Rider height? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Rider height?

I know that there are multiple posts on this subject, but I can't really compare to most of the answers. I want to know what height horse I can ride up to. I'm 4'10", and stuck there. All of the replies to these questions are people saying that they're 5ft+, so I was wondering about myself...I was looking at horses to possibly buy one, (I jump) and this lady was selling her horse because she was 5'3" and said that her 17hh horse was too tall for her. Does my leg have to hit somewhere? I know it can be hard to control a big green horse, soooo... anyone?(I'm not new to horses)

Last edited by milesofhorses; 06-05-2020 at 12:21 AM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 12:59 AM
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From my understanding, the height of the horse doesn't matter as long as you're not too big for it. Otherwise they can learn the cues from someone with shorter legs and function just fine. I'm 5'4 and my boy is around the 16.3 hh mark and my leg doesn't necessarily hit the "right" spots, but he's adapted and we get along just fine with leg cues.

Now, I'm no professional so take my words with a grain of salt. This is just something I've told by a few horse professionals. One riding instructor I had was about my height or a bit shorter but she had a 17+ hh horse that she'd ride. Just might take a bit of extra practice for the horse to get used to shorter legs so the cues come in some different spots than what they were used to before but should still be just fine. That's what I understand anyway. Like I said, I'm no expert in this.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 02:19 AM
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A horse being "too big" is more of a confidence thing ime than anything else. A bigger horse can be a lot to keep together - especially in dressage if you're a small rider because you can't get your leg around them to lift them - but you learn to work with what you have, if you have the desire to do it.

Mounting is also uh... interesting, if you're a small rider with a big horse. I physically cannot mount my mare from the ground because she's 17h and I'm 5'3 and not very flexible. So, what I did was, I taught her to stand where I put her, no matter where that is. I can mount off a log, a stump (my main mounting block is actually a tall stump), a gate, the round pen fence, the fender of a horse trailer, literally anything I can stand my horse next to. I can stick her in a ditch and if the ditch is deep enough for me to reach the stirrup I can mount from the side of the ditch. If I have someone with me, I get them to leg me up. There are workarounds for mounting a tall horse while being short.

I'm not going to lie though, when my giant plays up it's much more intimidating than when my mum's 14.3 pony plays up...
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 06:20 AM
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I certainly would not want to sell a tall horse to a shorter rider. Why would you want one so big?

As said they take a lot to hold together and even saddling couldmwell be a problem let alone if the horse decided not to be bridled!

If you like jumping and wish to comete (assuming at local level) I would say 14.2 - 15 hands would be ideal.

Just remember, many great things come in little packages!
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 07:35 AM
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I'm sort of the opposite (5'5 and ride a pony) so I can't comment from personal experience, but...

At my barn, we have someone who is probably a little taller than you who leases a horse who is probably a little shorter than the one you are considering. She has to use a stepping stool to get the horse tacked. She finally got her to where she'll put her head down to be bridled, but she still needs the stool for the saddle and all, and I doubt that will ever change.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 10:38 AM
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I feel like I'm the only one here who's in support of small riders getting big horses haha.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no welfare issue for the horse, and it's not dangerous for the rider PROVIDED they're strong enough in the seat and are willing to find safe workarounds for things like mounting and tacking up. My horse is trained to drop her head into the bridle or I'd stand no chance. She also drops her head for deworming. I have a portable mounting block that I could use for saddling if my horse was much bigger or I was much smaller. There are workarounds.

You need to have a strong independent seat and you need to be aware that it will be more challenging to get a bigger horse working correctly as a small person because you can't wrap your leg around a horse if it only reaches halfway down the barrel.

But if you want the big horse, and you think you can safely ride/handle the big horse, buy the big horse. You won't hurt the horse by being "too small".
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milesofhorses View Post
I know that there are multiple posts on this subject, but I can't really compare to most of the answers. I want to know what height horse I can ride up to. I'm 4'10", and stuck there. All of the replies to these questions are people saying that they're 5ft+, so I was wondering about myself...I was looking at horses to possibly buy one, (I jump) and this lady was selling her horse because she was 5'3" and said that her 17hh horse was too tall for her. Does my leg have to hit somewhere? I know it can be hard to control a big green horse, soooo... anyone?(I'm not new to horses)

I would try horses based on their suitability for your sport, not based on their height. Perhaps the woman is selling her horse because it's too difficult for her to mount, his stride is too big, she doesn't want to come off a 17 h horse...


I don't think being small on a big horse makes much of a difference. Look at Margie Engle or Debbie Macdonald.



People ride 18+ hand draft horses! If the horse and you click, height kinda doesn't matter.



Good luck!
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 12:01 PM
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See my signature.

I can't understand why people want tall horses, since they add so much more extra inconvenience, expense, and danger. Ordinary-sized horses are bad enough! What is wrong with a nice scopey pony? You can ride anything, but a smaller horse will be far more suited to your height.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 12:03 PM
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Hi! I'm 4'10" too! I prefer ponies and love that I can fit them, but here are my two cents:

I find it really uncomfortable to ride a tall, wide-barreled horse. To me it feels like doing an uncomfortable split the entire time, and I don't like not being able to "wrap" my legs around them to develop that connection.

Now a tall, lean horse might be a different story.

But! I think it's mostly based on your comfort. If you like being up there, and for example maybe you jump and like being on a horse where it feels like the jumps are nothing but steps - more power to you. Totally your prerogative and you can make it work the way little kids can ride 16h.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
See my signature.

I can't understand why people want tall horses, since they add so much more extra inconvenience, expense, and danger. Ordinary-sized horses are bad enough! What is wrong with a nice scopey pony? You can ride anything, but a smaller horse will be far more suited to your height.

I'm 5'6" and prefer a bigger horse......not necessarily a taller horse, because I am a heavier rider. Short and stout would be great, but taller and stout would also work. They don't always come in the exact size you want.
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