Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

How much weight can a horse carry??????


New member
Dec 25, 2000
Jimmy D. and I are packing in on horses for the first time this year. We bought our panniers and are fixing to start filling them up.

I am getting mixed reports as to how much you can pack on a horse. I have heard anywhere form 150 pounds to 300 pounds. Obviously it will vary depending on the horse, steepness, and distanced traveled. In our situation, it looks like we will be climbing about 1200 feet over three miles then droping 500 feet over the next two miles at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. I think they should be able to handle 200 to 225 pounds without much risk of hurting them, especially since we will be walking them in.

I would like to know other peoples experiences and opinions.

Thanks, Dale T.
I think your about right on with your estimate. Mules can pack a little more though. Unless im packing an elk or hay bales, i usually have more trouble with volume than weight.
My normal pannier runs between 175 and 200 pounds..and as high as 250 for short distances...but it seems the the heavyer the pack the more it wants to slip or roll so the balance is more inportant. keep the weight low and use lash cinch

roper :D
I tend to have to disagree with the 12% of the horses weight figure........a 1000 pound horse(average size) can pack only 120lbs?????????...well if that is the case, that horse can't work for me! :eek:
My horses may be being abused, but you wouldn't know it by looking at them or their performance time and again.......they easily handle a couple hundred pounds a piece...and as was afore mentioned, unless your totin' rocks, you usually run out of room before you run out of weight limit. Hell, sometimes you have trouble even seeing my ponies up under all that shit their totin! :D .........and while I'm sure lighter is better, I expect them to earn their keep and do their job..........and I also think it is different for each horse, depending on what they have been conditioned for.......just like people, conditioning is everything.

Bottomline.....throw you a couple hundred pounds on their asses and hit the trail...if they can't handle that, you rented bad stock ;)
...this is onlt a couple years experience talking mind you, but I ain't killed a pony yet! :cool:

hey roper.what the hell is a half cinch?...kinda like a niggerknot but a little fancier? :eek: ...yeah, that's the one I use :D

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 07-28-2002 14:05: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]</font>
Thanks a bunch guy's.

I think we will be good with 200 pounds apiece.

I would like to know how much grain you feed each horse per day.

I have heard from 7 to 20 pounds per day. When we camp on the road, I feed the heck out of them. But since we have to haul in everything, I was thinking in the 7 to 10 pound range. Then stake them out so they can graze.

Elky, that is a cool web-site. I will relook at it when I get more time.
Dale T,
We shoot them little Colorado 2-4 year old bulls and have never had a problem packing out the whole elk on a single horse(5-7miles). Of course the elk are quartered - and NOT deboned. Several of the horses we use are rented. Some of them don't like the smell of blood, but seem to pack out just fine if you leave the quarters near them while you finish quartering and getting the elk ready. We used to pack out just half an elk on a horse, but that seemed like a waste of good horse and one more horse packer is required.

As far as feed, we usually give them per day 1-2 coffee cans of processed cubes(hay is illeagal in most of Colorado), and 1-2 coffee cans of grain. Maybe an extra can on big pack days. We water them once a day, and keep our rental horses tied up at night and use the a solar corral for our own horses. I wouldn't recommend a solar corral for horses that are used to them, free ranging rental horses are probably going to run right them on a regular basis.

Good Luck.
Dale, we give ours a coffee can of grain in the morning and 3 pounds of Alfalfa cubes. When we retrurn we give them some more grain and let them graze and then 3 more pounds of cubes at night. Up here in Teton County all hay must be certified weed free. The cubes are higher in protein and are certified. They are easy to deal with also. All in all, our horses get about 3-5 pounds of grain a day. Do not overdue it on the grain as it can make them collic on you. It is heavy and can compact in their intestines. You will need lots of grazing for them. They are like a friggin lawn mower and mountain grass is not or may not be as nutritious as the field grass they may be used to. When we take our siesta in the mountains the horses graze in the fields and fill up their bellies.
DS...Your too funny... it`s not a half`s called a LASH cinch.. and if your totin that much stuff and not useing one it should`nt be to long till u start.. :eek: ...

p.s.. 1000 pound kinda small for a average horse... what are u pack`in on lamas??? :D :D
Hey Roper.....have you seen the mangy horse flesh they sell for two prices here on the front range! :eek: ..mine are plenty stout....but I tend to ride taller than those I pass on the trail around here. A 1000 pounds is generous for most of 'em! :D .and that is before you kick the mange off of 'em! :eek:

My biggest horse,Austin, goes about 1250 and has huge ass feet and he is solid as a rock. He can haul as much as you can fit on him.......he even pulled an elk out whole...straight uphill last year.

.and on them fancy niggerknots........I ain't had to pick up a load yet, so I guess I'll just keep on packin......

and I wouldn't use one of them nasty ass lamas! :eek: ......I don't care how good they are supposed to be......they are spastic looking ;)
I can attest to the burliness of 'ol Austin... you should've seen the look in his eye when I put my foot in the stirrup that first morning! "Phuck, I gotta carry the fat one!"

That's one strong animal and a hell of a trail horse to boot!
Hey buddy.....I took 'em up high yesterday with light packs......and me and my father in law in the saddles.......Austin would have been glad to see you coming! father in law was quite the load! :eek:

He was one of those " I've had horses all my life" kinda fellas.......I thought I was gonna have to pack his big ass down the mountain..John Wayne he ain't!

Yep....a little trail condition going on now....they'll be in top shape in a few weeks....
Damn......I'd cut my left nut off to be there and be a part of Operation Fish-On!...your my hero! ;) ....think of your ol' buddy DS......
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