How Far Can a Horse Run? 6 Facts You Should Know

In Horses by Morten Storgaard

Horses are amazing animals that were bred and evolved by the hands of humans for centuries.

Along with dogs, horses are the closest thing that humans have to “man’s best friend” and are built to work well with us to accomplish goals and for companionship.

How far can a horse run?

Horses can run at a fast pace (a gallop) without stopping for about 2 miles until fatigue sets in. At a slower pace, horses can travel for as long as 20 miles in one day at a walk or a trot. The average that horses can canter without stopping is between 1 and 5 miles if their pace isn’t too fast.

Pushing your horse fast and long for an extended length of distance or time is not advisable, and you will want to make sure you have properly trained and built up your horse’s strength in order to accomplish longer stretches of travel and speed.

1. How Many Miles Can a Horse Run?

Riding a horse at a run is one of the most thrilling sensations in the world!

At a run or gallop, horses can run about one to two miles without stopping. However, horses that are trained for long-distance running and endurance can go a little longer.

It is inadvisable to run your horse longer than they can stand, as it could cause long-lasting negative health effects or injuries.

If you are looking to go on a short trip in a hurry, galloping is a great option. However, for long-distance travel and camping trips, try to keep your horses to a trot or canter.

How Many Miles in One Day?

A horse can travel up to 20 miles in one day at a slow pace, such as trotting, walking, or cantering.

This is great for people who are taking long trips but have plenty of time on their hands. Most campers and long-distance trail riders will opt for slower paces in order to keep their horses going for long distances.

Furthermore, horses that are well hydrated and given lots of rest can go even a little further than that with proper breeding and training.

If you are taking a long weekend or week-long trip, however, consider keeping the distances smaller than 20 miles at a time.

This will maximize your total amount of distance reached on your trip while still keeping your horse in good shape.

2. How Long Time Can a Horse Run?

There are a lot of horse owners who take their animals on long camping trips, getting in touch with nature and bonding with their companions.

If you are looking to travel for several hours, consider keeping your horse at a slow pace for the duration of the trip.

At a trot or canter, horses can travel about eight miles per hour and can continue on for an average of five hours in one day, depending on their breed, build, and overall training and nutrition.

A horse in its peak health can canter for up to seven hours at a time, but should never be pushed to do this on a regular or daily basis.

At a gallop, a horse can complete two miles without having to rest or stop.

Because horses travel at roughly 30mph at a gallop, you could easily complete 2 miles in less than eight minutes depending on the terrain, obstacles, or the horse’s gait.

3. How Far Can a Horse Run in One Hour?

In theory, as horses run or gallop at 30 miles per hour, a horse could complete thirty miles in one hour at a gallop.

However, you should never force your horse to keep up a running pace for a full hour, as this could severely harm them.

As we’ve mentioned before, a horse will become fatigued or need to rest after two miles at full gallop, in which case you should slow down and allow them to rest and catch their breath.

Instead, trotting or cantering is a better option for horse riding for long periods of time.

A horse can trot or canter for one hour and complete 8 miles without too much strain on their bodies, but should still be given breaks to walk and catch their breath when needed.

Again, if you are looking to take long journeys, it is better to go slowly than to rush your animal and cause them physical strain.

4. How Far Can a Horse Run Without Rest and Stops?

If you are in a very big hurry, or perhaps your horse has been spooked and takes off running, you are still looking at that two-mile distance for most breeds.

Horses that are bred to run very long and fast will probably take you as far as five miles without stopping, but once they’ve reached that point, they will most likely require a lot of rest and looking at by a medical professional.

Veterinarians are usually on standby for races that require horses to travel extremely long distances in a short period of time.

One of the more famous races that do this is the Tevis Cup Race in the United States, which requires horses to travel 100 miles within 24 hours. This is not all at once and often will take about 11 to 15 hours to complete for even the winners.

In fact, at 100 miles in 15 hours, your horse is probably only traveling at 6 miles per hour the entire time. This would be at a trot or a canter, and not a full gallop.

These horses that participate in the Tevis Cup Race are bred and trained for years beforehand, so any regular trail-riding horse should never have to try to participate in this race.

It should be noted that many horses do not finish the Tevis Cup Race, and even more may require looking at by a veterinarian.

5. What is the Longest Distance you Should Ride a Horse?

Horses were bred and built to be long-distance carriers of humans and inventory, either through pulling carts or through saddlebags that humans took with them.

Because of this, we expect them to be long-term travel companions.

The longest that you should really ride a horse at a slower pace (walking, trotting, cantering) can be about 20 miles in one day at a time.

Well cared for horses can travel for very long periods with moments of rest, walking or hydrating, and even feeding.

This means that if you are looking to camp or take very long trail rides, you can cover a lot of ground over a weekend or even a long week of travel.

Just make sure that you and your horse are well prepared to take the journey and are capable of protecting yourself from potential dangers, such as dehydration, fatigue, or injury.

6. How Long Can a Horse Run at Peak Speed?

A horse’s average peak speed is about 30 miles per hour, but some horses have been known to get up to 45 and even 50 miles per hour!

These horses are usually very strong, well-bred, and are trained by professionals to race or win endurance stretches like the Tevis Cup Race.

However, at peak speed, your horse may only be able to run for about 5 to 8 minutes. At 5 minutes and 30 miles per hour, your horse could run for 2.5 miles without stopping.

This is actually a very good distance in very little time and is remarkable for such a large animal!

As always, we at Animalhow advise that you should never overwork your horse or have them run for long periods of time without proper rest, hydration and looking-after.

Furthermore, at a reasonable pace, such as a 9 mile per hour canter, your house could run the same amount of distance in only twenty minutes, rather than five!

This is not a huge loss of time, and your horse will thank you better for it than running them at full gallop.

References:

Tevis Cup Race – Website and FAQ

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike
Great!

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)