Does Rider Weight Gain Affect Horses?

by | 08.26.2019 | 10:55pm

Recent years have seen more concerns than ever about what rider to horse weight ratio is appropriate to prevent horses from experiencing physical stress due to heavy riders. A recent Danish study sought to learn more about that question. The study, presented at the International Society for Equitation Science, used 20 horse-and-rider combinations to evaluate the effect of increased weight on equine behavior, cortisol, heart rate and gait symmetry in a standard dressage test.

Weights were controlled by adding pound weights to a vest the rider wore. The maximum rider-to-horse ratios were 15 to 23 percent.

Results suggested weight increase did not necessarily result in physical stress to horses. Weight increases of 15 percent and 25 percent did not cause significant alterations in heart rate, gait symmetry or behaviors. Those increases were also not associated with head tossing or tail swishing.

Read more at Horse Canada

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