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How much does a horse weigh?

Published: 2023-08-02 15:45:26 Categories: Guides Rss feed , Horse health Rss feed

Ile waży koń?

Ile waży koń?

The horse’s weight depends on a few different things. Weight can tell you a lot about a horse’s health. There are some techniques and tools to help you find out the approximate weight of your horse. Read our article, to find out why weight is so important, what influences weight, and how to calculate it!

Why controlling the horse’s weight is so important?

Regular weight checkups are important to judge a horse’s health and condition. Any deviations from the normal weight can signal that a horse needs a vet visit and evaluation of its current diet as well as living conditions. It’s worth noting that a horse that is either overweight or underweight can have significant health problems. That’s why controlling the weight is so crucial for the animal’s health; it can also help you create a diet and training schedule that is perfect for your horse.

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How much does a baby horse weigh?

It’s estimated that a newborn foal should weigh 10% of its mother’s weight. Foal's weight is mostly influenced by its mother, the stallion’s weight has less significance. Therefore, if a mare weighs 1102 lbs (500kg) then her newborn foal should weigh around 110 lbs (50kg). The only exception is first-time mothers, their foals are usually smaller. Twins, premature foals, and those born during a complicated birth can also have a lower weight.

How much does an adult horse weigh?

An answer to the question “How much does an average adult horse weigh?” is not easy. Weight depends on a few factors: age, breed, or health. Light horses, such as quarter horse, weigh much less than draft horses. Average horse weight for a 160-170 cm adult horse is estimated at around 1102-1323 lbs (500-600 kg). Draft horses can weigh over 1763 lbs (800 kg), while ponies usually weigh between 771 lbs to 992 lbs (350 kg to 450 kg). The weight differs between specific horses based on their living conditions and training. A horse that spends most of its time in a pasture and is only lightly ridden will weigh more than a horse of the same breed that has a strenuous training regime and well-built muscle mass.

Horse’s weight depends on the type

The horse’s weight depends on the breed’s type. In general, we can distinguish the division presenting as follows:

  • Miniature horses: 88 – 198 lbs (40 – 90 kg)

  • Ponies: 287 – 771 lbs (130 – 350 kg)

  • Warmbloods: 882 – 1543 lbs (400 – 700 kg)

  • Draft horses: 1763 –2204 lbs (800 – 1000 kg)

Horse’s weight depends on the breed

Horse’s weight can also be estimated based on its breed.

Horse breed - average weight:

Horse BreedAverage Body Weight in KilogramsAverage Body Weight in Pounds
Percheron850.5 - 950 kg1876 – 2094 lbs
Belgian Draft Horse816.5 - 998 kg1799 – 2199 lbs
Suffolk Punch751 - 900 kg1653 – 1984 lbs
Shire701 - 1,200 kg1545 – 2645 lbs
Ardennais701 - 1,000 kg1545 – 2204 lbs
Clydesdale701 - 800.5 kg1545 – 1773 lbs
Irish Draught599 - 800.5 kg1318 – 1773 lbs
Gypsy590 - 726 kg1298 – 1600 lbs
Heavyweight Hunter590 - 698.5 kg1298 – 1538 lbs
Cleveland Bay549 - 701 kg1209 – 1545 lbs
Hanoverian549 - 651 kg1209 – 1434 lbs
American Warmblood549 - 599 kg1209 – 1318 lbs
Dutch Warmblood549 - 599 kg1209 – 1318 lbs
Oldenburger544 - 680.5 kg1199 – 1499 lbs
Friesian544 - 635 kg1199 – 1400 lbs
Danish Warmblood544 - 635 kg1199 – 1400 lbs
Andalusian544 - 590 kg1199 – 1300 lbs
Paso Fino544 - 590 kg1199 – 1300 lbs
Trakehner499 - 680.5 kg1199 – 1300 lbs
Middleweight Ridden Hunter499 - 635 kg1099 – 1399 lbs
Wielkopolski499 - 635 kg1099 – 1399 lbs
Highland Pony499 - 599 kg1099 – 1318 lbs
American Saddlebred453.5 - 544.5 kg998 – 1200 lbs
Holsteiner449 - 800.5 kg989 – 1764 lbs
Westphalian449 - 599 kg989 – 1318 lbs
Lightweight Ridden Hunter449 - 590 kg989 – 1300 lbs
Thoroughbred Horse449 - 499 kg989 – 1099 lbs
Paint431 - 544.5 kg949 – 1199 lbs
American Quarter Horse431 - 544 kg949 – 1199 lbs
Hackney Horse410.5 - 544 kg903 – 1199 lbs
Lipizzaner410.5 - 544 kg903 – 1199 lbs
Nokota408 - 680 kg898 – 1499 lbs
Missouri Fox Trotter408 - 544 kg898 – 1199 lbs
Tennessee Walker408 - 544 kg898 – 1199 lbs
Lusitano408 - 499 kg898 – 1199 lbs
Morgan408 - 499 kg898 – 1199 lbs
Polo Pony408 - 499 kg879 – 1199 lbs
Swedish Warmblood399 - 549 kg879 – 1209 lbs
Hackney Pony399 - 549 kg879 – 1209 lbs
Dales Pony399 - 499 kg879 – 1099 lbs
Fjord399 - 499 kg879 – 1099 lbs
Arabian Horse360.5 - 449 kg794 – 990 lbs
Haflinger349 - 599 kg769 – 1318 lbs
Fell Pony349 - 449 kg769 – 990 lbs
Welara299 - 399 kg658 – 878 lbs
Eriskay299 - 399 kg658 – 878 lbs
Exmoor Pony299 - 399 kg658 – 878 lbs
Connomera290 - 390 kg639 - 859 lbs
Hackney Pony249.5 - 349 kg550 - 769 lbs
New Forest231 - 331 kg509 – 729 lbs
British Spotted Pony199.5 - 399 kg439 – 879 lbs
Dartmoor199.5 - 320 kg439 – 705 lbs
Shetland Pony181.5 - 199.5 kg400 – 439 lbs

Horse weight and height

How much a horse weighs can be roughly predicted based on a certain accepted pattern. However, it should be taken into account that these are very general data and are only intended to give you an approximation of the probable weight of the animal based on its height.

Height to WithersWeight in KilogramsWeight in Pounds
91 cm190 to 240 kg418 – 529 lbs
101 cm240 to 280 kg529 – 617 lbs
111 cm240 to 318 kg529 – 700 lbs
121 cm240 to 370 kg529 – 837 lbs
131 cm280 to 399 kg617 – 879 lbs
141 cm360 to 449 kg794 – 990 lbs
151 cm399 to 550 kg879 – 1212 lbs
161 cm469 to 701 kg1034 – 1545 lbs
171 cm551 to 800 kg1215 – 1763 lbs
181 cm700 to 1040 kg1543 – 2293 lbs

Horse weight: body length and girth

The approximate weight of the horse can be calculated using the girth of the area from the withers to the point of the girth and the length of the horse's body. The formula depends on the horse’s age and breed type:

  • Weight of an adult horse (heart girth x heart girth x body length)/330 = body weight in pounds

  • Weight of a yearling (girth x girth x length)/301 = body weight in pounds

  • Weight of a weanling (girth x girth x length)/280 = body weight in pounds

  • Weight of a pony (girth x girth x length)/299 = body weight in pounds


Horse weight and age

An average weight of a horse can also be estimated based on its age. It’s generally assumed that a newborn foal weighs around 10% of its mother's weight. Weanlings usually gain 1.98 - 2.43 lbs (0.9-1.1 kg) a day. Yearlings should weigh around 50% of an adult horse's weight. Two-year-old horses weigh around 90% of an adult horse's weight. Horses reach their full body weight at 4 years old.

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How to determine the weight of a horse?

If you want to determine the approximate weight of your horse, then you can use a special tape or calculation formula. However, you must remember that the results will always be indicative.

Horse weight tape

You can find a special equestrian tape designed to measure a horse’s approximate size, girth, and weight. According to the instructions, measure the girth of the animal's belly along the length between the front legs and the withers. As a result, you will get the measurements of the girth of the chest, the horse's weight in kilograms, as well as its height.

Sasimowski and Budzyński’s formula

The approximate weight of a horse can also be calculated by using a formula created by Sasimowski and Budzyński. First, measure the girth of the body, through the point of the shoulder joint and the buttock of the horse. Then measure the girth of the chest behind the horse's withers and elbow. Finally, substitute the obtained values into the formula: longitudinal circumference of the trunk (cm) x girth of the chest (cm) x breed factor.

The formula can be presented this way: C = O x P x W. O means chest girth, and P means the longitudinal circumference of the body measured from the outer areas of the shoulder joints and buttocks. Both of the results should be entered to the nearest 0.01. The last letter W indicates the relevant weight index of the horse that is calculated with a formula: W = C / O x P.

Breed index:

  • Małopolski horse = 75

  • Wielkopolski horse = 75

  • Fjord = 72

  • Silesian horse = 81

  • Ardennais = 81

  • Sztumski Polish Draft Horse = 82

  • Thoroughbred = 70

  • Arabian horse = 60

  • Ponies = 60-63

  • Average breed ratio = 75

If a breed doesn’t belong to any of the groups above, then you should use the average breed ratio.

Caroll and Huntington's method

This formula is regarded as more precise. You should first measure the chest girth and then the horse’s length from the shoulder to the buttocks. The results should be substituted into this formula: [chest girth (cm)2 x length (cm)] / 11877.

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BCS method

The body Condition Scoring method was created by Don Henneke over 40 years ago. In this method, the body condition is determined with the use of sight and touch. The scale ranges from 1 to 9, where 1 means extreme emaciation and 9 means extreme obesity. A healthy and normal horse scores from 4 to 6 points. It is important to remember that BCS is a method that focuses on an objective assessment of the horse's present condition. You should always consider the horse’s individual characteristics because many factors influence the condition. The BCS focused on 5 different body parts:

Neck and withers

  • 1 – Lack of visible fat. The neck is limp, while the withers have visible bone structures.
  • 2 – The neck crest is collapsed and noticeable. The withers are bony.
  • 3 – The neck crest is collapsed and doesn’t have an even connection with the body. There is a thin layer of fat around the crest and withers.
  • 4 – The neck has an even connection with the body; there is visible fat on it.
  • 5 – A normally looking neck with an appropriate amount of fat. The neck crest is nicely blended with the body and rounded near the withers.
  • 6 – There is palpable fat on the neck and both sides of the withers.
  • 7 – There is visible fat on the neck crest and faintly highlighted withers.
  • 8 – The neck is visibly enlarged and gives the impression that the fat is detached.  
  • 9 – The neck is very fat. The fat can gather only on one side of the neck. The withers have visible fat deposits.

Szyja i kłąb konia ocenionego na 6 w skali BCS


  • 1 - The shoulder bones are very easily noticeable.
  • 2 – The shoulder is visible; there I no palpable fat.
  • 3 – The shoulder is slightly visible.
  • 4 – The shoulder is barely visible.
  • 5 – The shoulder is covered with barely palpable fat.
  • 6 – There are slightly visible and palpable fat deposits on the shoulder.
  • 7 – The fat deposits on the shoulder and surrounding area are easily palpable.
  • 8 – The area near the shoulder is visibly filled with fat.
  • 9 – There are very noticeable fat deposits.

Łopatka u konia ocenionego na 6 w skali BCS


  • 1 – The ribs are sticking out and are very noticeable. There is no fat.
  • 2 – The ribs are sticking out but have a very thin layer of fat.
  • 3 – Visible ribs with a thin layer of fat.
  • 4 – The ribs are barely visible.
  • 5 – The ribs are not visible but palpable.
  • 6 – The ribs are surrounded by fat tissue, palpable but extra force is needed.
  • 7 – The ribs are hard to feel under the fat tissue.
  • 8 – The ribs are practically not palpable.
  • 9 – The ribs are visibly filled with fat.

Żebra u konia ocenionego na 6 w skali BCS


  • 1 – The spine is very prominent, and the structure of the vertebrae is very noticeable. 
  • 2 – The spine is visible and there is a very thin layer of fat over the vertebrae. 
  • 3 – There is a thin layer of fat, and the spine structure is barely noticeable.
  • 4 – The back is slightly built. 
  • 5 – The back is raised adequately with a proper amount of fat. The spine ridges are not visible but palpable.
  • 6 – The spine ridges are slightly palpable; the back is soft to the touch.
  • 7 – The spine ridges are barely palpable and at the back, there is a fat layer that is easily palpable.
  • 8 – There is a visible fat crease that runs along the spine, which is not palpable. 
  • 9 – The fat crease is very prominent, with big fat deposits on both sides of the spine. The spine is not palpable.

Grzbiet u konia ocenionego na 6 w skali BCS

Tailhead area

When scoring this area, you should focus on the tailhead, however, the whole croup should also be taken into consideration.

  • 1 – No palpable fat. There is muscle atrophy and the tailhead, point of hip and buttock are very prominent. 
  • 2 – The tailhead, the hip and buttock points are sticking out, and small amounts of fat can be seen.
  • 3 – There is some palpable fat around the tailhead. The hip points are not visible.
  • 4 – There is palpable fat around the tailhead. The buttock points are not visible.
  • 5 – The tailhead is covered with soft fat tissue, and the tail dock is palpable.
  • 6 – There is soft, visible, and evenly distributed fat around the tailhead.
  • 7 – The fat around the tailhead is noticeable.
  • 8 – The tail dock is enlarged and surrounded by a significant amount of fat. The tail might appear as “halved”.
  • 9 – The tailhead is filled with very large amounts of fat. The tail is visibly “halved”.

Zad konia ocenionego na 6 w skali BCS

Underweight or overweight horse

If you tried any of these methods and discovered your horse has a weight that is outside the healthy weight brackets, then it might be a signal to start acting. Firstly, you should reevaluate your horse’s diet and its exercising plan. How much food a horse should eat depends on many factors, among others: the amount and intensity of exercise, age, health, and sex. If a horse is overweight, then it’s crucial for it to lose weight. Overweight horses are prone to many health problems such as laminitis, arthritis, and heart problems. Too much weight puts excess stress on the whole body. If a horse is underweight, then it must gain weight. A small percentage of body fat results in low energy, health problems (for example Cushing’s disease), and an ineffective immune system. Most of the time, unhealthy weight requires changes to the horse’s diet. However, those changes should be done with caution. If you don’t have enough experience, it might be a good idea to ask an equine nutritionist for advice. Don’t forget that grazing also counts towards consumed calories, therefore sometimes overweight horses might benefit from using a grazing muzzle. Any concerning or drastic changes to the horse’s weight should be consulted with a veterinarian since they might be linked to some health issues.

Horse’s weight and the rider’s weight

It’s estimated that the rider’s weight should be approximately 10 to 15% of the horse's weight. Therefore, if a horse weighs 1102 lbs (500 kg), then the perfect rider for that animal would weigh around 110 to 154 lbs (50 to 70 kg).  Riders with a larger body weight should choose horses that can carry more weight. A horse that is ridden by a too heavy rider can develop a plethora of health problems. Too much pressure can lead to spine, joint, and muscle disorders as well as lower quality of movement, and reluctance to be ridden. It should be noted that the percentage is an estimated value – weight is not the only factor that determines the weight a horse can carry.

The lowest and highest horse weight

The Guinness Record for the smallest male horse is taken by a pony named Bombel. Currently, Bombel lives in a stud in Łódź. He weighs only 132 lbs (60 kg) and is only 56,7 cm tall. The record has been officially recorded on the 24th of April 2018.

The heaviest horse in history was Sampson – a Shire horse. He was born in 1846 in Toddington, England. He weighed 3307 lbs (1500 kg) and was around 230 cm tall. When he was 4, his name was changed to Mammoth.


The horse’s weight depends on many factors. It’s practically impossible to precisely determine the horse's weight, however, there are some methods and calculations that allow you to discover an approximate weight. It’s estimated that foals after being born weigh around 10% of their mother’s weight. Whereas most horses that are 160-170 cm tall weigh on average 1102 to 1323 lbs (500 to 600 kg). Draft horse weigh over 1763 lbs (800 kg) – the heaviest horse was the Shire named Sampson. Regular monitoring of your horse's weight is also very important, as it allows you to react quickly in case of any deviations from the norm that may indicate health problems.

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