Horse Weight:
Why Is It Important?

Horse weight is one of the most basic measurements an owner can take, but one that many horse owners don't have.

Knowing your horse's weight helps you do a number of things:

  • Monitor health
  • Keep track of seasonal weight changes
  • Dose medications
  • Monitor growth in young horses
  • Notice recurring patterns and possible health problems

Many owners (and even veterinarians!) think they are good at guessing a horse weight just by looking at the horse. This is not the case, and even the most "experienced" weight guessers are often off by at least 200 pounds.

In some cases, 200 pounds is not a big deal. However, if you are dosing a very potent medication to a horse that is 500 pounds, and you (or your vet) guess him to be 750 pounds, he is getting an extra half dose of the medication!

This half dose may have no consequences, or it could lead to something as extreme as death. Not to mention, the extra cost to you -- with some medications costing well over $100/dose, I'd rather not give my horse an extra half dose!

As a simple little test of how hard guessing weight can be, take a look at these pictures and see if you can put them in order from heaviest to lightest.

If you guessed that the order from heaviest to lightest is:

  • Picture 2 - paint gelding
  • Picture 3 - sorrel gelding
  • Picture 4 - chestnut mare
  • Picture 1 - paint filly would be correct. That was fairly easy though, so now for more of a challenge.

Can you guess their weights??

Here are their weights the day those pictures were taken:

  • Picture 2 - paint gelding - 1250 pounds
  • Picture 3 - sorrel gelding - 990 pounds
  • Picture 4 - chestnut mare - 910 pounds
  • Picture 1 - paint filly - 690 pounds

As you can see, guessing a horse's weight is not as easy as most people assume it is. Granted, it is harder to do it from pictures as opposed to in real life, but its the same idea.

Not many people that see these horses in real life realize that the paint gelding is that much heavier than the sorrel gelding.

In fact, most assume that the sorrel is heavier since he is taller and often carries a big belly because of metabolic issues...just one more reason it is SO important to actually measure your horse's weight and not rely on your ability to guess.

Now that you know the importance of actually measuring horse weight, let's look at two ways you can actually accomplish that:

Using a Weight Tape
Using Measurements (and some math!)

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