How Far Can A Horse Travel In A Day? The 8 Facts


How far can a horse travel in a day, there is no single answer to the question since two horses are not the same on the planet. First of all, you should know that a horse moves its legs in three different ways: from the slowest gait to the fastest trot to the fastest canter.

Second, the distance a horse can travel in a day is affected by many different factors, including the breed and age of the horse. However, its speed will also depend on the load it carries, the terrain, and weather conditions. Let’s take a closer look at how far can a horse travel in a day

Horses in the past VS Today’s horses

Always remember that people today use horses differently than hundreds of years ago. It is not necessary to rely on these animals on long daily trips, as they have adapted to new circumstances.

Unlike horses trained to make daily trips in the past, modern horses are less able to do the same, with few exceptions. While in those days horses walked about 35 miles (56.5 km) a day, today most of them can only cover 25 miles (40 km) a day.

How Far Can A Horse Travel In A Day

Unlike horses trained to make daily trips in the past, modern horses are less able to do the same, with few exceptions. While in those days horses walked about 35 miles (56.5 km) a day, today most of them can only cover 25 miles (40 km) a day.


The distance a horse can travel in a day depends largely on the nature of the horse’s movement. The steps pattern depends on your horse.

Some naturally have efficient movements that allow them to travel faster and farther using less energy. In addition, they are more comfortable for cyclists. You can recognize two types of steps, including:

  • Natural gait

This includes walking, trotting, and running.

Natural gait. The simple natural gait means a four-beat gait and covers speeds up to 4 miles per hour (6.5 km/h).

Lynx. At a trot, a horse can move in a two-stroke gait at about 8 miles per hour (13.9 km/h).

  • Ambitious approach

It is a combination of natural and learned movements such as canter and canter.

The canter (burst) is a three-beat gait that allows the horse to move at speeds of 10 to 17 miles per hour (4.5 to 7.5 km/h).

Canter – This can be either a natural gait or an ambling gait, and means that the horse is moving at about 30 miles per hour (48.5 km/h).

Horse gait

Horses can walk or gallop at a certain pace and at an average speed per mile. This can vary depending on the type of horse, rider skill, terrain, and weather conditions.

As I mentioned earlier, a typical horse can walk at about 4 miles per hour (6.5 km/h), trot at about 8 and 12 miles per hour (13.9–19.5 km/h), while it can reach speeds of at least 25 and 30 miles per hour. (40 – 48 km / h) at a gallop.

Never trust famous movie scenes. Most medium horses can only gallop 2 miles (3 km) without fatigue and about 20 miles (32 km) at a trot. You can ride your horse 25 to 35 miles (40 to 56.5 km) without rest if it walks regularly.

An average trail horse in decent shape can go 50 miles (80.5 km) in a day, while a hardy competitor can go even 100 miles (161 km) in a day. On the other hand, most of them cannot endure several days in a row of driving without a day or two of rest.

A more adapted animal can cover a greater distance at a trot and part of the way at a canter. Know that few runners can keep up with this pace. On the other hand, some horses cannot ride for eight hours a day.

Horse’s Health And Fitness

Regular exercise and training keep the horse healthy and in excellent shape. However, before the trip, it is recommended to take the pet to the veterinarian for a detailed examination. There are several factors that affect the overall physical condition of a horse.

For example, older horses often have health issues such as arthritis and are unable to travel for hours and keep up with speed. The same applies to recently injured animals.

Keep in mind that horses tend to follow their command despite being tired and in pain. Thus, you must be careful to avoid overload. Tired animals can stumble quickly and are prone to injury, so you need to be careful and responsible.

The best option is to keep a reasonable pace, make frequent stops, and have the right riding equipment, as well as enough food and water during the trip. Otherwise, you may face irreparable damage.

Keep in mind that there are several ways to improve a horse’s physical condition, but it’s a long process. With a young, energetic, and healthy animal it will be easier, but with an older, less robust horse one should be less demanding.

Existing soil and foundation

Keep in mind that the horse cannot maintain the same pace throughout the ride and this often depends on the riding conditions. Each horse will slow down when faced with unfamiliar and uncomfortable terrain, which will increase the overall travel time.

As you can guess, this is not the case whether you are traveling across the plains or over steep hills. Climbing and descending puts a lot of stress on the horse’s circulatory system and limbs, so he can’t move as fast as he would on level ground.

In addition, hard, rocky, sandy, muddy, and bumpy soils have a negative effect on the horse’s joints and hooves. Therefore, you will have to slow down to avoid injury. The best option for long-distance travel is grassy fields.

Weather Conditions

Always check the weather conditions ahead of time and avoid traveling on a too hot or too cold day. Believe it or not, the weather can make a big difference in horseback riding, especially when planning a day trip.

Most horses do best at optimal temperatures of 70–90 F (21–32 C). Rainy days will slow your pet down, mainly due to the slippery surface. Besides, no horse wants to get wet. You can expect your horse to seek cover after 3-11 km in the rain.

In most cases, the average horse can travel about 10–20 miles (16–32 km) when it snows and temperatures are low. After that, they will seek warmth.

In addition, extreme weather conditions can cause serious injury and illness to horses. For example, dehydration on hot days leads to low electrolyte levels, which always comes with serious health consequences.

Keep in mind that hot, windy weather with low humidity can cause sweat to evaporate quickly. You won’t notice sweating in this situation as it dries out quickly, but be aware that the horse may still be losing electrolytes.

On the other hand, traveling on windy and freezing days without proper protective gear is likely to result in muscle numbness, and frozen ground can damage your horse’s joints and hooves.

Feed, water, and rest your horse

A well-fed and rested horse that has received enough water will quickly complete a long run and then recover. Always check to see if you can find properly arranged and accessible water sources on the trail, regularly offer water to your overheated horse, and let him cool down and rest as much as he needs.


Proper upholstery is one of the most important things to consider when riding a horse, especially on long journeys. The same applies to the saddle and bridle.

The wrong gear will greatly affect your ride, shorten the distance you can cover in a day, and leave you dissatisfied and frustrated.

An additional problem is the loss of a boot during a trip over rocky terrain, which makes further travel impossible.

Rider skills and fitness

Finally, you must be confident in your fitness and ability to cover a long distance in one day. For example, if you are not experienced enough to lead a horse through rocky terrain or a puddle, you may be stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Always test your endurance by running a few short runs before a long ride. As you already know, riding a horse for many hours is tiring and can be quite painful. Even the most experienced runners will struggle to cope with such a load.

The Finale Words About How Far Can A Horse Travel In A Day

You can ride an average, healthy, energetic horse 25 and 35 miles (40-56.5 km) in one day under ideal conditions. However, most of them successfully cover only 24-32 km per day with enough water, food, and rest. Keep in mind that the distance traveled also depends on you, the weather conditions, the terrain, and the equipment you are using.

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