For thousands of years, men have had a great relationship with horses. They have been used a lot in wars.The earliest warriors rode the horses bareback and these horses became sore in very few days. Overtime, man started using a saddle to help distribute weight over a great area. As you can see, even before science, men worried about weight when horseback riding. Today people are asking questions about being too fat to ride a horse andtheideal weight of riding one.

What is the ideal weight of a rider?

Many studies have shown that too much weight makes a horse sore more often than not. According to Research done at Ohio State University(2008), horses start to show signs of stress and muscle soreness when their burden is 25% of their total weight. At 30% there is increased heart rate, temperature and respiration. At between 15 to 20 percent, the horse is seen to be totally relaxed and comfortable. Various researchers agree that a rider should not be more than 20% of his/her horse’s weight. This means that if the horse weighs 1000lb, the rider should be at most 200lb. Remember, this is the weight of the total load. This 200 lbs should include your weight, saddle and any other load you are carrying.

Does the 20% rule apply to all horses?

This is a general rule that might be different depending on how the body weight of a horse is created. Just like human beings,some horses weigh more because they have more bones and wider loins while some weigh more because they have more fat. A horse with more bones can carry more weight than one with equal weight but less bone. For this reason, the type of horse will matter when you are trying to determine if you are suitable to ride a horse or not.

What of the fitness of the horse?

The fitness of a horse also affects the amount of weight it can carry. An adult horse might not be able to carry as much weight as it used to when younger. The horses that are subjected to exercises like racing,can carry more weight than their counterparts which are not. A horse that is often a subject to diseases and soreness will probably not carry as much weight as a horse that is healthy and strong.

But I am an experienced rider…

Of course, the weight of the rider, a horse can carry will depend on how good the rider is. An experienced rider knows how to distribute his/her weight on a horse. It is better to have an athletic and balanced rider who is overweight than an underweight rider who is like a sack of potatoes and does not know how to balance.

Weight is a weighty issue. Many people prefer to overlook it. Your horse might show signs of being fine because they are stoic animals. They might appear okay for years but eventually, problems will arise. If you love to ride a horse, ensure you do not overburden your horse. See more about riding horses and Equestrianism.