How far can a horse run

How Long Can a Horse Run?

Horses are among animals that were evolved and bred by man for centuries. Similar to dogs, they are close to humans. Horses work with humans in accomplishing goals and for companionship. How long can a horse run?

Horses can run a gallop for two miles, while some fit horses cover five miles until exhausted. Horses, on a slower pace, can cover twenty miles a day while walking or trotting. If cantering, the average distance a horse can cover without stopping is one to five miles.

Horses vary on how long they can run. They are individuals, and factors like training, horse breed, age, pace, fitness level, and terrain determine their capabilities. However, pushing your horse to extend the distance or time length is not recommended. Ensure your horse is well trained and build its strength for fast speed and more extended travel.

How Many Miles Can A Horse Cover?

At a gallop, horses can cover one to two miles non-stop. But horses trained for long-distance endurance rides can cover more miles. Riding a horse is a thrilling sensation. However, don’t be tempted to run your horse longer, as it can lead to injuries or adverse health effects that could last for a long time. If you are planning to go for a short trip, then go for galloping. But for camping trips and long-distance travel, then cantering and trotting is the best option. 

How many miles for a day? At a slow pace, cantering, walking, or trotting horses can cover twenty miles in a day. It is suitable for people taking long trips and not in a hurry. Most campers and trail riders covering long distances prefer slower paces to make their horses cover long distances.

In addition, well-hydrated horses that take good rest can cover longer distances than those adequately bred and trained. However, if you plan on taking a week-long or long weekend trip, then consider maintaining smaller spaces at a go. It maximizes the total distance to be covered during your travel while keeping your horse’s shape.

How Much Time Can A Horse Take To Run?

Most horse owners take their horses on long camping trips to build a strong bond with them. If you plan to travel for some hours, consider a slow pace to extend your trip duration. A cantering or trotting horse can cover eight miles in an hour. An average horse can continue with the exact miles for five hours in a day depending on their nutrition, general training, build and breed. 

A horse in good health can canter for seven hours at a go but never push it to do the same daily. In contrast, a galloping horse can cover two miles without stopping or resting.

How Far Can A Horse Cover in an Hour? 

Theoretically, a running or galloping horse can cover thirty miles in an hour. However, pushing your horse to go at a running pace for an hour can cause severe harm. After a full gallop, a horse needs to rest every two miles. At such an event, you need to slow down so that it can catch its breath. Cantering and trotting are better if you want to ride your horse for an extended period.

What is the Longest Distance a Horse Can Cover Without Resting and Stopping?

If in a hurry or probably have a spiked horse that takes off running, you look for breeds covering two miles. Horse breeds that run fast and long distances can go for five miles without stopping or resting. After covering that, they will need adequate rest or visit a medical professional. 

In races, you will notice veterinarians taking standby positions. They are there to look at horses that cover incredibly long distances in a short time. Horses in famous races like the Tevis Cup Race must cover 100 miles in 24 hours. It is not a sudden move as it can take approximately eleven to fifteen hours for even the winners to complete the race. 

Your horse is probably covering six miles per hour during the fifteen hours of covering 100 miles. The pace is not a gallop but a canter or trot. Breeding and training of the horses for the Tevis Cup Race occur before joining the race. Therefore, a regular horse can’t be allowed in the race. In addition, many horses don’t complete the race and may need a veterinarian.

How Long Should You Ride a Horse?

Horses carry humans and inventory through saddlebags or pulling carts. That is the reason why we keep them as long-term travel companions.

The longest distance for a horse to ride is at a slower pace, either by cantering, trotting or walking is approximately twenty miles in a day. Horses that receive proper care can go for long periods while feeding, hydrating, walking, and resting after a while. 

Therefore if you want to camp or go for long trail rides, you can cover many miles over a weekend or week-long travel. You only need to prepare you and your horse well for the journey. Ensure you can protect yourself from possible risks like injury, fatigue, and dehydration.

How Far Can a Horse Run at Top Speed?

An average horse at top speed can cover thirty miles in an hour. Some horses have reached 45 to 50 miles in an hour. Those horses are well-bred, strong, and had professionals as trainees to endure races or win the likes of Tevis Cup Races.

However, your horse can run for five to eight minutes at a top speed. With thirty miles per hour, your horse can cover 2.5 miles in five minutes without stopping. That time is negligible, and the distance covered is reasonable hence remarkable for a large animal like a horse. Furthermore, with cantering for nine miles an hour, your horse can cover the same distance in twenty minutes instead of five. It is not a time loss, as the horse will appreciate not making it run at full gallop.

Fastest Horses in the World

Speed makes a horse stand out. It will be hard to choose from the numerous breeds if you seek the best horse for competitions. However, it depends on species and sport for a horse to compete. So, which is the world’s fastest horse?

  • Thoroughbred – Thoroughbreds are hot-tempered, hence fiery, competitive, and energetic. The breed has hit the Guinness World Record as the world’s fastest horse breed. With a speed of 43.97 mph, no other species has broken the record. 
  • American Quarter Horse – if you are looking for a fast horse in short distances, the American Quarter horse is perfect for quarter-mile stretches. This breed can cover 55 miles in an hour, a sprinting speed that makes it ahead of Thoroughbred.
  • Akhal-Teke – Akhal-Teke is the fastest breed with the ability to run in long-distance competitions. Their endurance makes them qualify for any race. The horses are good at show jumping events and dressage.
  • Appaloosa – Appaloosa breeds originated from North America, whose horses were for hunting. Its speed, strength, and endurance make it perfect for a racehorse. They have compact sizes, a trait children love. Appaloosa does well in long-distance trails and can compete in Western and English sports.

The Speed of the Horse is Determined by the Weight of the Tack and Rider

A horse doesn’t only carry the rider but tack. The weight changes tend to affect the equation. Without the obstacles, a horse can run harder with no rest needed. Furthermore, a horse without a rider can go far. Horses are prey animals; therefore, they can run so fast under wild circumstances until they are out of danger. 

A horse can carry twenty percent of its weight. A rider weighing 250 pounds should ride a horse weighing more than 1,200 pounds. It ensures the horse is safe and able to work.

Balance also determines the weight a horse can carry. A horse can easily support a balanced and fit rider. An uncoordinated horse rider can drop the balance of the horse hence causing fatigue. Consult a veterinarian if you are not sure whether your horse can support you safely.

Heavy riders weighing over 250 lbs. need to ride larger breeds. Height is not necessary but a sturdy build. Stockier-built horses carry heavier weights than lean breeds. The sturdy of a horse determines the cannon bone’s circumference. Therefore, a horse with large cannon bones supports heavyweights since the bones are responsible for bearing weight.

Here are horse breeds suitable for heavy riders:


Friesian is a powerful, graceful, and elegant horse, hence perfect for riding. They are famous for their feathered hooves, long hair, beautiful carriage, and gaits. Friesians stand 15 to 17 hands. A Friesian weighing 1350 pounds can carry a horse rider weighing 250 pounds and saddles weighing 20 pounds. 

Spotted Draft Horse

A Spotted Draft horse weighs 1500 to 1600 pounds and stands 16 to 17 hands. It is fit to carry 300 pounds, 260 pounds rider, and 40 pounds tack. Though not a common breed, it is an excellent riding mount. Their beautiful coat patterns make them stand out.


With a stand of 16 to 18 hands, big horse riders find Clydesdales suitable for riding. They are famous for show and pleasure. They have stocky builds and affectionate character making them safe for any rider. Clydesdales weigh 1600 to 1800 pounds; therefore can safely carry 320 pounds.

Irish Draught

Irish Draughts weigh 1300 to 1400 pounds standing at 15 to 17 hands. Therefore a 250 pounds rider with a 20 pounds saddle needs an Irish Draught weighing 1,360 pounds or more. They have solid builds and athletic nature hence fit for either little or big riders. Irish Draughts are mainly used for pleasure and shows since they are good at jumping and dressage.


Is there a weight limit in horse riding? 

We have seen few horses that can carry over 300 pounds. However, there is no set weight limit. Some riding facilities can set limits for the riders’ and horses’ safety. 

How will you know you are too big for your horse? 

Ensure your weight does not exceed 20 percent of your horses’ weight. If your horse seems uncomfortable, sore, or struggling after a ride, then you are too big for your horse. However, always consult your vet before riding.


Horses can go up to 55 mph still in all their beauty and grace. If you want to know how fast your horse can run, find out its race. A horse’s race also determines its abilities. Additionally, take good care of your horse, and you will always get the best performance.