How much your horse should weigh is dependant on a number of factors such as his height, build, and even what his breeding is but it’s still important to know what his weight is. That said though actually getting his weight is another matter after all there’s no way any horse will fit on our bathroom scales, and even if they did I doubt any of those scales will go up to the typical weight of a horse.
That said though weighing a horse (or calculating their weight) is a relatively easy and straightforward process. Yes, you can use a set of scales but you can also use a plain old tape measure to do so.
How much should my horse weigh?
A quick google search for the question ‘how much does a horse weigh’ will give you an average weight but as we all know there’s no such thing as an average horse. To know how much your horse should way you either need to know how tall they are (we well as their build) or what their breeding is (if they’re purebred). Neither of those two will be difficult to know so the two tables below should help to give you an idea of what your horse should be weighing.
Horse weight by height
Horse weight by breed
|Andalusian||1201 – 1301||545 – 590|
|Appaloosa||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
|Arabian||904 – 1102||410 – 500|
|Ardennais||1400 – 1598||635 – 725|
|Cleveland Bay||1201 – 1499||545 – 680|
|Clydesdale||1800 – 2200||820 – 1000|
|Connemara||805 – 1003||365 – 455|
|Cream Draft||1598 – 1995||725 – 905|
|Criollo||1201 – 1301||545 – 590|
|Dulmen||705 – 805||320 – 365|
|Dutch Warmblood||1201 – 1301||545 – 590|
|Exmoor||595 – 805||270 – 365|
|Fjord||1201 – 1400||545 – 635|
|Flemish||1797 – 2403||815 – 1090|
|Friesian||1300 – 1450||590 – 658|
|Hackney||904 – 1201||410 – 545|
|Haflinger||1201 – 1301||545 – 590|
|Hanoverian||1201 – 1400||545 – 635|
|Highland||1201 – 1400||545 – 635|
|Icelandic||705 – 904||320 – 410|
|Irish Draught||1301 – 1499||590 – 680|
|Lipizzaner||904 – 1201||410 – 545|
|Lusitano||700 – 1100||317 – 499|
|Miniature Horse||198 – 496||90 – 225|
|Morgan||904 – 1201||410 – 545|
|Mustang||805 – 1003||365 – 455|
|Oldenburg||1201 – 1499||545 – 680|
|Orlov Trotter||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
|Paint Horse||950 – 1200||430 – 544|
|Paso||1201 – 1301||545 – 590|
|Percheron||1896 – 2105||860 – 955|
|Pony of the Americas||700 – 800||315 – 360|
|Quarter Horse||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
|Saddlebred||1003 – 1201||455 – 545|
|Selle Français||1003 – 1201||455 – 545|
|Shire||1698 – 2701||770 – 1225|
|Shetland||298 – 595||135 – 270|
|Suffolk Punch||1698 – 1896||770 – 860|
|Tennessee Walker||904 – 1400||410 – 635|
|Thoroughbred||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
|Trakehner||1201 – 1499||545 – 680|
|Walkaloosa||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
|Welsh Section A||397 – 705||180 – 320|
|Welsh Section B||452 – 750||205 – 340|
|Welsh Section C||595 – 1003||270 – 455|
|Welsh Section D||1003 – 1301||455 – 590|
Why is it so important to know my horse’s weight?
You might think that it doesn’t really matter if you know your horse’s weight or not but it’s important to know for so many reasons, not least because you need to know how much food to give them. Knowing your horse’s weight is also vital when it comes to calculating the amount of de-wormer to use, your veterinarian will also use your horse’s weight to work out how much medicine to administer or prescribe.
If your horse isn’t getting enough medicine or de-wormer then it won’t be effective and can result in them becoming resistant. Giving your horse more than the desired amount of medicine though can have serious implications such as colic, ulcers, diarrhea, and anemia. In extreme circumstances, giving your horse too much medicine can be fatal, depending on the drug and the amount administered.
Knowing your horse’s weight will also help you to determine how much weight they can carry or pull. As a very general rule, a horse can carry between 15% and 20% of their weight, although as I say this is only a rough guide.
How do you weigh a horse?
The quick answer to this question is to use a set of specialists livestock scales, but of course, this isn’t practical for everybody. You might be surprised to know though that there are in fact four different ways to get your horse’s weight, all with varying levels of accuracy.
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. Some veterinarians will carry a set of portable scales with them but if not then you’ll have to transport your horse to a veterinary clinic or auction barn where they are more likely to have a set of scales. This is why, despite their accuracy, livestock scales aren’t that widely used.
Also known as a weighbridge, this is a specialist weighing machine that allows you to drive a truck (or horse trailer) onto the scales to get a reading. Using this method a horse’s weight is calculated by obtaining two sets of readings, one of the trailer with the horse inside and one of the trailer without the horse, the difference between the two figures will give you your horse’s weight. It’s important though to make sure both measurements are recorded on the same day to avoid things such as fuel levels giving you an inaccurate weight.
The trouble with using truck scales though is that they’ve not been calibrated to accurately weigh animals which means that they can be out by as much as 20 to 40lb (9 to 18 kg).
This has to be one of the quickest and easiest ways of weighing a horse and all you need is a weigh tape that you can pick up from most tack shops as well as online at places like Amazon. Once you have a tape, measuring your horse is super easy, just make sure he’s standing evenly or you won’t get an accurate reading. To get your horse’s weight hold the ‘zero’ end of the tape in one hand and put the other end gently over his back before reaching under his belly to grab the end. Make sure it’s wrapped around your horse’s girth and is snug, next line the loose end up with the zero and hay presto you have your horse’s weight!
Calculate your horse’s weight
If you don’t have a weigh tape or access to a weighbridge don’t worry you can still work out how much your horse weighs and all you need is a fabric or rubber tape measure (or some string, such as twine, and a tape measure) and a calculator. You need to get two measurements (in inches), your horse’s girth (sometimes called his heart girth), and his body length.
To get your horse’s girth measurement place the tape or string approximately 4 inches behind his foreleg, over the highest part of his withers, and under his belly so that the tape joins up with the start. Your horse’s body length on the other hand is a straight line from the point of his buttocks to the point of his shoulder.
Once you have these measurements you can use a simple calculation to work out your horse’s weight:
Girth x Girth x Body Length ÷ 330 = Your Horse’s Weight
This will give you their weight in pounds, if you want it in kilos then divide your horse’s weight by 2.205 this will give you their weight in kilos. If you’re working in centimeters rather than inches just dived the girth, girth, and body length by 11800 instead. This will then give you their weight in kilos which you can multiply by 2.205 if you’d prefer their weight in pounds.
While the above will give you your horse’s weight if he’s at least two years old you can use a similar equation for weanlings and yearlings. For weanlings divide your horse’s measurements by 280 instead of 330, whereas for yearlings it should be divided by 301.
Which method you opt for doesn’t really matter but it’s important to use the same method every time to avoid any discrepancies, after all so much is dependent on getting your horse’s weight right.
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I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.
Over the years I have tried hundreds of different horsey products, from various blankets and halters to different treats. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve hated but I thought I’d share with you my top all-time favorite products, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve included links to the products (which are in no particular order) that I really think are great.
- Horse Knots by Reference Ready – If you’re like me and enjoy pocket reference guides then you’ll love this knot tying guide. These handy cards can easily fit in your pocket or attach to the saddle for quick reference. They’re waterproof, durable and are color coded to make them easy to follow.
- Mane ’n Tail Detangler – Even if you never show your horse you’ll need to detangle his tail from time to time (and possibly his mane too) which is always a challenging chore! I’ve found that if I run a little bit of detangler through my horse’s tails every few days it stops them from getting matted up and makes combing them easy, even if they’re coated in mud. I don’t know if I should admit to this or not but it also works wonders on my hair.
- TAKEKIT Pro clippers – Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different clippers and while some were obviously better than others I found these to be by far the best. They are heavier than a lot of other clippers but for me, that’s a good thing, it makes them feel more sturdy and hardwearing. On top of that they have a range of speeds so are just as good for clipping your horse’s back as they are his face. I also like the fact that they come in a handy carry case but that’s not for everybody. The company that makes them is super good and incredibly helpful too, a real bonus these days. The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the fact that it doesn’t come with any oil, but that’s not a major problem as it’s not difficult to buy lubricant.
- Shire’s ball feeder – There are so many boredom buster toys out there but I like to use these every day, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I find that it helps to encourage my horses to problem solve by rewarding them with treats (or pieces of fruit) but it also mimics their natural grazing behavior which helps to keep them calm and de-stressed.
- Horse safe mirror – This is a strange one that many people are surprised about but I like to put horse safe mirrors in the trailers as well as in the quarantine stalls. It helps to prevent the feeling of isolation by giving the impression of other horses being around. Being herd animals horses can get extremely stressed when they feel that they’re on their own but with these stick-on mirrors, they believe that at least one other horse is with them.
- Rectal thermometer – I know this isn’t glamourous at all but it’s vital for your horse’s well-being to be able to check their temperature and a rectal thermometer is the easiest way of doing this which is why I’ve added it to the list.
I’ve also put together a few shopping lists of essential items that I’ve found helpful over the years. I’ve broken the lists down into different categories rather than put everything in one massive list 😉