lol::lol:

Huntertwo
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:50 PM
Honestly, I don't go by the 20 percent rule.. If a horse is stocky like the old foundation Quarter Horses, those horses carried adult men, a western saddle that probably weighed close to 50 lbs., and never mind that they worked hard.

If the horse is built like a tooth pick, maybe.

My POA is 13.1 and believe me, I weigh more than you..:yes:

If you're a well balanced rider and not *flopping* around on, I see no problem.

Plus, like Roan said, why did she lease the horse anyway if she was concerned? I'd be inclined to end the lease if someone was constantly making comments about my weight:mad: I ride to relax, not have some insecure person making rude comments..

Huntertwo
Apr. 9, 2008, 06:57 PM
The 20% "rule of thumb" is often quoted yet I've never seen anyone tell me why 20% as opposed to 19% or 21%.

One prominant clinician says 250 lbs. is the absolute maximum on any horse, ever.



I've often thought the same thing and could never get an answer from anyone. Who came up with it? And there are sooo many variables, rider's ability, horse's build etc.

Even 250 lbs sounds a little far fetched to me (well, actually a lot):)
How about Draft horses? 250 must feel pretty light to these guys. Did you ever see the harnesses those guys wear at pulling contests? Those alone look pretty heavy, especially the part that goes around the neck.

questisthebest
Apr. 9, 2008, 11:53 PM
It really depends on the horse. I know someone who weighs more than you with an arabian cross the same height; her horse carries her just fine!

billiebob
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:08 AM
I've always heard 20%, but it's totally just a starting point. I've ridden horses that, under this rule, I shouldn't be riding and they haven't had any kind of issues from that. Personally I think the biggest variable is riding ability. If you sit like a sack of potatoes no horse is going to be super psyched about it.

I don't remember where I read this, but can't endurance horses carry something like 1/3 their weight easily? I've never really dealt with arabs, but they seem like really tough little things. So again, unless the horse has soundness/soreness issues, I think you're fine.

kayla
Apr. 10, 2008, 12:29 AM
Arabians are typically short backed and stronger for their size than many horses of similar height.

That said, I've heard 30% for pleasure riding and 20% for heavier work.

I'd put a 160lb person on my 14.2 arab without even thinking twice about it.

Petstorejunkie
Apr. 10, 2008, 01:01 AM
Alot of whether you are too heavy has to do with the horse's conformation and your riding equitation. A well balanced rider on a well balanced horse can weight quite a bit more than you and both be comfy for day long intense rides.
160 is average weight for a smallish man. I wouldnt be concerned unless the horse had under developed topline, or a weak loin coupling or something.
now, then again if your are bouncing around up there and struggling with your balance, well then, i would suggest lessons on a heavier boned horse and then come back to this one when your equitation is ready.

i agree someone saying you are a bit too big for a horse hurts :cry: Just because they say it doesnt make it true.

StraightAccord
Apr. 10, 2008, 01:04 AM
Arabians are typically short backed and stronger for their size than many horses of similar height.

That said, I've heard 30% for pleasure riding and 20% for heavier work.

I'd put a 160lb person on my 14.2 arab without even thinking twice about it.

I'm glad this topic came up, thanks OP and contributors!

Let me just say, I've just purchased a purebred Arabian who is 14.1 and 1/2 (57 inches) rather than the 14.3 as advertised and I actually thought, for a few minutes, that the missing 1.5 inches would make a difference in him carrying my 170lbs :lol: When I drove up to the farm to see him, the little fellow was carrying his 6'5" owner in a western saddle and moving easily...not buckling at the knees as we tend to think.

Now, granted, I am losing weight <whoo hoo, bye bye blubber on my belly> but part of that is being able to RIDE. And thanks to this tolerant, talented, charming and sturdy fellow, I can really ride everyday (I have one retiree TB who can't holdup to really riding everyday and a young understudy TB that I'd best be in darn good riding condition for before I back him...hence the Arabian) :D

And while I'm really sorry to hear that you're getting the bad feedback from the owner, I think if you see and know that the horse is not suffering, and that in fact the breed is quite able to carry the weight if they are structurally normal, then I do hope that you'll carry on riding and can enjoy it while tuning out the inappropriate comments that aren't based in fact.

I haven't tried it, but have thought of it a couple of times in redundant meetings at work, maybe you could get some of those bright orange soft earplugs...put them in right before you're going to get the static from the owner....hehehehehe.

Happy Riding with your new friend!

Mersy
Apr. 10, 2008, 02:29 AM
I'm a overwieght rider myself. I was worried I would be to heavy for my Arab cross (aprox 15 hands, 13 yrs old). I was expecting some concern from her when I first started to ride her but no, it was like, what have you been waiting for, lets get out on the trail! I was surprised at how strong she was.
Now, I don't plan to go out and do 20 miles all in one swoop without some conditioning first. I check sadde fit on a regular basis. I evaluate her dispositon also to make sure she isnt showing some stress. I attempt to stay balanced in the saddle and be a active rider so as not to become a sack of potatoes. I stay current on her hooftrims and general health. Use good horsemanship.
Keep up on your own riding fitness and listen to the horse. A horse will give you telltale signals long before breaking down if he is over burdened.

chicamuxen1
Apr. 10, 2008, 07:04 AM
Everyone has pretty much said it all. I'll only add that yes, your horse and my horse and most horses would be better off over long distances and long hours with less weight on them. Over a distance it does add up. That's why John Crandell rides in a really light weight synthetic saddle with absolutely nothing on the horse, rider and saddle that isn't absolutely necessary. Weight will tell in speed and function, eventually, in a race and I suppose over the very long run. But are we all racing? Are we all riding really long and fast distances?

If you want to lighten up you can do what I do, keep buying lighter saddles!!!! I gained 10 lds so I bought a Sensation saddle that weighs 7 lbs! Hah!

Bonnie

Auventera Two
Apr. 10, 2008, 09:10 AM
My last high mileage horse was 14.3 and weighed 870 pounds. At a weigh in I would run about 220 with all tack. I weighed in with water bottles full, all gear including saddle blankets and bridle.
My guy completed many 50's with straight A's and never once got pulled.
I would not run him in a 100 since I felt the weight ratio was off but 50's never fizzed on him.
At 160 you are fine.Arab's can carry weight.
I have loped circles in the arena at 350 pounds riding double and he handled that fine

870 pounds? Wow, that's tiny. My (barely!) 15 hand Arab is about 1,000 pounds and she's very small compared to some of those endurance horses out there. She's actually more like 14.3 1/2".

I agree that horses can carry weight, but it totally depends on what you do with them. An endurance horse racing to win is a different story than a pleasure trail horse or an endurance horse who will finish in the bottom of the pack.

I am 5'7" and 150 pounds. My treeless is extremely light. I am thinking of switching to synthetic stirrup "irons" also to eliminate a couple pounds. I carry a lot of water so I try to not carry much of anything else.

Potato Richardson says that endurance horses have more trouble with stuff flopping around all over than the actual weight, though you should keep the weight down as much as possible also. But if you do carry stuff, make sure it is securely cinched down to the saddle rings for no bounce.

Huntertwo
Apr. 10, 2008, 02:13 PM
I haven't tried it, but have thought of it a couple of times in redundant meetings at work, maybe you could get some of those bright orange soft earplugs...put them in right before you're going to get the static from the owner....hehehehehe.

Happy Riding with your new friend!

:lol::lol: One of the Pharmacies in the area carries those orange soft earplugs. They sell them by the jar.

Trust me...if it can block the hubsters snoring:sleepy: It'll block out the rude horse owner. I don't go to bed without them. :yes:

MCMILLEN
Apr. 10, 2008, 02:44 PM
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all the response to my post, I feel much better now. My husband keeps reminding me that if she really did feel like I was too heavy for her horse, how come she asks me to go riding with her every weekend? He feels it is just her way of trying to say she is boss and stay in control. We don't have a bad relationship, we are actually pretty good friends, so I think she is just doing what my husband said about the control thing. And as several people have commented, I am not doing endurance riding I am just going for 1 - 2 hour pleasure rides. Granted we do get onto some steeper trails and the poor horse starts breathing a little harder, but not for any long distances then we are back on level single track walking. He has never come up lame, or sore, and I use a lightweight 18lb saddle and I am seriously working on my riding skills. So thank you again to everyone for your replies, I will just let her comments go in one ear and out the other and continue going on rides to improve my balance and riding skills!

Shadow14
Apr. 10, 2008, 06:00 PM
870 pounds? Wow, that's tiny. My (barely!) 15 hand Arab is about 1,000 pounds and she's very small compared to some of those endurance horses out there. She's actually more like 14.3 1/2".

.

I weighed Shadow a couple of months ago and he went 970 or 1180 with me sitting on him. I go 195 bare plus equipment.
He is tall. I am 5 11 and standing beside him he is an honest 15.2
He is long legged with strong withers. Actually I have never owned a horse that didn't have strong withers. I believe alot of hard work developes the withers.
None of my horses are ever fat even though they eat alot of grain and alfalfa hay. I hate timothy or grasses.
I feed about a small water pail of grain a day or 6 coffee cans with a strong mixture of steam rolled corn and a small handful of iodized salt thrown in.

billiebob
Apr. 10, 2008, 11:34 PM
Thanks for all the response to my post, I feel much better now. My husband keeps reminding me that if she really did feel like I was too heavy for her horse, how come she asks me to go riding with her every weekend?

Uhhhhh....now I have no doubt that he's fine to carry you!:D Sounds like sour grapes to me.

dsgshowmom
Apr. 11, 2008, 12:14 AM
Oh this is baloney. You don't weigh to much for the horse. I weigh about 180lbs and my daughters horse is a 16.1hh oldenburg. I can ride him just fine.

I feel its insulting when someone comments about my weight on the horse. I see all these western riders riding horses that are 15hh tall and have 200+ guys on them with a huge 50lb western saddle on them doing roping. Give me a break! :mad:


I recently leased an Arabian from my neighbor and have been doing quite a bit of trail riding after about 26 years of not riding. I always had quarter horses and no experience with Arabians. The horse I am leasing is a 14 year old 14.2 hands, not sure of weight but stockily built, looks more like a Morgan, former endurance horse. I am 5'4" and 160 pounds. I know I am overweight and have been deligently working on losing pounds and getting back in shape. My problem is she keeps making little comments about me being a little too heavy for the horse. Since I only know about Quarter Horses is she right about me being to heavy for this Arabian? Nothing like being told you are "too heavy for a horse" to make you feel really bad about your weight!!

Diamond Jake
Apr. 11, 2008, 02:13 PM
None of my horses are ever fat even though they eat alot of grain and alfalfa hay. I hate timothy or grasses.
I feed about a small water pail of grain a day or 6 coffee cans with a strong mixture of steam rolled corn and a small handful of iodized salt thrown in.

Holy Crap! :eek:
How many horses do you have? Do you feed that total to all of them, or is that amount for each?

I can hardly keep the weight down on my LD horse with Alf/Grass mix hay and barely a handful of oats every day.:winkgrin:

Of course, my friend probably feeds about that to her one ARAB. Guy eats like a TB...

Auventera Two
Apr. 11, 2008, 02:41 PM
I hear ya DJ on the eating thing! Two of mine drink water and get fat. But the Arab is a hard keeper. She eats 4 times what the others do to maintain weight.

All winter that skinny little twirp ate 1/2 a big feed bucket of soaked beet pulp, BOSS, XTN, and supplements. She consumes alfalfa and grass hay by the bale. I laugh because in the winter the feeding regime is: 2 flakes for you, 3 flakes for you, and a bale for YOU! :eek:

In the summer when the others are on grass only, she'll still be eating grain and hay to hold weight.

I do not look forward to feeding this horse 20 years down the road from now.

Guilherme
Apr. 11, 2008, 03:18 PM
Regarding draft horses, IMO a well conformed light saddle horse will carry more, safely, than a drafter. The reason is that the draft horse has been selectively bred to PULL a load, while the saddle horse has been selectively bred to CARRY a load. While some drafters will go under saddle just fine, I've seen some struggle under fairly light loads that one of my MMs (900-1100 lbs, 14.2-15.2) would carry all day long.

Sometimes the half-drafts (a/k/a "warmbloods") can do a bit better but that's presuming they got a "hauling" conformation not a "pulling" conformation.

IIRC the Halflingers were originally bred as sturdy pack animals. There may be other breeds with this background. These, I would think, might easily beat the 20% rule.

Rider skill is really important when you've got a rider who weighs a significant percentage of the horse.

Most of us who have more "body mass" than we should do our horses a favor when we drop a few kilos. I think it was BGen. Chamberlan (a noted U.S. Army horseman of the early 20th Century) who observed that "it's not the kilometers, it's the kilograms" that kills horses. 'Nuff said on that, I guess. ;)

G,

islandhorse
Apr. 11, 2008, 05:30 PM
At the last endurance ride I went to, the Best Condition winner (a guy) riding an Arabian, probably 14.2 or so, not particulary big boned, weighed (per my BC score sheet - the heaviest rider is listed on everyone's BC sheet) weighed **325 lbs** (includes tack). This guys does a lot of 25's and 50's.

Sure, the horse would have an easier job if he wasn't lugging 300+ pounds, but carrying that amount of weight is possible. So you coming in way under 200 is great!

Romantic Rider
Apr. 11, 2008, 05:32 PM
870 pounds? Wow, that's tiny. My (barely!) 15 hand Arab is about 1,000 pounds and she's very small compared to some of those endurance horses out there. She's actually more like 14.3 1/2".
.


My little 14.2 hh. mare is probably no more than 850 lbs. soaking wet. I tack up at about 186 total, just getting me over the Middleweight limit. (though that's with my treed saddle and a pack, my treeless is lighter). I'm actually trying not to go below that, because I don't want to ride light weight. There are too many tiny ladies on huge horses in those lower categories. I don't want to be racing against them. My Mom tacks up at 175 I think, and her horse is 13.3 hh, and probably weighs just barely 800 lbs. But she does 50 miles rides and can outrot my 15.3 hh. mare.

Dalriada
Apr. 11, 2008, 08:26 PM
I've successfully done 5-hour 50's on a 14.1 hh stock built purebred Arabian. I'm 5'9" and me plus tack weigh in at 186lbs.

I rode this horse for over 500 competition miles in 4 years with no real issues until her death last summer.

I've also jumped over 4' a 14.1hh fine boned Half-Arabian mare for 3 seasons (we even won 1996 US National Champion Jumper) - we consistently jumped 3' - 3'6" every other weekend each of those seasons. She went on to a distance career with my mom (about 20 lbs less weight). Due to all the road pounding and jumping she finally broke down (hairline fracture of a knee) at age 14 and is currently our prime broodmare.

psidio
Apr. 12, 2008, 10:02 PM
RE: Too heavy? AKA Too Much Junk in the trunk?

Hi All,

My horse, Piper weighs 825-850 pounds when filled up before an Endurance Ride. He came out of one ride weighing 790 pounds. He has 000 shoes and less than 7 inch cannon bones. He is barely 14.2

I usually tack out around 210, but have tacked out as high as 230 pounds. Last year we did the Old Dominion 100 as Cavalry so had to carry all our supplies. I didn't weigh before the ride, but assumed we went over 230 that day. The load did get lighter as we rode throughout the day as we ate some of the weight off.

Piper did two 100 mile rides last year, (OD and Tevis) We also did several 50's including two sets of back to back 50s (friday/saturday). He can only dream of carrying a 160 pound short balanced rider.

This does not only apply to Arabians. The old foundation quarter horse were wiry short little rascals that were tough as nails. If you put them next to one of todays lead and feed big beauties you would never imagine they could carry cowboys over the old West. You would be wrong.

Don't worry about 160 pounds on a fit and sound horse. It will be just fine.

Paul N. Sidio
Piper (who keeps trying to get him signed up with Jenny Craig or somebody)
Spokane MO

pandorasboxx
Apr. 13, 2008, 11:44 AM
Well, sometimes I think we tend to underestimate what horses can carry but also overestimate what they weigh if you are used to tape measures.

I've ridden in the SE where they have large scales to weigh the horses. My 14.2 Arab mare (solid build) weighed 830 after the ride (prob race loss of about 20-30 lbs) with tack. Granted, my tack is very light as saddle is under 10 lbs with irons and the rest is maybe 5 lbs tops even w/water. My 15.2 Arab gelding, who is a very big and solid horse esp for an Arab, weighed 1075 pre-race with lightweight tack.

Shadow14
Apr. 13, 2008, 12:39 PM
I also feel proper shoing, a balanced foot is important, even moreso as the weight goes up. An unbalanced foot shows up as a horse that appears to trip alot. It is the toe stabbing into the ground and it can cause the horse to appear as if the weight is too much.
Make sure the horse is well shod.

Auventera Two
Apr. 13, 2008, 05:37 PM
Well, sometimes I think we tend to underestimate what horses can carry but also overestimate what they weigh if you are used to tape measures.

I've ridden in the SE where they have large scales to weigh the horses. My 14.2 Arab mare (solid build) weighed 830 after the ride (prob race loss of about 20-30 lbs) with tack. Granted, my tack is very light as saddle is under 10 lbs with irons and the rest is maybe 5 lbs tops even w/water. My 15.2 Arab gelding, who is a very big and solid horse esp for an Arab, weighed 1075 pre-race with lightweight tack.

According to my vet, weight tapes usually under-estimate weight. He says that horses actually weight a lot more than we think they do. So that's a weird contradiction?? I really don't know. I just use the tape and take the measurement about 3 times. I've also used the weight formula calculations and have gotten about the same weight. I can't wait to go to a ride that has a scale and find out for sure. But even at that, they have to be calibrated properly, or they aren't accurate either.

FancyFree
Apr. 13, 2008, 06:38 PM
Regarding draft horses, IMO a well conformed light saddle horse will carry more, safely, than a drafter. The reason is that the draft horse has been selectively bred to PULL a load, while the saddle horse has been selectively bred to CARRY a load. While some drafters will go under saddle just fine, I've seen some struggle under fairly light loads that one of my MMs (900-1100 lbs, 14.2-15.2) would carry all day long.

Sometimes the half-drafts (a/k/a "warmbloods") can do a bit better but that's presuming they got a "hauling" conformation not a "pulling" conformation.

IIRC the Halflingers were originally bred as sturdy pack animals. There may be other breeds with this background. These, I would think, might easily beat the 20% rule.

Rider skill is really important when you've got a rider who weighs a significant percentage of the horse.

Most of us who have more "body mass" than we should do our horses a favor when we drop a few kilos. I think it was BGen. Chamberlan (a noted U.S. Army horseman of the early 20th Century) who observed that "it's not the kilometers, it's the kilograms" that kills horses. 'Nuff said on that, I guess. ;)

G,

Seriously, I do not understand why some riders don't see this. Even if you're riding a draft, it's going to be hard on a horse to carry a very overweight rider. I've seen some extremely overweight riders, who have NO intention of losing weight. I mean none. They are not dieting. I feel for those horses when they are jumping or doing dressage. I am sympathetic to the overweight rider,being overweight myself due to a back injury. But now recovered, I'm doing my damndest to get the 40 pounds off. I think some of these people with bigger horses think it's perfectly okay for their horses to carry their weight. I feel it will come back to them when the horse starts to break down.

promlightshine
Apr. 13, 2008, 07:38 PM
Ok...here is my rule. It came from my sister who was single well into her 30's. "never date a man whose a## is smaller than your own". Well, the same holds true for me and riding. Not a small woman I have gone as far as to have friends take photos from behind (perish the thought :).

I have a 15.2 hand stb whom most swear is a morgan /arab type horse. I have found he moves the best with a centered seat and in collection when we get on steep terrain. Not harsh but contact vs on the buckle helps with tougher terrain. ON the flat..hell, I let him go!

I hunted on him and even though we weren't the most polished out there and likely not the most picturesque, he did his job darn well. If we needed to be somewhere-we were.

So the rule applied... at 5'7 and more than 160lbs we are just making it but we do have good times.

philosoraptor
Apr. 14, 2008, 12:19 PM
To the OP: it sounds like you're fine. I agree with the person who suggested she's into control.

To Guilherme:

I ride drafts and find them to be wonderful for my needs. I don't understand the need to bash them.


Regarding draft horses, IMO a well conformed light saddle horse will carry more, safely, than a drafter. The reason is that the draft horse has been selectively bred to PULL a load, while the saddle horse has been selectively bred to CARRY a load.

I'd argue the draft horse moves loads by leaning into the harness, not "pulling" on the load. Maybe I'm being nitpicky about semantics but if we're going to talk about how selective breeding changed how the body moved, we need to be clear on how the body is supposed to move for draft work.

The non-draft (light) horse has been bred for a variety of things, so we can't say "all non-drafts were bred for riding". Look at the goofy halter-class QHs that can't do a proper day's saddle work. Look at the non-draft driving horses. Consider the racing TBs who are bred only for speed and only to carry enough weight to get that 110lb rider across the finish line. Look at the fugly randomly bred mixes with such poor conformation you've got to wonder if they're good for anything. There is a myriad of reasons why people breed (non-draft) horses, and it isn't always for a sturdy riding horse.


While some drafters will go under saddle just fine, I've seen some struggle under fairly light loads that one of my MMs (900-1100 lbs, 14.2-15.2) would carry all day long.

I think you're comparing horses with poor conformation with your riding horses with good conformation, and that's not a fair comparison. While it's true some drafts don't have ideal conformation, there are some pretty fugly-conformed non-drafts being put under saddle. For example, some drafts have really long backs, so wouldn't be ideal for a heavy rider... but too long backs are a bad thing for a non-draft.

Also consider draft aren't built for speed, which is a function of muscle type / metabolism. It's a rare draft who can sprint off with galloping TBs down the trail. But not all of us want to win the Kentucky Derby, so the drafts may be just fine for the average rider.

Auventera Two
Apr. 14, 2008, 12:37 PM
In one of our classes, some people were going over some research paper which made the case that it is actually impossible for ANY horse to truly "pull" because legs are built for driving forward, not for pulling forward. In other words, the muscle, tendon, and ligament attachments are such that a horse cannot PULL with it's legs like a human can pull with it's arms.

But what they do is use their weight to lean into the harness and drag the load behind them, aided by the driving force of the legs. So when people say their horse falls on the forehand and pullshimself along with the frong legs instead of driving off the hind, it's just not possible. They're still driving, but not with the power desired.

Mersy
Apr. 14, 2008, 02:43 PM
I have to disagree with the "theory" on what Drafts are deisgned for. A well conformed horse whether heavy or light is capable of carring weight.
Heck, what were medevil knights riding? What do you suppose a knight with all the armor, and the horses armor, would top out at?

Guilherme
Apr. 14, 2008, 03:57 PM
The Medevil knights rode cob-type horses, not draft type horses.

I have friend who is a military museum curator. He recently did some time touring some European museums with extensive collections of human and equine armor. It was his conclusion, based upon his observations, that this armor was much more consistent with cob conformation than draft conformation.

Next time you do a tour of a collection (not just a single example) of armor consider this as an explanation of size and shape.

I'm not "bashing" draft horses; far from it. They are admirably suited to drayage. They not, however, always admirably suited to saddle work.

Dr. Deb Bennett has some interesting things to say about this in her conformation books and in "Conquerors."

G.

Auventera Two
Apr. 14, 2008, 04:37 PM
I've read the articles too that say horse armor is consistent with a moderate to hefty built 14-16 hand horse. Not a gargantuan 18 hand Shire. The European museum exhibits is pretty common knowledge. I think that heavier draught horses were used but they weren't necessarily the size of modern full drafts.

I don't believe that heavy draught horses used to be 18 or 20 hands tall as they are today. I think more generations of selective breeding for size and impressiveness has yielded the huge horses we have today.

Guilherme
Apr. 14, 2008, 07:51 PM
"But if we examine the medieval armour made for horses, the shape indicates that the animals could not have been similar to the heavy Percheron or Shire horses we know today. Exhibits in the Royal Palace museum of Madrid, for example, make it clear that equine metal protection in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period fit small, stout horses known as cobs."

Margaret E. Derry. Horses in Society: A Story of Animal Breeding and Marketing Culture, 1800–1920. Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press

G.

ChocoMare
Apr. 15, 2008, 11:36 AM
Also consider draft aren't built for speed, which is a function of muscle type / metabolism. It's a rare draft who can sprint off with galloping TBs down the trail. But not all of us want to win the Kentucky Derby, so the drafts may be just fine for the average rider.

That's me and my "cob-ish" Clydesdale/Standardbred cross. She's only 15.2 but built like a truck, short-backed and solid as a rock. Hence, she easily carries my weight. I ride balanced, light and her feet are almost perfect. Granted, I know I weigh more than I should, but I'm working on it.

I have had several COTH'ers come ride with me and all have said that I ride light and balanced and that Penny is more than capable of easily carrying me wherever we go. I am UBER conscious of her conditioning and never, ever push her....I'm probably more conservative that I have to be, but I want her around for a long time.

Mersy
Apr. 15, 2008, 02:03 PM
Very interesting. I wonder if the modern day cob even resembles the cob of the middle ages.

Seems modern "style" horses are taller which may not indicate how strong they are. Earlier horses where probably shorter in stature but plenty stong.

Guilherme
Apr. 15, 2008, 03:07 PM
In the Anglo horse world "tall" and "strong" are very often synonymous. In the REAL horse world the two terms have little in common.

Loin girth, joint size, bone density, muscle density, fitness, strength, and rider skill are all way more important than height.

G.

ChocoMare
Apr. 15, 2008, 03:09 PM
http://pets.webshots.com/photo/1338312214015305252WSoBcE - this is she. :)

Guilherme
Apr. 15, 2008, 04:10 PM
Now THAT'S what a call a "field ready horse"!!!!! :lol:

G.

Huntertwo
Apr. 15, 2008, 09:22 PM
http://pets.webshots.com/photo/1338312214015305252WSoBcE - this is she. :)

Very very nice...:yes: I bet theres some power behind those muscles..:eek:
She's gorgeous.

Huntertwo
Apr. 15, 2008, 09:35 PM
Seriously, I do not understand why some riders don't see this. Even if you're riding a draft, it's going to be hard on a horse to carry a very overweight rider. I've seen some extremely overweight riders, who have NO intention of losing weight. I mean none. They are not dieting.

Fancy,
I'm a bit overweight due to a medication I'm on, plus pre-menopause doesn't help either.

I always thought the same when I was young and thin. That it was always the persons fault, why don't they diet, why don't they excerise..etc. I dropped weight very easily.

Trust me, I feel very humbled.

I started working at a stable in mid December. Feeding, haying, scrubbing and dumping buckets. I cleaned 8 stalls. Doesn't sound like a lot. But these horses were in pretty much 24/7 except for work and deeply bedded. Manure pile was not close to the barn..a lot of up hill pushing..:yes:

I thought, wow! I'll lose some weight. In 4 months I lost nothing!!! And I mean nothing.

I watch what I eat, don't eat junk. The medication slowed my metabolism way down..it sucks..

My pony is a stocky 13.1 hands and handles me fine. I'm a balanced rider, certainly don't bounce all over..

Just please remember. Not everyone who is over weight is that way on purpose and wants to be that way..:(

Granada
Apr. 16, 2008, 01:05 AM
My husband is 6'6" and not one of those skinny tall guys, in fact he has been mistaken for Matt Leinart (quarterback) on multiple occassions:lol: He's probably pushing 250lb. His horse loves him, they do low hunters and jumpers together and just hack around. His horse is 16.2H a bit stockier and shorter lengthwise. Here's a pic:) http://calranunculus.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/TrevFelixCreek.jpg

But he never rides my TB, as mine doesn't like the weight and mine has arthritis issues anyway. But my mom's smaller (15.3) appendix likes my husband too and goes great for him, so I'm not sure it's dependant on height.

You can tell by the way the horse goes if it is comfortable or not. But really, 160lb is nothing to a horse unless it has soundness issues.

And I also get a bit sick of people on these kind of threads accusing people they have seen riding overweight of abusing the horse, or not "trying" to lose weight. People are more complicated than we can imagine. Nobody wants to be overweight. Live and let live.

Mersy
Apr. 16, 2008, 03:06 AM
Nice horse ChocoMare! Beautiful.

ChocoMare
Apr. 16, 2008, 07:14 AM
Thanks all....I'm blushing!

Yes, Penny can motor on. She might be built like her clyde dam, BUT she moves like her Standardbred sire. A trot that moves!!!!!

She has truly become my horse of a lifetime. I can teach a total beginner kid on her and she'll plod along for fear of Ashley falling off. I can then put a much more experience kid on her and she'll move out more but still cautious. Then I can get on and do a 2 hour trail ride, with hills and/or some low jumps.

And, yes, she's a PMU product ;)

If there was a way of guaranteeing that another foal would come out like her, I'd find a Clyde/S'bred to get another cross. Hmmmm, maybe I'll call it "The American Cob" and see if I can sell them for outrageous prices like the Gypsy Vanner (aka: Irish Cob) people can? :winkgrin:

Nah......I'm too honest. :D

Huntertwo
Apr. 16, 2008, 09:26 AM
Thanks all....I'm blushing!

Yes, Penny can motor on. She might be built like her clyde dam, BUT she moves like her Standardbred sire. A trot that moves!!!!!

She has truly become my horse of a lifetime. I can teach a total beginner kid on her and she'll plod along for fear of Ashley falling off. I can then put a much more experience kid on her and she'll move out more but still cautious. Then I can get on and do a 2 hour trail ride, with hills and/or some low jumps.

And, yes, she's a PMU product ;)

If there was a way of guaranteeing that another foal would come out like her, I'd find a Clyde/S'bred to get another cross. Hmmmm, maybe I'll call it "The American Cob" and see if I can sell them for outrageous prices like the Gypsy Vanner (aka: Irish Cob) people can? :winkgrin:

Nah......I'm too honest. :D

Nope - The "American Choco Cob".... :winkgrin:

Huntertwo
Apr. 16, 2008, 09:30 AM
My husband is 6'6" and not one of those skinny tall guys, in fact he has been mistaken for Matt Leinart (quarterback) on multiple occassions:lol: He's probably pushing 250lb. His horse loves him, they do low hunters and jumpers together and just hack around. His horse is 16.2H a bit stockier and shorter lengthwise. Here's a pic:) http://calranunculus.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/TrevFelixCreek.jpg

But he never rides my TB, as mine doesn't like the weight and mine has arthritis issues anyway. But my mom's smaller (15.3) appendix likes my husband too and goes great for him, so I'm not sure it's dependant on height.

You can tell by the way the horse goes if it is comfortable or not. But really, 160lb is nothing to a horse unless it has soundness issues.

And I also get a bit sick of people on these kind of threads accusing people they have seen riding overweight of abusing the horse, or not "trying" to lose weight. People are more complicated than we can imagine. Nobody wants to be overweight. Live and let live.

Granada,
Your hubby and his horse look great together.. He doesn't look big at all.

P.S. I like the look on your horse's face in the photo.. She/he is sooo intently watching your hubby and his horse. :)

aimeentanner
Apr. 16, 2008, 03:30 PM
I think you are fine! I have an appendix paint that is small (for me) 15 hh at the most - I can ride him and he does just fine! I personally only like to ride a horse that is 16.1 or higher, but I am almost 5'10"! If this person was truly worried, she wouldn't have leased the horse to you in the first place - especially since you were heavier when you first leased it! (You said you have been losing weight.) Concentrate on balanced riding an enjoying yourself...if she has a problem with that, then I'd find yourself another horse! :)

Granada
Apr. 16, 2008, 04:33 PM
Granada,
Your hubby and his horse look great together.. He doesn't look big at all.

P.S. I like the look on your horse's face in the photo.. She/he is sooo intently watching your hubby and his horse. :)

Thanks Hunter! my hubby gets along great w/ his horse, but he is self-conscious of his size. He rides dirt bikes and mountain bikes too and is always complaining that he is too big :sigh:
Yes, my boy was wondering why he couldn't go play in the water too, but I didn't want to risk dropping the camara while I was holding it down by my knee, lol:)

Choco, your mare is adorable. She looks so happy and shiny:yes: Thanks for sharing the pic!

Beverley
Apr. 16, 2008, 06:28 PM
I've generally only heard (and applied) the 20% rule when talking about pack horses. A horse's carrying capacity for 'dead weight' is lower than its capacity for carrying 'live weight,' because a rider can shift as necessary to balance the load- leaning forward to go up steep hills, for example. The panniers on a pack horse are (we hope) going to stay where they are, so that horse is going to have a heavier load going up a steep hill than the horse being ridden.

I've got a new little horse to play with, 14.2 at age 3 and I'd be astonished if she's as heavy as 800 lbs. The gentleman that started her weighs well over 200 pounds, and when I watched him work her, she was just fine, because he was a capable rider, well balanced. To say it another way, a 100 lb rider who can't stay balanced is probably more work for a horse than a 200 lb rider who can stay balanced.

jeano
Apr. 16, 2008, 07:27 PM
Dunno how good a rider I am but here goes. My two nags are 15 hands. Sadie is built like an old fashioned QH, except she's a racking horse. Wide load, but consistently weight tapes around 900 pounds. Pleny of bone. Totes my 180 pound (that's butt nekkid weight) self plus saddle. Barefoot. For hours and hours. Several times a week. She was formerly shod, ridden on long trail rides maybe 6-8 times a year. Former owner was 250 in his socks, easy, and rode her in a big ol Wade roping saddle that was probably another 40-50 pounds. My saddles tend to be lightweight synthetics, never over 25-30 pounds with pad. So, is poor little Sadie more overworked now than formerly? Again, I dunno, but her feet, now that they've been unshod for two years, have nice cupped soles now, she's filled out some, (so much so she is getting a wide tree saddle, none that fit her when I got her fit her now) but she is NEVER lame and she seldom acts tired. Her back is absolutely beautifully level.

The other horse is narrow as a toothpick, might weigh 850. He is ridden several times a week, for miles and miles at a time. He is NEVER lame, and NEVER gets tired. He had big ugly cracked hoofs a year ago, now he's got big ugly uncracked hoofs. Next to Sadie he looks like Ichabod Crane. He has a spring in his step whenever he is ridden that has to be experienced to be believed. Oh, and my riding buddy, who usually rides him on our long (6 hours or so--15-18 miles cross country) weekly trail rides, is probably 20-25 pounds heavier than I am and uses her (heavier) leather saddle when she rides either of my horses.

My 14 hand POA used to tote anyone and everyone any and everywhere, and that included Mr Jeano, then a svelte 185, 6'1", and a complete novice.

George Morris has infected too many people with his fataphobia, I think. I've pointed this out on another thread, but back when the Tevis cup was a new event, at least one participant got worried about what would happen if his horse threw a shoe in the mountains and took along horsehoes and an ANVIL so he could re-shoe if necessary. And those were big ol hairy mens riding little bitty A-rabs.....

Huntertwo
Apr. 16, 2008, 08:17 PM
Thanks Hunter! my hubby gets along great w/ his horse, but he is self-conscious of his size. He rides dirt bikes and mountain bikes too and is always complaining that he is too big :sigh:


No, tell him he looks fine and we said so. :yes: I love dirt bikes too! Had a little Yamaha when I was young and would love to do it again.

And kudos to the both of you enjoying and sharing the same hobby. I have to drag hubby to the barn...

fargaloo
Apr. 17, 2008, 12:47 AM
The analogy that makes sense to me is that you can carry a lot of weight in a well balanced, well packed backpack, but 1/10 of that weight in a purse with a thin shoulder strap will send you to the chiro...

I know a fairly BNT/BNR in the jumper ring who breeds very nice sporthorses. She's about 5'5" and definitely 200lb+, but man, can that girl ride. I watched her showing a sale horse to a prospective buyer -- the mare moved like a silk ribbon over a course of fences. When the buyer (a gal who weighed considerably less) got on, the mare acted like she had broken glass under the saddlepad. So, yeah -- it's mostly in the ride.

FancyFree
Apr. 17, 2008, 10:15 AM
Fancy,
I'm a bit overweight due to a medication I'm on, plus pre-menopause doesn't help either.

I always thought the same when I was young and thin. That it was always the persons fault, why don't they diet, why don't they excerise..etc. I dropped weight very easily.

Trust me, I feel very humbled.

I started working at a stable in mid December. Feeding, haying, scrubbing and dumping buckets. I cleaned 8 stalls. Doesn't sound like a lot. But these horses were in pretty much 24/7 except for work and deeply bedded. Manure pile was not close to the barn..a lot of up hill pushing..:yes:

I thought, wow! I'll lose some weight. In 4 months I lost nothing!!! And I mean nothing.

I watch what I eat, don't eat junk. The medication slowed my metabolism way down..it sucks..

My pony is a stocky 13.1 hands and handles me fine. I'm a balanced rider, certainly don't bounce all over..

Just please remember. Not everyone who is over weight is that way on purpose and wants to be that way..:(

Of course, I am aware of that. That's why my examples are people have NO intention of losing weight. No medical issues there, maybe psychological. I have nothing but sympathy for people who due to medical issues have difficulty dropping the weight.



I'm sending you a PM Huntertwo.

Wind
Apr. 17, 2008, 11:22 AM
I do not think you are too heavy for the horse; I am 5'5" and have weighed 160 before. It was no problem for a sturdily built 15'1 (which is not that much taller than the horse you lease). Sure, the less you weigh for long distances is probably better; however it can depend on how your seat on the horse is. I found the extra weight affected my balance at times. But there is no way you are too heavy for that horse.

Frankly your neighbor does not sound like a very nice person to keep making little remarks about your weight. Yes, the comments could be a control thing, I do not think I would consider her a friend. I have a neighbor like that (comments about other things). I finally called it quits with her because no matter how much dealings I had with her (had been decreasing), she just did not know when to keep her mouth shut. If she had a problem about your weight, she should have not leased the horse to you.

You are not too heavy for the horse.

Sithly
Apr. 17, 2008, 11:56 AM
160? Pffft. That's nothing.

Didn't they do a study that found that weight was more of a factor in speed events than distance? I remember reading something like that long ago, but don't remember where I found it.