Height Preference - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-29-2012, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Height Preference

How much does height matter to you guys in eventing? By height I mean your horses height. I'm looking at a mare who is around 16.1 hands tall. Do you think she's too short to go very far in eventing or does it even really matter? My current gelding is about 17.2 hands tall, huge for me and it makes me nervous some times because it's so far to the ground (I don't bounce so well anymore).
My trainer has a stallion who's done very well in eventing (Rolex competitor, Olympic competitor, etc.) and he's 16.3 hands talls.
So in your opinion, how much does height really matter?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 05:23 PM
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It doesn't.

There are plenty of short horses who have been successful that it basically negates any argument (in my opinion) that height makes a huge difference. As long as the horse has decent conformation, is athletic, and has a good mind there's no reason it can't excel in any sport.

There was a time when most of Karen O'Connor's upper level rides were around 16.1 or less. The two that come to the top of the list for me are Teddy O'Connor and Upstage, both really fantastic horses and both under 16 hands (Teddy was under 15 hands).

Personally, height will pretty much be the LAST thing I consider if I'm looking at an eventing prospect. Soundness (physical and mental) is at the top of the list, followed by athleticism, a willingness to learn...those are all far more important.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 05:23 PM
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It's more about the individual horse's talent. Some eventers can be 15.2hh and just have springs attached - other horses at 17hh can't clear 3ft. Teddy O'Connor, placed third in the ,2007 Kentucky was 14.1hh.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 10:24 PM
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i think athletecism is more important. my horse is about 16.1 and I have shown her in jumpers up to 3'9 with no issue.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 10:28 PM
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i think the perfect height for an eventer is 15.3hh-16.1hh, but to me body type is more important than height.

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post #6 of 9 Old 06-02-2012, 01:32 PM
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Height has little bearing on a horse's talent. I've been out jumped by ponies too many times to count.

Heart, soundness, athletic ability and willingness are probably the top things I look for. Granted your horse should fit you, but you don't need a giant.

My personal experience with horses over 17HH is that they break down quicker if under hard work. There is just too much weight and stress on them. Plus they tend to be less handy and need to be pulled together in SJ and Dressage.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-10-2012, 03:18 PM
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There was some study of horses at Rolex one year. The average height was either 16'1 or 16'2. There were some horses shorter and only one horse was above 17 hands. In general the most athletic horses are in the average-tall height, but there are outliers on either side. The most important factor in the making of a great event horse is not the height but athleticism and a great mind.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-14-2012, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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That's pretty much exactly what I thought you guys would say The thought just popped in my head about height and I was curious about your opinions on the subject. Can't say I disagree with anything you've said! When I first started riding my Thoroughbred I always felt like his legs were getting in his way and it took a lot more to get him on the bit... but I think that was mostly because of the race track "training" hehe!
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-15-2012, 02:56 AM
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Not at all! I do the lower levels mind you (highest I've gone is novice) but my BN/N horse is 15.3 and my BBN/BN horse is 14.3. My 14.3 guy actually does much better than my 15.3 mare, as the lower levels you win mostly on your dressage score and he is a dressage machine. My trainer calls him "little big man" because when you see him go you have no idea his size until you walk up to him standing still.
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