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Circle F Dude Ranch Horseback Riding

Weight Policy

What’s It all about?

Horses are just like people; they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, heights, weights, ages – and abilities. A small horse or pony is an ideal sized horse to give young kids a wonderful ride, even perhaps their very first horseback ride. The standard-sized quarter-horse, is ideally suited for riders weighing anywhere from 100 to 180 pounds. A draft horse, obviously has the ability to carry our heavier riders. By the same measure, an adult is going to feel comfortable on either the standard-sized or draft horse, but young children might find a draft horse’s size intimidating.

We are proud that our horses Circle F Dude Ranch Camp are in phenomenal condition to ride, both in terms of training and fitness. We have a diverse herd of horses for riders of all ages and experience. We have a handful of horses that can carry heavier riders up to 225 pounds.

At Circle F Dude Ranch, our mission is to provide you – our customer – with an authentic experience. But we can never compromise the loving care for our horses as we strive to reach our mission. One of the most difficult parts of our job is matching riders to horses, in both weight and relative horse-back experience, to ensure that we can accomplish both parts of our mission. To help us do that, and to ensure your safety, we have adopted the following weight policy.

  • We have a weight limit of 225 pounds.
  • At the time of your ride the members of your party will be asked if any exceeds the weight limit. We do this not only to ensure that no one in your party weighs more than 225 lbs, but to better match up riders to horses.
  • Any customer who appears to approach the weight limit of 225 pounds will be weighed on at our ranch scale.
  • Anyone weighing more than 225 pounds or refusing to be weighed will not be allowed to ride. There is no exception to this rule. This is for the safety of our guests, staff, and horses.
  • Because we are advising you in advance of the weights requirments for our rides, we will not be able to provide refunds for any customers who are not able to ride because of excessive weight.
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Dr. Hennessy DVM - - Circle F Dude Ranch Camp Veterinarian

Dr. Katie Hennessy Camp Veterinarian and Owner of Polk Equine has advised the Ranch that, “Total weight of rider plus tack must not exceed 250 lbs. It would be highly detrimental to the well-being of the horse to carry a weight load exceeding this amount. The is no horse at the Ranch that could handle that weight load for an extended period without resulting in some level of injury. This is not negotiable.“

Putting too much weight on a horse – any horse – can quickly lead to both short-term and long-term problems. Short-term problems include rub-sores from the saddle, strained muscles, and pinching of nerves, any of which can sideline a horse for a few days to a week. Consistent over-loading of a horse can lead to permanent damage such as a “sway back,” deteriorated muscle function, joint problems, and arthritis.

It’s a matter of safety:

Just like people, a horse that is too tired or is asked to do too much can temporarily lose its better nature and forget its manners (training). 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. This can lead to situations that are dangerous for both horse and rider.