A 50 kg person who is jumping around, slopping from side to side, and gripping with legs and reins may be more difficult for a horse to carry than a 100 kg person with good balance and careful riding habits. Even though horses are designed to carry heavy loads, they can still suffer from high levels of stress when carrying excessive amounts of weight.
Horses need to have an appropriate load carried by them at all times if they are not to suffer from stress. If the load is too great, the horse will experience stress in its muscles, joints, and internal organs. This stress can lead to injury or ill health. A heavy load also uses up energy that could otherwise be used for propulsion instead. This is important because energy-efficient horses are able to travel longer distances and climb higher hills without exhausting themselves.
The maximum safe load that a horse should carry is called its "bona fide" weight. This is the amount of weight that the horse was designed to carry. If the load that you place on a horse exceeds this bona fide weight, then the horse is subjected to stress beyond what it was intended to endure. It is important to note that even horses that appear to be suffering from stress carriers a heavier load than their body weight would indicate.
It can carry up to 360 pounds with moderate effort and no more than that with significant strain. So a horse carrying a human of average stature would fall under that safe weight range. Another short search reveals that the maximum hiking weight for people is around 1/3 of their body weight. Or in other words, if you were to weigh yourself on a scale then a person's weight should not exceed 33% of their own weight.
Horses are designed to transport people and goods over long distances quickly and with little effort from them. As we have seen, they are very efficient at this task. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that even though humans use more energy walking than horses, we are still able to travel much farther before reaching our energy limit. This shows that humans are not too heavy for horses.
There are two ways in which horses can be harmed by their passengers. The first is when people put themselves in dangerous situations without thinking through the consequences. For example, someone might decide to climb onto a moving train or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. If they are injured or killed, they could be putting others in danger because there was someone heavier-than-normal on the machine.
The second way in which horses can be harmed is when people make them work beyond their capacity. If a horse has to pull a cart or wagon for many hours without rest, it will suffer physical damage to its muscles and bones.
A horse can comfortably carry 20% of its own weight, according to study published in January 2008. So, a 1000-pound horse can easily carry 200 pounds. The horses were put through an activity test four times, carrying 15%, 20%, 25%, and 30% of their body weight in each trial. They were found to be able to carry all amounts of weight without difficulty.
Horses are very efficient pack animals. They are capable of transporting considerable loads over long distances in a practical amount of time. Even with today's technology, horses remain popular because they are affordable and easy to maintain compared to motor vehicles or other forms of transportation. A horse is also a great source of exercise and relaxation for its owner.
Horse owners should understand that their horses need rest periods just like people do. If a horse is working hard all the time, it may suffer from stress-related illness such as colic, stomach ulcers, or laminitis. Also, a heavy load can cause your horse to eat too much or sleep less which can lead to health problems. Make sure your horse has enough time to rest every day. If you see your horse acting tired or having trouble standing up under the weight of the load, reduce the burden by either removing some of the cargo or using a lighter vehicle.