It can be difficult to determine what size horse is best for your needs. There are quite a lot of variables that go into deciding if a rider is too tall or heavy for a particular horse. You can follow these guidelines, but ultimately each case needs to be evaluated individually.

Consider the following:

  • How much experience you have as a rider
  • The horse’s fitness
  • Your own fitness level
  • Type of riding you plan to do
  • Weight of your equipment

An experienced rider will be balanced, whereas beginners typically need a few more years under saddle before they are completely centered at all gaits. Furthermore, an hour ride in the arena at a walk or trot is much less intense compared to a six hour trail ride in rough terrain. Weigh your factors carefully when making a decision on an appropriate size.

Try This Size Chart

In general, a horse can carry 20-25% of their weight comfortably. Make sure to include your saddle, saddle pad, and any extras.

How to read: If your horse weighs 1,000 pounds and carries 20% of their weight, then they can carry up to 200 pounds between the rider and tack. To increase their carrying capacity to 25% of their weight, a 1,000 pound horse can support up to 250 pounds.

Max Rider Weight /Horse’s Weight 20% /Horse’s Weight 25%

Another Approach

  1. Calculate the total weight of horse, rider, and any equipment.
  2. Measure the circumference of the cannon bone.
  3. Divide the weight by the cannon circumference.
  4. Divide that number by 2.
  5. Keep the value between 75 and 80.

Remember, there’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to deciding if a horse is the right size for you. These guidelines can be helpful as a starting place though!

Looking for another fun read? Check out: Estimate Your Horse’s Age By His Teeth!