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How Far Can a Horse Travel in a Day?

Oliver Jones

Many factors will determine the final figure, but have you ever wondered how far can a horse travel in a day? A horse’s size, breed, and age determine their ability to be ridden and the distance that they can cover. The size and ability of the rider also matter. The location and therefore, the environmental and physical demands of the area also play a massive part in determining how far a horse can travel. Also, if a horse is carrying a rider or pulling a car, this will have a big impact on the distance that they can travel.

It might be a difficult question to answer, but if you’re planning a day on the trail, intend to compete with your horse, or are trekking on any journey and want to be sure that you can cover the distance, it is useful to know how far a horse can travel in one day.

On average, a horse can be ridden between 25 and 35 miles in a day, with the actual distance being closer to the bottom of this range in most instances.


Today’s Horses

It is worth bearing in mind that the way we use horses today is different from how we used them hundreds of years ago. We have cars and other vehicles that will carry us and our goods over long distances.

This means we no longer rely on horses to make long and arduous journeys every single day. As such, while horses were once trained and conditioned to complete exceptional treks and journeys every single day, they are less capable of doing so today. There are a few exceptions, and you can see them in endurance races.

While today’s horse will travel around 25 miles, the horse of yesteryear would have been better able to travel 35 miles.

horse and a carriage seaside
Image Credit: Pixabay

One-Off vs. Daily Commute

A horse might be able to complete a 30-mile journey today but will require one or several days to recover from this feat. If you want to travel hundreds of miles over several days, you would be better off asking your horse to complete around 15 miles each day. This will also be easier on you, your back, and the rest of your body.

Athletic Conditioning

That said, the more often a horse completes a long journey, the better equipped they will be to do it again. Horses can benefit from athletic conditioning in the same way that people can. This is especially true of endurance and competitive horses. Follow a professional training schedule, and you can greatly improve the distance that your horse can travel.

An endurance race can last 24 to 30 hours and cover between 50 and 200 miles in total, but these are extreme distances that are comparable to an ultra-marathon runner completing a 100-mile run.

horse in the city
Image Credit: Pixabay

Terrain Matters

Most horses prefer moderate ground under their feet—nothing too wet and boggy or too dry and hard. This enables them to keep going, and it will prevent their muscles from getting sore and injuries from occurring. Anything other than these optimal conditions means your horse will cover less ground.

Whatever Weather

Besides ground conditions, horses prefer certain weather conditions. Like humans, they will become exhausted more quickly in the hot sun, although some horses that have been bred in these conditions may prefer hot conditions to cold, wet, and windy.

man riding a horse in the desert
Image Credit: Pixabay

Equipment Consideration

Ill-fitting saddles or an ill-fitting bridle can cause discomfort and pain to your horse. This will mean that your ride cannot cover the same distance that they may otherwise would have. Losing a shoe will inevitably mean that your day’s riding is over, and it could greatly reduce the distance that you cover. Ensure that your horse’s equipment is properly maintained to minimize the risk of injury and the likelihood of having to cut your day short.

Rider Hardiness

While the athleticism, strength, and endurance of your horse are obviously important in determining the daily distance that they can cover, so too is your own hardiness. Riding a horse for six hours at once is painful and tiring, and even experienced riders struggle to stay in the saddle for an entire day. While your horse might be able to cover 30 miles, you might have to call it after 10.


How Far Can a Horse Travel in a Day?

Taking all these factors into account, it is fair to say that horses can travel between 15 and 20 miles a day. It is exceptional and rare for one to be able to cover more than 30 miles in 24 hours, and even this length of journey would be a one-off trip, requiring several days’ rest afterward, and would need to be in perfect weather and geographical conditions. Also, you and your horse would need to be conditioned for the journey and have the proper equipment.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.