FAQ Other

Equine Odometers: How Far Can Horses Travel in a Day?

horseback riders on trail ride
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Mile Markers & Hoofprints

Horses were built more for distance than speed, although top racehorses have clocked speeds of up to 55 mph. But how far can (and should) a horse be asked to move in a single day?

Horses can travel anywhere from 10 to 100 miles in a day, depending on their age, breed, health, and level of fitness. The average horse can travel 25-40 miles in a day, whereas endurance horses can travel up to 100 miles a day for up to three days.

It’s important to take the time to get your horse in shape before attempting any longer or endurance rides.

horses on trail ride with mountain backdrop

Source: Canva

Equine Range

There’s a wide range of horse breeds in the world, and each excels at different things. Some horses could travel 10-20 miles in a day, others can travel up to 100 miles in a day.

The individual horse’s range depends on their age, breed, and level of fitness.

Horses in the Wild

Wild horses can cover 20-40 miles in a day in order to forage for sufficient food and water. They could potentially travel farther, but a lot of their traveling involves grazing, which slows them down.

The Importance of Fitness & Conditioning

It’s of paramount importance to take the time to get your horse in shape before attempting any long or arduous travel. It can take six to eight weeks to develop a basic level of fitness and years to get a horse in endurance-level shape.

Endurance-level shape equates to traveling up to 100 miles in one day

Equine Gaits and Their Speeds

Gait Average MPH
Speed at the Walk 4 mph
Speed at the Trot 8 mph
Speed at the Canter 12 mph
Speed at the Gallop 30 mph

The Endurance Horse

Endurance horses are some of the fittest horses around. They can travel 50-100 miles a day in peak condition for up to three days (before needing a day or two to rest).

The Working Ranch Horse

Working ranch horses are powerhouses in their own rights, covering 20-25 miles each day with minimal strain.

two working ranch horses and a calf

Source: Canva

The Carriage Horse

Carriage horses are sturdy and strong, capable of traveling 10-30 miles in a day.

How Far Can a Horse Travel…

Questions Answers
In one day? 25-100 miles
In one hour? 3-12 miles
In one week? 140-500 miles

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How far can a human travel in a day?

A healthy, fit human could travel 20-30 miles in a day.

runner in black and white with mountain background

Source: Canva

Q: How far did cowboys travel on horseback?

On flat land, cowboys might cover anywhere from 30-40 miles in a day’s work. On hilly terrain, this distance may be reduced to 20-30 miles. If you were to transition to mountainous geographies, the average daily range reduces farther to 15-20 miles.

Q: How long does it take a horse to travel 100 miles?

The average, healthy horse can cover between 25 and 35 miles in a day, so it would take three to four days. A highly trained endurance horse could do 100 miles in a single day.

Q: How far can a horse travel without stopping?

If the horse is in great shape, he could reasonably cover 20-40 miles without stopping. Breaks are highly recommended, however, to allow for hydration and to prevent injury.

Q: How far can a horse travel in 3 hours?

Depending on his level of fitness and speed (walk, trot, canter, or gallop), a horse could travel anywhere from 12 to 30 miles.

Q: How far can a horse carriage travel in a day?

A carriage horse can travel between 10-30 miles in a day, depending on the horse, carriage weight, terrain, and weather.

Q: How long would it take to travel 1000 miles on horseback?

Depending on the horse and the terrain, it would take anywhere from 10 to 60 days to travel 1,000 miles.

Q: How far can a horse run with a rider?

Most in-shape horses could only gallop for a mile or two at a time or canter for five to seven miles at a time. A horse can carry a rider at a slower gait (like a walk or trot) for much longer.

racehorses galloping on turf

Source: Canva

Parting Thought

Whether you’re planning a horse-friendly camping trip or are considering trying your hand at an endurance event, rest assured your horse, with the right training, is more than capable of going the distance.

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About the author

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Owner and equine photographer of Reversed Eye Photography, Annakah serves the the Edmonton, Canada area. She is happiest with her horse, behind a camera, or wandering in the forest. More than anything, she loves meeting horses and the people who love them and getting the chance to tell their stories through photographs!