How Strong Are Horses? [Strength Facts & Comparison]

Photo: SunnyMoon / Shutterstock

Horses are known for being intelligent animals with lightning-fast reflexes.

You can tell by looking at them that they’re extremely muscular and strong, but many people wonder exactly how strong they are. 

Horses can pull as much as 2,500 pounds, but strength levels vary by horse type and size. Generally, they can pull one-tenth of their body weight in dead weight, or 1.5 times their weight if their load is on wheels. Horses kick with up to 8722 Newtons of force and bite hard enough to amputate a human finger.

Here are a few quick horse strength facts.

  • Average weight of an adult horse: 900 to 2000 pounds
  • Average weight a horse can carry: 180 to 400 pounds
  • Maximum force of a horse kick: 8722 Newtons
  • Power of a horse’s bite: Enough to amputate a human finger

How Much Weight Can A Horse Pull?

Horses are very strong. Specific strength levels depend on the type of horse and its size, and they even vary from horse to horse.

However, large horses have been able to pull as much as three times their own weight, which can be over 2,500 pounds.

When pulling dead weight, like a plow, horses can pull about one-tenth of their body weight. This means that if a horse weighs 2,000 pounds, it can pull a 200-pound plow. 

See also  What Animals Eat Fish? (19 Examples With Pictures)

If you add wheels to a horse’s load, then it can pull as much as 1.5 times its body weight. In the case of a 2,000-pound horse, this means that it could pull 3,000 pounds.

Belgian horses are considered the best breed when it comes to their weight-pulling records. 

Horses also have a lot of force in their kicks. One study showed that 90% of the horses involved kicked with a maximum force of less than 1924 Newtons (N), but one horse kicked with a force of 8722 N.

A kick from a horse can feel as intense as being hit by a car at 20 miles per hour!

Where Does The Term “Horsepower” Come From?

The strength of horses inspired an engineer named James Watt, who introduced the term “horsepower” as a unit of measurement.

Watt worked with horses that were used to lift coal at a mine, and he needed a way to describe the horses’ power and energy.

You might assume that one horsepower is equivalent to the power a horse can create at one moment in time, but that’s not accurate. Watt actually bent the truth a bit when he created the term horsepower. 

Watt invented a steam engine and wanted to advertise it effectively, so he stated that it could complete the same amount of work that a single horse could do in an entire day. This number ended up being more like the power that ten horses put out.

How Strong Are Horse Jaws?

Horses have jaws strong enough to bite off human fingers. However, bites are not common horse-induced injuries.

See also  Can Turtles Climb Trees? [Some Can! Explained]

Of the around 100,000 horse-related emergency visits each year, only about three to five percent have to do with bites. 

Still, when bites occur, they can be severe. Finger, ear, and nose amputations have been reported, as well as more minor injuries like lacerations and skin loss. Anytime a person is bitten by an animal, there is a chance of infection.

What Load Can A Horse Carry?

Horses can generally carry about 20% of their weight, which can vary depending on the individual horse. 

Most horses fall between 900 and 2,000 pounds, meaning they can carry 180 to 400 pounds. A horse would need to weigh 1,500 pounds to carry a 300-pound rider.

When horses are made to carry too much weight, there are several problems that can arise. These include pain, muscle soreness, lameness, ligament stress, and imbalance.

Behavioral issues can also result when horses attempt to refuse to carry too much weight.

How Much Stronger Is A Horse Than A Man?

Anyone can clearly see that horses are larger and stronger than the average human.

Interestingly, when it comes to long-distance running, some humans are actually capable of outrunning horses due to the way their bodies cool themselves down.

It’s hard to say exactly how much stronger a horse is than a man. We know that some large horses can lift up to 2,500 pounds, and a man named Paul Anderson was once able to lift 6,270 pounds. 

However, this definitely isn’t the norm for humans. 

As an untrained to novice weightlifter weighing 198 pounds, the average man can bench press about 135 to 175 pounds.

See also  25 Types Of Animals Like Deer (With Pictures)

Meanwhile, an untrained to novice female weightlifter weighing 148 pounds can usually bench press 75 to 90 pounds.

As you can tell, there’s a huge discrepancy between horses’ strength and the average human’s strength.

Do Horses Have Any Weaknesses?

Horses are generally only weak if they weren’t trained properly, have a lack of muscle development, or are dealing with degenerative bone problems. Various injuries and health issues can impact horses’ overall strength.

In some cases, horses can recover or be retrained to regain their lost strength. Exercises like trotting up hills and in circles can help to rebuild muscle tone. 

Training, strengthening exercises, medical work, and chiropractic treatment are often used in conjunction to help injured or ill horses recover and build up their strength. 


Horses can usually pull dead weight that is one-tenth of their body weight or 1.5 times their body weight if their load is on wheels. These animals have been known to pull as much as 2,500 pounds.

They also have powerful kicks with a maximum of 8722 Newtons, and bites strong enough to amputate human fingers.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

Recent Posts