What weight could an unfit 16h shire x horse carry?

ellerslie83

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I'm having to advertise my 16 year old shire x for loan as I'm not well, but he's just recovered from injury and needs someone to be paying him attention and getting him fit to go for some gentle little hacks etc, but I have no idea what weight to say is ok for him - he is 16 h and used to be in maxi-cob classes and dressage and had some pretty hefty people on him including my boyfriend, but this was before he had lameness problems, which I think were exacerbated by people that were too heavy asking too much of him.

Anyway....he's now shown no signs of lameness (fingers crossed, touching wood etc) in some time (even with that the vet approved him for light hacking) and is ready to go forwards for this but as he's not only unfit, but coming back into work after injury (he shredded himself to bits getting over the bar in a horsebox), I am really not sure - I've put that I want someone not too heavy - but have already had someone ask if they were too heavy at 13 stone - I'm only 7 stone on a fat day and am the only one who has been on him in the last 5 years so he's had it pretty easy - any advice gratefully received! He wears a double extra wide saddle if that helps.

I know it depends on how the rider carries themselves etc... but would like a ballpark figure if I'm asked again, as being child-sized myself everyone seems big to me!
 
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Pennythetank

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Tbh if his lameness was partly caused by too heavy riders, I wouldn't be putting anyone over 10-11 stone on him until he is someway fit and you know he will stand up to the work being asked (I.e. not going to go lame again)
 

Polar Bear9

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I'm 12 stone ish and would not get on him if you said his lameness was a result of heavy riders. So I'd say maybe 11 max but preferably lighter
 

ellerslie83

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No idea if the above image will work - if not - please tell me how to upload pics successfully!

I can only speculate that was why his lameness increased in the past, as he used to try and buck his riders before he was diagnoses and put on rest and remedial shoeing - he's barefoot now - but since I started riding him nearly 4 years ago he hasn't tried anything funny once.

No idea what he's crossed with, my other half saw him in a field in Ireland with a sign saying horse for sale and there he was!
 

Gloi

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What was his actual lameness problem? Those feet really are interesting, it would be good to see close ups of them.
 

charliecrisps

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OMG hes gorgeous!!!

Id say it depends what they will be doing with him & how balanced ... Id want someone to stick to walking/ small few trots nothing more whether they was 10 stone or 13 stone
 
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I am not happy with the feet, is he getting minerals and linseed and a bit of work in hand?
I mean a horse like that should carry 13stone [assuming he has 9.5 to 10+ inches of bone].
Its not hard for someone to get a horse reasonably fit in maybe 6 weeks, it does not matter what horse, if he has been off work, he needs progressive work.
Why was he lame is the relevant question, anyone can lame a horse if they don't look after him, and even if they do, they can still be lame :(.
This is the type of horse they would use every day for trekking, if they could find them ... big , strong and dependable, so really I find it hard to think he has been lamed by the weight of his riders.
Would the vet not have an opinion? Does he need physio? Is the saddle a good fit?
If he were mine, I would get him going even if it means paying someone to come and ride him, this way you can monitor him, if you just put him out on loan and he came lame that would be disaster and you would not really know what happened. I would want people to be good riders, good riders know if a horse is not right, and are able to school without instruction, alternative is to send him to a proper yard for schooling, but if they are starting from scratch it will take a while.
 
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ellerslie83

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These are the best shots I have of his feet - am curious at them being called interesting, so would love to know why! :D

He was bought by my other half in Ireland at about 4 years old I think - his original lameness began in 2004 with sidebone when he was 5 years old - not uncommon given his heavy horse blood - no idea who or what type his mother was. He was prescribed lighter duties and improved. Nerve blocks improved things for a while.

By 2006 he had right front leg lameness which then went on to improve, then he had left front leg lameness. X-rays showed his sidebone was fairly bad and remedial farriery was tried along with shockwave therapy all of which did nothing.

The vets conclusion - as I think they didn't really know what else to call it - was desmitis of the collateral ligaments in the right leg and he was put on field rest for 3 months and was then deemed sound enough to be brought back into light work and was put on bute.

He was reassessed late 2007 and xrays showed his sidebone had consolidated so carried on with the light work and bute.

Through all of this, he did some dressage shows and was shown as a maxi-cob and did very well - always with quite heavy lasses, and my other half who's fairly heavy - he started bucking - which I think was him being asked too much by too heavy a rider (as since I've been with him he's not even attempted this- though obviously this is pure speculation).

In early 2009 he went lame again on the right foreleg but x-rays showed nothing. By late 2009 my other half decided enough was enough, had his shoes taken off and put him to grass where he stayed happily munching and enjoying himself as a companion until I came onto the scene in 2011. After spending time with him I saw that he was intermittently lame - some days he'd come trotting up to you and there was no sign of a problem. We got him assessed and he was deemed fit for light hacking - especially as I'm tiny - so got him re-fitted for a saddle and bridle etc as he'd gone from medium wide to xxw and full size bridle to extra full - he was a little overweight by then but not loads, so figure he'd grown some more!

I started walking him in hand and eventually got on him and walked him for short periods and this seemed to have no effect and he enjoyed it. I even got him a physio session as I thought he might have issues from the lameness like uneven muscle build up or tightness and the lady went all over him - which he loved - but could find nothing out of the ordinary and said he didn't have anything that required any other treatment.

Eventually we went out for little hacks with some other people and he was very much enjoying himself. Then I had him reassessed before as we were moving house and I knew if was a long journey for him to have to stand for and he was still intermittently lame on the right foreleg, the vet agreed and found that flexion made no difference to the level of lameness - but was still happy with him being used as a light hack.

Still had a lot of days where there was no sign of lameness - and he would trot, canter, gallop etc in the field - but I only ever asked him for walk - even though vet said if he felt like trotting we could try and see what happened.

Anyway - we moved house and he managed to spectacularly shred himself to bits on the journey up - resulting in three vet stops and the fire brigade when he got himself over the bar in the box! He was cut to ribbons, even through muscle, but he got here and after a week at the vets and a lot of tlc later at his new yard, he is all healed - I had noticed that since he'd been here (Cumbria) we'd not seen him lame at all and the lady looking after him since I've not been able to go said she's not seen any sign of it at all. So here we are - me ill and him just ready to get back into things and living somewhere with nice hacks - very frustrating!! Sorry that was all a bit long!
 

ellerslie83

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He's had a farrier and an equine podiatrist and they've all universally complimented him on his excellent feet - saying he has good quality hoof and he has been on pink powder senior and various other mineral supplements through the years.
I'm not saying his lameness was caused by heavy riders, but I think his recovery from it and its progression may have been hampered by it.
 

Annagain

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So the bucking was before you were on the scene? It's not a case of him bucking with heavier riders and not with you, there was a gap and a lot of field rest between the bucking and you then riding him? From what you've said I would think he was in pain before hence the bucking rather than it being the weight of the rider and after a good period of rest the lameness improved and it was coincidence that you're lighter - the bucking stopped because he wasn't in pain not because you're lighter. Also (and I'm quite happy to be corrected) I've not heard of excess weight of rider contributing to sidebone before - especially at such a young age. I think that's probably just bad luck/genetics.

He's a big, strong looking horse with plenty of bone and I don't think 13st would be too much - only you know if you're happy with this though. I'd be more concerned that the rider understood he needs to be brought back into work carefully and slowly and was happy with this than his/her weight (unless it was quite a bit more than 13st!)

Good luck with him anyway. He's lovely. I hope he stays sound and you have many more happy years together.
 
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ellerslie83

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Sorry - yes I didn't mean to imply I thought weight of rider caused his lameness or sidebone - merely that the weight of the rider along with being asked to do too much couldn't have helped his pain and would have probably encouraged him to buck - my other half once decided to eject himself last time he rode him.

He has obviously had a lot of rest inbetween then and me getting on him. I'm just a nervous mummy wanting to make sure he's ok. It feels all wrong having to get someone else to come and do anything for him.

I will be very clear about him needing lots of gentle work done over a period of time to ease him back into things. He's a good egg and it only breaks my heart that I can't do any of it myself as he's a sweety.
 

Equi

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He is absolutely gorgeous.

The hooves interest me too. They look either very bruised or have lami. Also in need of a good trim to balance them. Who does them?
 

Pearlsasinger

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So the bucking was before you were on the scene? It's not a case of him bucking with heavier riders and not with you, there was a gap and a lot of field rest between the bucking and you then riding him? From what you've said I would think he was in pain before hence the bucking rather than it being the weight of the rider and after a good period of rest the lameness improved and it was coincidence that you're lighter - the bucking stopped because he wasn't in pain not because you're lighter. Also (and I'm quite happy to be corrected) I've not heard of excess weight of rider contributing to sidebone before - especially at such a young age. I think that's probably just bad luck/genetics.

He's a big, strong looking horse with plenty of bone and I don't think 13st would be too much - only you know if you're happy with this though. I'd be more concerned that the rider understood he needs to be brought back into work carefully and slowly and was happy with this than his/her weight (unless it was quite a bit more than 13st!)

Good luck with him anyway. He's lovely. I hope he stays sound and you have many more happy years together.
This. TBH if a horse of that build and size can't carry a decent rider of 13st, he really isn't ready to be brought back into work.

He really is gorgeous, I hope it all works out for him and you.
 

Annagain

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Totally understand you just want the best for him.
It sounds to me it was what he was doing (showing and dressage will involve a lot of trotting and cantering, especially in circles, which he's not doing now) rather than the weight that caused a relapse.
My boy is 19 now and at 12 he was intermittently lame. Vet suspected navicular, but xrays showed that one of the 3 signs they look for (can't remember now what they are) was borderline and the other two were totally clear he had very very slight ringbone, but not in a place that should affect him too badly. After 6 months field rest and remedial shoeing, he came sound but vet told me jumping again would "severely shorten his career". He's not jumped more than the odd log out hacking or a few small jumps on fun rides and (touch wood) he's stayed sound for the last 7 years. In that time I've put on about 2 1/2 stone and am currently about 13st (my heaviest ever I'm ashamed to say and about to do something about it!). He's a 16.2 IDx something and isn't as heavy as your boy and he carries me absolutley fine with no more problems.
 

ellerslie83

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The photos of his hooves was a while back, he's def not had lami and nothing to bruise them - is it the colour that makes them look like this? They've been great with no shoes and he's not had any signs of being foot sore etc...

He's usually had the farrier wherever he was give him a trim, but before we moved for about a year I got him a podiatrist who specialised in barefoot trimming and they did great as can be prone to a little bit of flare/chipping. Now he is once again just having the guy that the yard owner has, I did look up barefoot trimmers up here before we moved and emailed a few people to ask if they came that way but no joy. The yard owner is very knowledgeable and she trusts him with her horse, so I feel I should trust in him at least for now unless I see any trimmers around, though it doesn't seem that horse friendly round here.

I see what you mean about him not being ready if he can't carry 13 stone - but I guess he would be able to work up to that. I do hope he stays sound, but the vet was happy with him being used as a light hack even with that right leg not being right, as it's intermittent and hasn't really changed over the years except for improving. Really keeping my fingers crossed that I find someone nice!
 

Sukistokes2

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To be honest with you that is a typical weight carrying horse. His issues when younger were similar to my Shire x, they take AGES to mature and need really careful handling until they mature. pounding up a road will really cause issues for those type of horses, their splint bones are really small, hence why you often see splints in this type. They also will, given the opportunity trundle about quite happily on the forehand. Getting them to work from behind is hard work. It does however reduce the pressure on the fore limbs. I would not be worried about this horse taking weight, once fit, what I would worry about is the type of rider and what they were doing with him. If he has slight ring bone that will be affected by concussion on roads, I would want him to have very limited trotting on the road. I would want someone who would work on engaging his hind quarters, someone who understands how to handle ring bone, which is an art in itself. Once fitter that is what I would worry about, more then just weight.
 

alainax

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He's a big, strong looking horse with plenty of bone and I don't think 13st would be too much - only you know if you're happy with this though. I'd be more concerned that the rider understood he needs to be brought back into work carefully and slowly and was happy with this than his/her weight (unless it was quite a bit more than 13st!)
This. TBH if a horse of that build and size can't carry a decent rider of 13st, he really isn't ready to be brought back into work.
.

To be honest with you that is a typical weight carrying horse. His issues when younger were similar to my Shire x, they take AGES to mature and need really careful handling until they mature. pounding up a road will really cause issues for those type of horses, their splint bones are really small, hence why you often see splints in this type. They also will, given the opportunity trundle about quite happily on the forehand. Getting them to work from behind is hard work. It does however reduce the pressure on the fore limbs. I would not be worried about this horse taking weight, once fit, what I would worry about is the type of rider and what they were doing with him. If he has slight ring bone that will be affected by concussion on roads, I would want him to have very limited trotting on the road. I would want someone who would work on engaging his hind quarters, someone who understands how to handle ring bone, which is an art in itself. Once fitter that is what I would worry about, more then just weight.
Completely agree with all of this and some really good advice here. That big lad if fit would be more than capable of carrying 16stone+, So saying 13stone for now due previous issues is certainly not too heavy imo.

But more importantly it will be how the rider is with him, and how well they ride him, encouraging him to work correctly and not over do it.

I would not limit yourself to all riders under 11 stone, but choose a rider based on how well they ride him, and what good they will do him.
 

Equi

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Maybe it was just due to the issues before then, as those lines to me look like a stress indicator - maybe he has had a bout of lami or concussion before you got him.
 

ellerslie83

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Thanks for all your input! When I next manage to see him I'll have another look at his feet and see what they look like now.

He does definitely seem to have massively changed in size between when he went lame and stopped being worked and when I arrived on the scene about 3 years later - I remember putting one of his saddles (which had been fitted and made for him at the time) and it was like a toy saddle sitting on his back! Even his bit had to go up a size - I even had to order an extra long western girth for his western saddle, so I think you must be right that he must have done a lot of growing and did probably do too much too young.

I'm just really keeping my fingers crossed that I find someone nice who will take the time with him. I miss riding him and spending time with him, but it would make me happy again if I knew someone nice was spending time with him. I've got one lady interested so far, so we'll see how far that goes!....
 
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