Return to Questions and Answers Index

Q&A    Questions and Answers:


Hello Bob,

I wanted to say I spent hours reading through your site, it's wonderful.

I am almost 40 years old and have just purchased a horse. I started working at a thoroughbred racing stable for a friend of mine. I am very excited about my new career and cannot wait to go to work each day, how's that for insanity? (laugh) Anyway, I have a long way to go before I am totally comfortable around horses, although I am no longer a nervous wreck around them.

My problem is I am overweight and I cannot bring myself to ride my horse yet. I plan to do a lot of groundwork first (ie. longing, etc.). What would be an acceptable weight to ride a horse and not injure him? Any ideas? Thanks for any info you can give.

- A. J.


Thanks for your wonderful note! I'm glad you found my site helpful! I trust that you checked out the "Cowboy Calisthenics" section -- several folks have told me that they found it useful in both controlling weight and building strength. Also, the exercise involved in riding will help get and keep you in shape.

How heavy is too heavy? That depends on the horse. The animal's size, strength, length of back, etc. all contribute to its carrying capacity. The general rule of thumb is that most horses or mules can carry up to one third of their body weight. For most horses in reasonably good condition, 250 lbs. is probably okay for walking and trotting (assuming the rider doesn't bounce on the back too much at a trot). At a gallop and especially for jumping, I'd like the rider's weight to not go too far above 200 lbs. Again, it depends on the horse. I know of a fellow who is well over 200 lbs. -- he rides a big Belgian draft horse! Racing promoter "Ten Ton" Charles Irwin (aka "Cowboy Charlie") weighed anywhere from 400 to 540 pounds and spent a lot of time in the saddle. Despite Irwin's size, an abnormally large Standardbred horse managed to carry Irwin around -- and a 1,800 pound draft horse could have handled the task with relative ease.

Happy Riding!

Previous Question  |  Next Question

Return arrow Return to Questions and Answers Index

Return arrow Return to the "Learning More About Horses..." page

  The contents of this document are not for reproduction.