How heavy is too heavy to ride?
Last Post 20 Sep 2007 05:44 PM by flakemusic_horse. 21 Replies.
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mom2joshcanparkUser is Offline
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17 Sep 2007 03:45 AM
    How do you know if you are too heavy for your horse?
    My son weighs 175 pounds and wants to ride my daughters pony, she is 12.2 but we are afraid he is too heavy.
    How do you compare your weight to a horse that can carry you? I need to know how big a horse I have to get. I want a Halflinger or a Quarter Horse (no bigger than 14 hh as I am only 5'4" and 200 pounds (hopefully I will lose by then, but in case..lol) I have seen someone 300 pounds ride a 14.3 hh horse.
    Please let me know, I don't want to hurt any of their backs..lol
    702147User is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 06:17 AM
    Size isn't what matters, for the most part (ok it does a little, you don't want to be riding a mini haha) what is important is the substance of the horse (bigger boned horses vs VERY refined, for example) and how well the person rides. A big person who is balanced and rides well is better over someone who is lighter but can't ride at all... Make sense?

    Then there is the "rule" that the max a horse should carry is 20% of it's body weight. Again, depends though...

    Jessi
    SpottedPony_horseUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 09:37 AM
    If the pony is an old fashioned shetland type or a good stocky welsh type, your son should be able to ride the pony fine. You won't want him galloping cross country on it. Riding in an arena should be fine as would a short trail ride mostly at a walk. Let how the pony acts be your guide. With a fine boned dainty type pony, short schooling rides in the arena is all that should be allowed for a rider of your son's size.

    Spotted Pony
    qhallaroundUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 01:17 PM
    The others have the weight thing down.

    I just wanted to mention that I'm 5ft even ON A GOOD DAY (I'm really 4'11" and don't like to admit it) and have ridden, comfortably, 16hh horses and would not fret about getting on a 16.3hh horse either (with a ladder I'm sure! LOL). That's a bit excessive, but don't rule out horses in the 14.3-15.2hh range because of your height!!! 14hh is actually pretty short (at 5ft the shortest horse I've owned has been 14.3/15hh and I looked and felt fine on him Wink ).
    T BahnerUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 01:41 PM
    I dunno! Does everyone remember the response from the anorexic clique to PH's section on plus size clothing? I'm still trying to figure out how guys like John Wayne and Tom Selleck (at 6'4" and 250lbs minimum) would be able to ride any horse, but I guess these chickies were only offended by overweight women! Smirk

    Is this a hijack? Still trying to define that.
    flakemusic_horseUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 01:43 PM
    Ditto to that. I'm 5' and I ride a 15.1 hand mare, but I've ridden both taller and shorter. I personally prefer the less stocky horses just because then they can actually tell my legs are there... haha, but seriously, don't write anything out. As long as you try the horse beforehand and know that you're comfortable with it, you should be okay.
    It's also a huge advantage not to be limited to one specific height and build, because you get a lot more experience that way. Just the gaits you encounter are different. Even though I would never buy a horse his build, I love riding my friend's dad's 15.3 hh Morgan/Percheron, but my legs barely go halfway down his stomach he's so stocky. He's still a blast to ride.
    boysgirl_horseUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 02:05 PM
    The rule is 20% of the weight of the horse is ideal, but you could exceed this on sturdy, stocky horse.
    lukeydUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 06:07 PM
    hehe, if height was a issue, I don't think I would of boughten a 15.1 hh horse. I'm 5 foot 8. Smirk
    ilovewhistleUser is Offline
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    17 Sep 2007 10:37 PM
    I'm 125lbs, and 5'4"and I think I'd look stupid on a 12.whatever hand pony, not to mention the poor pony having to tote me around... my thought is if you think it's too much for the horse/pony then don't do it. Yes, the horses build plays into the equation some. IMHO if you have to ask then maybe you should'nt.....I sometimes question if I'm too much for my horse to tote around and he's BIG LOL
    mom2joshcanparkUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 01:40 AM
    Lovewhistle, I think you misread the post. He does not have a horse, he just wants to try out his sisters. He is 14 and doesn't know if he wants a horse yet so we thought IF he would be ok to ride her we'd let him but I am leary that is why I asked before I have allowed him to do that. The lady we got her from had a 12 year old daughter taller than me and weighed about 150 or so and yes, she did look odd on the pony. I myself won't ride one that small because of my weight. I asked if I could get one around 14 or so. I have a mare, I don't know how tall she is but I would think about 15, I will eventually ride her, but she isn't "mine".

    The pony is question is a 19 year old paint pony, her age is another reason for my questioning someone as big as my son. My daughter is 13 and weighs 90 pounds.
    ilovewhistleUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 08:38 AM
    No I read the post correctly. How much does the 12.2hh pony weigh? I would tend to be a little over cautious in this area...
    qhallaroundUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 12:59 PM
    Based on a very very basic average pulled off the internet a typical 12hh pony with a body condition score of 3 ("good") should weigh about 550lbs, a 13hh pony in the same condition should weigh about 759lbs. Rarely do I see ponys that I'd call a 3...most are 4's or 5's and much stockier (the exceptions being the refined hunter ponies).

    For the 20% rule to be strictly followed then the OP would want to look at a horse 875lbs or larger for her son (175lbs/.2). So yes, her current pony is likely too small. However, other things need to be looked at as well. Overall condition and bone structure of the horse also plays a part (a stocky 500lbs with good thick legs and a short back is much better suited than a tall/lanky 500lbs with a longer back). As does the ability of the rider and the activity considered (a walking pony ride for a few minutes is drastically different than training daily for reining, etc). Ideally, her son needs a larger horse/pony than she has (12hh is pretty small and petite) but he doesn't need a percherdon either (unless he wants one).

    As a point of argument YOU need a horse that is 625lbs or greater...that is less than a 13hh pony with a body score of 3.... If you are concerned about your large horse carrying you, you need to re-evaluate some things and become more comfortable with your weight; not jump on people who are not blessed with your body type and would still like to ride (and are concerned enough to come forward on a public internet forum and post their weight to make sure they get a horse they aren't going to injure!). 125lbs is not at all heavy (in fact I weigh more than you and am 5inchs shorter (and probably should not weigh any less than I do...)!!! I would not think twice about getting on a 13hh (give or take) pony and schooling assuming the pony was healthy and not overly fine boned).

    250-300lb men ride 14hh QHs all day and rein and cut on them (both extremely strenuous events that can be very hard on a horse's legs) and these horses (when started young and not overworked) stay sound into their 20's.... but I doubt they are all 1375lbs (what a 275lb man "should" ride according to the 20% rule), most are probably around 900-1000lbs if I had to guess.
    The key here is they have stocky horses with good bone structure and they know how to ride (they don't bounce around on the horse's back).
    ilovewhistleUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 01:26 PM
    I am not jumpingon anyone for being large, big boned, bigger then I am, etc. I said I would ere on the side of caution about puttng a 195lb person on a 12.2 hand pony. And I am comfortable with my weight. I just feel guilty sometimes for my horse having to tote me around at shows (even though hes having fun)that start at 8am and end at 5pm(approx 5-6 tests,courses) in 100 degree weather. Sorry i didnt explain my every detail in the last post..
    mom2joshcanparkUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 03:32 PM
    Hi QHallaround,
    Thank you. I was offended when I her post to the fact I had to reread it several times before I posted.

    Anyway, the pony is supposed to weigh 750 according to the papers we were given.

    I don't feel she is stocky at all, just your average very small horse build if you know what I mean. So I won't let him ride her, he will just have to wait until I get my horse.
    Thanks
    mom2joshcanparkUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 03:37 PM
    My son doesn't weigh 195 lbs he weighs 175 lbs.
    The pony is supposed to weigh 750.
    and he just wants to ride her around our front yard to see if he'd rather get a horse.
    KC SwansonUser is Offline
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    18 Sep 2007 04:18 PM
    All the weight/height/ratio question aside, riding a pony feels different than riding a horse, just as riding a small quarter horse feels different than riding a larger warmblood or thoroughbred horse. If your son is interested, how about letting him walk around on the pony a bit, and also try riding a schooling horse that is larger so he can feel the difference. I personally don't enjoy riding ponies -- I like the feel of a larger step and movement of a larger horse. Think of it this way, some people like trucks and others mini sports cars, it's a matter of preference. It sounds like the weight ratio is within reasonable parameters for your son and the pony, so you might want to let him get a chance to feel a different size horse too.
    filly_horseUser is Offline
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    19 Sep 2007 06:10 PM

    your pony would probably be fine a walking ride aroudn your yard a few times. But if he really wants to try and ride before he getes a horse. Let him try a lesson at a local stable, they'll have some larger horses and it'll give him a chance to see if he relaly wants one before you get one.

    marylegUser is Offline
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    19 Sep 2007 09:46 PM
    I have to agree with KCS here. I'm 5'3-110lbs, and personally hate riding ponies. I do look fine on them, but I just don't like the feel of it. The best thing may be to let him try out both sizes (pony and horse), and then ya'll can decide on if he wants his own. Good Luck!
    bummbbleUser is Offline
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    20 Sep 2007 05:03 PM

    Ever see that movie (can't remember the name) where John Candy rode that horse and he was like 350 lbs?

    I am plus size (although getting smaller the more I ride) and I was afraid when I started riding again the horses legs would splay out- but the vet told me the 20% rule and found out I don't have to get a draft horse to ride!

    flakemusic_horseUser is Offline
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    20 Sep 2007 05:44 PM
    Horses are stronger than people give them credit for, and while by all means it's always good to be conscious of how much they can handle, I strongly believe that in most situations how good of a rider you are has just as much if not more influence on how much a horse can handle. Riding is one of the few sports where people of ALL builds can excel as long as they are willing to work at it, and, not being very athletic myself, I've always loved it for that. I've seen plenty of skinny little girls bouncing all over their horses' backs and hanging on their mouthes, causing serious pain and/or damage to the horse, and plenty of "heavier" riders who were wonderfully in tune with their horses and looked amazing.
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