The latest victims of the obesity epidemic aren’t people they’re horses! A new study found that overweight recreational riders are seriously damaging horses’ health!

A lot of people think that horses are such big and strong animals that they can handle practically anything. But researchers say their bodies aren’t capable of supporting 300 or 400-pound riders.

In fact, 1 out of 3 recreational riders are too obese for horses to safely handle. And that puts them at risk for everything from lameness to back pain, which can cost thousands of dollars in vet bills.

A recent study also found that overweight riders are causing horses to develop dangerous behavioral problems, like bucking and trying to toss the overweight riders off.

And adding to the problem: Manufacturers are now rolling out plus-size saddles for overweight riders. For example, the new WOW "Bounty" saddle has a seat especially designed for heavy people.

So, how much weight can a horse handle? Vets say the rider shouldn't weigh more than 10-percent of the horse's weight, otherwise you’ll put them on the fast track to injury. 

That means a heavy draft horse that weighs 2-thousand pounds should carry no more than 200 pounds.