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How Much Weight Can a Horse Pull?

Dean Eby

July 4, 2021

If you are looking for a horse to help you around the farm, one of the first questions you are likely to ask is how much weight a horse can pull. The answer depends on the type and size of the horse. Naturally, a larger horse will pull more weight than a small pony, so you need to know how much weight you need to move to choose the right horse. We’ve created a short guide that can help you find a suitable horse for your farm. We’ll include an easy formula you can use as well as some examples of different types of horses and their ability to help answer your question.

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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, but the following formulas or rules of thumb will get you started.

  • A horse can usually pull 1/10 of its 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 its 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 its 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

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Image Credit: jacotakepics, Shutterstock
  • Riding Horses

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

  • Draft Horses

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


Powerful Draft Horse Examples

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

Clydesdale Horse

clydesdale horse_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

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


Percheron

Percheron Horse_marcelot87, Pixabay
Image Credit: marcelot87, Pixabay

The Percheron is another large draft horse that can weigh up to 2600 pounds and is well suited to pulling extremely heavy loads. It’s currently the most popular French draft horse in the world.


Shire

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. It’s a little lighter with an average weight o around 1,700 pounds, but it is 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 another English Draft horse that often weighs close to 2,200 pounds. Officials used this breed to pull artillery during wartime and also excels at plowing fields. It’s a hardy horse and is the basis for many mixed breeds, including other draft horses.

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Summary

When you need a horse that can pull a lot of weight, you need to look for a draft horse. While some breeds like the Clydesdale can be extremely expensive, there are several breeds not as well known 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.  We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and learned how to determine how strong your horse is. If you have learned something new, please share this guide to how much weight a horse can pull on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.