Heavyweight Horses


    Imagine you’re a horse dealer. You specialize in finding people just the right horse for their needs, be it a reliable “husband horse” for easy-going trail rides or a spunky pony for an ambitious kid starting her riding career. One day, you get a call asking for something very specific. Your potential client is looking for a calm, reliable horse for someone who has never ridden before. The challenge? That someone is 7”1’ and weighs about 350 pounds.

    Someone somewhere was recently tasked with that assignment when former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal decided to take up horseback riding after his retirement from professional basketball. Shaq is now, evidently, the proud owner of what appears to be a Percheron named Diesel.

    Going with the 20% rule, which says that a horse can comfortably carry about 20% of its own weight, O’Neal needs a horse that weighs about 1750 pounds. Yes, an experienced rider with a quiet seat who exceeds that 20% limit is okay, but O’Neal is a dead beginner. Plus, you have to factor in the weight of the saddle, although that relative weight may not make quite as much of a difference in this case.

    He’s just learning how to ride, and according to this clip from Inside the NBA, he’s already fallen off once. Well, hey. That’s step one, right? You have to fall off three times (or is it ten?) before you’re a real rider, or so they say.

    Best of luck to Shaq in his new endeavor, and extra luck to Diesel. Stay strong, buddy.

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