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weight on horse - not rider weight

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  • weight on horse - not rider weight

    I have a serious question about horses carrying weight. It's not one of of the mean-girl threads trying to make people feel bad about their weight, but is an actual question.
    I want a horse to carry 350 lbs. (including rider) and possibly a little more. There will be a few short gallops and walking/standing around. The weight will have some dramatic shifts during the short gallops. The weight will be tack and armor and so fairly evenly distributed over the rider.
    What horses, breeds and sizes do you see as suitable for this?

  • #2
    Please don't base it just off of height.

    You'd do better looking for a sturdy, thick-boned horse with a shorter back. It would also have to be pretty fit (like...my draft cross could theoretically do what you want, but he's not that fit right now and it would take time to get him to that point. Especially if you're talking about going from a walk/standstill into a gallop as I assume you're talking about jousting. ).
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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    • #3
      I'd look for a draft cross or a stock type horse with thick bone, short back and fairly wide stance. Conformation is going to be as important as the size of the horse in terms of height/weight. I've seen little stocky QH's in cutting that are all of 14.1 or 14.2 packing around big trainers in the 250 -275 range along with a 40 lb saddle and making some really awesome moves (in fact a little horse named Lynx Melody won the NCHA Open futurity some years back...was 13.1 and weighed about 750 or 800 pounds and was about 7 months pregnant at the time....not that I'd recommend this but short, stocky, short backed and good boned will pack more than tall and lanky).
      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
      www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
      Northern NV

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      • #4
        I agree that conformation and bone is more important than size. But I think 350 pounds isn't that difficult for a fit short backed stocky horse to carry. Heck, in endurance you routinely see 250+ men riding teeny little Arabs for 50-100 miles.

        Defintely make sure the horse is fit, though. Are you going to be jousting or something of that nature? The dramatic weight shifts will make it more difficult but if you and your horse are fit and strong it shouldn't be too bad. I've seen a few jousters riding horses who weren't strong over their backs, though, and then it doesn't matter how big the horse is, I still wince.
        exploring the relationship between horse and human

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the replies. My son wants a horse for heavy armor jousting - where you get knocked off the horse (well, ideally the other rider gets knocked off). I have a solid-as-a-rock, short-backed 15.2 QH gelding and didn't think he was suitable for the heavy armor - light armor would be OK for him, I thought. I'm looking at a perch-tb cross, but she seems smaller 15.3 to 16.0. She's drafty, though. I do know that any horse has to be in the appropriate condition. I'll look again, but I was thinking of her as having a back of medium length, but very thick and solid.

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          • #6
            I want a horse to carry 350 lbs. (including rider) and possibly a little more. There will be a few short gallops and walking/standing around. The weight will have some dramatic shifts during the short gallops. The weight will be tack and armor and so fairly evenly distributed over the rider.
            What horses, breeds and sizes do you see as suitable for this?
            I don't know of any horse that could handle 350# of dramatically shifting weight. It doesn't really matter whether the weight is "evenly distributed over the rider." That's just too much for a horse to counter balance at speed.
            __________________________
            "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
            the best day in ten years,
            you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by mp View Post
              I don't know of any horse that could handle 350# of dramatically shifting weight. It doesn't really matter whether the weight is "evenly distributed over the rider." That's just too much for a horse to counter balance at speed.
              You misunderstood what I was saying. I was simply saying that the weight wasn't at the saddle level and some of it was, in fact, higher up on the rider's body. It is a negative that the weight is higher up. Many of the horses who do this simply step under the weight as it shifts.

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              • #8
                Yeah, they can definitely do it if they're trained properly, built right, and conditioned well. One of my partner's close friends was a professional jouster for years and we saw him perform many times (it was a troupe, but they were actually full-contact jousting and he had competed in the IJA). We also went to practices and played with his horses and they seemed sound and healthy. Like I said I've seen instances that made me wince, but it's definitely possible to do well.

                Coyoteco, do you guys have some sort of friend or mentor within the group your son wants to get invovled with, or can you find one? My suggestion would be to run any potential mounts by someone who knows the ropes before purchasing them. It couldn't hurt, and they might see some things that would make the horse unsuitable that someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with it wouldn't even notice.
                exploring the relationship between horse and human

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                • #9
                  What CosMonster said.

                  Plus maybe your son might be able to do it a few times on someone else's horse first (assuming he hasn't already) and see if this is really something he wants to get that deeply involved in.
                  The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                  Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Coyoteco View Post
                    You misunderstood what I was saying. I was simply saying that the weight wasn't at the saddle level and some of it was, in fact, higher up on the rider's body. It is a negative that the weight is higher up. Many of the horses who do this simply step under the weight as it shifts.
                    I'm sure they do. But also consider this: A horse that can carry 350# of shifting weight may not be agile enough to do that at speed.

                    Cosmonster offered good advice. If I were you, I'd follow it.
                    __________________________
                    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                    the best day in ten years,
                    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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                    • #11
                      I wonder how they pulled jousting off in the Middle Ages if a horse could not carry 350# with any agility?
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                      http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                        I wonder how they pulled jousting off in the Middle Ages if a horse could not carry 350# with any agility?
                        Gosh, I don't know.

                        But it might partially explain why life expectancy for men was ~30 in those days.
                        __________________________
                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                        the best day in ten years,
                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mp View Post
                          Gosh, I don't know.

                          But it might partially explain why life expectancy for men was ~30 in those days.
                          Because of course it wouldn't have anything to do with their medical knowledge and the fact nobody knew there was such a thing as germs yet.
                          The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                          Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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                          • #14
                            I think this requires research.

                            If you could just ship my wife and I armor suitable for a 17 hand Belgian, we'd be more than happy to test it out fully and report back.

                            We could also compare against properly fitted armour for a still-growing baroque bodied friesian, a couple clydesdales, and we even know of a shire we'd probably be able to convince to wear some armor.

                            In the name of research, of course!

                            Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
                            http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

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                            • #15
                              percheron?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jasmine
                                mp, unless you have experience with trying it, how do you know it can't be done? There are people out there who do it often. I seriously doubt every one of those horses is crippled.
                                I didn't say it couldn't be done, just that *I* didn't know of any horse that could handle 350# of dramatically shifting weight at speed. That's a load at a slow pace.

                                I also didn't say anything about crippling horses. But they do fall down if they become unbalanced. And that is bad, for horse and rider.

                                I don't joust myself, but know someone who did. He's probably 170# and his horse carried around 250# total, and he is an excellent rider.
                                __________________________
                                "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                the best day in ten years,
                                you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Jasmine
                                  There are horses out there who do it. Just because you don't know of any that do, doesn't mean they don't exist. There are a couple at my barn that could probably, based on the way they jump with a 280 pound rider, handle it just fine and be quick and athletic to boot.
                                  Great! Tell coyoteco all about it, OK?
                                  __________________________
                                  "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                  the best day in ten years,
                                  you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jasmine
                                    I already did. Before you put in your $0.02 that you didn't think there were any.
                                    Oh, I get it.

                                    Your opinion -- that since a 15.3 paint can jump with a 280# rider, any 16 hand, stocky, well built horse should be able to handle 350# of shifting weight at speed -- is valuable.

                                    But I only gave my $.02.
                                    __________________________
                                    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                    the best day in ten years,
                                    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well you have to disregard what books and movies say about knights and their "fiery steeds" and "majestic stallions" and "fire breathing destriers."

                                      In actuality the average knight's competition and war horses were....cobs. Not 18hh noble prancing mounts but short stocky cobs. 15hh on a tall day.

                                      And something cobby is most likely able to handle stop-n-go action with heavier weights. Being lower and wider helps a whole lot.

                                      But also remember that the rider is going to have to spend a whole buttload of time getting used to the armor and moving and balancing in it before subjecting a horse to his learning curve.
                                      And the horse will have to be properly conditioned to accept and handle the weight, the short bursts of speed, the impacts and the balance of the weight as well as just becoming fit enough to carry the weight alone.

                                      To do safely for both horse and rider, this will have to be a process of getting both adjusted and very very fit. And the absolute best fitted tack possible. And regular checks after each ride for soreness and wear on the horse by palpation.

                                      But as for the right type of horse for jousting I'd look for heavy cobs. Which is an actual type. Or even a heavy hunter.
                                      Tough part is, in the USA we don't really have those types in advertising. It'll take a bit of looking.

                                      Possibly a Fjord or Haffie might work?

                                      But I would look for a horse that was specifically bred to be a heavy riding horse as opposed to just a big draft that was purpose bred to pull things as opposed to carry heavy weights.
                                      You jump in the saddle,
                                      Hold onto the bridle!
                                      Jump in the line!
                                      ...Belefonte

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Jasmine
                                        Your opinion that no horse you've ever seen can do such a thing is valuable? When there are horses doing it?
                                        It's an opinion, Jasmine. Just an opinion. Based on my knowledge and a friend who used to joust -- what he weighs and what his tack and equipment weighed. The part that got me was not the jousting or the weight itself, but the "dramatic shifting." To me, that is problematic.

                                        You have an opinion, too, based on your knowledge and someone who weighs 280# and jumps his horse with no problems. So you obviously don't think dramatic shifting is problematic @ 350#. That's fine.

                                        But I didn't imply your opinion had no value. So thank you for your opinion on my opinion.

                                        And Happy Friday.
                                        __________________________
                                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                        the best day in ten years,
                                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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