A Guide to Horse Capacity has been launched to help gauge if a rider is an appropriate size and weight for their horse. The guide, introduced by Equestrian Australia, aims to ensure good equine welfare by highlighting a horse’s weight-carrying capabilities and could help people to work out a horse riding weight limit.

The guide provides horse owners, riders and trainers with a “reasonably accurate measurement” of the maximum burden for a horse to carry. The national governing body stresses that the guide is not a rule and does not prevent any person from participating in equestrian activity.

How it assesses horse capacity

The guide maintains that the maximum load that a horse should be expected to carry should not exceed 20 percent of the horse’s approximate weight. It explains the way a horse’s approximate weight can be calculated and the following calculation which will provide the rider and tack’s percentage weight.

“The weight combination of both horse and athlete can impact on the overall healthy and safe movement, biomechanics, positioning and balance of this combination on varying surfaces,” it states. “These factors are all key elements in maintaining optimal welfare management for this combination.”

The guide was formed with the aid of the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Riding for the Disabled Guidelines, and “general horse riding guidelines in the UK and Singapore”, Pony Club NSW and Equestrian Australia advocacy for horse welfare.

“The maximum carrying capacity can vary for different conditions, and may be less in the case of young horses, horses recovering from an injury or surgery, pregnant mares, rehabilitating horses, horses returning from a long break or adult riders schooling young ponies or horses,” it adds.

To view the guide, click here

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