One of the most important factors that help you to acknowledge whether a horse is healthy or not is its weight. While there are many types of breeds, the weight standard is the same for all.
The average weight of a horse ranges from 380-1000 kg. The variations depend on its breed, height and age.
Take a look at our article below to grasp an idea of how much does a horse weigh and the methods of tracking that measurement!
How Much Does A Horse Weigh?
1. By Breed
There is a wide variety of breeds. Each breed has a specific range of what’s acceptable and suitable in their standards. After doing some research, we have finally listed the broad average weights of some common horse breeds. However, it’s noted that the weight could vary due to their size, muscles and fitness.
2. By Age and Gender
Most healthy foals will weigh around 10% of their mother’s weight. This discounts those who are born larger or smaller than usual.
However, on average, it’s an acceptable standard to remember when calculating a foal’s weight. This is even right when the father’s size is more or less than the mother’s – as the weight will always only be dependent on the mother’s weight.
As measured, a mare that weighs 1,800 lbs will give birth to a foal weighing 200 lbs. Meanwhile, a pony whose weight is around 800 lbs, will have its baby weighing about 80 lbs. Twins will be more likely to be born under the average weights (in case both are all alive and can even die because of this.
The average weight of the mares at the beginning of gestation is about 1,272 lbs, but there is a wide range of variations between the mares. That means the smallest one’s weight is about 1,100 lbs while the largest one’s weight is more than 1,400 lbs.
It’s measured that the pregnant mares will gain an increase of 13-14% in their weight by the end of gestation. Therefore a mare whose weight is 1,100 lbs will raise up to approximately 1,250 lbs during gestation.
As being said, the average weight of a horse is dependent on its breed. For breed with smaller sizes, a full-grown horse weighs from 800-1400 lbs. Regarding the larger ones, a horse’s weight is about 1300-1500 lbs.
Now you may wonder:
How To Weigh A Horse?
There are 4 options when it comes to measuring a horse’s weight. We will be looking at the pros and cons of each method to help you figure out the most suitable one for your horse.
The first one is:
1. Livestock Scale
Livestock scale, often considered an equine scale, is the most optimal way to measure the horse’s weight accurately.
However, they’re not common due to the heavy-duty platform and large sizes. That’s also the reason why you can only find livestock scales at veterinary clinics, auction barns and livestock grounds.
- Perfect accuracy
Below is one of the most popular scales thanks to its innovations and efficiency:
PEC-4KCS Large Animal Scale/Farm Livestock Scales
2. Weight Calculations
If you want to use the regular measuring tape to measure the horse’s weight, this method is a perfect choice. All you need to do is some measurements and a bit of math to get the final result. Interesting, right?
Measuring and Weigh tapes are inexpensive tools that only cost up to a large coffee. Also, it can easily be found in any feed stores and tack shops.
What to do
To start, measure the horse’s heart girth. This is a fundamental principle when weighing a horse.
With a weight tape, wrap it around the horse so the tape runs around the heart girth area, behind the withers and just a few inches from its forelegs. Make sure that your tape is having a slight angle to have the correct measurement. Check the scale on the tape to get the result.
Then take the body length measurement with the measuring tape, starting from a point of the shoulder and finishing at another point of the haunch. When you already have all the required scales, do a calculation with the formula below to get your horse’s weight:
(heart girth x heart girth x body length) / 330
For this formula, the measurement should be in inches while the given result is in pounds. In case you want to have the results in kilograms, make sure the measurements are in centimeters and use this formula:
(heart girth x heart girth x body length) / 11,990
What to notice
It’s essential to keep in mind that this method can’t apply to some specific types such as foals, pregnant horses, and fit sports horses as long as the long-bodied ones. This is because these types have a lot of variables that the calculation isn’t enough to measure.
Though it can be used for heavy horses like drafts, it’ll usually be on the lower areas as these types have tough bones, which could affect the overall health condition.
One thing you should take into account is your horse’s condition. As only when your horse stands quietly could you have the most accurate measurement. To do this, the horse should be in a calm and good condition. If your horse is not in a good mood, having bunching muscles or stress, it would falsify the result.
It’s also necessary to repeat measuring the horse’s body several times. This is because its breathing pattern may interfere with the scale you got.
In addition, you need to be careful when tracking your horse’s weight regularly to ensure the result is always exact. That means the tape should be in the same spot every time. Also, the tension that you use to hold it should remain unchanged as well.
If you’re raising a pony or foal, a tape for measuring mature horses may be inaccurate. So you may need to invest in weight tapes for each body types to get the most accurate measurements.
What to assess
Besides its portability and easy-to-do methods, the weight and measuring tape isn’t accurate all the time. The accuracy level is usually around 90% for most breeds and cases. Different body shapes can lead to a divergence with the tape, which could result in a false measurement.
On top of that, weighing a horse with a weight tape is a quick, inexpensive and easy method that you can do at home, even just by yourself.
All of the methods above can be great support to measure your horse’s weight. However, you need to remember that the measurement will be estimations with the exception of livestock scales. It’s important to remain the estimates sufficient to calculate feed and medication.
- Easy to use
- Not 100% accuracy
As mentioned above, the weight and measuring tape methods bring a tough result of the horse’s weight, but they are not as accurate as a scale will be. Therefore, they may not be suitable and useful in all situations though they’re pretty well-designed for all purposes.
All in all, we would recommend that you should take advice from your veterinarian for the best method to approach your horse while getting a very accurate measure of its body weight.
3. Online Tool
If you’re not fond of doing maths to calculate your horse’s weight, there are many online tools available that will help you out.
After doing the measurements of its heart girth and body length, choose the options of the unit of measurement that you want. Then, type in the number you’ve got after measuring. And just one click away, it will provide you with the result within a few seconds.
By using online tools, you can save a lot of time on doing the calculation. Also, this method is quick and easy to do, minimizing the chance of false calculations.
- Not 100% accuracy
1. How much does the heaviest horse weigh?
The world’s biggest horse now is Sampson whose breed is Shire. Its weight is 3,300 lbs, which is 1,5 times more than the average weight.
2. How much does the lightest horse weigh?
In terms of the world’s smallest horse, its name is Thumbelina. This horse is a Miniature horse. The weight measured is only 57 lbs, which accounts for only one-third of the minimum weight.
3. Best horse feed for weight gain
Though there is a wide variety of sizes, weight should always be one of the most important factors when it comes to raising a horse. Therefore, keeping track of your horse’s weight regularly and checking if it fits the standard is essential not only to assess the general fitness but also to change the feed if necessary.
And, horses that are underweight will face a high risk of being affected to overall health. As most pastures and fresh grass don’t provide enough nutrients for a horse’s growth, especially those who are underweight, supplements are great support for making the horse survive and grow healthy. To resolve this issue, using horse feed for weight gain is a preferable choice by most people.
There are many choices of horse feed on the market that may make it frustrating for you to choose. It’s important to keep in mind some essential ingredients and nutrients every feed should include, which contribute to the horse’s overall growth. Those factors comprise of proteins, starch, carbohydrates and mixed pellets.
Horses can have a lot of variation in their height and weight. Measuring your horse’s weight regularly is a vital task to ensure the development of its overall health and balance the portion of food and medication. This helps to make it compatible with horses in different sizes and conditions.
In addition, measuring a horse can be a challenging task due to its size. However, with some portable methods such as using a weight tape or doing a bit of math, you can easily weigh your horse with the accuracy up to 90%.