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Home > Horses > How Much Weight Can a Pony Carry? The Impressive Answer!

How Much Weight Can a Pony Carry? The Impressive Answer!

exmoor pony

If you have a pony and want to know how much weight it can carry, the short answer is probably 60–130 pounds, making it capable of carrying a child or lightweight adult. However, the exact amount of weight that a pony can carry can vary. Keep reading as we discuss how you can determine exactly how much weight your own pony can carry, so you don’t put too much of a strain on it while it is still developing.

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Determining How Much Weight a Pony Can Carry

There is no hard rule when it comes to determining how much a pony or pony can carry. However, most people agree that it falls between 10% and 20% of the overall weight of the animal. Limiting the carry weight to 10% enables the pony to operate at peak performance,1 and it’s unlikely to have any health issues later in life. Experts consider 15% a satisfactory weight limit, and anything over 18% puts the animal at potential risk for back troubles and even lameness.

close up of shetland pony
Image Credit: AinslieGillesPatel, Pixabay

Pony Tack

Pony tack is all the equipment that a rider needs to ride a pony, which includes the saddle, saddle blanket, stirrups, reins, cinch, bridal, and a few other things. You will need to add the weight of this equipment to the weight of the rider to ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended limits.

Pony Weight Limit Chart (in Pounds)

Pony Weight Ideal (10%) Recommended (15%) Upper Limit (20)
500 50 75 100
700 70 105 140
900 90 135 180
1,100 110 165 220
1,300 130 195 260

Pony Type

The kind of pony that you have will play a big part in how much it can carry because some ponies are much larger than others. However, the carry-weight-to-body-size ratio should remain the same, with only a few breeds, like the Shetland Pony, Connemara Pony, Highland Pony, and Welsh Pony, being able to carry extra weight.

shetland pony running trot at field in summer
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Horse and Pony Breeds by Weight

Breed Weight in Pounds
Percheron 1,874–2,094
Ardennes 1,543–2,205
Irish Draught 1,322–1,764
American Warmblood 1,212–1,322
Swedish Warmblood 882–1,212
Arabian 793–992
Exmoor Pony 661–882
British Spotted Pony 441–882

How Much Weight Can Ponies Carry Compared to Other Animals?

Animal Recommended Weight Limit
Pony 15%
Mule 20%
Donkey 20%
Camel >50%
Ox >50%

How Can I Weigh My Pony?

The best way to weigh your pony is to use an equestrian scale, which you can usually find at the office of a vet who treats ponies. You can also visit a weighbridge if you have one in your area or use a weight tape that you wrap around the pony to estimate weight. Another formula that you can use to estimate your pony’s weight is: (Head Girth x Heart Girth X Body Length)/330.

shetland pony running in the field
Image Credit: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay

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Other Ways That People Determine How Much a Pony Can Carry

1. The Polocrosse Games limit the rider’s weight by the pony’s height.

  • If the pony is under 12.5 hands, the rider cannot weigh more than 117 pounds.
  • If it’s between 12.3 and 13.2 hands, the rider can weigh up to 150 pounds.
  • If it’s between 13.3 and 14.2 hands, the rider can weigh as much as 190 pounds.

2. In India, the maximum weight for ponies is 154 pounds.

How Much Can a Pony Pull?

A pony can pull about 10% of its weight if it’s dragging the load on the ground behind it. However, if you use a cart or wagon with wheels, your pony can likely pull up to 1.5 times its weight, and it can continue to pull it over long distances.

Shetland Pony
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

What Will Help My Pony Carry More Weight?

  • If your pony is overweight or underweight, it might not be able to carry heavy loads. Carefully maintaining a proper diet will help the pony stay healthy and strong.
  • If your pony spends most of its time standing around, it will likely be unable to carry a heavy load. Ponies require plenty of exercise to stay fit and strong.
  • Poor oral health can make it difficult for your pony to maintain a healthy weight, reducing its ability to carry a heavy load. Fortunately, this is not usually a problem for ponies.
  • The seasons can affect your pony’s ability to carry, as your pony can lose weight in winter because food is scarcer. The lack of calories can also make your pony tired and less willing to carry the weight.

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Your pony can likely support the weight of a small child or lightweight adult, but not much more than that. Limiting the load to 10%–15% of your pony’s weight is the best way to ensure that you don’t stress their back and joints, which can lead to health problems later in life. Larger and heavier pony breeds can carry more weight, while racing or dwarf breeds won’t be as strong. Maintaining a good diet with plenty of exercise will help the pony keep up its energy levels, and using a cart or wagon will enable the pony to pull up to 1.5 times its weight.

Featured Image Credit: nigel baker photography, Shutterstock

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