Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
My personal ideal height is between 15hh - 15.3hh. I think it's a really manageable height, and tall enough to carry most riders. I don't like bigger ones, they're not as handy, you need big rugs and they're just, big. Much smaller than 15hh is too small for me though.
I'm a tad shorter than you (5'7) and I have a 15hh stock horse and a 15.3hh TB. The smaller one takes up my leg a lot better and and I look pretty perfect on him (he's chunky though). On my TB I look just right, but she couldn't be any smaller. So it really depends on the horse. I think 14.3hh will be suitable if the horse is quite solidly built. You really have to ride them to see how they take up your leg, if they feel right.
The only problem with chunky small horses and sizing is that sometimes their neck can be too short to balance out your torso height, which can look strange.
Just go see the horse, get someone to take a few pictures of you on them, ride around and see how you feel with that horse and their size.