The Horse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 56 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I must admit to having a slight pet peeve. I don't understand why (particularly in english riding) there is such a massive focus on the horse's height. A friend of mine who is 5'6" feels that she needs a 16+ hh horse to look decent. In my experience, it's more a matter of the horse's barrel. If you get on a narrow 17 hh Thoroughbred, your legs are likely to look long even on them whereas if you get on a broad 14hh draft pony, they're likely to take your leg right up.

So many fantastic horses are passed up because the 5'5"+ riders automatically assume they're too small to really amount to much.

At least the 6+ foot cowboys seem to understand that their 15 hh QH can pack them through thick and thin with energy left to burn at the end of the day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
I'm 5'2 and I show and ride my two draft horses in english pleasure and starting very low level dressage. I know I don't need big and could easily fit on a much much smaller horse, I just like the feel of big. The movement to me is different and it's just my preference.
When I was showing and eventing under a different trainer 8 years ago (wow that's a long time!) I was leasing one horse for everything but hunter jumper. When I was showing hunter jumper I rode a 15 hand stocky mare that could jump better than the TB and was a great horse to show on. However if the two had switched heights it would have been miserable to ride them.
However, during that time I was also apprenticing on learning to train draft horses for under saddle work and that's where my heart truly is.
If I were to get another horse now, it may not be a draft but it would definitely be over 17 hands with a thick build because I like the feeling of big and tall.

Now one of my trainers students is growing out of her pants at the moment, her parents are tall and her pony is looking shorter and shorter underneath her. She's not at all phased by it and said she'll ride him until her toes drag on the ground. On the other hand, one of my friends dads is average height but because of his body build and slight ego he believes he needs to ride a giant. I'm not going to argue and I think he knows he could easily ride something much smaller than 16+ hands, in his own words "I feel too big" so in his case I think it would be a matter of girth/barrel on the horse to make him feel secure on anything less than 16 hands.
To each his own.

I totally understand where you're coming from though! Sorry for the novel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
Eolith I could not agree with you more !
There is too much based on height .... Im 5"7' and I ride my 13.3hh & 14.2hh Arabians just fine. I dont think I look silly
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,181 Posts
I don't just have long legs, I have a long torso too. So I like to ride a taller horse, because I like the balanced look that is desired in English riding. Not saying that tall people on short horses are out of balance, just to my mind I don't want to ride like that.

Having said that, if I were to start looking for a horse again, I would consider anything from about 15hh and up. My preferred height for me is 16.2hh, but I have owned shorter horses. I don't want to be the tall girl riding that horse that looks like a pony, but I have a large-ish range in terms of heights that I would consider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I once had a 15.1h TB cross who was looked at with "horror" by one of the other english riders. She was a cross and too short and had a slight roman nose and a slight parrot mouth. She owned a 16h TB mare with papers. We went to a show..her horse wouldnt load (hehe) so she asked to ride my mare in her jumping class (I was only doing flat classes) and I said sure. Well, she pulled up my mare half way through the class...too much horse :p Tried to tell her that she really enjoyed to jump and had been very competitive in the past...but all she was worried about was her height. Or her lack thereof. Me...I could care less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,303 Posts
At least the 6+ foot cowboys seem to understand that their 15 hh QH can pack them through thick and thin with energy left to burn at the end of the day.
I'm 6'4", all our Paint mares are 14.2-15hh, and this is indeed all we care about...steady and reliable, anywhere we go, all day, everyday, and that big barrel takes up a lot of leg.

Just don't call them ponies (that annoys them) ;-)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Hi, i am english an wandered if you would mind my point of view...
In england normally the balance of the horse and rider is judged apon.
in a hunter for example, the horse is desired to be of a stocky build and also to be about 15hh, it is a typical view of a hunting horse. in dressage the horse is desired to be a lean, tall high standing horse, as movements are seen to be alot smoother, jumping is where things change...
normally classes are divided : under 14.2 and 14.2 and over. this is just so that advanced adults on horses dont have to compete against novice juniors on ponies,

In my eyes, if your happy riding a 14.2 and your 6 ft......go for it...i am 5'9'' and have a 13.2, a 14.0, a 16.2ish and a 17hh
i ride them all and love it!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,250 Posts
im 5'5 and i loooove my little 14.2 arabian he carrys me around just fine and because he ahs a wider barrel my legs look shorter :] . Plus a bonus is being closer to the ground and easier to get on and off of hah Of course i also used to ride a 16+ hand thoroughbred gelding whom i LOOVED he also had a wide barrel and i looked right on him
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,889 Posts
I am not tall but prefer a horse that is 16+ hh. I like the way they move. Just my preference. I think it is more about what you prefer in movement more than what you look like on a horse. JMHO!

I bought my first shorter type horse last summer when I was looking for a new horse. Rosie was 15hh and a tank. Took up more leg than any of my larger horses did but I hated the way she felt under me. I like the long strides of those long legs :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
in dressage the horse is desired to be a lean, tall high standing horse, as movements are seen to be alot smoother
I'm not sure I agree with this statement. The current 'fad' is to have a high-stepping giant, but that hasn't always been the case. And it hardly means that they move any more smoothly than a smaller horse. That has more to do with conformation, training and so on. Length of stride is one thing, fluidity is another thing entirely.

I found this out fairly recently. I ride a 13.2 hh Welsh Cob regularly and love her gaits. Her canter in particular is just to die for... buttery smooth. Later I was asked to ride a 13.1 hh New Forest in a show. No problem! I thought, I'm used to riding the ponies. WRONG. The New Forest moved like a jackhammer: short, stiff, rapid strides that proved nearly impossible for me to sit well.

It didn't have anything to do with their height... it was all in other factors of training and conformation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
Just likes drafts4ever likes big horses, I like the little ones =) Granted, I'm pretty short myself, but I don't think I would ever own a riding horse over 16 hands. 15, for me, is getting up there. Tango's 14.2, and she's perfect height for me. She's built like an old-blood QH; deep girth, big butt, full of power-that's really all that matters. Besides, if I ever had to get off in the middle of a trail somewhere and there was no mounting block, how would you ever get on a 16-17 hand monster short of taking a running leap? lol. Then again, I don't ride English, so I don't really apply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,909 Posts
I have to say I disagree in 1st place. :wink: My qh is 14'3 (stocky though) and I'm 5'8" (I ride english). I got compliments on my short barrel-looking qh from hunter/jumpers with huge 16+ horses and they didn't try to be just polite. She has lots of spirit and personality in her, which makes her really big! :D And I have no problems with how I look on her (or my 15'1+ paint). It's about ABILITY to do things, not about the look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,224 Posts
I'm 5'2 and I show and ride my two draft horses in english pleasure and starting very low level dressage. I know I don't need big and could easily fit on a much much smaller horse, I just like the feel of big. The movement to me is different and it's just my preference.
When I was showing and eventing under a different trainer 8 years ago (wow that's a long time!) I was leasing one horse for everything but hunter jumper. When I was showing hunter jumper I rode a 15 hand stocky mare that could jump better than the TB and was a great horse to show on. However if the two had switched heights it would have been miserable to ride them.
However, during that time I was also apprenticing on learning to train draft horses for under saddle work and that's where my heart truly is.
If I were to get another horse now, it may not be a draft but it would definitely be over 17 hands with a thick build because I like the feeling of big and tall.

Now one of my trainers students is growing out of her pants at the moment, her parents are tall and her pony is looking shorter and shorter underneath her. She's not at all phased by it and said she'll ride him until her toes drag on the ground. On the other hand, one of my friends dads is average height but because of his body build and slight ego he believes he needs to ride a giant. I'm not going to argue and I think he knows he could easily ride something much smaller than 16+ hands, in his own words "I feel too big" so in his case I think it would be a matter of girth/barrel on the horse to make him feel secure on anything less than 16 hands.
To each his own.

I totally understand where you're coming from though! Sorry for the novel.
I'm right there with you. I'm 5'4" but I love the bigger horses. The horse I'm leasing is 17.2 and I love him. I'd never ridden a horse that big before him but I've always been drawn to the taller, thicker horses. I would love to do what you do and get to ride some drafts. I do ride smaller and average (is there an average size for horses...?) for my lessons and will ride ponies from time to time, but my preference definitely lies with the bigger horses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
I'm only 5'1 ,so finding a horse to carry me and look right on (not that I care) isn't a problem. Saying that I have always liked riding 15.2+ more than anything smaller.
And the funny thing somebody said about the drop between the ground and your mount is that I fell off a 15-15.2 hh horse and was walking on my tiptoes with a messed up hip and back for a week, but I pretty much did a somersault of a 16hh horse and didn't feel a thing. Plus if the horse hadn't have been so tall I would have broken my arm :p

So for me it big horses all the way :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Eolith, i hav not meant to be nasty or comment to offend, i am meerly stating what the preference for over here is...not on the better moves and not putting ponies down, all i am saying is that people in england, especially on the isle of wight prefer the dressage horseto be lean, tall high standing horse, as movements are seen to be alot smoother. ponies get riden in dressage as well and on the isle of wight, dressage ponies are also small, lean and are not of stocky build, however in experience i find most isle of wighters prefer a horse to a pony!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
i love love loved ponies for my whole life. I owned a horse who was 15.2hh and i just didn't click with him. I think it was because i've never really had or ridden a horse regularly. so i leased him out and kept riding and competeing with my 13.2hh pony. I fit him fine, but he's a very solid built pony for his size.

I'm 18 years old now and i've moved onto horses. I want some size and strength of a horse under me. I bought a 15.1hh horse (still only 2), but i'm hoping he ends up at least 16hh. I'm short, only 5'2 and know i can fit on something smaller. Most hunters want a bigger horse not just for fitting on him, but they have a longer stride, higher jump etc. It's not always the case with a bigger horse, but generally speaking. Try competing on a 15hh horse in the big equ, or the higher jumper classes. He's automatically going to have to work harder then a 17hh horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
I am not tall but prefer a horse that is 16+ hh. I like the way they move. Just my preference. I think it is more about what you prefer in movement more than what you look like on a horse. JMHO!

I bought my first shorter type horse last summer when I was looking for a new horse. Rosie was 15hh and a tank. Took up more leg than any of my larger horses did but I hated the way she felt under me. I like the long strides of those long legs :)
EXACTLY how I feel. My horse is 17hh (though I wish he was taller but just because next to me he looks really small, yes, I am TALL) and though I don't care for the number I do care a lot for the way the horse moves under me. I like the long legs that give you long strides, I'm usually the one who trots comfortably while others must canter to keep up. I like the slow smooth trot while others bounce on their horses so fast you can barely count the beat. My friend has a 14 - 15hh appaloosa - very nicely built, lots of muscles, stamina and will - out in the mountains my friesian is nothing compared to his horse yet he confessed to me that from time to time he really wishes his horse would give him such a slow and comfy trot like my horse gives me (he often has to remind me of being too fast, especially during the longer trail rides, I unfortunatelly do happen a lot to forget that though the pace is slow and nice to me, it doesn't need to be for the others). I once rode my friend's 14hh quarter horse (I don't see a single thing on him being QH and he doesn't have papers but she likes to present him as a QH so be it) because my horse lost a shoe and she didn't have time to ride hers anyway and... well, he's a very sweet and willing pony and though I adore small horses and treat them with absolutely the same respect as the tall ones I just didn't enjoy the ride at all, it hurt, it bounced, it was annoying. Two hours to the ride I was only praying we would be home soon and I was dreading the moment my friend would suggest "let's trot for a bit again". And when I actually cantered him for the first time it was so confusing, I had to count the beats and look down at how his legs move to make sure it's not tölt or anything like that, it just didn't feel like canter at all. Now I know all this is largely due to simply being used to the tall horses' movement and I know I could get used to the smaller horses too but I have found what suits me the best and as long as the tall horses are still around I will always preffer to ride them.


Edit: I'm not even talking about the fact that I had to use my thighs and knees instead of my lower leg to cue him because I could literaly hug him with my legs almost to the point when my feet would touch lol (exaggerating)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,348 Posts
I ride english and I have to say I really do like to see a tall person on a tall horse. I'm only 5'1" (very long torso, short legs) and I really don't think I would buy a horse that was under 15.2 hh. I do occasionally ride my trainer's pony, who is a tiny bit under 14.1 hh, but I have to say, I feel super uncomfortable being so low to the ground.

Plus, I think its a little comical to see huge people on little horses. Especially during competitions. I actually prefer to see a small person on a large horse than a large person on a small horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
I dunno, I don't really care why people pick the horses they do as long as they are happy. I'm OK when people have a breed preference or a height or color or gender preference.

Horses are expensive and time consuming and emotionally draining. I think you should really love your horse and your horse should be everything you ever wanted, regardless if what you want is silly or superficial to others.

If you feel more comfortable on a big horse, go for it! The only thing I would take exception to is if a giant person wanted to ride a tiny little horse and the difference was dangerous or uncomfortable to the animal.

I like my MEN to be tall, I have a strong pull towards tall horses as well. My horse is only 15.1 or 15.2 but he has a big barrel so he gets away with it. I have him because I adopted him, if I was "shopping" for a horse I probably would be looking at taller horses too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,320 Posts
I think a big difference in which breeds certain riders prefer has to do with ability. Most english riders do hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing. In all of those, a horse with long legs, a big stride, and good suspension is key; therefore, TB, warmbloods, etc. I think it is just that those particular breeds happen to be taller. As for your average cowboy, well, we want our horses to stay solidly grounded and able to drop down at a moments notice, suck back in front of a cow, and pull anything we put a rope on. That is just easier for shorter horses because they don't have so far to drop down to get in the ground. A taller horse is usually slower and clumsier in a sharp turn (cutting), and the added height puts more torque on their back when you rope something heavy.

Basically, most english disciplines need a horse that stays above the ground, most western disciplines need a horse that stays in the ground, hence the height and movement difference.

I believe that's probably why some people think they need a horse of a particular height to "look" right, it's just what they are used to and what is common in whatever sport they choose. I have ridden all sizes from 13hh to 18hh and I prefer horses just a little under 15, but the size that I am, I could probably get away with riding almost anything.

Barrel size has a lot to do with it too. TBs (I'm not sure about warmbloods since I have never seen one) generally have a narrower barrel than other breeds, so they need a taller horse to take up a long leg. However, QHs are generally really stocky and wide so they can be shorter and take up the same amount of leg.

Perfect example: My brother is 6'3" and the horse he is riding in this pic barely breaks 14hh. I still don't think he looks underhorsed.
(he's in the blue shirt in the middle of the pic)
 
1 - 20 of 56 Posts
Top