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Interesting to see what everyone prefers!

I'm 5'11" and about 165 lb, mostly lean/slender built with long legs but also a long torso. My guy is just about 15.3 and chunky (shirt/tb cross). I do not feel too big on him at all, though sometimes I think I look a bit awkward or big in pictures - I do mostly dressage and for my leg to feel comfortable my feet end up just about below his belly! I have ridden everything from a 14-ish hand pony up through a 16.2 (I believe) appendix qh who probably suited me more in size but was a little bipolar when it came to personality. I do not like riding little narrow horses generally, though my old mare Dolly was very narrow and dainty and we worked together quite well. Definitely prefer a drafty cross type now just so I don't feel like I'm squishing the horse.



 

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I'm 5'7" and we have a 16.2 qh, 15.2 appy, and a 14.3 saddle horse. DH is 5'5" but swear he's 5'9 even though when standing in front of him, I can look at the top of his head.

The 16.2 qh is the horse I ride most. I'm just as comfortable riding him as I am my appy. All of our horses is stocky built. I haven't rode the saddle horse yet, But I did sit on him for about 5 minutes on the day that I bought him. The saddle horse was an early Christmas present for DH. If he has a saddle on, DH is riding him.

I had a draft horse that was 17.2 with a broad wide back. He was a very smooth riding horse that liked riding with contact on the bit. He was a dressage horse before I owned him. Once I got off him, I was reminded that I never learned to do the split. He wasn't getting rode much so I sold him 2 months ago. Now he's doing what he loves, he's at a dressage facility and a 7 year old girl is very happy riding him although he's her moms competition horse.
 
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One thing I have learned is that very few horses, if measured correctly are anywhere near as tall as owners like to think. A 16.2 horse is a tall horse, these generally become at leat a hand taller.
I think this is true......a LOT of people overestimate their horse's height. Casually talking to other horse folks at feed stores and such, they are always talking about their 17 hand horses. I'm kind of like....yeah...sure.....your horse is 17 hands :icon_rolleyes:. Unless it's a draft, or a warmblood, I there just aren't horses that tall in our area. I had to add "warmblood" in there, because I actually did see a really tall warmblood in-person one time, but basically, this is QH/Arabian/Mustang country. Most horses are pretty short.

I had my mare measured with a proper stick and she is 15.1h. My gelding, I estimate is at 16 hands (maybe 16.1) and he's huge to me! He's clearly the biggest horse I've ever ridden. And getting on requires a mounting block. :wink:

I am 5'6" and weigh a bit over 200 lbs. I used to ride a 14.3 BLM Mustang who was built similar to a Haflinger. He was awesome! All the strength and bone of a larger horse in an easy-to-mount package.

My mare at 15.1 is fine, and the 16 hand gelding requires me mounting from a strategic advantage. So I don't know, I guess around 15 hands is nice for me height-wise, but because I am heavy I need a horse that is well built.

If I wasn't overweight, something 14.2-14.3 would be perfect. Arabians feel just about right for me. But because I am heavy, I would prefer something stockier like my old Mustang.

What I do like about my 16 hand horse is that I don't look to big on him in photos. And I feel like he can carry me easily (he is also sturdy, not just tall). My whole horse-riding existence, I've always felt too big for just about any horse I've ever ridden. On a well-built 16 hand horse, I don't look so overweight. :wink: But my actual preference would be closer to 15 hands. Or even less.
 

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^^^^^ this is exactly why my old barn had a "height wall". A concrete wall with a concrete floor, the wall had hand increments on it. Wherever the horses withers were was the true height of the horse. My weight tape says my 700 pound 14.2 hand colt is 1400 pounds and 16.2 hands high. It's impossible, but how many people don't realize the tape is wrong and go around saying this 14 hand horse is 16 hands?
 

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^^^^^ this is exactly why my old barn had a "height wall". A concrete wall with a concrete floor, the wall had hand increments on it. Wherever the horses withers were was the true height of the horse. My weight tape says my 700 pound 14.2 hand colt is 1400 pounds and 16.2 hands high. It's impossible, but how many people don't realize the tape is wrong and go around saying this 14 hand horse is 16 hands?
I have a friend who was a horse trader and she always said that just about any horse for sale that you went out to see would be shorter than what the ad stated. I think most people just don't have a way to measure them properly. I really don't. I use a combination of a tape measure coming up from the ground and a level balancing on their withers. And that does "okay" but even then it can vary because the ground is uneven. (I don't have a concrete slab.....but I really like the idea).
 

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I have a friend who was a horse trader and she always said that just about any horse for sale that you went out to see would be shorter than what the ad stated. I think most people just don't have a way to measure them properly. I really don't. I use a combination of a tape measure coming up from the ground and a level balancing on their withers. And that does "okay" but even then it can vary because the ground is uneven. (I don't have a concrete slab.....but I really like the idea).
I use the wood floor of the new barn now, as long as it's level.
 

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The first horse (TWH) I had must have been 16 hands compared to my later horses of known heights. I didn't like having to climb a 3 board fence to mount (the days before mounting blocks were common). I was not impressed with how I looked on her, a small short person perched on a long backed tall horse. I didn't like trail riding and having to need help mounting after getting off (mostly flat country). I don't believe bigger is necessarily better. I like clothes that fit so I am more comfortable with a horse that I feel fits me.

I have had under 15 hand horses ever since and have been very happy. I have done everything I wanted to do, including hunter courses, with my average to short horses. My mare is a shade under 15 hands (properly measured). When I was horse shopping I looked for horses 15 hands and under. Foxhunter is spot on, horses I looked at that were advertised as 15.2+ were usually at least 2 inches shorter.
 

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If you look at pictures of William Fox Pitt riding most of his horses are 16.2 but never narrow. William is 6'6" and although his body is high his legs never look over long especially when his stirrups are up for jumping.

In the UK a horse showing in affiliated classes where there are height restrictions has to have a height certificate issue by a vet that has been approved by the board. The horse has to be unshod and taken to somewhere with a measuring stand, perfectly flat concrete.
They cannot issue a life height certificate until the horse is six years old.

A horse needs to be trained to be measured correctly so that he is not startled by the measuring stick. I have seen horses measure in at 15.2 and when hassled measure at a hand bigger.

One pony I bought, one vet made him 15 hands officially. As he competed in 14.2 classes this put him against horses. I had him measured by two vets, one made him 14.2 and the other 14.1 and a half. Difference was that the latter two vets took time amd allowed the pony to relax.
 

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I'm 5'1" on a good day and I prefer shorter horses from 14.2-15 hands. I also like thicker built horses as I feel like I balance on them easier. My current horse is 15 hands to the best of my knowledge and has a big barrel and thick legs. I'm strictly a trail rider so being able to mount from the ground is a must if there's no hill, stump or other improvised mounting block. I also think that Ransom and I are good looking team together.
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