Rider weight

Jessey

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I bet if you went to any yard and checked saddles there would be plenty that don't fit.
The saddles in the study were checked for fit to the horse (horses had to go with their own tack), but the same saddle was used for all riders in all weight categories, that's what I was referring to as not having been considered :)

That would be a better study, but I still don't think it would give a % of bodyweight figure, simply because I think a % of bodyweight is a meaningless guide. Again going back to mine as I know him (and rounding up to 400kg for ease/laziness lol), a 400kg 14.2 welsh D has a very different weight carrying ability to a 400kg 16hh tb. Now according to those quoting 10% you'd be looking at a weight of just over 6 stone - I don't know how they'd fair on the imaginary tb, but God help them on my cob if they go faster than a walk (and if they stayed in walk he'd probably go for a graze :rolleyes:), also most riders that weight are children & while he's fine as an occasional child's ride he isn't really a child's pony. Up it to 15% we're getting 9.4 stone all in, which he'd find very easy but would probably be getting close to the limit of what I'd want on the fictional tb. At 20% and 12.6 stone my cob is still laughing & acting the fool while I would have said too heavy for the tb & not allowed the rider on. However if any of these weights had been unbalanced my cob would have quickly looked lame.
I agree totally that % bodyweight is pretty meaningless and not saying considering more variables would make that study 'good' just marginally better than useless ;) :p
 

diplomaticandtactful

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That would be a better study, but I still don't think it would give a % of bodyweight figure, simply because I think a % of bodyweight is a meaningless guide. Again going back to mine as I know him (and rounding up to 400kg for ease/laziness lol), a 400kg 14.2 welsh D has a very different weight carrying ability to a 400kg 16hh tb. Now according to those quoting 10% you'd be looking at a weight of just over 6 stone - I don't know how they'd fair on the imaginary tb, but God help them on my cob if they go faster than a walk (and if they stayed in walk he'd probably go for a graze :rolleyes:), also most riders that weight are children & while he's fine as an occasional child's ride he isn't really a child's pony. Up it to 15% we're getting 9.4 stone all in, which he'd find very easy but would probably be getting close to the limit of what I'd want on the fictional tb. At 20% and 12.6 stone my cob is still laughing & acting the fool while I would have said too heavy for the tb & not allowed the rider on. However if any of these weights had been unbalanced my cob would have quickly looked lame.
exactly it. Buddy has good bone and is a shire x so he is solid. Suze is 611kg and pure bred comtois, built like a tank. If you do the 10% too heavy for Suze but would be ok on the 15% but she would carry another 50% easily given her tree trunk legs and her frame, she was built to pull big loads or be eaten....Shetland ponies carry deer it all depends on the bone.
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
Instead of producing general guidelines for horse / rider weight ratio, it would be better to teach people how to spot the early signs of lameness / back problems.

Then they could judge for themselves if certain activities / riders are causing discomfort for the horse.

I know that Scully was 750 kilos before she went to Italy and now she is a lot fitter and weighs 680 kilos - at 75 kilos I would be just right using the 10% formula to ride a fat unfit horse, but too heavy to ride the same horse now fitter with more muscle. That does not make sense.
 
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OwnedbyChanter

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I hate to be controversial but weight it weight.

I agree that a % is not the way to go about this and you should always listen and watch your horse, have the correctly fitted tack for size and shape and that different breeds can carry more weight then others however as above weight is weight

67 kg is still 67kg yes being more balanced in the saddle and not bouncing up and down on the horses back is better for the horse obviously but the weight the horse is being as to carry is the same.

It’s like carrying a top heavy ruck sack. one that has been pack correctly and balanced you will be able to carry more comfortably then one that is pack badly. You will struggle quicker with the unbalanced pack but the weight is still the same and in time the other pack will cause you pain as well. It will just take longer to show up.

I also think that just because a horse looks comfortable under a heavy weight does not mean it is still ok.

Fir the record ginger is a very fine Tb weighs in at around 450kg at 16.1 I would not let anyone over 11 stone on him. He is fit and strong and would not struggle but I still would not allow it. I weigh 57kg

Runs and hides now.
 

Jessey

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Weight is weight but I can pick up my friends kid easily however if she flops and lolls I have a hell of a job, novice riders can flop and loll :)

I do think height can have an effect too, someone very tall can throw the centre of gravity so far off a horse can struggle. Similarly the length of back (horse) could effect it, the age, muscling, fitness of horse and riders. Weight does matter I just don't think its the only thing that does, there's just so much more to it and if 'authorities' start quoting a weight % then people will stop looking at all the other things.
 

carthorse

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I was thinking of this thread today as I was hacking out. It was a new route to us, just over an hour at a very brisk walk (plenty of jogging to keep up for one) & up and down some long steep hills (downlands). I was the biggest rider on the smallest horse, yet he freely led the whole way, had to stop quite a few times to let the others catch up & never even felt like he was trying never mind struggling. Turned out when we got back & after a roll he was trotting round the field trying to get the others to play. He's also recently had his back checked & apart from a slight rotation in his pelvis & a couple of small misalignments over his loins there was nothing, certainly no signs of soreness or problems in the saddle area.

More than ever it makes me think people really are getting too obsessed with figures & not using what they see & feel to apply commonsense. Are we in danger of stopping whole groups of people from riding suitable horses, or making them feel bad if they do, for no good reason? And what are we doing to the horses too, many horses are better off worked than being kept as pets & yet people are being made to feel bad for doing that.
 
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Kite_Rider

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Well if you go by the 10 percent rule I’m way to heavy for Belle, I’m closer to 15 percent, she carries me easily, sometimes I’m not even sure she notices I’m there.
She can comfortably carry my OH who definitely doesn’t fit under the 15 per cent rule, she is however a Haflinger, built like a tank, solid, short backed and WIDE with short chunky legs, bred to be a work horse in every sense of the word. So yes I think common sense prevails with all of the ideals, especially weight related, although having said that common sense is really not that common any more.
 
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carthorse

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If you think about it, Highland ponies were bred to carry stag carcasses down off the mountains, I’m fairly certain an adult stag would far exceed a 15 per cent weight limit for them.
I think, but don't quote me, that an average stag is at least 17 stone. And that weight is dead weight, not a rider that can alter their position to make life easier for the pony, and probably being carried over steep rough ground.
 

Mary Poppins

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I think that the study has flaws, but the essence is that many riders are too heavy for their horses and this causes problems. I think that there is truth in this. Just because a horse/pony can carry a heavier person, it doesn’t mean it should.
 
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carthorse

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I think that the study has flaws, but the essence is that many riders are too heavy for their horses and this causes problems. I think that there is truth in this. Just because a horse/pony can carry a heavier person, it doesn’t mean it should.
I would say SOME riders are, but the current trend seems to make out that the majority are & I don't agree with that. The targets being set are, in my eyes, ridiculous. I think the majority of horses would be far better served by focusing on better management (weight, saddle fit, farriery etc), being kept fit for their job, riders actually riding rather than slouching like a dead weight & some commonsense about suitability for the job. Buy sensibly & look at conformation if you need something to carry a bit of weight - not all traditional cobs & draught types are really that well put together as weight carriers so their weight & chunky look is misleading, yet nowadays they seem to be very popular for the job because the rider feels they look ok.

I do wonder how many top competition riders would fall foul of these weight guidelines? Yet their horses don't appear to struggle. I still feel there should be more emphasis on riders riding better, if they did they'd be more aware of the impact they were having & then these guidelines wouldn't be needed.
 
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Skib

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Henry VIII altered English horse breeding in order to provide horses capable of carrying heavier armoured men into battle. The policy change to heavier weight bearing horses led to the dying out of some traditional English gaited horses. So in those days the native ponies could not carry heavy loads?
I have absolutely no idea what the horses I rode weighed - but I do know their age and state of health affected the weight they could carry.
Neither of the horses I rode could carry more than 10 stone and they moved freer when I was in summer clothes.
What has not been mentioned is the terrain - mountain horses -Ordinary US quarter horses take heavy tourists up mountain tracks on trail rides day after day. And on more precipitous slopes, they use mules for trail riding canyons. Surely these mules dont actually weigh very much?
 

carthorse

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Henry VIII altered English horse breeding in order to provide horses capable of carrying heavier armoured men into battle. The policy change to heavier weight bearing horses led to the dying out of some traditional English gaited horses. So in those days the native ponies could not carry heavy loads?
I have absolutely no idea what the horses I rode weighed - but I do know their age and state of health affected the weight they could carry.
Neither of the horses I rode could carry more than 10 stone and they moved freer when I was in summer clothes.
What has not been mentioned is the terrain - mountain horses -Ordinary US quarter horses take heavy tourists up mountain tracks on trail rides day after day. And on more precipitous slopes, they use mules for trail riding canyons. Surely these mules dont actually weigh very much?
I wonder what the weight of men in full armour would be Skib, and presumably this is weight they'd be carrying for some time? Wikipedia - I know not always the most reliable source - makes for some interesting reading with the horse armour found suggesting the "great horses" actually weren't that big. I suspect our natives at that time were also smaller since I feel many of the larger ones are more of a developed breed, and clearly the ancient breeds like Exmoors, Dartmoors & Shetlands wouldn't be suitable as warhorses. Mind you a group of irate Shetlands let loose might have been a useful weapon . . .

I find your comment on mules interesting since in theory they really wouldn't look like ideal weight carriers in most cases yet often do this job. Add to this their reputation for letting handlers & riders know in very clear terms if they think there is a problem & it tends to confirm that there are far more factors than the piece of research that started this conversation has factored in.
 

Mary Poppins

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Weight is always an emotive subject. I am not light, in all my riding clothes I probably weigh almost 11.5 stone. My horse weighs 700kg so I am between 10% and 11%. The surgeon told me that the fact that I was an easy weight for Ben to carry would aid his recovery and if I were a bigger rider she would question his ability to carry me. This has prompted me to try and drop weight to get well inside the 10% in the hope that I will ride him again one day.

Now Ben is a 16.1hh shire x. People would look at him and think that he could easily carry 15 stone and more. And yes, his legs wouldn’t buckle and he would physically be able to do this. But at what long term cost? Is it fair on him?

Everyone has to make up their own minds about this, but I have never wanted anyone heavier to ride him. I think that the study in question raises some important questions that we all need to think about.
 

Bodshi

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Raf weighs 420 kg approx and I weigh 60 kg, so about 14%. Clearly too heavy then. He’s 15 hands, but a lot of that is leg, with a short back.

Arabs are supposed to be able to carry heavier weights because of their denser bone, how true that is I don’t know, but I wouldn’t like to be any heavier on him.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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But so do a lot of other things. Buddy carries me with ease but I would be close to his limit based on 10%. I have an 18 inch saddle so spreads the weight, I have a range of numnahs to suit how his weight is, he is measured every week, his saddle is checked usually every three months or whenever I notice it is perhaps moving, he has an osteo every 3 months. He does 6 mile fun rides where he is a total wally, full of himself and gallops up the field every morning. His bone structure is thickset so he was bought specifically for me. He is in light work, he wouldn't necessarily want to do 5 hours a day with me at speed. My trainer when I said that the filly at 15hh but thickset wouldn't carry me said if you want to just hack her for an hour she would do it easily, but she wouldn't want to take you around Badminton
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Ziggy is probably 450 kgs and I am nearly 70kgs so way too heavy for him according to this. But I really don't think I am.

On the horse history front, @Skib and @carthorse , I believe that Henry VIII's "great horses" would have been more like small Irish Draught or the clean-legged French draught horses, Comtois and Percheron and the like, than any existing English heavy breeds. Pictures from the period rarely show them with feather and the existing horse armour would not fit a Shire or a Clydesdale. The descriptions of the most desirable horses, including short backs, broad chests and quarters, arched necks and strong legs, make them sound more like heavy cobs. The maximum height was likely to be no more than 16 hands and many were probably about 15 hands.

Knights would generally have been smaller than men today, but their armour would have added 50 - 80lb. Plate armour was much lighter than mail and better suited to the body - a fit knight in well fitting armour could easily mount and dismount, or even vault into the saddle, which could explain why they were happy with shorter horses.

Henry VII himself was unusual as he was very tall, well over 6 ft, and heavy too. He was famous for exhausting many horses in the course of a day's hunting so was obviously well beyond their weight bearing capacities!
 

carthorse

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@Jane&Ziggy I'd done a bit of googling after I posted and had come up with similar results to yours, though there was some disagreement between "experts" as to whether the horses would be as heavy as a Comtois & Percheron types with the compromise seeming to be that the heavier types like that would have been popular for jousting tournaments but not actual battle where move agility & speed was valued. So as you say probably more like a cob type with a bit of blood in it too. Mind you I doubt possible long term damage was a significant concern riding a horse into battle, I expect many of them didn't survive that long.

I wonder how realistic people are about horse weights too? Jim when fit went on a weighbridge a couple of days after colic surgery & was 690kg (my tape had said 680kg) & at 16.3 he was a substantial ID. Little Un is a 14.2 welsh cob & tapes at around 386kg which is slightly heavier than I'd ideally have him. I also taped two warmbloods today, not sure of their heights but I'd guess around the 16.1/2 mark, and one came in at about 510kg & the other about 486kg - neither of these look particularly lightweight types or thin, they're what I'd expect a jumping warmbood to be which begs the question about the correctness of the size of rider that would compete this type.