View Full Version : The 15 Hand Dressage Horse

Sep. 30, 2010, 10:36 PM
I've been wondering why this height isn't more popular with the ladies for dressage? Many 4'11 and 5'1 riders are riding 17h warmbloods for dressage. I've seen some very nice stunning 15 hand horses that were gorgeous movers yet hard to sell because of the height. It's in between the desired pony or 16 hand height gap. So why get a 17h horse if you can something very nice and flashy at 15.1 hands?? Do people assume that a 15 hand horse isn't going to score as well as the larger horse? I don't see that point either because i've ridden some fabulous horses in the 15 hand range that had nice striding, shoulder, good extension and collection.
Would love to hear your opinions on height for second level plus horses this size. They really seem hard to market for the riders past 1st or second level in the 15 hand range. Just from observation and reading wanted ads from small ladies looking for 16.2+hand horses.

Sep. 30, 2010, 10:50 PM
my Dutch horse is just barely 15.3 (stretching upward) he is the best horse that I have ever sat on, we can do all the GP, and will show this next summer. His ones are effortless, piaffe the best. I am never going to get any horse over 16h again.

Sep. 30, 2010, 10:58 PM
my Dutch horse is just barely 15.3 (stretching upward) he is the best horse that I have ever sat on, we can do all the GP, and will show this next summer. His ones are effortless, piaffe the best. I am never going to get any horse over 16h again.

He sounds lovely.

Is it just the buyers that are interested in tall horses or are the judges looking down on smaller horses in the higher levels? I am trying to understand why petite women are looking for 16+ hands in wanted ads and why 15 h dressage horses are hard to sell. Are there any real good reasons to not wanting that height?

Sep. 30, 2010, 11:05 PM
Its all in the build of the petite rider and the horse. I am exactly 5ft tall and most would tell you at least 3 ft of that is leg. That is a LOT of leg to take up on a shorter horse unless their barrel is as well sprung as a barrel and those are not comfortable for me. The leggy 15hh horse leaves my legs swinging under their belly and fearing for their twiggy legs. I don't however like the 17hh giant as I am just not that springy anymore to make it from ground to saddle. (I'm working on it!)
Also many of the ammy riders who want the 16hh plus also have an eye to the jumping ring and 15hh don't always jump as nicely or get the right strides the 16hh do.

Sep. 30, 2010, 11:37 PM
Also many of the ammy riders who want the 16hh plus also have an eye to the jumping ring and 15hh don't always jump as nicely or get the right strides the 16hh do.

I would be less inclined to think this. I don't know many serious second level + ammies that would be shopping for the sort of nice horse/movement that the OP is talking about who also jump. Now, I know quite a few who pop over a cross rail or jump a tree on the trail, but none that would care about strides, put together a course, show over fences, etc.

The only thing I can think is that many of the second and third level ammies I know bought horses that had been there and done that- at least at those levels - with good scores. Therefore, the pool of horses they are looking at comes from the horses that a pro choose, broke, rode, and showed to second/third+. Maybe the height issue goes back to the pros?

Sep. 30, 2010, 11:50 PM
I don't know why there is a more difficult time selling them. I'm often told that there's an increasing market for this in between size because so many of us aging ammies want them/need them. I'm guessing from the initial post that the thread is more geared towards 15 hand warmbloods; but, I compete 2 mounts who are 15 hands. One is at PSG the other is just starting out at training level as a 4 year old. I have received very fair scores. They are very different movers with one being a 6 and the other being an 8 mover. Height has nothing to do with it. Still I've scored in the high 60s at third/fourth level with the 6 mover. Neither are warmbloods but despite that and being "shorter" they do just fine in competition. Of course I'm someone who also competes 4 ponies (13 - 14.2 hands in height) in dressage as well so 15 hands seems like a "real" hoss to little ole me.

Oct. 1, 2010, 12:15 AM
I don't get it either... My mare is a 15 hand Morgan and we get a lot of compliments for being a good match physically. (I am 5'1" and short-legged, and a little overweight.) The horse I'm taking lessons on right now is a 15.1 hand Oldenburg mare who is a pretty solid Third Level horse and just started showing at Fourth Level. Her owner is shorter than I am and they are a very good match.

Don't some of the WB registries reject horses who are below a certain height? That would make it harder to breed/sell short WBs.

Oct. 1, 2010, 12:41 AM
Don't some of the WB registries reject horses who are below a certain height? That would make it harder to breed/sell short WBs.

I noticed that breeders are sticking with the 16+ hand range for the warmbloods. But if there was a bigger market for the 15 hand warmbloods, then perhaps people would start breeding for that height and I would see more
Heck, I watch plenty of dressage shows and most horses are in the tall height range the higher you go up the levels. There's usually some arab crosses but pretty tall too in the 3rd level tests. Seen a haffie too, they seem to be popular with some older folks.

Oct. 1, 2010, 12:54 AM
Its all in the build of the petite rider and the horse. I am exactly 5ft tall and most would tell you at least 3 ft of that is leg. That is a LOT of leg to take up on a shorter horse unless their barrel is as well sprung as a barrel and those are not comfortable for me. The leggy 15hh horse leaves my legs swinging under their belly and fearing for their twiggy legs. I don't however like the 17hh giant as I am just not that springy anymore to make it from ground to saddle. (I'm working on it!)

Most of the great dressage riders, though, fit exactly this way on their horses. Leg well down, slightly below the barrel even.

Now that I am riding a pony, I'm realizing that this is not an accident - you have far more influence over the horse when your knee is lower on the horse and closer to the widest point of the horse.

Oct. 1, 2010, 12:58 AM
Most of the great dressage riders, though, fit exactly this way on their horses. Leg well down, slightly below the barrel even.

Now that I am riding a pony, I'm realizing that this is not an accident - you have far more influence over the horse when your knee is lower on the horse and closer to the widest point of the horse.

Ok so most short/petite women that I am talking about have long legs and that's why they are buying the taller horse. That is understandable. But I still see the horses being too big for some women. I've observed tiny women perched on huge horses and their legs are far from reaching the horse's barrel.

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:10 AM
Took a while to convince a client to accept her 15 hand horse was the better dressage prospect than her 17+ hand horse. It took going to a show and doing very well...AND having fun, while feeling completely safe...to convince her the little guy is the better horse for her right now. The numerous positive comments she received on him didn't hurt either!

Judges and clinicians do not seem to care that he is small once they see how nice he moves and how willing he is...although I do admit he lacks that wow factor standing still.

She is about 5'10" and looks fine on him as he is very deep through his chest.

I am also currrently training a 15 hand Spanish Mustang. She is narrow, but my leg somehow hangs in this wonderfully comfortable way...I would have no qualms about showing her, or owning a horse her size if it was built this way...and I am 5'10" too.

I think that the key to accepting a small horse is that you are confident in their ability and realize that ability and rideability are key...and give up the impressive wow factor that a large horse has...even when it is just standing in the barn.

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:11 AM
It can be hard to find a shorter horse that has the basic training on board, I think.

Last time I was horse-shopping, one of my criteria was "not over 16 hands!" (I have, now retired, a 17.2 behemoth of a horse. It's a lot of real estate to keep looking good, to feed and clothe and keep sound, let alone to collect--poor chap didn't know where his back legs were unless he had boots on...)

I didn't deliberately want that size, but it was what was available at the time--my previous mare was 15.3 if she puffed up and was considered too small for me by my then-trainer. I thought she was about right.

Current horse actually measures at spot-on 16 hands--his previous owner swore up and down he was 17 hands, but it was obvious from the video and pix that he wasn't--or I wouldn't have gone to see him.

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:28 AM
I dunno, if the horse has great ridability, size is not that important, more how it fits the rider. I'm 5.6 and a half and I can ride/have ridden 15.1 to 17.3 without looking out of place. But I have a tallish upper body, so the horse must be built up a bit, and I don't like horses that are very narrow. That said, my TB is 16h and the little mare I just got is 15.3 at age 4, so will probably make 16 or 16.1, which is the height I feel most comfortable with.

Oct. 1, 2010, 02:33 AM
I started shopping saying ideally I would find a horse between 15-15.2hh. I ended up with a long-legged 16.3. That was just a matter of finding the horse who was a great match for me, and happened to be taller than ideal, but on whom I could still effectively use my legs.

My mom's new horse is about 15hh, and when I ride her I still believe she is far closer to the ideal height for me. I think a lot of people have a preconception that they want a top horse, and therefore need a tall horse, but I think you can find quality in a variety of heights. I have never heard of a judge having any kind of bias based upon horse height in person, and don't think it makes much difference if the horse is still a nice mover.

Maybe I'll see exvet at a show whenever I decide to start playing at schooling shows with my mom's horse. :) I've already told her that's going to happen once my guy and I are competing at rated shows.

Oct. 1, 2010, 02:41 AM
My guess is that the market skews large because nearly everything you see in upper-level competition is 17+, and for that matter a very typical picture in upper-level competition is a tiny woman on an enormous horse. It is also possible that older women with enough disposable income to pursue an expensive, perceived-to-be-elitist sport like dressage either have aspirations to be very competitive, or want the type of fancy horse they imagine could be competitive, even if they don't intend to get there themselves. Kind of like older men who buy Porsches to drive to the grocery store.

That sounded a lot cattier than I intended it to. I just bought my first horse, a horse I wanted for my whole entire life ohmigod it's a dream come true, with whom I intend to train with in dressage. I am a tiny woman, and recently learned that I am old enough to be a "cougar" if I wanted to (much to my chagrin), so I am among the population of women of whom I speak. I have ridden some very fancy and very enormous upper level horses in the past, and although I really enjoyed them, when I had the opportunity to ride smaller, well-trained horses (a GRP and an Andalusian) I found that I was much more comfortable on smaller horses. Ever since then, I've wanted a small horse.

15 hands was actually my target height, and I set all of my searches to look for horses between 14 and 16 hands (so 14.1 to 15.3). I ended up buying at the top of my height range -- he is a giant Arab -- but it isn't because he's tall. It's because he's the coolest horse ever that anyone has ever met and I bought him because I want to hang out with him. I think he is going to be a BLAST to train in dressage, but I do realize that someone looking for a competitive upper-level prospect probably wouldn't have looked at him. (So what -- we'll show everyone!) I actually went to look at him in the first place because I looked at the ad and said, "nah, he's probably not as tall as they say he is" and was slightly chagrined to find that he actually IS that tall.

I have pretty long legs for my height. I am 5'1", my husband is 6' and he is always surprised that my inseam is only a few inches shorter than his (even given that women have relatively longer legs than men). People always tell me they thought I was taller from a distance. :) I'm having a really hard time believing that anyone around my height needs a 16+ hand horse to fill up her leg. I have video of me on a 14.2 hand pony I looked at (hard -- went back to see her twice) and I looked TOTALLY normal on that pony. She wasn't particularly round for a pony, either.

Big horses do everything big, and there are some things that are awesome about riding something that powerful and although I wanted a smaller horse, I can understand why some small riders crave the bigness.

Oct. 1, 2010, 02:56 AM
I think this is changing a lot. You're seeing a lot more people on smaller horses and looking for and breeding smaller horses. I am pretty tall and very long legged. My horses have been 16 hands and narrow on a good day. It's definitely harder in some ways to ride a smaller horse as you can't just sit there. My mare now is only 15.3, but actually so big in the barrel, she fits me better than the other ones did. This is a huge factor. I only look a little big on her.

I think the fad was huge horses for a long time and that is the carry over. When dressage was sort of just making it big, it seemed mostly small women on huge horses. In some ways it's easier, I think (not like I would know, really) to be smaller and just sit on a big trained horse. You don't have to work so much and can get away with being less balanced. I trained an 18.1 hand horse, and he was like that. But, in other ways, it had better be a very responsive horse, because you physically can't force anything. Debbie McDonald and Brentina are a good example of that.

I think the huge horses may also be going away a bit for soundness factors. You can only get so big proportionally and not start having the height and weight being a bigger and bigger factor on soundness. I don't know where everyone else is, but I've always seen smaller horses, and now am seeing a lot of smaller horses like Norwegian Fjords and some fabulous baroque smaller horses out there. If you're a smaller rider, you can get some kick ass smaller horses out there. But, like everything, as the fads change, pretty soon everyone will be going for smaller horses.

That said, I'm hoping the babies I'm waiting to grow up will be 16.2/16.3, which is a good height for me. I'm 5'9".

Oct. 1, 2010, 06:54 AM
When I decided to look for a really nice prospect, I specifically was looking for 15 hands tops.
I like to hack out when I can and prefer a horse I can hop off and on without needing a mounting block out in the woods. ;)

It would be silly to think that only a big horse can be fancy or a powerful mover.

Out in my paddock right now, are 2 gigantic horses, one is a massive bodied 16'2, the other closer to 17, and lighter framed.

Both my 15'2 mare and 15 hand gelding SO outmove both of them.

What a settled on for my last horse and my competitive prospect is a Welsh, who will probably be a stocky 14'2, but the youngster moves like every inch of a 16 hand horse...lol

I really do believe that much of it is that people just have the "bigger must be better" attitude about pretty much everything.

I used to show dogs. What was standard for my breed 20 years ago, would seem runty nowadays.
The dogs moved just as well at a healthier, more compact size; now they are larger with more health issues; but people just love to super size. =)

Liz Steacie
Oct. 1, 2010, 08:49 AM
In the GP ring, a 15h horse is at a disadvantage, it's for sure. Their gaits simply don't have the scope that a larger horse does, and some of the movements are much harder to execute well on a smaller horse (zig-zag, for example).

Now, admittedly, my 15h horse doesn't have the *most* elastic movement, and we do get dinged for that, but there are things he will do very well, and often executes an 8 to get a 7.

I even had a judge tell me that "if I squint my eyes and pretend he's a 'normal' size, he looks really good"

I loff my little guy to pieces and we have had some very good tests, and will no doubt have more, but I wouldn't look for another horse at this size, because at the FEI level I think it is a bit of a handicap.

My young horse is 16.1h and that's a perfect size :-).

Oct. 1, 2010, 09:49 AM
Sophie is a hair under 16 hands and a perfect height for me. I am a stout 5'4".

If you are looking for a horse in the 16 hand range check out Irish Draughts and IDSH's. Supersize is NOT desirable and "undersize" is not penalized though there are some big guys out there

Oct. 1, 2010, 10:36 AM
When I shop I tend to hit the 14.3-16hh range. I grew up riding QH ranch horses. To me 16hh is a HUGE horse and if he's so inclined can easily get out of my reach by lifting his/her head. I currently ride an absolutely stunning arab mare that is exactly 15hh. She's a 10 mover for dressage and has enough scope to clear the 2'6 courses at the schooling shows. I ADORE this mare and she is the right proportions for me BUT she is a witch to collect. Mostly cause her neck feels like its 10ft long(Halter bred on the top Endurance on the bottom) and she refuses to acknowledge she has a back end.

But after 20+ years in the horse business unless I know the seller really well I will measure the horse or pony. I am never surprised to see the 15hh horse being passed off as 16hh. Or the 14.1/2 pony being passed off as 13hh.

Dad offered this tidbit:14hh means pony 15hh means arab or QH, 16 is TB and 17 gotta be imported.

Oct. 1, 2010, 11:58 AM
My 15.1 1/2 hand Dutch WB mare moves like she 17 hands - when you ride her and go to get off you need to be careful because you don't realize how close the ground is!

I purchased her at 3 months of age, both parents are just over 16 hands, but she takes up plenty of leg for me - almost as much as my 16.2 1/2 Swedish mare.

I would never sell her - she loves piaffe - and changes (too much love there :lol:) and passage is there waiting to be asked...

Had a BNT tell me her clients expected her to ride 17 hand horses even though she was smaller. She loves my mare!

...Don't some of the WB registries reject horses who are below a certain height? That would make it harder to breed/sell short WBs.

Not reject - but they won't put my imported full up KWPN registered mare in the "A" registery, even though an international judge (Bo Jena) told me I HAD to breed her (this after seeing her go in a clinic). So I didn't bother to take her back as an adult - I just have her baby papers.

Oh yeah - she's JUMPER bred top and bottom (Wolfgang v. Voltaire).

Oct. 1, 2010, 12:22 PM
I remember years ago a buyer lamenting to the seller that she just could not buy the warmblood mare who worked so beautifully for her and fit her so well, because the mare was 15.2 or 15.3 & her trainer was tall, with long legs & "wouldn't look right" on the mare.

I never did learn if she ever came back & bought the horse (which I suppose, in her case would have meant having to change trainers).

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:20 PM
I for one, am not complaining that most people want a large horse. It just keeps the smaller ones more affordable for me (5 ft 1 in)!!!

We were at a warmblood barn for a clinic once (with our 15 hd arabian mare) and a lady my size standing next to a 17 hand behemoth looked at my son (5 ft 9 but ALL leg) next to our mare and said "how come you are riding a normal horse and I have this?". I really felt like asking why on earth she bought that huge beast espescially since she looked like she was in her early 60's. Getting up and down gets harder at that age, I'm already having trouble and I haven't hit 50 (yet :)).

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:25 PM
At one point I was showing a 17.2 hand AQHA mare, a 16.2 hand Appaloosa mare, a 15.3 hand Arabian, and a 14.1 hand Arabian.

Ive felt like I was on a huge horse when I rode a fresian even though she was only 15h lol.

You really should look at the individual, since that FABU movement could really be just anywhere :)

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:46 PM
I'm 5'5" and my horse is 14.3 and QH to boot. We'll never be upper level-just started showing training-but I think we get scored fairly and have never had a judge comment on it. In fact, at my last show, I got a huge compliment on how well we work together.

I think a lot of people, especially those new to the sport, think that bigger horse=better movement, which is not necessarily true. One of the most amazing movers I have ever seen was all of oh, 13 hands-had HUGE extensions and looked like she was floating most of the time. I've also ridden some big WB's who moved terribly-you wouldn't even know all four legs were attached to the same horse. But a LOT of riders still equate bigger with better.

Like someone said, that keeps the smaller horses affordable for me! I'm intimidated by size and once you get over 16hh that fear affects my riding. It doesn't matter if it's the quietest horse in the world; I hold back when they get big. I don't even look at horses advertised at 16hh or above.

Oct. 1, 2010, 01:58 PM
I'm 4'11, 105 lbs, and whenever I look for a horse I concentrate my search on the 14.1 - 15.2 range. The hard part is finding one. Except for the arabian, everyone breeds for either pony or large, and you can't touch a safe, sane, nice moving large pony for under 25K.

Luckily, I now have my forever horse, a 15.1 OTTB who is a nice mover, safe, and sane. So I won't be looking for a while. Maybe by then, the smaller horses will be back in style.

Oct. 1, 2010, 03:18 PM
I think that when people go to shows, they see mostly larger horses, and when they're shopping, I think the idea in their mind of their perfect horse matches what they see out and about.

Also, I do think that people tend to imagine that smaller horses will have short, ungraceful, pony-like strides, and that's certainly not what anybody would want in their dressage horse. My mare is 15hh (and, incidentally, I'm 5'7") and she's a big mover! She does not feel like a pony. I was really happy recently when I heard an instructor tell a friend who was taking a lesson on my mare, "OK, she may be smaller than you're used to, but be ready, because when she gets moving she will not feel like a small horse!" I had to smile, because I've never taken a lesson with this instructor, she's just seen my mare out schooling and at shows and had obviously noticed her big movement.

So, I really do think it's a perception thing. When out shopping for one's dream dressage horse, I don't think the dream picture is the occasional small superstar. It's the typical horse you see around the dressage ring. That's just my thought on it… although I am obviously quite smitten with my "petite" superstar :)

Oct. 1, 2010, 03:28 PM
Admittedly I am new to dressage. Please explain why height would make a horse have more of an elasticky gait or more ability to extend or push off it's hind end.

Granted much of my conformation/mechanics/gait analysis comes from dog experience not horse; but would not the conformation of the animal create the ability to move with "WOW"...not simply height?

In judging, I don't understand why a smaller horse would have to be scored lower if the horse is a great mover, other than it's a subjective issue and judges are human.

Not a big matter for me personally, as I like the horses I like. I prefer smaller and with the late start in the sport, GP aspirations are not part of my long range plan...lol

here's just a sample of what sold me on the less than 16 h prospect.

But then also in terms of dressage, when I started seriously looking, I was more drawn to the Lusitanos and Andalusians over WB's...and certainly there was no lack of lovely movement in any of them.

I have seen some magnificent Hanoverians that knocked my sox off......but I have seen some Welsh that gave me goosebumps.

Size shouldn't matter if all things are equal...but humans are human and like what they like, and we generally love LARGE. =)

Oct. 1, 2010, 04:03 PM
This thread is very interesting to me. I have a 15.1hh QHxArab who I trained H/J but I am seriously considering doing more dressage work with him. The more I research dressage, watch videos, etc, etc, the more impressed with it and more interested in it I am.

I always thought my horse would be just as good doing all of the extensions, collections, and lateral movements as any bigger horse and I'm glad to hear that others agree. Little horses can do everything the big ones can!! I'm 5'6" average build & I have to be mindful when we jump, but otherwise I feel we're very well suited. He's a very leggy 15.1hh (IMHO)


Oct. 1, 2010, 04:38 PM
It's not that shorter people don't want smaller horses, it's that smaller horses that are purpose-bred & talented for upper level dressage are few & far between.

Most WB registries will not accept stallions below 16 hands, so the gene pool is skewed to throw larger horses.

Even if you have a smaller WB mare (or stallion), guaranteed there is height in their pedigree - so you can't possibly breed with the goal of producing small WBs unless you mix in outside blood, which comes with its own set of disadvantages - if nothing else, in terms of marketability.

I love some of the sport pony breeds and I love Morgans too, but those breeds tend to be SO well-sprung that my short legs don't come any farther down their sides than down a typical 16.2 hand WB. And sometimes less.

If someone could engineer a powerfully-moving, modern-type, elastic, uphill cob size horse that consistently produces the same, they would have a gold mine.

Oct. 4, 2010, 04:07 AM
I've ridden several horses in the 16.2-17.2h range. I have to say, they are a lot of fun...but I LOVE my 15h, stoutly built horse. He has great gaits and is super fun and easy to ride, which a trot I can almost sit in public. I am a little tall for him, but since we'll show primarily at Arab shows, it's not that big of an issue. I look better on him than I did my slightly built, somewhat shorter mare, so I'll live with it.

Oct. 4, 2010, 05:00 AM
Earlier this year my trainer convinced me to sell my 17 hand ISH. She told me to go out and buy a smaller more forward type. I am 5.5 but 17 hands is way too big for me. I struggled to keep a big lazy ISH in front of the leg.

I traded down for a Welsh CobxTB of 15.2 hands and life is a whole lot easier and we fit really well. Its so much easier to get the leg on and keep a smaller horse motivated.

I also own a 15.1 Purebred Sec D Welsh Stallion. I look smaller on him than I do on the 15.2 X as hes much broader and more solid.

Neither move any smaller than my ISH or Swedish WB I had previously.

Neither have competed yet. I have my debut on the cob X this weekend. Hes uber cute and a lovely mover.

I did have a 15.1 Dutch Warmblood many years ago who I really enjoyed and did well on.

I have never felt disadvantaged riding smaller horses and find for me they are far easier to ride and work with.

Oct. 4, 2010, 02:28 PM
Well, as an AA who has tried to look for a well started dressage prospect under 16h I have found it very difficult!! I think it is a combination of the fact that most purpose bred dressage horses are bred to be over 16h and people often don't put the training into the smaller horses. I can find many nice 16+ hand prospects to look at in my area (the northeast), but very few under 16h.

So, those of you with good small (14.2 to 15.3h) prospects feel free to PM me!!!

Oct. 4, 2010, 08:21 PM
I breed German Riding Ponies exactly because I wanted a 14-15hh range uber fancey dressage mount. I am now trying to breed some a bit over pony size to fill this gap. At 5'4'' myself, I really prefer a smaller mount. I find I can be a much more effective and elegant rider;)

Oct. 4, 2010, 11:08 PM
I must admit, I am "vertically challenged" and petite, so I do not need a large horse. I have had 4 horses in my riding life who have been all over the map size wise! My first horse was a 14.2 h Arab--great first horse! I got sick of everyone calling him "adorable" so my next horse was 17 h Han/Tb. He was a good guy also--although I sometimes felt like I was holding up a 500 lb forehand in my forearms (really grew some guns riding him!) My next horse was a 16.1 Tb mare. I like her size and wanted my next youngster to be about that size. But I ended up getting a Trak/Tb mare who is 4 and 15.3 hands. Not sure how much more she is going to grow--hoping for another inch. But she is a great size for me! I can really get my leg in the correct position and use my aids properly.

I think when you are smaller and you have a big horse, it's more important that the horse is forward-thinking. When they are big and lazy, it's hard for a small person to get them really in front of the leg. I don't want to nag--but I got in that habit with my bigger horse because my legs were like little cheetos hanging on his sides.:winkgrin:

There is another boarder at my barn who has this gi-normous horse that is some sort of draft/wb cross. She looks like she is working SO hard to get anything out of him--he trots around lazily, ignoring all of her pushing and prodding. Granted--she is probably burning some serious calories out there--but it doesn't look like fun!

patch work farm
Oct. 4, 2010, 11:39 PM
I find this thread to be very interesting since I prefer smaller mares, having owned a 17 hand gelding (bought him at 5, he was 16.2) he grew until he was 7! Yes, that can happen and I finally just had my trainer sell him-he had the best canter in the world but otherwise was just too much work. I had to begin whatever transition I needed to do at F by the time I hit X or I would miss it (he was also very long).

Personally, I don't care if I look big on them-I am not planning on going to the Olympics and don't have delusions of grandeur. I ride because I want to and I compete my horses for the fun of it (and to test if the money I am spending on my trainer is helping me).

I currently have a very talented 15.3 hand mare for sale that people just don't seem interested in. She has been winning every class she has gone to, whether it be schooling shows or licensed shows (she actually got a higher score @ the lic. show). The judges have all commented about how uphill she is and one even went so far as to say, "she is wow, wow, wow" but so far, no one has snatched her up and I am shocked. She is EXACTLY the type I would be looking for-very pretty and cute, extremely flashy-big blaze and 4 high stockings-was reserve champion of her Mare Performance test with a 7.61 and also loves to jump. To me she is a perfect package. I have been told by the professional who is riding her and several others that I think are credible, that she would have no problem going to GP, she is 9 so obviously that is a factor but for an AA rider like me-again, no big deal since if I made it to PSG I would be thrilled. She is an elite Hanoverian mare who had a foal in 2009, has come back like a little workaholic and just enjoys being ridden and shown off. [If it weren't for another mare who has had two serious issues in the past year-although sound, I don't feel like I can honestly sell her as 100%-despite coming back from both issues and back in work, I would sell her and keep the mare described above, but I cannot keep them all.]

Someone did try her in the spring and said "oh wow, I thought I would be riding something with pony movement but she is too big a mover for me"-surprise! I guess the fact that more and more people are riding german riding ponies doesn't make a difference?

At any rate, I feel strongly there is a market for smaller dressage horses, especially in the AA market. I have seen many small people on large horses and frankly, I think it is unnecessary but if they are having fun-guess I can't throw stones. I know that I didn't want to work that hard and wanted to have fun too.

Oct. 4, 2010, 11:47 PM
I ended up buying at the top of my height range -- he is a giant Arab -- but it isn't because he's tall. It's because he's the coolest horse ever that anyone has ever met and I bought him because I want to hang out with him.

Sorry, I am late to this thread but I just wanted to say that I LOVE this line. :yes: