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Are horse buyers "Heightists?"

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  • #41
    Generally, people want tall bc of resale OR being devils advocate, bigger stride can = slower= average Ammy can actually get down the lines. Gasp, a smaller horse, Ammy Average may have to ride and adjust. Flame away.

    I have both. A 15.3 mare that can walk the lines and jump 4 foot easily, most athletic horse I've owned. I also have a 16.2 mare, but stride, gave not jumped her over 3 foot yet (she's going on 5). Guess who everyone wants to buy? The blingy bigger one who does not have the athleticism (yet) of the plain bay. Both move to die for with good ribbons under saddle.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


    • #42
      Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
      Generally, people want tall bc of resale OR being devils advocate, bigger stride can = slower= average Ammy can actually get down the lines. Gasp, a smaller horse, Ammy Average may have to ride and adjust. Flame away.
      But why would you want to make the job harder if you don't have to? It has nothing to do with rider skill. If I have two horses, one that can softly canter the lines and jumps well, vs. one that I have to chase to make the distance, why would I pick the second one?

      With today's hunter courses requiring a certain number of strides and with the questions being asked on many current jumper courses, it's just simply easier for a bigger-strided horse to answer those questions. For the most part, smaller horses cannot meet the challenges. Are there exceptions? Of course. But when you're horse shopping, it's easy to understand, when you are looking at dozens of prospects, that you'd dismiss a smaller horse because the law of averages are not in your favor.

      This topic reminds me of one of my best cutting mares who, if she stood on her tip-toes, maybe would have sticked at 14.2. If I was late on a turn, my trainer would shout out, "that's your outside foot draggin' in the dirt."

      I'm 5'10" with a 36" inseam. I did look like I was riding a pony.


      • #43
        Well, if you can find that 15.3 and change horse who can make the lines and make it look easy and has the jump, sell it as a small junior and make a fortune

        As everyone else says, with hunters there is a reason height matters.

        With jumpers, they are trending back to smaller/cattier rather than the warmbloods of old but it's still rare you're going to see a 15 hand horse in the GP ring.

        If you're buying for yourself and a pleasure horse, who cares. Buy what fits you and makes you happy.
        Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ranchopampa or our website at www.ranchopampa.com


        • #44
          That's where I get lost...I have no idea how it's "harder" to lengthen the strides at a canter. Adjusting stride length should be second nature to anyone jumping courses higher than cross rails. Flat riding 101.

          Lengthening strides does not = rushing or chasing.

          Same as a 'hand gallop' doesn't = faster canter or 'hair is on fire and ass is catching!" speed. It's a change of gait, not a change of speed.

          If a person can jog, trot, working trot a horse than they should be able to canter, lengthen stride, hand gallop, gallop.

          Are riders no longer being taught flat riding? None of this is hard stuff. It's just rating your horse. I can't imagine people moving on to showing over fences before they can master more than 3 gaits of walk, trot and canter.

          I can understand it for purposes of nerves...although shorter is closer to the ground I have noticed over the years that the shorter the horse...the harder you hit the ground.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!


          • #45
            Are horse buyers "Heightists?"

            It's all in the wither
            - that inch of spinal process convinces the masses that this horse runs faster, jumps higher, is more athletic, is just more suited to anything the prospective buyer may dream of doing ...
            - and will look better while doing it!


            • #46
              I have a 15.2 1/2 small junior that I would NOT have bought if it couldn't make it down the lines. Naturally bigger horses are going to be more expensive if they can make it down the lines at a lope, because the amateurs paying big bucks today don't want to test fate with a horse with a motor. Top of the line small juniors will be even MORE expensive if they can make it down the lines at a lope, but that usually means they have a monster stride.


              • #47
                I have body image issues. So I feel like I need at LEAST a 16 hand horse, and all of mine (I have four) are over 16.2. I'm only 5'7", but I'm "busty"....and being top-heavy makes me very self-conscious about my balance.

                I know 6 foot 300 lb men ride 15 hand QH, but they aren't asking them to jump.

                I DO hate it when a horse advertised to be 16.1 is 15.3.
                --Becky in TX
                Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                She who throws dirt is losing ground.


                • #48
                  Yes. Decades ago when I was a kid, horse people drilled into my brain the "16 hands or over" rule. So I've always followed it. When I went horse hunting years ago, I said "don't show me anything under 16 hands or over 16.3 hands." I bought Callie, 16 hands, and Cloudy who was 16 hands and is probably about 16.3 now. I've not measured him since he was 16.2. (One BO measured him at 17+ hands, but that most have been at the poll way back then.)

                  My first horse was 14.3 2 years later at 12 yoa, I was 5"8" tall. I kept my first horse forever, but my 2nd horse was 16 hands.
                  So don't ask me why now Cloudy has a mare who is 14.3. At least Hattie's legs are longer than mine.

                  The most irritating thing when I was horse hunting was to have people tell me a sales horse 16 hands or over, and then when I arrived, I found the horse was under 16 hands. I'm 17 hands, so I can measure w/o a stick. I don't want an 18 hand horse either. Cloudy had a girlfriend years ago who was 18.2 and growing. She made him look like a pony when she'd put her head over his withers.

                  Whatever suits people is fine. If people want a horse less than 16 hands, good for them. If people want a horse over 17 hands, good for them. I'll stick with "the rule" I was taught as a child. Works for me.

                  Size does matter!


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                    Lengthening strides does not = rushing or chasing.
                    Of course it doesn't. However, if your horse tops out at a 12' stride, you are restricted as to what division you are going to show in. Smaller horses tend to have shorter strides. And, if you chip in, you're in trouble. The average amy, no matter how skilled, makes mistakes. Hell, I've seen top pros chip in.

                    Again, there are exceptions. But they are few and far between.

                    I've sat and watched thousands of hunter rounds at a very high level. Quite frankly, a horse that lands softly and relaxed, and canters without having to motor on to make the distance is a much more pleasing picture. Hunters are supposed to look effortless.

                    You can say that it's the new standard, the judging, the money, blah, blah, blah. But it is what it is and that's what drives the market. The question originally brought forth was "heightist." I don't believe there is such a thing. There are reasons for buyers and trainers wanting bigger horses. It's stacking the deck in your favor, and the current market bears that out.


                    • #50
                      Its great for the people who like the small ones. If I am ever in the market for another horse, I want a nice 15.1-15.3 horse. I like the petite horses.


                      • #51
                        Yes, horse buyers are heightists. Accept it. All the stories about how good 15.2 hand Dobbin is/was will not change that.
                        Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
                        November 11-13, 2016


                        • #52
                          I am 5'11", average weight for an over 40 female, and my OTTB is 15.3 hh, even just a tad under. He is a thicker TB ( storm cat line). He was advertised at 16.2 and I almost walked away except that while I was standing there, thinking about if I could comprise on his height since I wanted 16.2 +, he inched over to me and buried his head in my chest. Yep, he came home with me. When I first showed him to riding friends, they had questioning looks as to why I bought a horse that was 'too short' for me.

                          Well, his stride is huge, even too long for the hunter course. If I just let him be normal, in a 6 stride line, he easily does 5. If he is full of himself, 4 strides. I have to shorten his canter stride when we do hunters thus we do a lot of dressage as well so he listens to my seat. I watched his past races and for 1 stride of his, the TBs racing next to him had to take 1 1/2 + strides.

                          I took him to a dressage clinic and the clinician had only seen me on-top of him. Clinician wanted to ride him so I hopped off. Clinician says " wow, you are tall. You hide it well when you are on him". Thus I think the 'look' of a tall rider on a shorter horse has to do a lot with how the rider balances and flows with the horse.

                          Last year I brought home my 17hh OTTB. He raced for 7 years and now has decided he is done running. You put him on a easy canter and he just stays there. No more, no less. He has a very consistent stride that works great for the hunter course. He does his work effortlessly. I was sure that I needed a 17 hh horse but honestly, I really enjoy riding my 15.3 hh guy. I feel like I have 'more horse' with him than I do the 17 hh TB. They both are pretty thick, not narrow so that helps support my size. Height is the only physical difference. The 15.3 hh TB just feels much more athletic.

                          When I get another OTTB, I actually think I am going to be looking in the 15.2-16hh range. No longer convinced that I need a 17 hh horse to match my height.


                          • #53
                            If the horse is proven I don't think it matters as much. Also you have to think about small junior hunters. I know of several 15.3 3/4 hunters that have sold quite quickly as small junior hunters in the US.

                            I admit when I was looking at new hunters I was heightest until I took a chance and looked at a 15.3 3/4 gelding and fell in love. Being 5'8 I always thought I would look like a giant on a smaller horse but was proven wrong. Im glad that I went to look at him as I would have missed out on the horse of a lifetime just on a height.


                            • #54
                              Personally if I was going to buy another horse (do not need one) the bigger the better, I love the 16.3 to 17.2 hand range, I just feel better on them, only 5'5" and that is my breeding goal, that being said I do have a jumper mare that is only about 16h who I loved riding and it clicked when I rode them. If something about any horse gets me very excited I will at least try it and decide from there.

                              Again a good horse is a good horse!


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
                                I'm selling a horse who is 15.3 1/2. She measures just a half inch under 16 hands. Should I advertise her at 16 hands?

                                Would it bug you if you came out expecting her to be 16 hands and she was just half an inch less?

                                She doesn't have any problem making distances.
                                It would bug me that you, as a seller, were thinking of lying.

                                If you told me 16h, I had a question about her height, asked you to measure the horse in front of me and then you said, "Well, I lied about the .5 inch in order to get buyers out here," I'd walk. You wouldn't get the chance to verify your other claim, "that the mare can make the strides."

                                Don't lie about the little stuff. It's not worth it.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat


                                • #56
                                  So I decided recently to wander into the market as I'm back in the saddle after a 5 year hiatus. I am currently riding my 15.1 Connemara x mare around the farm to get my seat back, etc. Thought I might should start looking for my next ride as the mare is 17yo.

                                  I go to try a WB that's just under 16hh. He's a striking horse w/big lofty gaits though he moves a little unorthodox. Looking at the horse I would have expected a lot of neck out in front of me and while I was sort of anticipating a more narrow ride than my little mare, I was sort of shocked at how he didn't really take up my leg...and I have much more horse out in front of me on my little mare - though looking from the ground you'd think the opposite to be true. My little old lady mare has lots of step, too. Getting down the lines are no problemo for her...lots of scope and an easy, easy ride. She's a natural and makes us all look better...lol.

                                  As someone already posted, people make up their mind about something (all sorts of things) and that's that. I really hate when folks won't give a horse - who in every other way IS what they are looking for - a try simply for the sake of what the stick says. There are other factors that contribute to what horse is the right size. Driving/flying long distances on the off chance something might work...well, that's another story.

                                  Also - I'd agree with what someone posted about the Avg. Ammy...most folks I know are riding after 40 hours at work, kids, husband, etc....they (I!!!) need stuff as uncomplicated as possible. Meaning not having to ride every step out of it to make the lines...

                                  ETA - Are we measuring the horses/ponies when they get off the trailer/van on a windy day at a totally new location??? LOL
                                  Last edited by Finzean; Dec. 2, 2012, 04:02 PM. Reason: addition


                                  • #57
                                    xtrygirl - you and your inches! You have me thinking that way - "gee, (holding thumb and forefinger thus far apart) it's only THIS much - that's not a lot."
                                    My experience has been that most people think their horses are an inch or two taller than they really are - and occasionally advertise them that way.


                                    • #58
                                      If a person can jog, trot, working trot a horse than they should be able to canter, lengthen stride, hand gallop, gallop.
                                      Except at most hunter shows, they don't want hand gallop or hand gallop, they want a big, slow, floaty step.

                                      You see smaller horses in other disciplines. My horse went to a cowboy with a bunch of cutting and roping horses. At 17H she was a giant. LOL, the cowboy laughed that she was too tall to climb up on.

                                      I think a lot also comes down to what looks elegant, for better or worse. Being a little small on a horse in english tack looks more elegant than being too big. Rider feet hanging below the horses stomach looks awkward- even if it isn't. It makes sense in the disciplines that are subjective- hunters, dressage, that you want every advantage including looking elegant.


                                      • #59
                                        I have a small TB, never been officially measured but he would probably measure small. Last 'A' show we did he was eating up the lines in Adult. Though I look better on a tall horse (5'7", looong legs) I don't like being so high off the ground and I don't like handling big horses on the ground. Not to mention trying to body clip one...*shudder*. So actually, a 17+ hh horse is a turn off to me, but that's probably not as normal in h/j.

                                        I aged out of juniors recently and I don't have the eq dream anymore so next horse I'll purchase will probably be in the 15.2-16hh range, unless I want to resell.


                                        • #60
                                          Except at most hunter shows, they don't want hand gallop or hand gallop, they want a big, slow, floaty step.
                                          Yeah, I keep forgetting that hunters now is more about slow than sweepy movement.

                                          But the problem is...a 17hh + horse is never going to have a big or floaty step with 12' stride lines. If the horse has decent movement, 17hh and over with average to long length legs should have around a natural 14' stride. So to fit the strides in you're either down to a western lope (not western pleasure trope) or you're holding it back. And hunters, even today, is supposed to be about flow and not mince. And if you open the horse up and move it forward instead of up and down, you should easily accomplish 15' strides on that height horse.

                                          I do agree that today's perception of elegance has changed from a matched rider to horse size to a rider looking small on the horse. And in opinion disciplines...every little detail and edge can most certainly count a whole lot with the judges. That's one thing that has never changed. And if that's what's pinning, then that's what's pinning.

                                          (for those who say the average ammy rider needs tall and half dead...tons of ammy riders are great riders. They just choose to have a steadier income with benefits outside of a barn. Remember, ammy only means they don't get paid for horsie stuff. It doesn't automatically mean "should be on a carousel" lol)
                                          You jump in the saddle,
                                          Hold onto the bridle!
                                          Jump in the line!