How many Hands High? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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How many Hands High?

I am searching for a new horse and need to now how tall my new buddie needs to be. I'm about 5'7 I'm an average wieght. Please help!
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 09:45 AM
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There are too many variables. Age, flexibility, strength, desired sport...

I'm 5'8" on a tall day. For general trail riding, I prefer a horse under 15 hands. Maybe 14.2. But for some activities, that would be a drawback. What do you want to do with your horse?
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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I am still growing but I'm finnished with my growith spurt... I think. I ride westren and want to do barrels and I will be trail ridding some. As of how strong I am how do you measure that?
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 09:59 AM
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There is definitely a lot more that goes into it besides your height. What do you plan to do with the horse? I'm 5'6" and my shortest is 14.1 my tallest 16.3 - both take up my leg, I'm comfortable on both as well as my others that fall somewhere in between. My ideal height is 15 - 15.2, a good middle of the road size for an all-arounder.

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post #5 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I can do a backbend and hold it if that means anything
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 10:03 AM
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Sorry posted at the same time. In the barrel world you will see horses of varying sizes. I haven't ran in ages but when I did I ran both a tank of cutting bred mare that was 14.2 and an long & lean appendix mare that was 16.1, it was a coin toss any given day who would outrun the other. I'd not be too concerned with size but more with training and disposition.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Horse Feather View Post
...As of how strong I am how do you measure that?
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Some folks mount from mounting blocks. If you don't want to do that, then the next question is how much effort are you willing to put into learning to mount, and getting your legs strong enough and flexible enough to do so comfortably for both you and your horse?

I did a little riding in my early 20s, and I had no problem mounting up to about 17 hands. I once tried an 18 hand horse, and it was awkward.

I then went nearly 30 years without riding, and started again at 50. Yes, I can get on my 15.3 mare from the ground - but it is more work. For the riding I do, a tall horse offers no advantages - other than I like my mare, so I keep her.

Unless limited by injury or disease, a person can probably learn to mount an 18 hand horse from the ground, if they will work at it. But if height isn't an advantage, then why bother?

If I was in the market for a horse, health & the horse's personality would be my #1 concern. But in Arizona, I could probably find a 14.2/1000 lbs horse with excellent health and personality, so I would.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 10:16 AM
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I would worry more about the price of the horse, training the horse has, the temperment, conformation (starting at the hooves and working up), general health of the horse, the gender, the age, the color and then the size in that order. If ONE thing doesn't fit then move on to the next prospect.

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 11:24 AM
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AT 5'7'' you could ride anything from 13.2 to 16.2+, as long as your weight is not too much for the horse. The horse height is usually my last consideration.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 11:39 AM
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There has been good advice so far. One thing I would like to add is generalities of the type of riding you do. Western riding tends to be filled with shorter horses while English riding tends to favor the taller mounts. These are generalities - not rules because there are some who compete in english/dressage on haflingers or other ponies while some are in western on taller mounts. But I'm not sure if fitting into the "image" of your chosen field would make a difference in your decision.

As to trail riding - I personally prefer shorter horses. In fact I'm 5'9 and my haflinger might reach 14 hands on his tip-toes. But he is stocky and takes up my leg and has nice thick cannon bones and can carry me all day long out on the hills. Plus when we are in thicker woods and such we can duck under trees and such easier than those on the taller mounts.

I would just try several different sized horses - not just height but widths and shapes - and find out what your personal preference is.
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