Have your ever wondered how well your horse can carry your weight?
All sorts of studies have been done on this. According to this one from Oct 2022, a horse can carry 20% of its own weight – so, a 500 kilo horse could carry a 100kg person. This is surely only a starting point though, as we also have to consider the breed and age of the horse, its fitness and experience, as well as things like the rider themselves, how long you’re riding for, tack fit, balanced feet, and the horse not being in pain.
Before I became an Animal Communicator, I taught horse & rider biomechanics for over 10 years. For horses, one of the most important things we focused on was its weight bearing ability.
According to Connected Riding®,
Horses are not naturally born with a “weight bearing posture”, that is, a posture to carry weight on their backs. Therefore, they must be conditioned and supported to be able to strengthen the muscles and posture to carry themselves while carrying the weight of the rider.
Remember, horses naturally carry about 60% of their weight on their forehand – but, to comfortably carry a rider, that weight has to be more evenly distributed on all 4 legs. That’s why you’ll so often hear people talking about ‘shifting the weight back’, getting them to ‘push from behind’ and so on.
If your horse is stumbling a lot, heavy in your hand, ‘on the forehand’, or has it’s head in the air, it isn’t in a good weight bearing posture. And that matters, because it will likely lead to injury, miscommunication, and lack of progress with your riding and relationship goals.
When people say ‘it isn’t about the weight of the rider, it’s about how they ride’, it’s true – because a good rider knows how to not make themselves harder for their horse to carry, and they know how to train / help their horse to carry them easily.
So, if you had to make an educated guess now, can your horse carry your weight easily? Do they have good weight bearing posture? It can be difficult to quantify, with the ultimate goal of ‘self carriage’ often seeming impossible to reach.
I ask all sorts of questions like this as part of my equine Animal Communication sessions, and it occurred to me that this would be a good one to add.
To try it out, I offered it as a free check on my Facebook page, then to my email list. Those interested commented with the name and a picture of their horse, for me to make an energetic connection with. Then, (completely unscientific of course!) I checked each using my strong pendulum. I gave each their score from 0-5, ie how good their horse’s weight bearing posture is.
Here are the results of my survey, of how well their horses are carrying them!
I checked in on 55 horses.
None measured 0/5 (good that none had a zero weight bearing ability!), or 5/5 (disappointing that none had an optimal weight bearing ability).
3 horses – 5% – measured 1/5.
8 horses – 15% – measured 2/5.
30 horses – 55% – measured 3/5. And,
14 horses – 25% – measured 4/5.
So, more than 50% were ‘average’, and a quarter were above average.
Note – several horses measured in at 3.5 out of 5. I rounded them down for the stats; imho this isn’t something that can be rounded up.
There was one really interesting thing. One owner contacted me to say that she had just that day done some bodywork and hoof balancing for her horse. I checked with my pendulum to see how much improvement that had made to her horse’s weight bearing ability – it measured 70%! So, a great reminder to keep your riding horse’s body, teeth, feet, tack etc etc in good condition.
What do you think? It’s a small sample size, but are the numbers what you would expect?
Personally, I think we should all be striving much harder to get to 5/5, ie to improve our horse’s weight bearing posture as much as we possibly can. That might mean educating yourself more (I highly recommend Connected Riding®, and Tellington Equine Awareness Method), or changing your habits, but your horse will thank you for it – and, your rides will be more comfortable and pleasurable, as well as your relationship with your horse.
If you’d like to delve into this more in one of my comprehensive Animal Communication & Healing sessions, have a look at the details here.
Keep connecting with your horses,
If you’d like to learn how to use a pendulum to ask your own horse questions, check out my Pendulum Workshop.
Trisha Wren has been an equine professional for most of her adult life. She rode, competed, and taught Western Riding for 15 years in Scotland, then horse and rider bio-mechanics in New Zealand and Australia for 10 years. She’s been a full time horse communicator and healer since April 2016. Find out more about Trisha here and sign up for her self paced Animal Communication course here.