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So, I know there are a lot of topics about weight, but what about height? Obviously, don't "ride" if your feet touch the ground. I guess this goes more for (smaller) ponies, as I've heard of little 13/14 hh horses comfortably carrying 6' (1.8m) riders. Realistically, how tall is too tall/out of proportion?
 

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I think height might be one of those things that is more about the look of it than how it affects the horse. That will be more important in some venues and for some people than others.
 

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In the 1880s, "Sureshot" was known for his endurance. His rider was a 6'5" sheriff - look at where the stirrups hang:


We've got a 13.0 hand mustang pony. I'm 5'8". I think he is OK with me going in a straight line. In a turn, my shoulders are too high above his back proportionally. So if the terrain is rough enough or the turns tight enough, both of us struggle with our balance.
 

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I am (or was) 5'9" I have ridden small ponies to sort them out, hunted a 13.1. On some I have felt very out of balance, others fine.

The difficulty comes from lower leg usage, if your legs are below the horse's belly they are hard to use!
 

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I think it’s about looks and nothing more. I am taller, not particularly tall, but like 5’7” or 8, but I tend to like a smaller horse. A lot of cow horses are really small and the riders tall. It seems lately that the trend is trying for a bit bigger in breeding, but I digress.

I’ve been on ponies to work on something or another, and like @Foxhunter, sometimes I felt off in balance and sometimes it was fine. My littlest is starting a fjord, and he is still so very short. I get on him to help with certain things, and both he and I seem to feel fine.
 

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Many years ago I had the best horse I ever owned. When I got her she was 14H and I am 6'. I've looked at picture then and now and I looked too tall for her. She matured to 15H+. What a perfect match for me she was. I took her to Colorado elk hunting the fall of her 2nd year and on the second day rode into a down fall area. I rode her up to the first chest high downed tree and was looking for a way around when all the sudden she leaned forward, lifted her front leg and slid it over the tree dragging her belly over it. Then proceeded to do it over and over. she worked cattle, rounded up cows, did all the ranch work necessary, trail rode, was ridden by my youngest daughter in 4H, Showed in 4H, rode in the drill team and was in many parades.. Never once did she say things were too tough or I won't do that. The day she died and I buried her I sat on her hindquarters and cried. This grown man hasn't done this for many horses but, she was really something special. Wish I had her now to take care of this old man!
 

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There are certain instances in certain disciplines where a tall rider can be at a disadvantage.

In dressage, for instance, a tall, long-legged rider on a smaller horse that does not have much of a barrel may find their stirrups and lower leg hanging well below the barrel. This can complicate leg aids, but an adept rider can modify their leg/seat aids to make themselves clear, and longer rounded-tip stirrups can be useful. In the show ring, however, a heel that keeps coming up to reach the barrel to give an aid can look quite messy, leading to points off in the higher levels.

In jumping, the mechanics of a smaller horse trying to get its fores off the ground and over a fence while carrying a tall rider is more complicated than with a smaller rider. If the rider is also male and carries more weight in the shoulder area, this can lead to a very dangerous scenario. The rider could potentially move his weight forward too soon in anticipation for the jump, before the horse has begun its lift. The horse then finds itself with more weight to lift, which can lead to a refusal. If such an instance happens on a cross-country course where jumps are not always flat and may be situated on a downhill slope, well, you get the idea.
 

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If you look at top UK eventing rider, William Fox Pitt, who is 6ft 5, you will notice that he rides shorter than average even in the dressage phase, so he can get enough leg on the horses.
He still looks top heavy on some of his smaller horses but he's so experienced and so fit he can do it.
The typical weekend rider isn't.


My children had ponies and we used to buy and sell ponies so I was riding them regularly. My weight was low enough for me to not worry about that.
The one's that were longer in the neck were OK, the shorter neck sort not so much! I've fallen off more 12.2 and under ponies in my adult life than I've ever fallen off bigger horses.
There's just nothing in front of you and they can disappear from under you in the blink of an eye!
 

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We have a young friend, he's 19??? who is new to riding and he loves to ride Superman a lot. Supes is a shorty bum - Grandson of Doc Bar, and he's built just like his grandaddy, short (14.1ish) and in peak health, a bit stocky.

Friend is 6'4".

They get along great, Supes has NO trouble packing him around at WTC. He seems to enjoy this kid's company. Husband was watching them skirt around the back pasture, them racing Gina with another kid on her, Superman's tail hiked up as he galloped, eyes bright. He looked like he's 10, not 22, with that kid riding right along like he's grown to the saddle. Husband takes a drink of his beer, watches, then drawls out: How does he get in the saddle? Just flatfooted on the ground, swings a leg over his back like you do a saddle on a saddle stand?

LOL

He said: If he were an inch taller, his toes would drag the dirt.

(NOT true, but he is very tall and Supes is very short) Yes, it looks silly and awkward, but neither seem to have any trouble with one another.
 
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