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Does size matter?

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  • Does size matter?

    Okay I was partially trying to get everyone's attention.

    I keep talking to these kids, and they all keep saying that they are too big for their horses.

    Now, in my opinion they are all nuts, they all fit their horses fine.

    Riders-what is this size thing?

    Trainers-Your opinion?

    "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18

  • #2
    I used to ride 16+ hh horses before I bought my own. After a nasty fall from a 16.3 hh lesson horse at a show, I wanted the smallest horse possible for a person my size (5'8" average weight). When I went shopping for my first horse, I asked my riding instructor what is the smallest horse I should look at. She said I could get away with 15.2 hh if the horse was really broad. So... that is exaclty what I bought. I enjoy being closer to the ground. I also enjoy not having to fiddle with my stirrup leathers when mounting.


    • #3
      Unfortunately for me it is a size thing. I am 5-11 with a 36+++ inch inseam. I have a very short upper body and have the ability to make 17+h horses look like ponies. Usually anything under 16.2 is too small and does not take up enough leg.
      But I have dealt with the 5-1 riders looking for huge horse they can not physically control or match.


      • #4
        IMO, the less knowlegable people are, the more emphasis they put on the horse's size and feel that bigger is always better.
        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


        • #5
          They are just kids parrotting something they heard or read on the web and assuming they are too big for their horses.

          I would not extrapolate that out too far or apply it too widely across the entire H/J spectrum.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            I grew up thinking that bigger was better. And I had a very skewed view of how I looked on horses - thinking that at 5'7" I really "needed" something 16.2 or better in order to look proportionate.

            It took actually riding some smaller horses for me to realize not only do I fit and look fine on them, I actually prefer the ride a little bit. Much easier for me to see/feel where I am.

            My own guy is 16.1 but I wouldn't be opposed to buying something from 15 hands up if I was shopping in the future. Of course, not looking to do lots of showing or anything, either.
            "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

            My CANTER blog.


            • #7
              I knew a girl who was 5' and btw 10-12 years old who was riding a 17.2h horse because they wanted her to be able to do large juniors

              I wanted something over 16h but didn't really care. First horse that we got was 17.1h and he worked out just fine The next one (my current show horse) was 15.3h and also has worked out just fine
              No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
              For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
              www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


              • #8
                I'm 5'5" or thereabout and am riding one that's about 15.1 and one that's 16.3. Previous horse was also about 15hh.

                I think larger horses have definitely been a trend lately. I guess maybe it's easier to make the strides on something bigger, depending. But many average adults can ride ponies and can certainly ride smaller horses without it being obscene.
                They're small hearts.


                • #9
                  I think it depends on how the horse is built not just his height. My horse is 18h and has a long back. I am 5'8 and he isn't the easiest to put together even with my height and length of leg.
                  Last edited by Bearhunter; Aug. 4, 2009, 06:15 PM.


                  • #10
                    I think for the longest time across the board (h/j, eventing, dressage), bigger was better and that's what everyone wanted because that's what they thought they needed to win.

                    Then Theodore O'Connor came around (and no he's not the first little guy to dominate, ie Stroller, but the first in a long time on a large scale) and the popularity of the German Riding pony for the dressage folks especially, and now people are finally starting to realize that it's better to get something they actually fit.

                    I'm 5'1, and everything I own is 14.2 and under. One of my 14.2ers is only 2 though, so she'll probably actually be a horse.


                    • #11
                      I think it was Steinkraus who said a tall rider looks no worse on a small horse than a small rider looks on a tall horse. My interpretation of that statement is simply that size is not that important.

                      I think what they really need to understand is that it is not the height of the horse that makes a rider look disproportionate, it is the girth or depth of the horse that usually determines that, covering leg is the answer. Really what are you going to do if you are a rider with a tall upper body, start buying really long horses, with a high head set?? I have a bunch of horses I ride from 16.1HH to 17.2HH and the only one I do not have to make "size" adjustments for is the 16.1HH horse.

                      I myself am 6'3" and have learned over the years that the really, really goods ones don't come around all that often, so when they do you have to learn to fit them, there simple are not that many great ones around to start trading them like cars with a growing family.

                      Joe Fargis is a a great example. He was taller, and Touch of Class was very fine, and I do not believe very tall, so he had to learn to fit her. John Anderson is at least 6'7" and I have seen him ride horses that can't be anymore than 16HH, and he looks fine, is an excellent rider and has a ton of success.

                      And at the end of the day what is the difference between a 16HH and a 17HH horse, 4 inches, or 2 stirrup holes, and great equitation.


                      • #12
                        Ok, I'll say it "Yes, size does matter!"
                        But, not in the way it think everyone traditionally thinks about size. To me "size" incorporates more than just the horses height. It involves their barrel, their neck length & to some extent their back length.
                        The 16.1 school horse I rode fit me better than the 16.2 big barreled horse I owned. Why - my horse had a short neck & I always felt that, although he took up my leg better than the school horse, I was "top heavy" on him. The school horse & I just presented a better fit together.
                        Right now I'm currently riding my horse (17 hands) & one of the other boarders horses (he might be 15.3?) Nicest part about the smaller horse is I can comfortably use the 2 step mounting block
                        Life is hard. Buy a freaking helmet.
                        Originally posted by meupatdoes
                        Whatever, go gallop.


                        • #13
                          while i wouldn't assume this to be true for everyone, i think that in some cases, it just might go hand in hand with many young girls and body image issues. the bigger the horse, the smaller you look as a rider.

                          i speak as someone who's been there. i'm five five, and try to keep my weight somewhere between 115-120. i have a healthy take on my self image today, but it wasn't always so. at one point i freaked out when i tried a horse that was 15.2 because i felt i "looked huge" - obviously that wasn't true. but it was how i felt, nonetheless.

                          just offering an insight. it's probably not the most common source of juniors wanting a bigger horse - but it might be a factor for a certain number.


                          • #14
                            I like a bigger horse - I just feel better. But its a type I like- big, slow moving - call 'em lugs. A long enough step to crawl down the lines. I hate small dashy types.

                            My horse is a tall girl but she rides like a small horse. She doesn't have that big stepped lope yet. You crawl, you add a step. But she is easy to pull together and adjust. She's 17H, a bit narrow, but a deep barrel. She's about perfect for me comfortwise- anymore wide horses hurt my back.

                            I think my trainer is north of 6', all leg and looks fantastic on her.

                            I am 5'7 and think I look a little heavy for her, but a good height.


                            • #15
                              I have always thought I needed a bigger horse. I rode a 16.1h narrow, upright TB in the short stirrup for three years. My next horse was also 16.1h, but with a much bigger barrel. By the time I was 14 (probably about 5'7" at that time), I felt that I was too big for him and needed a taller horse. My next horse was 17.1h and at 5'8" I looked perfect on him. Unfortunately he did not like jumping, so we sold him and I was offered another horse for free. This horse is 15.2h. He does have a big barrel and longish neck, so I feel perfectly fine on him.
                              So now I think that it is more the length of neck, rather than height, that balances out my extremely long torso.


                              • #16
                                I am tall with long legs and I'm heavier than average, so yes, size matters to me somewhat. I like the shorter ones with a big barrel so I can get my leg on them properly and so I have fat to cling to when doing no stirrup work.

                                My horse is 16.2 and a little bit, typical leggy TB look, and I think I look about normal on him. Although it would be so nice to have that great no stirrups barrel.......

                                One horse I used to ride was 17.3 and BIG besides that. I used to get a lot of compliments on how nice we looked together. I think some of it had to do with how well we got along, but I almost look short in the pictures I have of me on him. Until I look at my friend/trainer at the time standing next to us. She's 5'2 and I think his head was bigger than she was.
                                I love my Econo-Nag!


                                • #17
                                  I think that size only matters if it is extreme. If you have a 4ft child and a 17hh horse, they are going to look retarded, same goes for a large rider and a small horse.

                                  That being said, there are riders out there (William Fox-Pitt, Ian Miller ect.) who can ride smaller horses, and even with their height they don't look out of place because they are balanced in their saddle and maintain a good overall position.

                                  So basically, if you can ride the horse to the best of it ability without it being unsafe or overly awkward, then there is no reason why a shorter person can ride a large horse and a taller person can ride a small horse, in my opinion.


                                  • #18
                                    I am 5'1" and 17. I know I can't ride the big guys as well as the ponies and small horses, my leg barely reaches their barrels on anything larger than 16h.

                                    My own horse is a 15.1h TB but I make her look 16 hands and we fit together perfectly, I also ride a large and small pony which I am a bit big for but not terribly.

                                    My Mare: http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y20...me/Lady/20.jpg

                                    Large Pony: http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y20...unephp-1-1.jpg

                                    Small Pony: http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y20...atches/1-1.jpg
                                    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                                    !! is the new .


                                    • #19
                                      My mare is a hair under 15.2. She's a Hanoverian with a big barrel and an even bigger stride, bigger than many horses several inches taller than her. She is still poo-poo'd by any person/trainer that does H/J's. They call her midget. Some BNT have have been impressed with her, but still always say "too bad she's too small".

                                      So yes, size DOES matter unless you have a horse like Strapless that can simply out jump them all...
                                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                                      • #20
                                        I'm 5' and very petite (think gnome...), and I feel more comfortable on a smaller, slab sided horse. It's fine, because they're generally cheaper and a little easier to maintain and buy "clothes" for. I do have a harder time putting together a larger horse, my legs don't reach down the barrel, etc. (Of course, Margie Goldstein isn't any taller than I am, and she could ride anything with hair and hooves, to be sure...so I guess that's not *really* an excuse)

                                        My horse (15.1 TB mare) has a fairly easy time of making strides and is a very handy, nimble jumper. Plus, turns on her are a breeze. I've always preferred that to what feels to me like a lumbering gait of a larger horse. I'm sure we get downgraded for our size at times, but it's better than trying to ride something uncomfortable. Plus, she looks good jumping a 2'6" or a 3'
                                        6" fence. So, she's perfect for the hunters fence ranges I'm aiming for in the showring.

                                        PS - Love the Steinkraus quote Hawrse. Nice one!