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What is the ideal horse height for you...why?

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  • What is the ideal horse height for you...why?

    With all the success of Teddy and other ponies out there, as well as sucesses of taller horses such as the 17 hand Albany II who took Phyllis Dawson to the Olympics, I was wondering what everyone here rode and why? I know in my horse search I was only wanting to look at horses over 16hands and I am only 5' 6", so certainly don't NEED a tall horse, it was just personal preference. I guess I WRONGLY had the impression that I needed a bigger horse to jump (mind you I am just learning and only jumping 2 feet-LOL). I adore my horse, but find myself wondering what it feels like to ride something smaller-is it less intimidating (not far to fall), does their stride feel very different from a bigger horse? I've ridden lots of horses from 14.1 hand Morgans to 18.2 hand Belgian, but have only jumped horses that were 16.0 hands +.

    So my question is, when you bought your most recent horse, was height a factor and why? If you have evented both ponies and horses, what is your preference?

    Edited to add: I always thought a bigger horse would make me look smaller LOL! Not that I am a large person, but who doesn't want to look a little smaller? HAHA!
    Last edited by allisontatman; Oct. 3, 2007, 11:56 AM.

  • #2
    Gwen is almost 16.2, Bonnie is 16H even. They are both kind of "just right" for me, height-wise...I can mount from the ground if I have to and they even wear the same size blankets--very convenient! I don't mind if a horse is a little smaller so long as it takes up my leg. I've never ridden REALLY big horses consistently so I can't say whether I care for that feel or not. Every horse I've had (other than my little QH/Arab mare who didn't jump) was between 16H and 16.2, so I'm very much in the "average" group, I guess.

    I wouldn't NOT go look at an otherwise qualified horse because of height, unless it were less than 15.2 or bigger than about 17H...beyond those parameters it would have to be super in other departments to make up for the size.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      i am only 5'5" so not tall and i am short everywhere. my personal horse is 15.3 and plenty big enough. he's a conn/tb and rides like a spotscar. he has enough scope and stride for the bigger fences but unlike some of the bigger horses he is light and balanced that he's fun.

      all of my resale horses are 16+ h b/c like you said even if people don't need a horse that big they think they do

      more than height i think it's important to look at angles to determine how a horse moves and how they balance themselves.

      i do find my smaller horse requires a different ride b/c he is shorter strided and you have to ride more accurately to make the distances happening...compared to my 17h tb who has a 14 ft canter stride that i need to package together.
      http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

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      • #4
        Height isn't all that important to me, because I'm not a big person, only 5'2" and 100 lbs. I ride a 13.2 hand pony who moves like a horse, and a 16 hand TB/ Han horse who moves like he's 17 hands. Quite frankly I wish my 16 hand horse was 15 hands, since he's such a jokster. His mother was only 15.2 or 15.3 and moved and jumped big. A lot of scope. Both of my horses are fun to ride. I'd pick talent over size any day. Besides, usually the bigger the horse, the harder he is to keep sound.

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        • #5
          I personally don't care at all about height- at all. wait I take that back- I think it is a LOT more work to ride something big- say over 17hands, and I think you do have to look to be sure the larger horses are athletic for their size and not too hard on their bodies. I think you can get away with a less perfect beast when they are smaller versus the really big guys- personally speaking.

          HOWEVER- if it loves to jump, tolerates dressage, and stays sound, I ride it. I am 5'10" and I mostly just judge how the horse goes with me on its back as to whether we are matched or not. some horses are bothered more from my tall upper body and legs that hang below their knees! But if I can ride it well and it enjoys its job- I couldn't really care less how big it is.

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          • #6
            I am only 5ft so I haven't owned anything bigger than my currrent horse Sonny, who is 15.2h.

            I guess I am kind of lucky being short because I can ride the small ponies, but I can probably ride some of the bigger horses. It depends on the horse though. If I were to get something in the 16.2h range than it would have to be more sensitive to my aids I would think. I couldn't have a big, heavy horse that needs a 6ft German guy's half halts.
            T3DE Pact

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            • #7
              I am 5'3" and my horse is 15.3hh. That is about as big as I like them. I look at it like this... if I get dumped in a field, I want to be able to (comfortably) remount my horse. Anything 16.1+ would be a bit of a stretch for me. And personally I would rather own a pony if it were feasible for adults to show ponies in the hunters.
              Originally posted by barka.lounger
              u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

              we see u in gp ring in no time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by luveventing View Post
                I personally don't care at all about height- at all. wait I take that back- I think it is a LOT more work to ride something big- say over 17hands, and I think you do have to look to be sure the larger horses are athletic for their size and not too hard on their bodies. I think you can get away with a less perfect beast when they are smaller versus the really big guys- personally speaking.

                HOWEVER- if it loves to jump, tolerates dressage, and stays sound, I ride it. I am 5'10" and I mostly just judge how the horse goes with me on its back as to whether we are matched or not. some horses are bothered more from my tall upper body and legs that hang below their knees! But if I can ride it well and it enjoys its job- I couldn't really care less how big it is.
                This pretty much sums it up for me as well. I will say though, I prefer smaller horses. 16 hands or under with a big step. It's much easier to keep them together and make neat turns for the jumpers. I also thing it's easier to keep them balanced for dressage. Big horses take way more work then I care to do...although I have ridden some exceptions....I gravitate towards the little ones. Current horse is 15.1 with a plenty of body to take up leg. I am 5'8" but mostly leg so it doesn't look terrible. Even the hunter folks don't realize that she is that small and I am that tall

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                • #9
                  As well as height, "length" is important to me, which is to say, I have a very strong preference for close coupled, short-backed horses. I find the 15.2 - 16.1 range good for me. Bigger horses always seem like more work. I'm 5'3". My horses tend to have strides that are "big" for their height also, which I do like. It is not only the riding. For me, it is much easier to groom and tack a horse that I can reach all of.
                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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                  • #10
                    I may be 5'6", but I have stumpy legs. Both of my previous horses are 15.3, and that worked out fine. My filly is pushing 16 hands at 3 and I'm worried that she's going to be a monster. I find that my legs fit and feel best on 14.2-15 hand horses, but my torso is so long that I can't make any mistakes jumping (sadly, just a dream) or I throw their balance too much. So 15.2-15.3 works better.

                    The way the jump feels has a lot to do with how the horse jumps. My first horse was lazy with his legs but got his belly 3 feet above the jump, so it felt big. A little 14.3 hander that I ride really cracks her back and it also feels huge. A 16.3 former grand prix horse was scary huge. My second horse was an equitation style jumper and it ffelt like a big canter stride.

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                    • #11
                      I agree with Scubed. I like them short coupled. but I need a neck. either reguar length or long. Otherwise the horses ears pick my nose.

                      The guy I have now is kind of big. He's a full 17h I think. It takes an act of God for me to mount my jumping saddle from the ground as he is all leg.
                      He's also kind of thugy. He whips out the athletisism when he needs to but so far he's been more careless with the jumps because he can very easily stand over a 3 foot fence, front feet on one side and hind feet on the other. When he jumps bigger and actually HAS to jump, he starts to look impressive.

                      My first horse was 15.2.

                      my big horse is sounder and put together a bit better.

                      both horses wear the same girth and blankets.
                      : )
                      http://kaboomeventing.com/
                      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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                      • #12
                        I'm 5'4" but I have long legs. I don't want to look too tall on my horse (legs hanging below the belly) so I like horses that are in the 15.3 - 16.1 range. I used to have a horse that was 15 or 15.1 and had a fairly small build and I think I looked too big on her. I could go a little smaller than 15.3 if the horse has a thicker build or a really well-sprung rib cage that would take up my leg.

                        I am finding that the older I get, the closer I like to be to the ground so I probably wouldn't want a horse that was bigger than 16.2.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm 5'5" ish and my horse is 16.1/2 ish (neither of us have been measured at all recently) I feel like we fit perfectly. He isn't very narrow or very wide, and my leg looks great on him. He's got a huge stride and a slightly explosive jump though, so sometimes I would like to be closer to the ground!! However I can mount from the ground just fine. I regularly ride another horse who is about 14.2. I feel like while he's a little on the short side for me, especially because he's narrow and I have a long leg, he can jump anything I ask him to, and if I were in the market, his height wouldn't bother me. Plus he turns SO well whereas my guy has to be a lot more collected to make the same turn. I wouldn't really want anything bigger than 16.3, too hard to collect, I'm just not that tall, and short fits into more things easier (trailers, small stalls, old blankets etc- not actually a consideration, but my old horse was 15.1 and fit in my old trailer fine, but my current horse didn't, so I'm trailerless because of it, slightly annoying, but it didn't stop me from buying him)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I look weird on anything that has a less than 48" girth size ... I'm 5'9"/5'10" and mostly leg, so having a decent barrel to wrap my legs around is key. My current guy is around 16.1/16.2ish (haven't officially sticked him) and I feel a little more comfortable on him than my former 16h "skinny" TB (meaning usual TB weight ).

                            http://pic18.picturetrail.com/VOL936.../279874660.jpg

                            My stirrups are more geared to flatwork in that photo, but I did raise them a few holes when we started jumping... although looking back, I could have probably done them up a few more but my legs would exploded.
                            Road to the T3D
                            Translation
                            fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                            skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

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                            • #15
                              I am short and like smaller horses... I feel better on them (I feel a bit 'swimmy' on big horses)and smaller horses also give me the illusion of control.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm 5'6" and have ridden all shapes and sizes. My first horse was a 14.2 Arab who fit me fine at the time (I was 16 then) and I used to regularly foxhunt an 18.2 thoroughbred. I personally like fairly large horses and don't like the "pony trot" that you get in many short fellows, though I also know quite a few who move like big guys. The 18.2 horse was a PITA to get on- I couldn't do it from the ground even with a drop-stirrup- but he had a lovely jump and was a terrific mover. My own horses are in the 16.2-17 hand department. My big horse has a loooong back and a tremendous canter stride, so packaging to make the distance on combination fences is proving to be... interesting. I think size just depends on the individual and on your own ego (what Napoleon complex?!)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm 5'11 and a mile high from hip to shoulder. I look too tall on every horse so it doesn't really matter who I ride! I have figured out that I jump better on a horse with a longer neck bc we both see the fence from the same place. It is troublesome when I loom too far above the short-necked ones. TBs only for me, I prefer the Ferrari-aspect of my 15.3 TB, but I LOVED being way up high on Mikey who was 17.1. My new 4 year old is 16.2. I really don't care as long as we can work together.
                                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'm not so much hung up on height as how they feel to ride. I've ridden 15 hand horses that rode big and 17 hand slab sided horses that I couldn't get comfortable on. I like a well sprung barrel that takes up my leg and gives it somewhere to go and I like to feel that the horse is solid underneath me. Also neck length is important to me, too. I like a longer neck coming up in front of me.

                                    I'm sure I'd be more intimidated to ride some of the smaller, sportscar types (Teddy comes to mind with the springs in his legs) as they are so agile, catty and quick. I love to watch that type of ride go, but it's not for me.

                                    I'm 5'6" with more length in my legs than in my torso and my two mares will both finish up about 16.3. Megan, the Irish mare, is very solid and tank like and Lily, the Shire/TB cross, is more leggy, lean with a longer back. Interestingly, while they are very different to look at, my saddles fit both the same and they both take up my leg very nicely.
                                    If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My daughter is 5'4". Her horses are 16.1 and 17.1. She loves the bigger horses but I think she rides much better on a smaller horse that she can really get her leg around. Her best ride ever was on a 15.1h horse. Still, I can't convince her and I'm not the one riding!
                                      A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'd love to be able to stay at around 15.2 short-coupled thicker horse because I find that a comfortable stride and height (I'm kind of a wimp), but I'm 5'8" and look silly on anything less than 16.2. That said, my current horse is a 16 hand heavy perch cross. He takes up my leg but I still look a bit tall on him. I can mount from the ground if I need to and that's likely the tallest I'll ever have.

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