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How Much Do Horses Weigh? Hot, Warm, and Coldblooded Horses

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I often get asked, “How much do horses weigh,” my smart retort is usually, “how long is a string.” To meaningfully answer, we need to know the horses’ breed category.

Horses weigh between 900 and 2,200 pounds. Draft horses’ weight ranges from 1,400 to 2,000 lb Warmbloods typically weigh between 1200-1450 lbs, and light horses’ range weight ranges from 900 to 1200 lbs.

Draft, warmbloods, and light horses are distinct groups of horses that can be distinguished by their weight. However, other factors besides weight separate these horses.

Picture of a draft horse pulling a plow.
Cold Blood
Picture of a warmblood horse in a pasture.
Picture of a thoroughbred (hot blood)
Hot blood

Horses are classified by size and use.

There are three primary types of horse blood: cold blood, warm blood, and hot blood. Each type is classified by its weight and use. Cold bloods are the largest horses, followed by warmbloods, who are, in turn, larger than hot bloods.

The difference between these types of horses is their size and use. Through selective breeding, specific characteristics were developed in a group of horses.

Heavy horses are often referred to as cold-blooded or draft horses. Middleweight horses are called warmbloods, and the lightest horses are called either hot-bloods or light horses.

Within these categories, horses can be further broken down by use, for example, riding, racing, driving, jumping, or utility. We will look at each category in this article. (You can click here to read our article on best breeds for specific equine activities.)

Average Weight of Horses by Type

Horse typeAverage weight
Cold blood (Draft Horses)1,500 to 2,200 pounds (680.38 – 997.90 kg)
Hot blood (Light horses)800 to 1,500 pounds (362.87 – 680.38 kg)
Warmbloods (Sport Horses)1250-1450 pounds ( 567-657.70 kg)
Miniature100 to 350 pounds (45.35 – 158.75 kg)
Average horse weight1,000 pounds (453.59 kg)
Picture of a cold blood draft horse.
Cold Blood (draft horse)

Average Weight of Draft Horse Breeds

Draft Horse breedAverage weight
Clydesdale1,900 pounds (861.82 kg)
Percheron1,950 pounds (884.50 kg)
Belgian2,000 pounds (907.18 kg)
Suffolk Punch1,900 pounds (861.82 kg)
Shire2,000 pounds (907.18 kg)
Ardennes1,800 pounds (839.14 kg)
Worlds Largest Horse (Shire)3,359 pounds (1523.61 kg)

Coldblooded horses are the heaviest.

Draft horses are the most massive horse group. They are роwеrfully built with ѕtrоng lеgѕ аnd a widе body; their weight ranges from 1,400 to 2,000 lbs.

Draft horses are considered “cold blood” horses and are significantly larger than warm and hot-blooded horses by a couple of hands and may weigh two hundred pounds or more than warm-blooded horses.

Draft horses are not only big and strong; they also have a gentle, docile temperament. Soon after hоrѕеs were domesticated, it was rесоgnizеd thаt hеаviеr, and calm horses wеrе best for fаrm labor — selective brееding over thоuѕаndѕ оf уеаrѕ rеѕultеd in the modern drаft hоrѕеѕ.


The steady draft horse played аn imроrtаnt раrt in Wоrld Wаr I pulling аrtillеrу and carrying both ammunition аnd ѕuррliеѕ. Over one million draft horses were used for World War I, but only 200 hоrѕеѕ are known to have survived. (Check out my article on horses used in warfare)

Today’s draft horses, with their Herculean bodies, appeared on the scene at thе beginning оf thе ninеtееnth сеnturу. Thеѕе horses wеrе bred fоr trаnѕроrting freight, pulling carriages, and working on fаrms. 

There is an interesting market report from 1913 available online. It covers draft horses for sale, with pictures and descriptions of their uses. The in-depth report can be accessed by clicking here.

The world’s heaviest horse is a draft horse.

Belgium, Clydesdale, Percheron, and the Shire are the most popular heavy draft breeds. Sampson, a Shire that weighed 3,300 lbs, is the heaviest recorded weight of any horse.

Picture of a warmblood competing in a showjumping competition. They weigh more than hot blood breeds but less than cold blood breed.
Picture of a warmblood

Average Weight of Warmblood Horse Breeds

Horse BreedWeight
Irish Draught1,300 pounds (589.67 kg)
Holsteiner1,400 pounds (635.02 kg)
Hanoverian1,400 pounds (635.02 kg)
Dutch Warmblood1,430 pounds (648.63 kg)
Danish Warmblood1,200 pounds (544.31 kg)
Oldenburg1,500 pounds (680.5 kg)
Westphalian1,320 pounds (599 kg)
Trakehner1,200 pounds (544.31 kg)
Friesian1,200 pounds (544.31 kg)
Selle Français1,300 pounds (589.67 kg)
Irish Cob Horses1,300 pounds (589.67 kg)
Andalusian1,200 pounds (544.31 kg)
Lipizzaner1,150 pounds (521.63 kg)
Lusitano1,400 pounds (635.02 kg)
Wielkopolski Horse (Polish Warmblood1250 pounds(566.99 kg)
Swedish Warmblood1025 pounds (464.93 kg)
American WarmbloodWeights vary greatly

Warmblooded horses are the middleweight class of horses?

Warmbloods are the middleweight horse group. They typically weigh between 1250 and 1450 lbs and are bred for equestrian sport. Warmbloods don’t refer to blood temperature but rather the influence of both cold and hot-blooded horses.

Warmblood horses are more similar to light horses than draft breeds. They are finer-boned and suitable for riding events. According to some classifications, any horse breed that’s not a Thoroughbred, draft, or pony is considered a warmblood.

Warmbloods are astonishing animals, and they are a combination of beauty and versatility. Warmbloods are a real breed with closed studbooks, which means only a horse of that breed can register the studbook. There are a wide variety of breeds in the Warmblood group.

Some of the more common warmblood breeds are the Irish Draught, Holsteiner, Hanoverian, American Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, and Trakehner.

Warmbloods are high-quality sports horses used in show arenas all over the world. They excel in disciplines such as dressage, jumping, and eventing.

Picture of a black horse.
Hot Blood Thoroughbred horse

Average Weight of Hot Blood Horse Breeds

Horse BreedAverage Weight
Arabian900 pounds (408.23 kg)
Thoroughbred1,100 pounds (498.95 kg)
American Quarter Horse1,000 pounds (453.5 kg)
Akhal-Teke900 pounds (408.23 kg)
American Paint Horse1,000 pounds (453.5 kg)
Paso Fino850 pounds (385.55 kg)
Standardbred950 pounds (430.91 kg)
American Saddlebred1,000 pounds (453.5 kg)
Hackney Horse1,000 pounds (453.5 kg)
Mustang900 pounds (408 kg)
Haflinger850 pounds (385.55 kg)
Missouri Fox Trotter1,050 pounds (476.272 kg)
Tennessee Walker1,100 pounds (498.95 kg)
Morgan950 pounds (430.91 kg)
Polo Pony1,050 pounds (476.272 kg)
Fjord950 pounds (430.91 kg)

Hot-blooded horses are the lightest horse group.

The average light horse weighs 1,000 lbs. This group of horses is also called hot-bloods. The reason they are referred to as hot-blooded is twofold, and neither reason has any relation to the temperature of their blood.

The first reason: Hot-blooded horses originate from areas with a hot climate like Asia, Eygpt, and the Arabian peninsula. The second reason: Lightweight horses are called hot-blooded because they tend to be high-strung and hot-tempered horses.

Hot blooded breeds are the oldest horses and originate in the Middle East. The horse breeds considered lightweight or hot-blooded are the Akhal-Teke, Arabian horse, Barb, and the Thoroughbred.

Hot-blooded horses, along with being high-spirited, are bold and quick learners. They are bred for speed and agility and are fine-boned, thin-skinned, and have long legs.

Hot-blooded horses are the most commonly used horses for flat-track racing. However, many of these lighter horse breeds compete in jumping and dressage and are used for trail riding. A hot-blooded horse is for you if you want a spirited horse with speed.

Picture of a healthy quarter horse.
quarter horse.

Why do you need to know how much your horse weighs?

Did you know that it is important to weigh your horse on a regular basis? Horse weight can vary greatly depending on the time of year, age, and animal health.

Knowing your horse’s weight is important for many reasons, including calculating the correct dosage of medication or feed and ensuring that your horse is healthy and at a healthy weight.

By weighing your horse, you can determine if it is underweight or overweight. This allows you to take the necessary steps to get put weight on your horse and get it back on track. You will also be able to see how much weight they have gained over time and make sure that they are not gaining too much weight too quickly.

Horses that are very old or at an advanced age may become frail and start losing muscle tone and bone mass, which can lead to serious health problems, including broken bones, colic, laminitis, and founder (laminitis), and death in extreme cases.

It is important for older horses, especially those with arthritis or other physical ailments such as chronic pain from injuries sustained during hard work like dressage training/competing, etcetera to not become obese.

How to weigh your horse.

Do you know how much your horse weighs? If not, you should start tracking his weight. Horse owners everywhere can attest to the importance of keeping track of their horse’s weight. It is crucial for both his health and performance.

Trailer scales

There are a few different ways to weigh your horse. One of the most common methods is using weight tape. However, you can also use trailer or livestock scales.

If you use a trailer scale, first place the trailer over the empty scale and note the amount, then load your horse and weigh the trailer again. The difference is your horse’s weight.

If you’re using weight tape, wrap it around your horse’s barrel and note where the zero mark falls. This is his weight in pounds.

You should weigh your horse at least once a month to track his progress and ensure he is not losing or gaining weight. If you notice any changes in his weight, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Losing or gaining too much weight can be dangerous for horses, so monitoring their health closely is important. Weighing your horse is an easy way to keep tabs on his well-being and ensure he stays healthy.

Body length and Girth

Another way to weigh your horse is by doing horse weight calculations by measuring the body length and girth. This calculation is more accurate for horses than the standard weigh tape method.

To do this, you will need a measuring tape to determine your horse’s body length and girth. Once you have these figures, you plug them into a simple formula:

heart girth x heart girth x body length divided by 300=Weight in Pounds

Adult Horse

Here is the formula for adult horses- heart girth x heart girth x body length divided by 300. For yearlings, use the same formula and replace 300 with 301. And to apply the formula to weanlings, replace 300 with 280, and for ponies, use 299 instead of 300.

Check out this YouTube video to learn how to determine your horse’s weight using a measuring tape.

How to determine your horse’s healthy weight?

Horses are individuals; however, there is a baseline test to determine your horse’s healthy weight; it’s called the Henneke Equine Body Condition Scoring System (BCS).

The BCS is a useful guideline designed to evaluate the health and well-being of horses. It is also used by most authorities investigating claims of horse abuse.

The Henneke Equine Body Condition Scoring System takes away the guesswork when evaluating a horse’s weight by assigning a numerical value to the quantity and area of fat on horses.

The scoring requires a visual inspection of the animal and an assessment by palpating fat in the critical locations. The sections of the horse evaluated are the loins, ribs, tailhead, withers, neck, and shoulders.

After checking each location, a number is given based on the amount of fat, and the figures are totaled to give a rating based on your evaluation of the animal.

The BCS system scale ranks horses from 1 to 9, a rating of 1 is the lowest, and horses with this score are deemed emaciated. A score of 9 represents the opposite end of the spectrum, and a horse rated 9 is obese.

Picture of a horse in a shedrow barn.

Body Condition Scores from 4 to 6 are ideal.

Body condition scores from 4 to 6 fall into the acceptable range for any horse breed. BCS scores from 7 to 9 indicate a horse is overweight to obese. Most overweight horses have significant health issues.

Overweight horses are prone to disease, overheating, and poor performance. However, if you intend to start your horse on a weight-reduction plan, begin slowly and routinely monitor its weight.

A horse with a score of 4 is considered moderately thin; most moderately thin horses have a crease along their back, and a faint outline of ribs is noticeable.

You should be able to feel fat along the horse’s tailhead and not be able to see its hip bones. Its withers, neck, and shoulders shouldn’t be obviously thin.

A horse with a score of 5 is deemed moderate it has a level back, and its ribs can be felt but not seen easily. The fat around its tailhead is slightly spongy, the withers are rounded, and the shoulders and neck blend smoothly into its body. These parameters should place a horse in the average weight category for its breed.

Horses that score six on the BCS scale are classified as moderately fleshy and have a slight crease down their back, and the fat on the tailhead is soft. The fat over the ribs is spongy, and fat is beginning to show along the sides of the withers, behind the shoulders, and along the neck.

I have a much more detailed description of the Henneke Equine Body Condition Scoring System (BCS) with charts and diagrams in my article on reducing your horse’s weight.

Check out the YouTube video below; it provides helpful information about the characteristics of the Dutch Warmblood horse.

Factors that Affect Horse Weight

Horses come in various shapes and sizes, and many factors can influence their weight. Understanding these factors is crucial for ensuring a horse’s health and well-being. From genetics to diet, many things can impact a horse’s weight.

I. Genetics

Genetics is one of the most significant factors in determining a horse’s weight. The breed and bloodline of a horse can play a significant role in its size and weight. For instance, draft horses such as Belgians and Percherons tend to be larger and heavier than their Thoroughbred and Arabian counterparts.

Heritability also plays a role in determining weight. Horses with heavier parents are more likely to be heavier themselves.

II. Age and Gender

Another factor that can impact a horse’s weight is age. As horses mature, they naturally gain weight. However, the rate of weight gain can vary between stallions, mares, and geldings.

Stallions, for example, are known to be heavier than mares and geldings. It’s essential to monitor weight changes in horses as they age and make any necessary adjustments to their diet and exercise routine to maintain a healthy weight.

III. Nutrition

A horse’s diet is another critical factor in determining its weight. Proper nutrition, including a balanced diet with the right amount of calories, is essential for maintaining weight. Feeding a horse too much or too little can lead to weight issues.

The type of feed, frequency of feeding, and access to forage can also impact weight. For example, horses that are fed high-fat diets are more likely to become overweight.

IV. Health

Health is another significant factor that can impact a horse’s weight. Physical activity and exercise play a significant role in maintaining weight. Horses that are less active or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to become overweight.

Health conditions such as parasite infestations, metabolic disorders, and hormonal imbalances can also affect weight. Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of a horse’s health can help prevent weight issues.

V. Climate and Season

The climate and season can also affect a horse’s weight. In warm weather, horses tend to lose weight due to increased sweating, while in colder weather, they may gain weight due to decreased activity levels and changes in forage availability.

Adjusting a horse’s diet and exercise routine based on seasonal variations is important to maintain a healthy weight.

VI. Stress

Environmental and psychological stress can also impact a horse’s weight. Horses that are under stress are more likely to experience weight loss or gain, depending on the severity of the stressor. Regular monitoring of stress levels and implementing stress-management strategies can help maintain a healthy weight.

VII. Medications and Supplements

Medications and supplements can also impact a horse’s weight. Drugs such as steroids, for example, can cause weight gain, while certain supplements may help horses maintain weight.

It’s important to work closely with a veterinarian when administering medications and supplements to ensure they don’t have an adverse effect on weight.

In conclusion, many factors can affect a horse’s weight, including genetics, age, nutrition, health, climate, stress, and medications. Monitoring these factors and making any necessary adjustments can help maintain a healthy weight for horses. By paying attention to these facto