Generally speaking, it is quite difficult to make generalizations when talking about the weight of a horse. Indeed, everything depends on the breed of horse. You will understand that a Mini Shetland will not be worth a purebred Arabian or a powerful cold-blooded horse of the Texan type. However, it is important that you know how much your horse weighs, both for its feed ration and for equestrian activities.
Why is it important to know my horse's weight ?
The breeds of horses are not the same, although there is an average size. You will need to be fully aware of the pedigree of your horses if you run a horse farm, especially if you are involved in horse racing. Even if your horses are recreational, you will need to know their weight to ensure their health and stamina as well as the feed rations you should give them. Indeed, it is from the calculation of the weight of a horse that you will calculate the quantity of food that you will give him.
Knowing the weight of your horses, mares and foals is also necessary if you have to give them medication. Worming medication, for example, should be dosed with care to avoid poisoning your horses. As a good horse keeper, you are concerned about the life of the horse, so you must do everything for the good of your ranch's residents.
Some general information on the weight of horses
When it comes to weight in the breeding register, horses and ponies are not the same. What is the average weight of an adult horse ? Generally speaking, sport horses and Lusitano thoroughbreds are more massive and muscular than a miniature horse. There are small mule-like horses and larger horses. Even one pony breed will differ from another depending on its pedigree.
On the other hand, a Landes pony can easily fatten up on pasture if it is well trained and if its feed rations are sufficient. As for mares, they can easily lose weight during lactation.
Although there are some generalities, it is important to know that it depends on the type of horse. For example, racehorses are usually very thin while show jumpers are more muscular. Leisure horses and draught horses do not have the same stamina, shape or needs as sport horses and a saddle horse will be much heavier than a young mare.
You can also estimate your horse's weight using simulation tools.
Several types of horses from the same breed
A good horse breeder knows that a horse breed can have different sizes of horses. Standard sizes do not exist within a horse breed, just as they do for humans. Everyone is different. As a result, it is not uncommon for a horse to deviate from the average weight of its breed.
Secondly, you will notice that stallions are much more massive than mares. Apart from the breed, gender, size and age of a horse, its training condition and daily routine will also have a great influence on its weight fluctuations. A saddle horse used to riding lessons will be lighter than a sport horse used to racing at the racetrack.
The weight of a healthy foal
Regardless of the breed of horse, a healthy foal at birth will weigh 10% of its mother's weight. However, it is not uncommon for some foals to be born taller or shorter, as with humans. Generally speaking, the weight of the breeding sire will have no influence on the birth weight of a foal. A pure American Quarter Horse foal will weigh an average of 65 kg at birth, as long as the mare that gives birth to him weighs 650 kg.
Broodmares giving birth for the very first time often give birth to smaller foals. It is preferable that a foal is not too massive at birth as this could be a sign that he is premature or has a health problem. If this happens, contact the vet immediately.
Calculation of feed rations according to a horse's weight
As mentioned above, knowing how much a horse weighs will serve as a basis for calculating the feed ration. The rule of thumb is : at least 1.5 kilos of feed per 100 kilos of body weight. Then, as far as feed supplements and more concentrated feeds are concerned, it is best to ask your vet for advice or to follow the manufacturers' instructions on the packaging. Above all, do not exceed the rations as an overweight horse will have more health concerns than a malnourished horse.
If you find that the feed rations you have been feeding your young horse are not suitable or that you have been feeding the same to all the breeds in your stable, it is not too late to do the right thing. Do not make drastic changes to their diet as this could have a very detrimental effect on their health. Changes should be made slowly and gradually.
What to do if a horse is too thin or overweight ?
In the case of a horse that is too thin, don't be afraid to quickly rebalance his hay ration to what he should really be eating. He may not finish at first but his stomach will gradually adapt to his new diet. However, don't stop training him and taking him for walks.
If your horse is overweight, it's a different story. If your horse is overweight, you should use the average ideal weight for the breed as a basis for calculating the daily feed intake. Make sure that the feed is gradually and gently reduced. If you used to feed him 10 kg of feed when he should only be eating 7 kg, do not change overnight. Start with 9 kg, then 8 kg and combine the diet with proper training to melt away the extra weight.