The average weight of an adult horse is about 1,200 pounds. This includes all breeds, shapes, and sizes of horse.
In reality, however, the average weight of a horse is dependent upon the breed to which it belongs and whether it is a stallion, a gelding, or a mare. Heavy draft breeds may have an average weight of more than 2,200 pounds for a stallion or gelding and more than 1,800 pounds for mares.
On the other end of the spectrum, many pony breeds may have stallions that average about 800 pounds, geldings that average about 900 pounds, and mares that average about 600 pounds.
Then there are the miniature horse breeds, where the weight of the horse may be comparable to the weight of a large dog.
How to Determine the Weight of a Horse
A scale will always be the most accurate method of determine the weight of an individual horse. The only problem is that the scales which are large enough to weigh the bigger horse breeds may not be available in every community. Even the local veterinarian may not own a scale that is large enough to properly weigh a Clydesdale, Shire, or other heavy draft breed.
Some local businesses may provide large-item weighing services that could be used to weigh a horse. One local method is to trailer the horse and take it to a local landfill or large recycling center. The attendant can weigh the trailer with the horse inside. Then the horse is unloaded in a safe area and the trailer is weighed again.
This service may be free or a small fee may be charged, but it is more accurate than other weight-determining options that are currently available.
Weigh tapes are sometimes used to determine the weight of an individual horse as well. These tapes tend to be double-sided. One side is designed for the pony breeds and the other is designed for the horse breeds.
You can tell if your horse is classified as a pony breed if it stands 14.2 hands high or less. Some stallions in pony breeds may exceed the height threshold. In that circumstance, the other side of the tape should be used.
Weigh tapes are about 90% accurate, but they are much more convenient than trying to trailer a horse to a scale or the veterinarian’s office to get an accurate weight. To obtain the most accurate measurement, you will want to make sue the horse being weighed is on ground that is firm and level. The horse should be relaxed, but standing square.
Then take the tape and have it come around the low withers, with the correct side of the tape facing you. Then draw the tape so it comes close to the front legs, at a slight angle from the top of the withers, so that it is firm against the horse, but not digging into the hide.
You may be required to take the measurement and input it into a manufacturer’s formula to determine the weight of the horse. You may also be able to read the weight of the horse directly from the tape.
It may take several measurements over a period of 30-60 days to determine the average weight of an individual horse. Then that weight average can be compared to the breed weight average as a marker to determine the possible health status of the horse. Think of the weight measurement as a body mass index reading, but for horses.
Is There Another Way to Determine the Weight of a Horse?
If you don’t mind doing a little math, then you can create a fairly accurate weight by taking the girth of the horse and the height of the horse and then using a specific formula. You will then need to convert the wait from kg to lbs, depending on what specific measurement you’re wanting to have.
You will need to take the girth measurement first. This follows the same measurement process as the weigh tape method of determining weight. Make sure that you note the measurement in centimeters so it works with the following formula.
You will then need to take a measurement from the shoulder to the point of the hindquarters. The measurement must follow the exact contours of the body for this measurement method to provide an accurate weight representation.
Once the measurements in centimeters have been obtained, you can use the following steps to determine the weight of the horse.
Step #1: Take the girth measurement in centimeters and double it.
Step #2: Then take that result and multiply it by the length measurement in centimeters.
Step #3: Divide the (Girth x 2) x Length result and divide it by 11,887.
Step #4: Convert kilograms into pounds if desired. One kilogram is equal to 2.205 pounds.
By following those steps, you can take exact measurements to reliably determine what the weight of your horse happens to be. From there, you can then match your weight measurement to the average weights that are applied to the specific breed of horse you have just measured.
What Are the Average Weights to Expect?
Pony breeds tend to weigh the least, with the smallest horses weighing around 440 pounds. Stallions in the pony breeds that come close to the maximum height requirements may have an average weight of about 880 pounds.
Polo ponies are slightly heavier. Their average weight begins around 880 pounds and some stallions in the larger breeds in this category may weigh up to 1,100 pounds.
Arabian horses are put into their own category for classification since some Arabians may qualify as ponies and others may be as tall as some cobs or light draft horses. The average weight range for an Arabian is between 900-1,100 pounds.
For the other breeds, including hunters, light draft, and heavy draft horses, there is a direct correlation to the height of the horse and how much it weighs. A difference in height of just 0.1 hands can be enough to increase the average expected weight of the horse by over 100 pounds.
Although there are several heavy draft horses that have exceeded 20 hands high and have weighed close to 3,000 pounds, the title of the heaviest horse ever documented belongs to a Shire gelding that was foaled in 1846. Living in Bedfordshire, England, the horse was named Sampson and was owned by Thomas Cleaver. At the age of 4, Sampson was measured at 21.25 hands high, which meant he stood over 7 feet tall at the withers.
Cleaver renamed Sampson as Mammoth after that level of growth. His peak weight was believed to be over 3,300 pounds.
The average weight of a horse depends on the individual, the breed, and the genetic profile of the horse. By taking each factor into account, it becomes possible to gain insights into the current and future health of the animal.