Hey everyone! I thought we could discuss "the right sized horse". I also want to talk about why the english community has the tendancy to ride tall horses, when shorter horses are more accepted in the western ring.
I am 5'6 and was leasing a 16 hand TB. I felt like he was HUGE. The SPB I am currently leasing, Jack, is 15.2 and I feel much safer being closer to the ground! My trainer made a comment about how Jack really needs another 6 inches for us to be sucessful in the hunter under saddle world. I was so sad to hear this, as he is such a good boy. I feel very comfortable on him, and I don't want to go back to riding a giraffe! :) I am not showing at a high level and I am not loosing any sleep over the height of my horse. A good horse is a good horse, I don't care if I am riding a 30 year old pony if I am comfortable and having fun.
My trainer, however, shows western a lot and she is about the same height as me. Her show horses are all around 15- 15.2.
So everyone, am I missing something? Is this a trend in the english world? Has it always been like this? Are short horses a trend in the western world? Do taller horses just show the movement better? Lets chat.
Just for fun, here is are a couple pictures showing the difference in height between the two horses I've been riding lately.
Unfortunately, if you want to be successful in the show ring, you usually have to follow the current fashion trends, even if they do seem pointless.
I can't say much with any level of certainty about why things are that way in the english world. I would imagine that it's a combination of having longer, floatier movement and having height makes them look like they could take a jump better.
As for the western world, pleasure horses are trending toward taller...16+hh. They are trending that way along with Halter and HUS horses because usually a horse does all 3 disciplines. Halter horses, after being broke to ride (if their conformation allows them to be ridden), are trained in the slower pleasure classes more often than anything; WP, HUS, trail, horsemanship, etc.
On the other hand, performance bred horses tend to stay shorter...14-15hh. General rule is, the shorter a horse is, the quicker they are. You'd be hard pressed to find a world champion cutting or reining horse that was much over 14 hands. Most of the ranch work bred horses get up into the 15's but not too many are over 16.
Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/