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Home > Horses > How Much Weight Can a Horse Pull? Equine Facts

How Much Weight Can a Horse Pull? Equine Facts


If you are looking for a horse to help you around the farm, one of the first questions that you are likely to ask is how much weight they can pull. The answer depends on the type and size of the horse, but generally speaking, horses can pull 1/10 of their body weight in dead weight. Naturally, a large horse can pull more weight than a small pony, so you need to know how much weight you need to move before choosing a horse.

This short guide can help you find a suitable horse for your needs. We include an easy formula that you can use and examples of different types of horses and their ability to offer assistance.


How Much Weight Can My Horse Pull?

horse and a carriage_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

There are several factors to consider when figuring out how much weight a horse can pull. The following formulas or rules of thumb will get you started.

  • A horse can usually pull 1/10 of their body weight in dead weight. For example, a 2,000-pound horse can pull a 200-pound fallen log out of the way.
  • If the weight is in a wheeled cart, the horse can pull 1.5 times their body weight over long distances. For example, a 2,000-pound horse can pull a 3,000-pound cart.
  • A horse can pull up to 15 times their weight over short distances, depending on the breed.
  • Two horses working together can pull three times the weight of a single horse.

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Horse Types

Riding Horses

Riding horses are lean and fast. They can pull weight, but their agility makes them well-suited to other tasks, like rounding up cattle and checking the fence. their high speed helps you get where you’re going faster, and they are generally cheaper to maintain and feed. Riding horses can be jumpy at first until they get to know you.

Image Credit: jacotakepics, Shutterstock

Draft Horses

Draft horses are bulkier than riding horses and have plenty of muscle. These large and heavy horses excel at pulling buggies or plows. They can pull many times their weight for a short distance and are comfortable pulling a carriage at a moderate speed. These horses are quiet, calm, and not easily startled.

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Powerful Draft Horse Examples

If you are looking for a horse that can pull a large amount of weight, you will need to look into draft horses. These are heavy and packed with muscle, so they can move an impressive amount of weight over short distances.


clydesdale horse_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Clydesdale is a powerful draft horse that you might recognize from Budweiser commercials. These giant horses have also appeared in movies and were used for many years to pull trucks full of goods and plow the fields.


Percheron Horse_marcelot87, Pixabay
Image Credit: marcelot87, Pixabay

The Percheron is a large draft horse that can weigh up to 2,600 pounds and is well suited to pulling extremely heavy loads. It’s currently the most popular French draft horse in the world.


Shire Horse_Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

The Shire is a British draft horse that is usually black with white hooves but is available in many other colors. They have an average weight of around 1,700 pounds, but they are still a powerful horse with plenty of pulling power. In 1924, a pair of these horses were estimated to pull 50 tons at a British exhibition.

Suffolk Punch

suffolk punch_Nicole Ciscato, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nicole Ciscato, Shutterstock

The Suffolk Punch is an English draft horse that often weighs close to 2,200 pounds. Officials used this breed to pull artillery during wartime, and they also excelled at plowing fields. They’re a hardy horse and serve as the basis for many mixed breeds, including other draft horses.


Final Thoughts

When you need a horse that can pull a large amount of weight, you need to look for a draft horse. While some breeds, like the Clydesdale, can be extremely expensive, there are several others that you can get at a fair price. These hardy horses will give you many years of service and are often calm and gentle creatures.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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