Skip to content

How Heavy Is A Full Grown Horse? | How Much Horses Weigh

    Horses come in many different sizes. Discover how heavy a full grown horse is as well as different weights horses come in by breed, height, type and age.

    You may want to know a horse’s weight for different reasons such as figuring out carrying capacity, how much food a horse should eat, if a horse is underweight or overweight, dosing for medication or calculating weight for trailering.

    Horses are large animals as you can tell. Maybe you may have heard the saying, “heavy as a horse” or equestrians referring to horses as a 1000lb animal.

    That is partially true but not fully. As examples many horse products such as bagged grain and de-wormers use the 1000lb weight model because it is generally considered the average weight of a horse.

    1000lbs or 454kg is the average weight for a full grown horse that is a light breed such as a quarter horse. However the average weight for a pony like a welsh pony is a little more than half of that at around 600lbs or 272kg and a draft or heavy breed horse like a Percheron is almost double the weight around 1700lbs or 771kg.

    Horse weight can vary greatly depending on different factors. 

    In this post I will provide you with easy to read reference charts with common horse weights based on height, breeds, types, and ages. I will also go over common factors that can play a part in a horses’ weight and why it’s important to know horses’ weight.

    You can also find a calculator for figuring out your own horse’s weight toward the end of the post.

    Are you too heavy to ride horses? Check out my blog post What Is The Right Horse Size For You? Guide To Find Your Ideal Horse Size.

    Horse Weight Factors

    factors that effect horses weight

    These are a few of the factors that will affect how much a horse weighs.

    Height & Width Can Affect Horses Weight

    A taller horse typically weighs more than a short horse. Though this is not the only determining factor. You can expect your 16 hand thoroughbred to weigh more than your 10 hand shetland pony. 

    A horse of the same height can have different widths. Take a 15.2h quarter horse and 15.2h thoroughbred. I have seen some quarter horses have similar bone density to a light thoroughbred. But say the quarter horse has the same bone density and height but has a wider body. That will add extra weight because there is still more bone and more horse.

    Bone density Can Affect Horse’s Weight

    Now looking at two horses with the same height and roughly the same width, they can have different bone density. The horse with heavier bone density will typically have thicker legs, bigger hooves, possibly a thicker neck and maybe bigger head. If both horses are at a healthy weight the horse with thicker bone density will typically weigh more.

    Muscle & Fat Can Affect Horse’s Weight

    As you have heard muscle weighs more than fat. However horses are commonly measured for weight with measuring tape or horse weight tape. So muscle weighing more than fat may not be taken into account when determining a horse’s weight, by the circumference of the horse’s girth.

    Why Knowing Your Horse’s Weight Is Important

    how much horses weigh

    In the beginning of this post I mentioned some reasons why you would want to know a horse’s weight and I am just going to touch on that a little bit here.

    Knowing your horse’s weight helps you determine how much weight your horse can comfortably carry.

    • Carry capacity is the most amount of weight a horse is okay with carrying based on the horse’s own weight.
    • My blog post about ideal horse size goes into much more detail and has charts.
    • But basically a horse can carry up to 15-20% of their own weight.
    • If a horse carries too much weight the horse is at risk of soreness or injury.

    Knowing your horse’s weight helps you determine how much to feed your horse.

    • There are other factors to determine the amount of grain along with weight such as age, metabolism, and activity level. Use this calculator to help determine grain type and amount with Purina Feeds.
    • Typically horses eat 2-3% of their weight.
    • The average horse eats 20-30lbs of hay every day and drinks up to 15 gallons of water.

    Figuring out a baseline for your horse’s weight can help you monitor whether your horse is gaining or losing weight.

    • However, because horses can bloat, it is more accurate to take pictures.
    • Also, judge whether a horse is a healthy weight based on the horse’s body condition score.
    • In order for your horse to be a healthy weight, bones should not be showing or sticking out noticeably through the neck, withers, spine, ribs, croup, or tailhead.
    • Horse weight can fluctuate with the seasons.
    • In the winter horses tend to lose weight as they burn more calories and don’t have access to the additional calories of grass, so they need extra hay.
    • In the summer with the plentiful grass around, horses often gain weight, and sometimes horses gain too much. Some horses need muzzles to keep them from over-eating on the grass in the summer.

    In order to medicate a horse properly and safely, you want to know your horse’s weight.

    • It is not as much of a problem to under-dose but if you overdose certain medications there can be major consequences.
    • So make sure you know your horse’s weight before measuring or ask your vet for the correct dosage amount.

    If you are trailering horses you want to know the horse’s weights.

    • You need to make sure that the truck being driven can safely tow the total weight of the horses and trailer itself.
    • Different trailer models also have different carrying capacities.

    Determine Healthy Weight With Body Score

    Using the body condition score also know as BCS is the best way to determine if your horse is at a healthy weight. The scoring will evaluate how much fat is located in six different areas under your horse’s skin.

    The 6 areas to be evaluated are the ribs, back, tail head, behind the shoulders, at the withers and under the neck. The body condition score uses the Kenneke Scale, which ranges from 1 to 9.

    Number 1 is a horse that is very underweight, whereas a number 9 means the horse is very obese. It is best for your horse to fall between the 4 to 6 range, with 5 being the ideal.

    Heaviest And Lightest Horse Weight

    Heaviest Horse is A Shire
    Shire not Sampson

    The heaviest horse lived in 1850’s and was a Shire gelding. His name was Sampson but was changed to Mammoth. He weighed a whopping 3,300lbs.

    The lightest full grown horse was Thumbelina and lived until 2018. A dwarf miniature horse, she weighed a measly 57lbs.

    The current heaviest horse is Big Jake a Belgian draft at 2600lbs.

    Einstein is the lightest foal to be born, another dwarf miniature who was 3 pounds lighter than Thumbelina as a foal at 7lbs.

    Horse Weight Ranges Based On Type

    horse weight based on type

    Here is a general weight range in pounds and kilograms of the different horse types. Light horses I am counting as hotblooded and warmblood type horses. Miniature horses are typically smaller than ponies so I put them in a category of their own.

    Horse TypeWeight Range In lbsWeight Range in kg
    Light Horses800lbs-1500lbs363kg-680kg
    Draft Horses1500lbs-2200lbs680kg-998kg
    Ponies300lbs-900lbs136kg-408kg
    Miniature Horses100lbs-350lbs45kg-159kg

    Average Horse Weight Based On Height

    Rider, Girl, Horse, White Horse, Shire, Sky, Heavenly

    This is also a general weight range for horses based on height. Factors which I explained above will determine whether a horse is lighter or heavier for a certain height.

    HeightWeight Range lbsWeight Range kg
    9h419lbs- 529lbs190kg- 240kg
    10h529lbs -617lbs240kg- 280kg
    11h529lbs- 705lbs240kg- 320kg
    12h529lbs- 816lbs240kg- 370kg
    13h617lbs- 882lbs280kg- 400kg
    13.2h661lbs- 882lbs300kg- 400kg
    14h794lbs- 992lbs360kg- 450kg
    14.2h882lbs- 992lbs400kg- 450kg
    15h882lbs- 1213lbs400kg- 550kg
    15.2h904lbs-1213lbs410kg- 550kg
    16h1036lbs- 1543lbs470kg- 700kg
    16.2h1080lbs- 1653lbs490kg- 750kg
    17h1213lbs- 1764lbs550kg- 800kg
    17.2h1388lbs- 1984lbs630kg- 900kg
    18h1543lbs- 2293lbs700lbs- 1040lbs

    Horse Weight Range Based On Breed

    horse weight based on breed

    Here is a general list of weight ranges for common horse breeds. Of course there are exceptions for horses weights within a breed. But this will give you an idea of what to expect.

    BreedWeight Range lbsWeight Range kg
    Arabian904lbs- 1100lbs410kg- 500kg
    American Quarter Horse1000lbs- 1300lbs455kg- 590kg
    Appaloosa1000lbs- 1300lbs455kg- 590kg
    Andalusian1200lbs- 1300lbs545kg- 590kg
    American Saddlebred1000lbs- 1200lbs455kg- 545kg
    Belgian1800lbs- 2200lbs860kg- 1000kg
    Clydesdale1500lbs- 1700lbs725kg- 815kg
    Cleveland Bay1200lbs- 1500lbs545kg- 680kg
    Dutch Warmblood1200lbs- 1300lbs545kg- 590kg
    Danish Warmblood1200lbs- 1400lbs545kg- 645kg
    Fjord880lbs- 1100lbs400kg- 500kg
    Fresian1200lbs- 1400lbs545kg- 645kg
    Gypsy Vanner1300lbs- 1600lbs620kg- 750kg
    Hackney Horse904lbs- 1200lbs410kg- 545kg
    Hanoverian1200lbs- 1400lbs545kg- 645kg
    Holsteiner1000lbs- 1500lbs455kg- 680kg
    Haflinger800lbs- 1300lbs362kg- 590kg
    Irish Draught1300lbs- 1500lbs590kg- 680kg
    Lipizzaner904lbs- 1200lbs410kg- 545kg
    Lusitano900lbs- 1100lbs400kg- 500kg
    Morgan900lbs- 1200lbs400kg- 545kg
    Mustang800lbs- 1200lbs365kg- 545kg
    Missouri Fox Trotter900lbs- 1200lbs400kg- 545kg
    Nakota900lbs- 1500lbs400kg- 680kg
    Oldenburg1200lbs- 1500lbs545kg- 680kg
    Paso Fino1200lbs- 1300lbslbs545kg- 590kg
    Paint950lbs- 1200lbs430kg- 545kg
    Percheron1900lbs- 2100lbs860kg- 955kg
    Standardbred1000lbs- 1320lbs455kg- 600kg
    Shire1700lbs- 2700lbs770kg- 1225kg
    Thoroughbred1000lbs- 1300lbs455kg- 590kg
    Tennesee Walking Horse904lbs- 1377lbs410kg- 625kg
    Trakehner1100lbs- 1500lbs545kg- 680kg 1
    Welskpoloski (Polish Warmblood)1100lbs- 1400lbs545kg- 645kg
    Zebra850lbs- 1550lbs386kg- 700

    Horse Weight Range Based On Age

    Horse Weight Based On Age

    This chart is what to expect for a horse’s weight at different stages starting as a newborn. There are exceptions where horses can grow faster or slower but this is the general standards.

    Age StageWeight 
    NewbornShould weigh roughly 10% of mothers weight at birth
    WeanlingFoal should be gaining 2-2/5lbs per day.
    Yearling50% of full grown weight
    2-Year-Old90% of full grown weight
    4-Years OldThe last 10% of horses’ weight grows slower and is finished around 4 years old.

    Horse Weight Calculator

    First take the horse’s 2 measurements:

    1. The horse’s heart girth- This measurement goes all the way around the barrel where the girth would go. 
    2. The horse’s body length- This measurement is from the point of the horse’s shoulder to the point of buttock. Much easier measuring with 2 people.
    Horse Measurements For Weight Estimation

    Horse Weight FAQ’s

    How heavy is a full grown horse?

    A full grown horse weighs 900-2,000 pounds, depending on breed and size. A lean, Arabian, for example, has an average weight of 900-1,000 pounds, while the average Shire weighs in at 1,800-2,500 pounds.

    How much should a 16 hand horse weigh?

    A 16-hand horse can weigh between 1050 and 1700 pounds, depending on their breed and height. A sixteen hand Trakehners weighs much less than a sixteen hand Percheron. On average, at 16 hands, you can expect a horse to weigh around 1100-1200lbs.

    How many pounds is the heaviest horse?

    On record the heaviest horse was Sampson, a Shire that weighed 3,300 pounds.

    How heavy is a horse in tons?

    A ton is 2000lbs. So most horses don’t even weigh 1 ton. That means a 1000lb horse weighs half a ton.

    How heavy is a 17 hand horse?

    A 17-hand horse can weigh between 1200- 1800 pounds, depending on their breed and height. On average, at 17 hands, you can expect a horse to weigh around 1250lbs-1500lbs

    Is it better for a horse to be heavier or lighter?

    It is better for horses to be on the lighter than heavier side. More risks and health problems are associated with being overweight such as Cushing’s, founder, and it puts more strain on the horses legs.

    Feel free to comment if there is anything else you would like to know about horse weight.

    Till next time may horses put smiles on your faces!

    Cheers,

    Kacey