sarah1214

Large Man Wants To Ride My Horse - What Is Too Heavy?

20 posts in this topic

The guy that owns my barn works with Phil Pfister (world's stongest man), and he really wants to come out and ride. My horse is probably the biggest horse in the barn, I just worry that maybe this guy is too big... My horse is a foundation QH gelding, about 15.3 and around 1400 pounds. Phil is 6'6" and around 375, a very big man. Otter is very stout with nice thick legs.

Do you think he would be alright with Phil riding him? He's never ridden a horse before, so it'd be walking and maybe trotting, indoors, no trail riding or anything like that.

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I'd let him try at a walk, watch how he carries his body & upper torso... you'd be surprised at his balance. (Those strong man types have to have balance to heft those weights over their heads!!!) As for the weight, your horse should be fine carrying it... just give the guy a chance. If he's a total idiot, you'll know right away, & you can pull him off your horse.

That's what I would do... good luck, take pics!!!

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Oh, I plan on it! LOL Phil is a really great guy, I've met him once or twice. He's a firefighter, as is the guy that owns the barn and a couple other boarders.

I figure its going to be at a walk, leading, then maybe some trotting. Those firefighters are fearless... LOL

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Given your horse's stats and the fact that this guy is a muscled/in shape 375 not an out of shape 375, here's what I would do.

1) Explain to guy AHEAD of time that you're totally willing to let him try but that normally, we aim to put no more than 20% of the horse's weight on a horse including tack. So if the horse shows any discomfort, you'll have to stop. I think this is a fair thing to mention right up front. The horse's best interest has to come first.

2) Use a mounting block!!!! Even if you normally don't, please DO for this amount of weight.

3) Make sure you have a saddle that is going to fit the horse and the guy because if he's too big for the saddle it can cause pressure points that could result in pain for the horse and possibly behavior you've never seen--like bucking.

4) Make sure that before you do this, the horse is in shape--especially his topline because there's no support BUT muscles/tendons/ligaments along the spine. A horse with a weak topline could be injured with excess weight.

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theres a great article in last months horse and rider mar. i dont really rememebr what it says but the ratio is like a 1000lbs horse should be able to carry a 200lbs man fine. ive seen my broter whos around the same type of build just 345lbs ride a 14.2 reg qh just fine. loping and everything

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I really don't know, but from what I've read & heard the total weight (rider & saddle) should not exceed 25% of the horse's weight. A 375 pound man + a 25 pound saddle = 400 pounds, divide that by 1400 pound horse and you get 25%.

This leads to the question of what condition is your horse in and if he is he physically mature, vs a colt which is still developing bone structure.

Also consider how much time he will be riding. A 10 or 12 year old horse in good shape could probably handle several hours with no problems. But a 6 year old (and younger) is still in the developmental stage won't hold up for very long, if at all.

As I said, I really don't know, as I've never tried to see just how much a horse can do, in order to draw a conclusion.

Personally, if I had your choice I'd consider age & physical condition of the horse. Then, I would decide whether or not to let him ride and for how long (if at all). If he was allowed to ride I would keep a close watch for stumbling and such.

Hope this helps & I'm sure you'll get more help from others. Consider the source.

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My gelding is 5, in good shape, with a good top line, great butt and chest. We work quite a bit climbing hills, so he's in really good shape.

I always use a mounting block, cause my hip can't handle pulling myself up that high. I'm 5'4" and that's too high up for me to mount on the ground comfortably. I can do it, its just that my hip doesn't like it very well.

I just had him evaluated by the chiropractor, and she didn't find a single thing wrong with him, said he had real nice muscling and his weight was good.

In fact, she had us trot him up and down a couple times so she could watch his hips move, and then apologized for making us do it so many times. She said she kept getting distracted by his butt muscles. Said it reminded her of two volkswagons trying to pass each other... lol

The saddle I ride in is a custom saddle from Rocking R saddlery (in AL), Mcalister All Around, 16 inch seat, full QH bars. It fits both me and him really well. I think Phil will fit fine in the saddle. He's a big man, but doesn't have a large girth, so he should be able to fit fine. I will definetly watch for discomfort, and will check him over after the ride to make sure he isn't sore.

Buddyroo, I think that's very fair. I will definetly mention it to him when he comes out. He's very excited about riding, but if he really wants to get into it and actually buy something, I will suggest a draft or draft cross. Poor Otter is the biggest horse in the barn, other than one mare. BUT, the mare is in training, and so far still bucks very enthusiasticly under saddle. Not a candidate for a newbie to ride. Shoot, not even a candidate for ME to ride. I'm getting too old to hit the ground! LOL Man, that's hard to admit!

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I don't think that he will be a problem for your horse. It's not like his is going to ride for hours. If your horse is in good shape he will handle it just fine. If not you will know.

My little 14 hand Haflinger/Appy cross use to be owned by a handicapped 35 year old man that weighs over 350 pounds and they rode in the Flint Hills looking for cattle. He used a big old roping saddle. Charlie had no problems. Don't worry it will be alright.

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your so lucky!!! i would be physiced to have the worlds strongest man ride my horse!!!! [Yay] Phils awsome!!!! your horse sounds like hes pretty big, i think hed be fine. its not like he would be taking him for a 4 hour trail ride, sheesh!!!! TAKE PIX!!!! [Not Worthy]

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If he were my horse, I wouldn't. You just cannot go by the horses weight and size. If your horse has a long back then he cannot carry the weight the formula says he can. I would not worry about his legs, I would worry about his back. If the horses back is injured then its your issue and expense. He may never recover if the injury is bad enough.

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Regardless of stout legs, legs are not the issue here. The back is. The rider has never ridden and therefore is not likely to be able to balance well enough to alleviate the stress on the horse's back.

I'd suggest a 16-17HH draft or draft cross. A) He'll look better on it because of his size and height, B) the animal will likely put up with his inability to ride much better without saying, "Gosh, heavy AND out of time? Screw this, pard, you're off," and C) The larger saddle this man will probably need will actually FIT the back of the horse.

I've had to tell very large people that they couldn't ride even Thunder before because of their size. It's a little embarrassing to have to tell someone they are too large for a half-draft, but at least you can say to this guy, "the thing that makes you an incredible athlete, limits the kinds of horses you can or should ride."

Then take him horse-shopping. LOL.

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[quote Luther

]really don't know, but from what I've read & heard the total weight (rider & saddle) should not exceed 25% of the horse's weight. A 375 pound man + a 25 pound saddle = 400 pounds, divide that by 1400 pound horse and you get 25%

400lbs x 4= 1600lbs not 1400lbs. So, this guy is too heavy for the horse,

He needs a 1600lb horse to be fine.

If all you are doing is a pony ride it would be ok, tho.

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for a short round the arena at a walk beginner ride I think you will be fine.. you have gotten good advise and seem to know your horse well... also it might help if you show him how to sit the saddle from the ground.. the riding stance you know.. feet little more than shoulder width apart, ears shoulders hips and ankles in alignment with legs bent as if on saddle.. show him how to move his shoulders and keep his hips in line, also show him how to put the weight in his heals so that he has a good seat, so that he can balance better in the saddle I find this helps a lot for first timers it gives them a really good idea of what they need to feel their body doing.. make sure you give him "Helpful hints" on his balance and posture while he is just standing there after first mounting.. make sure you help him find the right place to sit the saddle, and get the stirrups adjusted just for him.. this way he can relax a bit on the horse before moving out..

then lead at first till your horse lets you know he feels ok with this rider.. make sure you show him how YOU hold your reins with this horse and how to control him before that first step.. then have him follow you in turns so he can learn to control the horse this will also help him right off the bat to find his balance.. small slow turns so he can learn to move his hips with the horse.. also watch him and make sure he is following your advise.. he is your pupil at this point, as it is YOUR horse and only YOU really know what your horse expects from his rider..

Phil probably will get sore fast, those guys may have great physiques, but they arent ment to do the splits.. also make sure he dismounts using the mounting block as well.. this way your horse wont get sore on the dismount.. sometimes after they are tired is when their backs get hurt easiest on a dismount..

I am quite sure Phil will find his balance very fast, he has to have very good musle control and balance to perform properly.. so I have no doubt that he will do fine with your boy.. He may find hte height a bit more of a challenge than the horse finds having him int he saddle..

I would also offer him to ride again if all goes well, this is a good experience for you and your horse.

I recently allowed a very nice young lady to ride Daniel, he is 15.1hh at 1,100lbs, I am 5'7 at 210lbs.. (over the 20% mark I believe) The young lady is 5'6 and about oh 245.. Daniel carried me at that weight till i lost the weight, we used a mounting block and we walked around on a long line.. the young lady had ridden only 1 other time in her life, and that was as a kid where she was thrown and hurt, so had a strong fear, but truely wanted to try and asked if Daniel was a good horse.. I felt he could handle it, it was all of about 20 minutes, BUT Daniel handled it just fine and so did the young lady.. at a walk it is really hard to be too off balance.. This is the second time i have done this with Daniel, the first time was a wonderful lady who wanted to ride along side a mutual friend and then her own daughter, and the other horse wasnt even close to big enough.. this lady was about 270, but at a walk Daniel was fine and enjoyed taking her around the arena a few times..

In both cases it was a short ride, not because of Daniel, but cause the ladies were tired.. So dont worry it wont be too long and I am sure Phill will do fine and I am sure your big guy will be the pride of the barn!!

Do get pictures and sorry bout the tangent, but wanted to show you it would be fine with my own experiences.

Edited by kitten-kat

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[quote Luther

really don't know, but from what I've read & heard the total weight (rider & saddle) should not exceed 25% of the horse's weight. A 375 pound man + a 25 pound saddle = 400 pounds, divide that by 1400 pound horse and you get 25%

400lbs x 4= 1600lbs not 1400lbs. So, this guy is too heavy for the horse,

He needs a 1600lb horse to be fine.

If all you are doing is a pony ride it would be ok, tho.

She's right, I was wrong. [Crazy] I guess it's time to get a new calculator. That's a shame too, the eraser on this one is hardly used. [Crazy]

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The guy that owns my barn works with Phil Pfister (world's stongest man), and he really wants to come out and ride.

Tell him to come out, but when he's done the horse gets to ride him for a bit.

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Tell him to come out, but when he's done the horse gets to ride him for a bit.

[ROTFL] Make sure to get pics!!!

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Tell him to come out, but when he's done the horse gets to ride him for a bit.

LOL!!!!

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I would absolutely say no. I agree with the opinion that he should really ride a drafter, with the heavier skeleton AND muscle. Just because he is a nice, a hunk and a friend, I would feel uncomfortable saying no, but that is a lot of pounds.

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i am heavy and i can ride a 15.3 horse fine and the horse never showed any discomfort. if he is just walking i dont see anything wrong you can give yuor guy a nice brace bath when he is done, i mix bigeloil and water and my horsel oves it. i say give him a chance. plus i have seen people way bigger than me ride small horses with no problem and the hose carried then fine.

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