When it comes to horse weight, there are some things we need to consider.
There are so many different types of horses out there, as well as different horse breeds, each with its unique characteristics and features. Answering the question “how much does a horse weigh” is not as simple as one might believe at a glance, but I’m going to do my best to provide you with the best answer.
The thing is, we need to tackle this question from different angles. Do you need to know how much does a horse weigh at birth, how much does a full-grown horse weigh, or how much does a certain breed of horse weigh?
To answer give you a general answer, smaller breeds of horses generally weigh between 800 to 1,400 pounds, while larger horses weigh 1300 to 1500 pounds on average. The taller the horse, and the more muscular it is, the more it will tip the scales. Smaller horses, ponies included, are the lightest of the bunch.
However, as I mentioned above, determining the average weight of a certain type of horse needs a bit of research. So let’s delve deeper into this topic and start at the very beginning.
How much does a foal weigh?
One rule to keep in mind is that foals weigh on average around 10 percent of their mother’s weight at birth. To give you an example, a 900-pound mare will usually give birth to a 90-pound foal.
If the mare is warmblood and weighs 1,500 pounds on average, the foal will weigh 150 pounds, and so on. Draft mares are usually the heaviest, as they can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. They can also pull an incredible amount of weight due to their sturdy builds. Their foals will tip the scales at 200 pounds then.
At the start of its life, a foal will gain weight very quickly. During the first month, it will typically gain more than 3 pounds each day, but the process will slow down to 2 to 2.5 pounds each day in months 2 and 3. As the foal reaches months 5 and 6, it will gain about 1.5 pounds each day.
If we expect a foal to reach a mature body weight of 1,300 pounds, it will probably weigh 330 pounds in month 2, 465 pounds in month 3, and 585 pounds by month 6. The little guys sure put on weight fast, provided they are healthy and can suckle as often as 30 times per day.
How much does an adult horse weigh?
The weight of an adult horse depends on its breed, mainly. While I don’t have all the data to give you a detailed horse weight chart for every single breed out there, I will list some of the most popular ones below.
|Horse Height||Donkey||Pony||Polo Pony||Arabian||Cob||Thoroughbred||LW Hunter||MW Hunter||HW Hunter||Draft|
|9 hh||330 lb (150 kg)||440 lb (200 kg)|
|10 hh||440 lb (200 kg)||440 lb (200 kg)|
|12 hh||440 lb (200 kg)||440 lb (200 kg)|
|12.2 hh||440 lb (200 kg)||661 lb (300 kg)|
|13 hh||771 lb (350 kg)||661 lb (300 kg)|
|14 hh||661 lb (300 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)|
|14.1 hh||881 lb (400 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)|
|14.2 hh||881 lb (400 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)||992 lb (450 kg)|
|14.3 hh||992 lb (450 kg)||992 lb (450 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)|
|15 hh||1102 lb (500 kg)||992 lb (450 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)|
|15.1 hh||1102 lb (500 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)||1212 lb (550 kg)||881 lb (400 kg)||992 lb (450 kg)|
|15.2 hh||992 lb (450 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)|
|15.3 hh||1102 lb (500 kg)||1102 lb (500 kg)||1212 lb (550 kg)||1322 lb (600 kg)||1543 lb (700 kg)|
|16 hh||1102 lb (500 kg)||1212 lb (550 kg)||1322 lb (600 kg)||1433 lb (650 kg)||1653 lb (750 kg)|
|16.1 hh||1212 lb (550 kg)||1212 lb (550 kg)||1322 lb (600 kg)||1433 lb (650 kg)||1763 lb (800 kg)|
|16.2 hh||1212 lb (550 kg)||1212 lb (550 kg)||1433 lb (650 kg)||1433 lb (650 kg)||1873 lb (850 kg)|
|16.3 hh||1322 lb (600 kg)||1322 lb (600 kg)||1433 lb (650 kg)||1543 lb (700 kg)||1873 lb (850 kg)|
As you can see for yourself, ponies and polo ponies weigh the least, but they’re also the shortest of the equine, right alongside donkeys. When it comes to the taller breeds, the Arabian is still the lightest of the bunch, partly because it usually doesn’t exceed 15.1 hands in height, but also due to its slim and muscular body type.
Moving on to the Cob and Thoroughbred, these horses are right in the middle on the weight scale, even though both breeds can reach 16.3 hands in height without any issues.
The relatively heavy bunch is represented by the LW, MW, and HW Hunters, with some of them reaching 1433 or even 1543 pounds in weight. The heaviest horses of them all, however, are draft horses, which reach weights of up to 1873 pounds or more.
What is the heaviest horse in the world?
The absolute heaviest horse in the world right now is none other than Big Jake – a Belgian Draft that weighed 240 pounds when he was born. That’s around 50 pounds heavier than your usual Belgian Draft. As he grew, this horse has now reached a weight of 2600 pounds, which is 1,100 kg or 1.1 tons.
In adulthood, Big Jake has managed to reach a height of 20 hands and 2 and ¾ inches without any shoes on. Having such a large horse doesn’t come without its share of challenges, but the owners are taking very good care of Big Jake.
How do we measure the weight of a horse?
A horse’s weight can be measured in three different ways, which I will detail shortly.
- The first method involves using a digital equine scale, which is found at most equine clinics around the world, and even in some veterinary cabinets.
- The second method relies on the use of weight tape, which is not as accurate as the digital scale but can still deliver some useful information. You can buy these tapes at most stores, and they’re generally pretty cheap to get a hold of.
In order to measure your horse’s weight with a weight tape, just wrap the tape around the circumference of the hearth girth, which is located just at the base of the horse’s withers. Now just read the weight indicated on the tape. Easy peasy!
- For the third method, you will need to apply the Heart Girth x Length Formula, which is quite accurate and easy enough to apply. To calculate this, you’ll need a flexible measuring tape or a piece of yarn that you can measure up later. You’ll also need a piece of paper and a pencil.
Now, just measure your horse accordingly and solve the following math equation:
Hearth Girth x Hearth Girth x Body Length ÷ 330 = Total + 50 Final Weight.
I know it looks a bit complicated but you can trust me: it works. In order to get the measurements right, follow these simple instructions:
- Measure the heart girth by drawing a slightly diagonal line from the base of the withers to just behind the elbow.
- The body length measurements start from the point of the shoulder (without the chest cavity) to the point of the buttock.
- We use the number 330 as a base number for mature horse weight calculations. If you’re weighing yearlings, you can use 301 but 330 works best for mature horses.
- It’s also worth noting that the equation figures and results will be in inches, so convert the result to cm if you live over the pond.
What happens if a horse gets fat?
Obesity in horses is definitely a serious issue that can cause a number of health issues such as insulin resistance, otherwise known as laminitis or diabetes in horses. This disease can overwork the heart and joints, but it can be prevented with a decent diet and plenty of exercises. I know that not all of you have access to large pastures for your horses, but just make the best of what you have.
Make sure to weigh your horse often and keep track of how much weight it is gaining from checkup to checkup.