We get asked this question in the museum quite frequently. How much can a horse pull?
The general rule of thumb is about three times its body weight under ideal conditions. The average horse weighs about 1000 lbs so 3000 lbs can be pulled on flat roads. The weight ratio changes based on various conditions. In hilly country, the ratio changes to about 2 to 1 and in very bad road conditions (sand or mountains) that ratio can become 1 to 1. Other factors such as the horse’s physical condition, the weight of the vehicle, weight distribution, soil conditions, weather and even the driver’s skills can affect the amount of weight a horse can pull. Who knew!?