how far can a horse travel in a day

How Far can a Horse Travel in a Day

Last updated on March 11th, 2023 at 10:19 pm

How Far Can a Horse Travel in a Day?

A horse can travel roughly 160 kilometres (100 Miles) in a single day if it’s in amazingly good shape with strong endurance. On the other hand, an ordinary trail horse (healthy horse) can travel about half of that, 80 kilometres (50 Miles) at a brisk walking pace with a couple of water breaks and reasonable time to cool down. 

Just like humans, how far an average horse can travel in a single day depends on its fitness level. Someone who’s unfit and out of shape isn’t going to be able to walk 30 kilometres in a day. The same can be said for a typical horse. 

But there are other factors at play for how far a horse can go. For example, any horse should be able to travel for thousands of kilometres if the parameters are agreeable. The horse must be trained for such a journey, it can’t be pushed too hard, and it needs to be properly equipped, and you need to keep the horse healthy. 

One of the most famous horse journeys across North America was when someone named Nan J. Aspinwall road from San Francisco to New York on the back of his horse, covering a total of 178 days and over 5000 kilometres. 

How far a horse can travel in one day depends on how long they are travelling. For example, a horse and rider travelling for weeks can usually go as far as about 50 kilometres (30 Miles) a day. On the other hand, a horse and rider travelling for only a single day can go double that, up to 100 kilometres (60 Miles). 

The big difference here is that the day after riding for 100 kilometres, the horse is probably not going to be able to repeat the same distance. It will need rest for a day or two. This is why on longer journeys, the distance a horse can travel per day is cut in half.

How Far Can a Horse Travel in 8 Hours?

Just about any horse can walk comfortably for a full 8 hours. During this time, a horse will typically cover about 50 kilometres. It will honestly be more difficult for a human to stay in the saddle for a full 8 hours than for the horse to keep walking. 

If the horse trots or canters for part of the journey, it will gain a few extra kilometres by the end of the 8-hour day. But a lot of it depends on the terrain as well. Going up and down hills will be very taxing for a horse’s limbs and their cardiovascular system. Rocky or hard terrain will also hurt a horse’s hooves and give them sore joints. 

If a horse must travel across treacherous terrain, it won’t make it nearly as far in eight hours as it normally would. It’s the same as if you were to walk all day uphill as opposed to walking along a flat trail. 

 Another thing that can determine how far a horse travels in eight hours is the weather. Weather conditions must be taken into account when planning any ride. A horse will lose quite a bit of body water and electrolytes when they sweat. If your horse gets dehydrated in hot weather, it won’t be able to keep going for long. 

If the weather is hot or humid, plan to stop frequently. Replenish your horse’s electrolytes as quickly as possible and keep your eyes open for when your horse starts to sweat. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell because wind will evaporate sweat quickly. 

And of course, things like snow and rain will also slow down a horse significantly. 

How Far Can a Horse Run Without Stopping?

A horse can run at its fastest pace, what is known as a gallop, without stopping for just over 3 kilometres. After 3 kilometers, fatigue will begin to set in. At an outright gallop, just about any horse will be toast after 3 kilometers. An outright gallop is usually between 70 and 80 kilometers per hour. 

However, if the horse is running at a reasonable pace, such as a trot, it can probably go for at least 35 kilometers before it needs to stop and take a break. Remember that horses are not machines. They don’t have endless supplies of energy to keep running forever. They get tired just like any other animal.

It’s also important to know that we’re talking about average horses. A horse that has been trained for long distance running can go significantly farther without needing to take a break. Still, no horse should be run longer than they can stand it, otherwise they can suffer from injuries. Ahorse can run harder and longer when they are properly hydrated and have been given lots of rest. 

Can A Human Outrun a Horse?

A human cannot outrun a horse in a sprint. It’s just not going to happen. Most humans couldn’t even beat an ostrich in a footrace. We are not the fastest animals in the world. For example, let’s take a look at a horse’s top speed vs a human’s top speed.

The world record for horse speed is 70.8 kilometers per hour. Usain Bolt holds the record for the fastest human speed at 43.4 kilometers per hour. There is a very clear winner here. A human could never outrun a horse. At least, not in the 100-meter dash.

But a human could easily outrun a horse in a marathon. In fact, humans can outrun any terrestrial animal on Earth when it comes to endurance running. This is because humans have up to 4 million sweat glands on our body that allow us to cool ourselves while we run. We also don’t have fur, enabling us to regulate our temperature much better. Unlike dogs, we don’t have to cool down by panting with our tongues hanging out.

Horses are faster than humans. But if a person were well trained, they could run without stopping for much longer than a horse, easily beating one in a marathon. 

How Far Can Horses Travel FAQ

How Far Can a Horse Travel in 8 Hours?

A typical average horse can easily walk for 8 hours a day. They should have some breaks and will need water depending on the temperature and the if it is a fit horse. Trained horses can travel further and faster than non-trained horses but you still need to take various factors into account. You need to pay attention to the horse’s legs, the windy weather, the horse’s physical condition, any steep hills, any deep mud and any saddle sores from the long rides.

Long distances are going to take more time, and typically require more out of your horse. A long ride will also require you to be able to endure sitting on the horse for a long period of time. The horse’s physical health, the horse’s breed and proper nutrition all play a part in the journey or long trail ride.

What are the Best Horse Breeds For Long Distances?

Arabian horses are known for their endurance and endurance racing. The American quarter horse is also well known for its all-day attitude and ability to travel long distances. Trail riding, and long horseback rides are common for these types of horses. Trail riding is also something that other breeds can do as well, like the thoroughbred, the Friesian, the warmblood, and even bigger draft horses. You just need to make sure you have the necessary riding equipment, stay at a slower pace and enjoy an average speed. Older horses can also benefit from the fitness required for longer trail rides, they may not be up for an intense ride, but they will still benefit from the fitness.