How Much Does a Horse Weigh?

This question may seem very easy to solve, but the weight of the horses varies according to the individual, sex and the breed each specimen belongs to. Learn more about it here.
How Much Does a Horse Weigh?
Samuel Sanchez

Written and verified by the biologist Samuel Sanchez.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Horses are one of the domestic animals par excellence. They’re not only noted for their beauty, but have also helped humans in transportation and physical labor for hundreds of years. Because these days there’s more efficient machinery (and the fact that we’re more conscious of the ethical implications), most horses are kept for recreational purposes and are cared for as a member of the family. Anyway, all this aside, today we’ll be asking the question: how much does a horse weigh?

If you have a horse in your life, or are planning to get one, maybe you’ve wondered how much a horse weighs on average. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this topic, so don’t miss it!

How much does a horse weigh? How to calculate it

Horses (Equus ferus caballus) are domesticated mammals belonging to the family Equidae. From a biological point of view, it’s an ungulígrade animal (an animal that walks on hooves). It has oval-shaped hooves with a single toe, a long tail, short hair, long thin legs, a muscular torso and an elongated neck.

Domestication and genetic selection have ensured that horses have anatomical arrangements and colors that are very different from those of their ancestors. Their coat is very diverse, with shades ranging from white to black, including browns, reds, and yellows, which may be with or without patterns (spots or stripes). On the other hand, the size and weight vary greatly between each breed.

Trying to calculate the size and weight of an adult horse can be a complex task, especially if you don’t take into account the standards of the breed it belongs to. To take these measurements, you can follow two different routes:

  1. Weight tape: As its name suggests, it’s a tape that shows kilograms (or pounds) along its length. All you need to do is surround the animal’s body just behind the forelimbs and write down the value obtained. However, it should be noted that this tape is based on a standard and doesn’t apply to all breeds.
  2. Mathematical formulas: Several formulas can be used to calculate the weight of a horse in a more accurate way.

Professional sources collect the following mathematical formula to calculate the weight of an adult horse with the help of a tape measure:

Weight (in kilograms) = [(PT)2 x L] ÷ 11000

PT refers to the thoracic perimeter at girth height, which can be measured with a normal tape. On the other hand, the L value is the length of the horse and is obtained by measuring in a line parallel to the ground from the tip of the shoulder to the height of the tip of the ischium of the animal. Both values are handled in centimeters.

A woman with a horse.

How much does a horse weigh depending on the breed?

It’s estimated that an adult horse weighs on average about 400 kilos, although the range is located between 227 and 900 kilos (about 500-1980 pounds). The other parameters (neck length, leg span, trunk size and much more) also vary dramatically between varieties.

Here is a list of average weights of some common horse breeds:

  • Percheron: This is a draft breed because of its strength, robustness and endurance. It originates from the province of Perche (near Normandy, in the French region), hence its name. An adult specimen weighs on average between 850 and 950 kilograms (0.8 to 0.9 tonnes)
  • Suffolk punch: This is another draft horse, but in this case of English origin. It’s characterized by having a sorrel color (reddish) and weighs between 750 and 900 kilograms (0.73 to 0.88 tonnes).
  • Holsteiner: This breed originated in northern Germany, and stands out in sporting competitions for its agility, jumping ability, pinhooking and responsiveness during dressage. It weighs between 544 and 680 kilograms (1200 to 1500 pounds).
  • Andalusian: As its name suggests, this breed originates from the Spanish lands of Andalusia. It’s an easy-to-ride horse that’s assiduously used for riding and its mass ranges from 544-590 kilograms (1200 to 1300 pounds).
  • Highland pony: it is one of the biggest pony breeds and its origin is in Scotland. It weighs between 499 and 599 kilograms (1100 to 1320 pounds).
  • Lipizzaner : This is a good-natured and cheerful horse that originated in Slovenia. It weighs between 410 and 544 kilos (900 to 1200 pounds).
  • Shetland Pony: This is one of the smallest horse breeds in existence. It does not exceed 110 centimeters in height and its weight is between 181.5 and 199.5 kilograms (400 to 440 pounds).

These are just a few examples, but you need to keep in mind that there are over 400 breeds derived from the species Equus ferus caballus. Draft horses are usually quite robust and heavy, while those suitable for riding and competition weigh less, in order to gain a little more gracefulness and maneuverability.

Without a doubt, ponies are the lightest and smallest of all. In general, the different breeds that fall under this term have a maximum height to the withers of 150 centimeters (nearly 5 feet) and weigh 100 kilos (220 pounds) on average. In addition, they usually have short limbs and an abundant coat.

To know how much a horse weighs, the first thing to consider is the breed it belongs to.

A white horse.

Not only genetics dictates the weight of a horse

How much does a horse weigh? That was our question for today. And, although genetic selection has much to do with the weight and height of a horse, not everything is explained by chromosomes. Keep in mind that an adult equine consumes 1.5% to 3% of its weight in vegetable matter per day and also requires a lot of physical activity. Therefore, diet and exercise will directly influence the body mass of the specimen.

On the other hand, metabolic diseases, infections, vitamin deficiencies (hypovitaminosis), stress, a lack of environmental enrichment and poor oral health can cause a horse to lose weight dramatically. If you notice that your horse is thinner (among other symptoms), don’t hesitate to call the vet.

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