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A question of size!

3520 Views 29 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Cari123
Hi everyone,

I just joined and am looking for some reassurance honestly. I'll try to post in the welcome area right away too. Sorry to rush right into my question!

I recently fell in love with and bought a lovely little (tiny) warmblood mare. She's a gem and young at 3. Fantastic personality, manners and a joy to work with. I'm not regretting the purchase but her size is nagging at me! She's 14.1. Her former trainer swears by the string method and believes she's done for height. She was being sold due to her height (or lack there of) by a show jumping barn.

I was looking for a sweet, eager personality and athleticism for a trail partner. I didn't question her height until looking at pictures some time after... Is she too small? Would it bother you? Do you think she may yet grow??

I'm an experienced rider with 15 years under my belt, however it's been a long time since I purchased a horse and I admittedly got carried away. My experience is primarily with ottbs and Appaloosas. Pictured is the trainer- slightly taller but slimmer than me. I'm stocky and muscular at 145 lbs and 5'4 with short legs. She carried me well and will not be worked heavily until she matures. We do work within the 20% weight ratio but ug... I just don't know!

Thanks so much.


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I think her current size is fine for you. It doesn't look awkward at all. I'm 5'6" and feel perfectly comfortable on my 14.3 mare. I wouldn't be surprised if she grew a little more though. What string test did they use on her?

As a matter of fact, your mare looks a lot like mine that I'm talking about. Except Star's little white pastern is on the right.


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Im not sure how much I believe in the string method. If she's 3, she most likely will grow some more. How much I have no idea but even if she doesn't I think you guys are a nice fit. Some of the warmblood ponies go for big bucks.

Personally I tend to ride larger horses 16+ to 18.2h. I prefer something over 16h because I'm tallish and have a long leg, so I need something to fill my leg out so I don't look awkward. But truthfully it doesn't matter, so long as you're comfortable and happy! I've ridden 14h ponies and been just as happy as riding the 18.2h horse. The 18.2h horse is a LOT to ride and organize, HUGE paces but my old half arab was 16h and rode just as big as a 16.2-3h horse. My trainer is 5'10-5'11 and rode a 14.1-2h warmblood pony for a while and yeah it looked kinda silly but the pony went really well and they were a good team. That pony was incredible! I got to ride him and he rode massive. He was one of the bounciest, biggest moving horses I've ever ridden. HUGE gaits. His passage took a lot to keep my bum in the saddle it had SO much loftiness and power. I was told it felt worse than it looked but man you can get some MASSIVE paces in a small package. If you're happy and comfortable and your horse is happy and comfortable then what does it matter?

Theodore O'connor was a 14.2h pony. Karen O'connor (his rider) is 5'6
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Hey everyone, sorry for the delay! Work and stuff got in the way.

I don't know her breeding honestly. I'm curious as well. No papers.

Smilie, thank you for your posts! Lovely horses. Charlie looks massive in that last pic!

LoriF, the string test that was used is described well in this site (I just googled string test, horse and height). I love your mare!

Determine Horse Mature Height

HorseF, you have no idea! The school is a Taj Mahal. Multiple barns- some private and some rented by various trainers. Numerous outdoor arenas. One massive indoor with bleachers, offices etc. It's quite something.

DanteDressgageNerd, I've never ridden anything close to 18.2. I can't imagine it! Thank you for your words and bringing up Theodore O'Connor. I hadn't realized his rider was 5'6.

Thank you everyone!
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At only 145lbs, you're not too heavy for her, although she looks lightly built. And she will likely fill out more as she matures, may well grow up a bit more too. Perhaps you're a bit tall looking for her with regards to fashion of WB/dressage types, but that's fashion for you - I don't take much notice of it personally!

If she is only 3yo, I wouldn't be doing much on her back yet. Horses don't mature skeletally for a few years more than that, so wouldn't be doing anything too long/hard on her before maturity. And while it's not really possible to tell, it appears that saddle could be a bit far forward/bad fit, which may account for her head being up & toe first landing in the second pic.

Hey Loosie, not too worried about fashion on the trails either :) she won't be worked hard until she matures. Thanks for the saddle tip you may be right! It was the trainer's saddle and we'll certainly be looking for something more suited to her with a better fit.
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You don't look 145 pounds!!
You look fine on her and I can't see any problems with her carrying you
I do think she'll grow some more, WB's are usually slower to mature to full height than an actual pony breed and you could have another 3 years of growth to see.
Several of the WB's we bred went up another 4 inches from age 3 to age 6 and they all grew some. Irish Draught crosses tend to do the same. One went from 15.2 at 3 to 17.2 by the time he'd finished and I've got photos from the seller of one we have now looking like a little pony when she was 4 years old or maybe more than that
Try measuring her cannon bone from the middle of the knee to her cornet band. How ever many inches that is should be the same in hands for her mature height. 15 inches would be 15 hands, 14 and 3/4 inches would be 14.3 hands and so on. Her cannon is done growing. I've found this method to be fairly accurate.

One of my mares grew another inch somewhere between the age of 6 and 8 so you never know.
That's not me Jaydee, that's the trainer! I'm not that slim. I'll attach pics. I do hope she grows a bit yet and you guys are right she just might. Thank you LoriF, I'll try and and see what we get.


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Ok guys so the measurement along the cannon from mid knee to her coronet is... 15.25! More than I expected for sure! For fun I measured my 15.2hh 14 year old Appaloosa as well and got 15.5. Thanks again LoriF seams to be a great system. We'll see if it works with her I suppose.
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