Rider to Horse Height Ratio? - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By maura
  • 1 Post By Palomine
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 78
• Horses: 1
Rider to Horse Height Ratio?

Since I've moved to New Zealand I've seen and heard a lot of, "Oh, I'm too tall so I can't ride anything under 16hh." or "Selling my horse as I am too tall." or "Couldn't show my horse as I am too tall for it."

Is this a trend or would I actually get docked points at a show for riding a 15hh horse as a woman standing about 5'10"? I have always been very comfortable on horses around 15hh. Since deciding to sell my horse in America I've been researching into horses around here, looking into my options and deciding both what my criteria would be and what I can afford. At 5'10" and roughly 120lbs. would it be frowned upon for me to get something around 15hh?

Any insight would be much appreciated, thanks.
Laineylou is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 292
• Horses: 0
You're going to laugh, but I'm 5'5" and I ride a 13hh pony. I thought I looked bad on her, since my feet almost hung below her belly, but I was assured by everyone at the barn that we were a good fit. My normal ride is 14.2hh and I feel better on him.

I ride dressage and I can tell you that they don't dock points for appearance, unless it's really horrible, it's entirely your riding.
Kotori is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 8,434
• Horses: 1
Never really bought into that to be honest.

Me and my mare are both little, I'm 5'2'' and she's 13.3 so we look good together but I've also seen my 6' dad ride her no problem and my trainer is 5'9'' and rides her no issue.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
SorrelHorse is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,289
• Horses: 0

In the US, hunters and hunter seat eq and in some cases, dressage, do concern themselves with suitability. I have seen hunter judges penalize someone obviously too small (tiny child on a men's heavyweight hunter) or too large for their horse (heel, ankle or more below the barrel and visible from the other side of the horse) In equitation, you must have a horse whose barrel takes up your whole leg so you are secure (hs eq riders ride with their whole lower keg snug on the horse, this provides their security in two point) and can use the aids correctly. Also, a very tall or long torsoed rider will have difficulty balancing on a short coupled or short necked horse, and over fences the will invariably weight the front end.

Dressage is a little more forgiving, but you still need to be able to get your lower leg ON the horse when you need to - a rider making dramatic movements with their leg or picking up their heel to use it is distracting.

Much less important in the Western disciplines - they ride with the lowerbleg off the horse, don't get in two point and give cues mostly with their seat.

After all that, it's personal preference.

I still want a horse that takes up my whole leg, but as I age, I like 'em a little closer to the ground.
Palomine and bsms like this.
maura is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,292
• Horses: 1
How strange... I've lived in New Zealand my whole life, and never heard much about that kind of talk here - except when it comes to kids/teens who obviously have outgrown their ponies. I'm 5'4 and overweight and ride both a 15hh and a 14.2hh, but only ever had comments about the length of my old 16.1hh gelding's back to my weight and "breaking" him... albeit that started from a not so pleasant member on here actually. Further, my height matches my ponies, and again... only had the comments about my weight, or their weight, not anything else.

Where abouts in NZ are you, north or south? I'm in Christchurch, and I can't say I know of many people worried about height at all here... considering I know a few people who are slender and tall on 15.1-15.2hh horses and compete well etc.

Personally, if you feel comfortable, and you fit the horse well (height isn't everything, the size of the barrel and other parts of the horse's conformation can take up some leg, or lengthen it etc), then who really cares? As long as it's not an inconvenience for yourself or the pony, I don't find height ratios as big of an issue as you've otherwise experienced!

Good luck!

Seoul Searchin' for the Lovebug
ohmyitschelle is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 726
• Horses: 1
Dont worry about being "frowned" upon its not the height its the weight. I never ever seen ppl frown upon riding something "to tall" or "to small". In Australia you dont get marked down on this human hight to horse hight ratio thing, so probably in Newzealand its the same.

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
OliviaMyee is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,292
• Horses: 1
Haha Laineylou, I thought you looked familiar, you contacted me on here, so I actually know whereabouts you are! How very odd, what kind of horse circle/sport interest are you in may I ask? I know mostly showies and a lot of Standardbred owners, so maybe I'm not privy to the other opinions of different circles!!

Anyways, your original question was about showing right? I'm not sure what section you're meaning, but for showing, unless you're in ponies, which 15hh is not, you shouldn't get docked any points for your height. I don't think you do in ponies either, but sometimes the competitors are more critical about height in that section than any judge :(

Seoul Searchin' for the Lovebug

Last edited by ohmyitschelle; 04-09-2013 at 07:43 AM.
ohmyitschelle is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 07:46 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,771
• Horses: 3
Some depends too on where you carry your height.

If mostly it is above pelvis? That can make you look better on some horses, worse on others.

Longer legged, so if you are all leg on smaller horse? Will look odd possibly.

Depends too on how you ride.
maura likes this.

Horses make me a better person.
Palomine is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 04-09-2013, 08:45 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,847
• Horses: 1
It depends on the horse. There are plenty of 15hh horses who would look and be suitable for your height. However, most show type horses are usually quite finely built and you might need a horse 16hh+ to take up your leg well. I think you could get docked points just because a rider who looks too big on a horse just doesn't look so good.

Like I'm 5'7 and have a 14.3hh pony. She's on the small side but she's fine for me, as she's a QHx. However, I used to have a 16.1hh Thoroughbred and we were a perfect match for size as he was finer. We'd look great in the ring. So I couldn't have a 15hh fine TB but a stock horse, QH type, that's good for me. And I don't care if my horse is on the short side - I don't show or anything.
Saskia is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Horse height vs. Rider height...How tall is the horse you ride poultrygirl Horse Talk 78 07-09-2015 01:19 PM
horse height vs rider height Aliboo Horse Talk 31 06-03-2014 04:33 PM
Another height/weight ratio question Saskia Horse Talk 3 03-30-2012 09:47 AM
Good horse to rider ratio? Thyme Horse Riding 1 10-07-2011 02:06 AM
Hmm, is this height ratio okay? twogeldings Horse Talk 10 08-06-2010 02:59 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome