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Best Horse Breeds For Larger Riders

by Dani Buckley

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Horses are loved by people of all shapes and sizes, and individuals weighing in around 250 lbs or more may feel discouraged and shy away from ever throwing a leg over a horse. But that number on the scale is just a number. There are horse breeds out there to suit everyone, no matter your size. Before revealing what some of the best horse breeds are for you, here are a few factors to keep in mind.

First, a horse can carry about 20 percent of their body weight. So when you find a horse that fits your needs, it is a good idea to find out their weight so the horse can carry you comfortably. Remember that this includes tack.Portrait of a brown stallion Percheron with beautiful mane and harness on autumn land. Beautiful brown draft horse outdoors with white legs. Czech Republic.

Don’t judge a horse by how tall they are to tell how much they can carry. You want a sturdy, beefier horse, not a super tall one. Take a look at the horse’s cannon bones. Horses with larger cannon bones can support more weight.

Balance plays a huge role in how a horse carries weight on its back. If you are a well balanced and coordinated rider, it will make it much easier for the horse carrying you, no matter your weight. Be aware of how you ride and how the horse is reacting to you.

Keeping that in mind, here are the five best horse breeds for larger riders.

Two Belgian Draft Horses pulling a sleigh in the snow.

Belgian Horse

The Belgian Horse is a draft breed that is sturdy, strong, and well-mannered. These horses were used to carry knights back in the Middle Ages. Belgian horses are versatile, used for anything from pulling a carriage to dressage.

Highland Pony

Don’t let the term “pony” shy you away from this breed. The Highland Pony may only reach a little over 14hh, but they are tougher and built like a brick house. These horses come from the highlands of Scotland, where they have to be tough to survive. They are great for endurance, jumping, or pleasure. And all this makes them a great horse breed for larger riders.

Quarter horse running in front of flowering plum trees on green pasturage

Quarter Horse

The Quarter Horse is one of the most versatile breeds in the world. They can go either English or Western and work hard. And while these horses may look smaller, they are tough and strong. Quarter Horses are widely used in rodeo and particularly in steer wrestling, where a larger male rider (250+ lbs) leans off the side to catch a steer and flip it over.


The Percheron is another draft horse that can go in many different directions. This breed was often used in wars years ago, as well as for pulling in the fields. Percherons are intelligent and calm, perfect for new riders.

horse breeds for larger riders


If you are looking to ride in style and grace, the Friesian horse breed easily catches the eye. These horses carry heavy weight well and move as smoothly as a Corvette. Friesians are a horse of choice for those wanting to ride in the dressage ring.

Final Thoughts

Horses are for everyone. And that means people of all shapes and sizes. As you can see, plenty of horse breeds suit larger riders. If you feel you are too heavy to ride, there is a horse for you. And you can always consult a veterinarian when contemplating buying a horse, as they can give valuable insight on conformation and how much the horse in question can carry.breed of horse do you have? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear which breeds work for our riders of all sizes, larger and smaller and everything in between!

The Best Horse Breeds For Larger Riders

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