Many persons do not like to recognize the importance of weight in horse safety – for both themselves and the horse.
A rider who is overweight cannot perform as well because he puts more stress on the horse’s muscles. In the case that he falls, an injury is more likely to happen because the greater weight puts more stress on the same bones. Imposing a weight restriction on riders is not a matter of prejudice against heavy persons. It’s a matter of safety for both horses and riders.
Every pound that is added to a horse puts strain on the horse’s back. Too much weight can cause rub-sores from the saddle, strained muscles, and pinching of nerves. Permanent damage such as a “sway back” or deteriorated muscle function can even occur over time. A horse that is child-safe, bomb-proof and completely docile under normal conditions may become agitated, frustrated, fatigued, irritable and even unpredictable when over-stressed by a heavy rider.
There are several factors that limit the ability of horses to carry heavier persons: