How do they add Weight to Horses?

As the two horses reach the 200-metre mark, the topweight ranges up to the bottom-weighted horse in the race, and they are poised to fight it out over the last 200 metres to determine the victor. The topweight edges to the front as they reach the finishing line, and jubilation ensues from the owner, the trainer and the jockey. The jockey goes to the weigh-in area, and bedlam ensues as the Clear of the Scales lodges an objection against the winner as the jockey’s weight for the horse he has ridden is incorrect.

The jockey “weighing out” weight does not correspond to his weight when “weighing in”. It is critical to comprehend the terminology. “Weighing out” refers to registering a rider’s weight before a race when they are outside of the jockeys’ room. “Weighing in” refers to the process of documenting their weight after the race as they make their way back inside. This scenario is not commonplace on any race day, but it plays itself out on glocal racetracks, albeit infrequently.

How do they add Weight to Horses? Certain races may require a horse to carry a heavier weight than the other horses in the race because some horses have higher ratings than others. The Clerk of Scales may add weight to a rider in various ways.

Certain racecourses employ rubber cushions between the saddle towel and the saddle and weigh between one and ten pounds. Certain jockeys dislike those pads because they believe the smooth outside covering causes the saddle to slide. Therefore, other racecourses allow lead weights tucked into compartments beneath the saddle flap.

Before a race, jockeys have to weigh themselves and their equipment (including the saddle) to ensure the correct weight. If a jockey weighs less than the horse, the discrepancy will be filled by tiny lead weights in a particular saddle material. Traditional weighing scales with chairs were used to weigh jockeys, but mechanical scales have now taken their place. After weighing in, the jockey passes the saddle to the trainer or the trainer’s helper to saddle up the horse. Following the race, the rider must weigh in with all of his equipment to ensure that the horse carries the correct weight.

The Clerk of Scales weighs the jockey. There is an official with the clerk of scales inside the jockeys’ chamber. Before racing starts, authorities must ensure that jockeys weigh and have their eight documented. The Cleark of Scales must visually check each jockey’s weight and report the information to the track officials. The officials then notify the commentator, who announces the overweight on any of their rides.

Weight – The Overweight Jockey

When a jockey declares an overweight on a horse, it is best to proceed with caution, although they should be evaluated for future races. Every race day, the impact of ‘weight’ on any horse is a hot subject of conversation. When a horse is said to be ‘well-weighted’ for a race, it is considered favourably handicapped compared to the weights allocated to its opponents. Of course, when more lead bags than necessary has to be tucked into the saddle, then those calculations so painstakingly made could be compromised.

If we take a comprehensive perspective, we may infer that a higher-class horse can carry heavier loads more quickly than a lower-quality galloper. However, as with everything else, this ability will be decided by the horse’s current racing condition, race distance, track condition (good, yielding, or heavy), and, of course, the all-important barrier position from which the horse leaps, particularly in large fields.

Trainers like jockeys to be as near to the assigned weight as possible since it is more difficult for the horse to bear this than a person who can move with it. Most people are generally aware that jockeys are weighed before and after a race to confirm they carry the weight listed in the program or on the changes list.

Weight and the Jockeys Saddle

Most jockeys have three different saddles depending on the weight they require to carry. The heavier the saddle, the more weight they carry. Safety equipment like vests or helmets usually is not included against a rider’s weight.

Rider weights have always been contentious, with many riders lobbying for a greater minimum. Racing officials believe that fewer riders are going to harmful measures to lose weight than 15 years ago as the jockeys are being made aware of the harmful side effects. Many jockeys are also starting to comprehend how it will affect them after retiring.

Weight Conditions and Penalties

  • According to the weight vs distance tables, a specific weight differential between two horses will account for a certain amount of lengths over varying distances. In certain circumstances, a horse will receive a weight penalty of three kilograms for each race they win, regardless of distance.
  • An older, more mature horse would occasionally have to surrender weight to a younger horse to compensate for the maturity gap. Similarly, when fillies and colts compete in the same race, fillies generally receive weight from colts. Each race will have its own set of rules governing how the weights to be carried are determined.
  • Creating a horse rating system is feasible by reviewing race results and noting differences in distances at the finish and weights carried. These weight vs lengths behind values are then converted into kilograms. The difference in ratings between two horses reflects the weight they should carry to compete on an equal basis if they run together.

Weight and the Form Analyst

The weight carried by a horse in a race will always be an essential factor in a Form Analyst’s or amateur handicapper’s race analysis. More information has been accessible to build studies as technology has advanced, which will make the analysis more accurate if utilized appropriately.

With the introduction of social media, this information has become even more easily accessible, thus enabling the Punter to modify their handicapping algorithms in real-time scenarios. If utilized consistently, the Form Studier will identify winners more often, which is the ultimate desire of all horse racing fans.


Hi, I'm James, a long time horse racing fan. I was introduced to racing by my granddad. He taught me a little about horses and I was hooked. I have been to most racecourses in the UK .

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