There are different sizes related to every horse. By breed, type, age, and height discover the different weights of horses. In order to figure out how much does a horse weighs, it is essential for you to have a complete idea of its carrying capacity, the amount of food a horse should eat, dosing for medication, if a horse is underweight, or overweight, and calculating weight for trailering.
You can surely tell that horses are large animals. “Heavy as a horse” or equestrians referring to horses as a 1000 lb animal is a most popular saying. It is, however, not completely true. For instance, since 1000 lb is generally considered the average weight of a horse, many horse products use this weighted model.
The average weight of a light horse simply falls around 1,000 pounds, according to modern tales. Using averages can be a mistake while speaking about the typical weight of a horse, and it is what even the newest horse owner knows. There are several factors that impact the weight of a horse.
When it comes to your horse’s weight, speaking in averages is not something that you would want to do anyway. If we are going to give our equine partners the best care, we have to be as precise with our numbers as possible.
Today, we will guide you through everything you need to know about the how much does a horse weigh and the factors that play a crucial role in this subject matter!
Importance of knowing your horse’s weight
The vital part of taking care of your horse in a proper way is to know your horse’s weight precisely. It may lead to overeating or malnutrition without having the knowledge of the exact numbers to work with in terms of portioning the daily intake of their food and water.
To determine the accurate dosing levels of medications, knowing how much does a horse weigh is also a necessity. You can also determine the maximum amount of weight they can pull when you know your horse’s weight. Along with leading to soreness, it can also result in musculoskeletal issues down the road when you make your horse carry too much weight for its size.
What Are Heavy Horses and Light Horses?
Based on weight, horses can be easily separated into two categories:
- Heavy horses
- Light horses
Heavy horses are working mares that you see out in the fields as they are big. Clydesdales, Percherons, Belgians, and Shires are the breeds included in this category, and they usually weigh about 2000+ pounds.
Light horses are often between 900-1500 pounds, often used for racing, driving, riding, and herding. Arabians and the American Saddlebred are the breeds that fall under this category.
How Are Horses Weighed?
It almost never produces any accurate outcomes and should never be relied on for any serious purposes as few people believe that they can eyeball the weight of a horse.
It is not practical for all like the quick answer to the question, how much does a horse weigh is to use a set of specialist livestock scales. In fact, you will be astounded to know that there are four ways to find out the weight of your horse, and each has its own varied accuracy level:
- Livestock scales
Using livestock scales (sometimes called an equine weighbridge) is the only 100% accurate way to weigh your horse because they’ve been specially designed and calibrated to weigh animals.
You have to transport your horse to a vet clinic or auction barn, where they are more likely to have a set of scales if the vets do not carry a set of portable scales with them. This is the reason why the livestock scales are not used widely despite them being accurate.
- Truck scales
It is a specialist weight machine allowing you to drive a truck or a horse trailer onto the scales to get a reading, and they are also termed as a weighbridge.
By obtaining two sets of readings, this method is used to calculate the weight of a horse. One of them being the trailer without the horse, and the other is the trailer with the horse. You will get the weight of the horse by judging the difference between the two figures.
To make sure that both the measurements are recorded on the same day, avoiding things such as fuel levels giving you an inaccurate weight is an essential thing to note.
Although they have not been calibrated to accurately weigh the animals which means that they can be out by as much as 20-40lb, there is trouble with using truck scales.
- Weigh tape
All you need here is a weight tape that you can get hold of from several tack shops and online places as it has to be one of the easiest and quickest ways of knowing how much does a horse weighs. Measuring your horse is very easy once you have the tape. Just ensure that your horse is standing evenly; else, you will not get the exact reading.
To achieve the most accurate results, you will need to get your horse weighed with a scale. You can get one from an equine vet. Call around to local feed mills and tacks shops if scheduling an appointment with a local equine vet is not an option to check if they have any leads on certified livestock scales that are available locally.
Factors affecting a horse weight
- Height & Width Can Affect Horses Weight
The weight of a tall horse is more than a shorter one. It is not a determining factor to know the weight of your horse. To weigh more than your ten-hand Shetland pony, you can expect your 16 hand thoroughbred.
There are different widths for a horse of the same height. Take a 15.2h thoroughbred and a 15.2h quarter horse. It has been seen oftentimes that the bone density of a light thoroughbred is similar to that of some quarter horses.
But, it will add extra weight if the quarter horse has the same bone density and height but a wider body as there are more bones to it.
- Bone Density Can Affect Horse’s Weight.
The horses can have different bone densities if you look at two horses with the same height and roughly the same width can have an answer to your question about how much does a horse weigh.
You will find a horse with bigger hooves, a bigger head, thicker legs, and possibly a thicker neck if its bone density is heavy. The horse with a thicker bone density will generally weigh more if both the horses are at a healthy weight.
- Muscle & Fat Can Affect Horse’s Weight
You might have heard the fact that muscle weight is more compared to fat. However, horse weight tape or measuring tapes are commonly used to measure the weight. So, while determining the weight of the horse by the circumference of the horse’s girth, fat might not be taken into consideration.
Things to Consider When Weighing Your Horse
There are a few areas you need to focus on while evaluating the weight and the general health of your horse.
The beginners may not be able to check out the spine of their horse with a naked eye. Similarly, the ribs of a horse should not be visible, but you should be able to feel them. You should consider your horse to be thin if its trailhead, neck bone structure, and withers are visible.
However, pay attention to the body score of your horse, as it is one of the ideal ways to make sure that your horse maintains an ideal weight.
Body Condition Score of a Horse
The score that is assigned to a horse after examining the important areas of the body based on the visual appearance and palpable fat is considered as the horse’s body condition score.
The score range 1-9 is assigned for horses. Horses have the greatest risk of developing health issues down the line if their body condition score is more than 7. 5 or 6 is the ideal score for a healthy horse.
You should seriously consider changing major portions of your horse’s lifestyle to weigh them down if the body condition score of your horse is 7 or higher.
Ways to manage your horse’s weight
Before the grass starts to grow and it becomes more difficult to get any unwanted pound off, with spring just around the corner, now is the ideal time to check that your horse is not carrying an excessive amount of weight.
The following are few tips that can help you manage the weight of your horse:
1. Check out your horse’s body condition/fat score
It can be astonishingly deceptive as it is impossible to tell with a naked eye how much fat your horse is carrying. To check the condition of your horse, we have already discussed the body condition score earlier in order to know how much does a horse weigh.
2. Check your feed
To check that you are feeding your horse right and to ensure you measure feed accurately, you need to take advice from an expert such as a qualified nutritionist. Else, it is quite easy to feed your horse inappropriately higher calories than what they need.
Also, select the low-calorie options whenever possible and try making tidbits as well as treating the exception instead of a rule.
3. Never put your horse on a crash diet
Horses should have a steady supply of food to keep them healthy as they are trickle feeders, so to reduce the calories without having to cut down the quantities dramatically, find out some ways.
4. Control grass intake
From grass alone, most leisure horses get more calories than what they need. It may be required to restrict the intake of grass in a little way, although additionally vitamins and minerals will still be needed in several cases.
Options to restrict access to grass include the use of a grazing muzzle for a limited period each day, using a track system, or strip grazing paddocks.
5. Don’t be tempted to feed for more
When it comes to high-energy feeds, they also have higher levels of calories. Feeding your horse that is overweight more calories will create more fat and will not give it the energy to work more. To aid them lose weight and build up fitness to give them more energy, think about reducing their calorie intake.
6. Walk more!
Compared to faster work such as cancer, a brisk walk or steady trot will burn fat. Find ways to have more walking days for your horse, and it can include taking a walk in hand instead of riding your horse.
You could also do additional in-hand work with your ridden horse to change their routine and keep it interesting.
7. Consider if your horse really does need a rug
You should always remember that horses have their own central heating systems to digest fibers that generate heat aiding them to keep them warm from the inside, and they already have waterproof coats. Consider whether he or she can go without a rug next winter if your horse is overweight.
8. Remember that every horse is different
Just by following and being tempted by others, do not feed or rug your horse. Remember, your horse might be different from what other horses need, even if they are of the same breed, as you need to understand the requirements of your horse.
9. Monitor your horse’s weight, and condition score regularly
Condition scoring and weight taping your horse fortnightly will help you spot all kinds of changes more quickly than you could by eye, as horses can put on weight pretty quickly. Whether management changes are making any difference or not, it will help you check them all.
10. Get your horse’s saddle checked if their weight changes significantly
If the weight of your horse changes significantly, it is important to keep in mind whether they have lost weight or have gained by checking how the saddle fits. As the fitness of your horse increases or decreases, the shape of your horse can also change. So, it is essential to plan a visit from the saddler to ensure your saddle still fits if their workload changes noticeably entering into spring.
So, as a beginner, you now know how much does a horse weigh. Which methods you are choosing does not really matter; what’s more important is to use the same method each time to avoid any changes as there is a lot that depends on the weight of your horse.