What Horse Breed Can Carry the Most Weight?

If you are larger in stature or you’re just looking for a strong horse, you might be wondering what horse breed can carry the most weight. We spent some time finding the best answer.

So, what horse breed can carry the most weight? The horse breed that can carry the most weight is the shire horse. Average shire horses can weigh up to 2,425 pounds, and comfortably carry 20 percent of their body weight. This means the largest of shire horses can carry up to 485 pounds with ease.

While the shire horse can carry the most weight, there is actually a lot to consider before choosing the right strong horse breed to accommodate your riding needs.

How to Determine the Weight a Horse Can Carry

Studies have shown that fit horses can comfortably carry up to twenty percent of their body weight. Once you get into the twenty-five to thirty percent range is when they begin showing serious signs of physical strain. Here’s a chart to help you clearly see how much a horse can comfortably carry based upon its weight, assuming that it is in a healthy condition:

Now that you know roughly how much a horse can carry based upon its weight, it would be helpful to know how to determine the weight of your horse or the horse you’re considering purchasing. While most horse professionals can estimate the weight of a horse within a couple of hundred pounds, there are more definitive methods for determining the weight of a horse:

Weight Tapes. There are weight tapes that can accurately determine the weight of a horse within 50 pounds. They are used by wrapping them around the horse right where a girth would go.

Weight Scale. Large weight scales are the most accurate way to determine the weight of a horse. However, scales of this size are normally only found at veterinary clinics or research facilities.

Body Measurements. The measurements of a horse’s heart girth and the length of their body can be used to calculate an estimation of their weight. There are online tools like this one that can run the calculations for you after you plug in the needed measurements.

Research Averages. If you have already determined the breed of horse that you need, one helpful way to determine what their weight might be is to research the average maximum and minimum weight for your breed. If you know someone that has a lot of experience with that breed, you can ask them how your horse’s stature compares to other horses from the same breed that they’ve worked with.

When determining the amount of weight a horse can carry, you should also factor in the horse’s age. A good rule to remember is that neither very young or very old horses should be overloaded with weight because they are more susceptible to injury. It is typically recommended that a horse not be ridden until it is at least three or four years old.

Which Large Breed Is Best for Beginners?

All the large breeds of horses fall into a category of horses known as draft horses. Draft horses, in general, are much larger than other breeds of horses, making them the ideal horse for heavy riders. In addition, draft crosses are also an excellent selection of horse for heavy riders.

What horse can carry the most weight

There are currently 33 breeds of horses recognized as draft horses, but we found that Percheron or Percheron crossbreeds are most frequently recommended for beginner riders. Percheron horses are versatile and levelheaded, making them a great first horse. Draft horses, in general, are known for their calm demeanors and are often referred to as gentle giants.

While draft breeds are gentle, they are very strong due to their size. It’s important to know that you have the strength and the knowledge to control them. Once you know the basics and are able to communicate well with them, draft horses are quick to cooperate.

If you’re a beginner looking for your first horse, it’s good to keep in mind that larger horses will eat more, so you will want to account for the additional expenses. Draft horses require hoof care just like all horses, but not all farriers will agree to work with draft breeds. The farriers that do might charge extra because of the size of draft horses hoofs.

Another thing to note is that you will need gear that is properly sized to your larger horse. Large gear is not always as readily available in tack shops, so looking online can be a good option for finding the exact equipment you need.

How Much Does Horseback Riding Gear Weigh?

The weight of your riding gear will depend on the type of riding that you plan to do. English tack is much lighter than western tack, with the average English saddle weighing 10 to 20 pounds. Western tack, on the other hand, can range from 20 to 60 pounds.

It might be tempting to get the lightest saddle possible if you’re a heavy rider look for ways to make things easier for your horse, but it should be noted that heavier saddles tend to help distribute your weight better across a horse’s back, which can help improve their overall performance.

If you’re trying to determine the accurate total weight that your horse will be carrying, you should add your weight with the weight of the saddle that you plan to use. Remember to factor in a few pounds for your horse blanket, riding helmet, and any additional gear that you plan on having with you. Riding helmets typically weigh only 1-2 pounds.

How to Tell if a Horse is Carrying Too Much Weight

Here are a few indicators that can help you know if your horse is carrying too much weight:

Increased Heart Rate. Horses that are loaded with more than 25 percent of their weight have a much faster breathing and heart rate after riding.

Muscle Soreness. A horse that has been worked carrying a load that is too heavy for them will show a substantial amount of soreness after riding.

Fatigue. Fatigue is when your horse is physically incapable of continuing on. Fatigue results from a horse being worked too hard, usually as the result of strenuous exercise or prolonged riding in difficult terrain.

Some of the symptoms of fatigue include lethargy, panting, sweating, and loss of muscle coordination. To avoid fatigue, make sure that your horse isn’t carrying too much weight, that they get a good variety of exercise, and that they eat and drink plenty of food and water.

Keep in mind, the best way to avoid injuring a horse is too to know their weight, the weight of the rider and all their riding gear, and the age and health condition of the horse. You should let these factors help you determine whether or not the horse is ready to be ridden.

Where Can I Buy a Large Horse Breed?

Which horse breed can carry most weight?

You can find draft horses on online websites like equinenow.com and horseclicks.com. You can also find draft horses available for adoption on gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.org.

As with anything online, we advise you to exercise caution. Be wary of listings that are poorly written, lack quality photos that don’t show the entire horse, or don’t tell you the price of the horse up front. If you plan on riding the horse, it is smart to request photos of the horse being ridden. If at all possible, see the horse in person before you purchase it.

Read the fine print as you’re buying a horse to see whether or not transportation is included. If it is not, this is another expense that could potentially cost you several thousand dollars.

Conduct thorough research on the seller and search for any kind of reviews that you can find to help you ensure that they are legitimate before you provide them with any of your personal information. If you do decide to purchase the horse, paying via check might be the best option so that you can avoid giving out your personal credit card numbers and bank account numbers.

If you prefer buying in person, do some research on your local area to see if there are any horse auctions or breeders in your area. Even if you can’t find something in your home town, you’ll likely be able to find something within a couple of hours from your home.

One of the benefits of buying a horse in person is that you have the option of having a veterinarian exam the horse in person before making a purchasing decision. This can help you have peace of mind that you are getting the right horse for your riding needs and that you won’t have expensive medical bills to deal with in the near future.


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