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How Much Weight Can A Pony Hold?

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  • How Much Weight Can A Pony Hold?

    I've recently seen an approx. 200 lbs. woman train and jump a small pony hunter prospect.

    I was once told that the general rule of thumb is 20% of the horses weight.

    So, for example, if a small pony was to weigh 750 lbs, 20% of 750 is 150. Therefore, if this woman weighed 200 lbs, that would definitely be too heavy for that small pony, plus the added weight of tack?

    The answer is probably that it all depends on the build of the horse/pony, as well as it's athletic ability - am I correct?

    Thanks for your replies in advance - cheers!
    There is no secret so close as that between a rider and her horse.

    ~___/>
    . /\ /\

  • #2
    I have trouble believing that even the stockiest small pony could carry and jump with 200lbs on it without breaking.

    I also don't buy into the 20% rule simple b/c an overweight 15hh horse probably doesn't need to carry 20% of its true weight. Its joints are already overloaded with its own body weight.

    Comment


    • #3
      That does sound like a lot...

      I think it depends a lot on the pony; there are stocky little Haflingers meant to carry more than tall, willowy TBs. And a lot of working ranch QHs are pony height, but meant to carry a full-grown man who eats lots of beef. (;
      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

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      • #4
        I read somewhere once that a medium pony can carry a rider weighing up to 150 pounds...so I would think a small could carry even less.

        Comment


        • #5
          All of the literature I've read regarding ponies and rider weight has been 30%. That is for the hardier and stockier breeds like Welsh, Connemara, Haflinger though.

          To answer your question, it depends! If it's a very tiny pony with very slight conformation and lean muscle mass, then 200 lbs...even 150 lbs. may be TOO MUCH.

          As a trainer of ponies myself, I often find the biggest problem can be the height of the rider, from the hip joint to the top of the head. A rider with a very "tall" upper body can really throw a pony off and put them off balance if the rider is not riding properly and taking the small pony's size into consideration. It's very much like driving without a windshield and extremely important to stay back and help balance the pony. In my experience, this can cause way more problems than carrying extra weight.

          That being said, somebody has to start the small ponies and get them broke enough for the little kids. There are many of us out there that do it...but most of us do it because we are built for it, meaning....small height, fine build and light weight. Speaking personally, a 200 lb. rider has no business training a 12.2 HH pony. Leave it to the individuals who are built for it! I'm sure there are MANY other horses on the planet in need of training that would be more suited to a 200 lb. rider.
          www.DaventryEquestrian.com
          Home of Oldenburg, Westphalian & RPSI approved pony stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
          Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness www.EquineAppraisers.com

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Daventry View Post
            All of the literature I've read regarding ponies and rider weight has been 30%. That is for the hardier and stockier breeds like Welsh, Connemara, Haflinger though.

            To answer your question, it depends! If it's a very tiny pony with very slight conformation and lean muscle mass, then 200 lbs...even 150 lbs. may be TOO MUCH.

            As a trainer of ponies myself, I often find the biggest problem can be the height of the rider, from the hip joint to the top of the head. A rider with a very "tall" upper body can really throw a pony off and put them off balance if the rider is not riding properly and taking the small pony's size into consideration. It's very much like driving without a windshield and extremely important to stay back and help balance the pony. In my experience, this can cause way more problems than carrying extra weight.

            That being said, somebody has to start the small ponies and get them broke enough for the little kids. There are many of us out there that do it...but most of us do it because we are built for it, meaning....small height, fine build and light weight. Speaking personally, a 200 lb. rider has no business training a 12.2 HH pony. Leave it to the individuals who are built for it! I'm sure there are MANY other horses on the planet in need of training that would be more suited to a 200 lb. rider.
            I completely agree. I'm 5'6 with a very light build, but I train larges(which I feel big on anyways, even though I don't always look it). I hate it when I see really tall riders on tiny ponies as well. At a Welsh Pony show I showed some ponies at last year, I saw an at least 6ft man riding a medium. While he wasn't overweight, it was still ridiculous and I felt really bad for the pony, who wasn't that stocky to begin with anyways. I think the level of the rider makes a difference too. I used to ride a medium but I could balance my weight and not hinder the pony and make it hard for him to do his work....
            Last edited by indygirl2560; Mar. 8, 2009, 07:50 PM.

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            • #7
              Pony Club has a nice guidline rule for pony rider weights

              Maybe a pony clubber could chime in --we are not pony clubbers, but I always thought their rider weight rules were quite appropriate.

              A 200 pound person on a small pony-- POOR PONY!

              I believe the pony club rule is approx--
              Smalls rider wt max 115
              Mediums rider wt max 140
              larges rider wt max 180

              Again--those are just guidelines..and I am not for sure they are exact..but they are ballpark.
              Windswept Stables-Specializing in Ponies
              Sales, Breaking,Training,Showing, Stud Service

              Home of 2008 Sire of Year Reserve Champion
              Pony Hunter Breeding - Empires Power

              www.EmpiresPower.com

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              • #8
                I agree with Windswept, but wanted to note also that I've never seen a small (non-draft type) even approach 750 lbs in weight! I've had a slew of TBx larges, all of which have weighed between 800 and 900 pounds, so I'd think that 200 pounder on a small must have been a heck of a lot MORE than 20% of its weight, don't you?

                Also, being no lightweight myself, I'd also add that how you sit and, most important of all, saddle fit are crucial whenever rider weight is of concern. One thing that troubles me a lot is when I see oversized pony jocks (and adult pros) sitting on their buns instead of their seatbones, legs way in front of their hips. They put a lot more of whatever weight they have on the weaker parts of the ponies' backs as a result--AND all this makes me wonder considerably why so few smalls and, it seems, increasingly more mediums go around with their ears back a lot. I have no empirical evidence that it's dicey backs from bumpy kids and heavy, too-far-back pros, but I do wonder (and worry, with my guy--who I do NOT ride myself!) about it.
                Sportponies Unlimited
                Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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                • #9
                  ok so now how much does the average dressage or jumping saddle weigh with irons?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    holy cow !! POOR PONY !

                    i believe i remember at some point a few years ago, since my barn has a bunch of ponies, my barn made a rule where no one over 125lbs could ride any of the ponies. usually the trainer keeps anyone that looks like they're over 115 on a horse, though (though i know some girls who are very very skinny and 115, theyre just tall. occassionally they jack up their stirrups and get on a little pony to school them). it might sound a little rude, but they dont say "how much do you weigh?" they just look to see what your build is and usually its pretty obvious if youre going to be heavier than they'd want on a pony. 125 isnt a ton i guess, but especially with ponies that have multiple lessons a day sometimes, they want to give the ponies a break on weight asmuch as they can. good thing is, most of the girls that ride the ponies are tiny little things, 10 yr olds, etc. who weigh nothing. i ride my pony, but i'm 100 lbs and short. he's a large pony. he has no trouble carrying me.
                    (|--Sarah--|)

                    Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

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                    • #11
                      I have a 13.2 hh stocky pony mare. I myself am 5'4" and weigh 120 lbs. I've set her weight limit at 140 lbs, even though she could probably safely carry more than that.
                      A 200 lb person on a small is far too much, IMO
                      Rebel Without Cash!

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                      • #12
                        I believe the pony club rule is approx--
                        Smalls rider wt max 115
                        Mediums rider wt max 140
                        larges rider wt max 180

                        These weight rules only apply to USPC mounted games, which involve a lot of tight turns and galloping but no jumping. Fun note - it's the only USPC sport that requires a weigh-in!

                        12.2 and under: 117 lbs
                        13.2 and under: 150 lbs
                        14.2 and under: 190 lbs

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a small and a barely-medium and neither weigh anywhere close to 750 lbs

                          I've let my oldest daughter, about 110 lbs, ride the small a few times but I don't even like to do that...only when necessary. She has worked with the barely-medium over fences, but he is a very stout 12.2 3/4. And that was not a regular occurrance either.

                          My larges weigh about 900 lbs and I wouldn't let a 200 lb rider on them either, honestly. Not to do any serious riding or jumping anyway. I cannot imagine putting a rider of that weight on a small. No way.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Old Barn Rat View Post
                            I believe the pony club rule is approx--
                            Smalls rider wt max 115
                            Mediums rider wt max 140
                            larges rider wt max 180

                            These weight rules only apply to USPC mounted games, which involve a lot of tight turns and galloping but no jumping. Fun note - it's the only USPC sport that requires a weigh-in!

                            12.2 and under: 117 lbs
                            13.2 and under: 150 lbs
                            14.2 and under: 190 lbs
                            Thanks for looking that up. I think it is a very good rule of thumb to go by. I think it is would be fine for some jumping too ... although 190 pounds flopping on a back would certainly lead to a sore back in short time--at least I would think. It would depend on the skill of the rider.
                            Windswept Stables-Specializing in Ponies
                            Sales, Breaking,Training,Showing, Stud Service

                            Home of 2008 Sire of Year Reserve Champion
                            Pony Hunter Breeding - Empires Power

                            www.EmpiresPower.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Old Barn Rat View Post
                              These weight rules only apply to USPC mounted games, which involve a lot of tight turns and galloping but no jumping. Fun note - it's the only USPC sport that requires a weigh-in!

                              12.2 and under: 117 lbs
                              13.2 and under: 150 lbs
                              14.2 and under: 190 lbs
                              I did a little mounted games for fun, on a just barely a large, while I was around that weight limit for mediums. Jacked up my stirrups and he carried me just fine. But I would not have dreamed of jumping him, given that my chin would have ended up on his poll.

                              So besides the weight issue that the OP observed, isn't there a proportions issue too? I mean I know that for schooling small ponies, it may be hard to get someone that truly fits, but I would think you need a reasonable enough match to allow the pony to be balanced, particularly jumping. I can not imagine someone who is 200 lbs to be really light on top, and I would worry about that effect toppling the pony!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Pally View Post
                                So besides the weight issue that the OP observed, isn't there a proportions issue too? I mean I know that for schooling small ponies, it may be hard to get someone that truly fits, but I would think you need a reasonable enough match to allow the pony to be balanced, particularly jumping.
                                If you're at a pony barn, you should have a couple of pony jocks or smaller junior/eq riders who could fill in...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Ok, so I weigh around 167 and school hardier welsh/TB crosses(larges). I'm just starting riding and going to the gym again, and when I'm fit I'm all muscle and know how to ride correctly so I don't upset the ponies balence, would you consider me too big?
                                  "And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood

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                                  • #18
                                    well just for an idea... Im a 20 something adult 5'1 and 105lbs. I am currently schooling a 12.2h welsh mare comfortably. I'm always the one that gets put on the naughty ponies...

                                    I think Im destined to be a pony rider for life

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Old Barn Rat View Post
                                      I believe the pony club rule is approx--
                                      Smalls rider wt max 115
                                      Mediums rider wt max 140
                                      larges rider wt max 180

                                      These weight rules only apply to USPC mounted games, which involve a lot of tight turns and galloping but no jumping. Fun note - it's the only USPC sport that requires a weigh-in!

                                      12.2 and under: 117 lbs
                                      13.2 and under: 150 lbs
                                      14.2 and under: 190 lbs
                                      Polocrosse is the other sport that has this rule, too! ( my daughter is getting ready for Quiz Rally, so thats the only way I know!)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think it is too much but I also think it depends on the rider. A 200 lb educated and balanced rider with thick legs (meaning a lot of weight in the legs) is probably better than a 170 top heavy weak rider. Still, I would say that for a 16 h horse. For a small pony I think you are going to get soundness issues if you put anyone over 140 on them, good rider included. Yikes. I feel bad for the kid / family who owns it because they are destined to have back / joint problems with continued riding with such a large rider. I think they need to find a small adult to school for them.

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