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Growth in mare after 4 years?

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  • Growth in mare after 4 years?

    We recently looked at a 4 year old mare, 16.0 hh, and her owner says she will finish close to 16.3 hh. Is this realistic? In my experience, I have never seen this much growth in a mare after 4 years old.
    Westbrook Farm

  • #2
    no I don't think that is realistic - maybe if she was 3. I have a yearling that is 16hh - and his full sister that is 2 that is 17hh - both will hit 18 like their father.

    I think you would be lucky if she hit 16.2 but even that is pushing it imo


    • #3
      I wouldn't rule out 16.2-3 but am used to slow maturing bloodlines, so it is a possibility in my opinion. Check out sibling/sire/dam heights and if there are any other branches of the mareline that have some heights that you can verify.
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      • #4
        It isn't impossible, but it's not the kind of thing you could count on. I will say, though, that if the only thing you can find to fuss over in a prospect is worrying whether it will end up being 16.1 or 16.3, that's a pretty insignificant issue.


        • #5
          You need to know how the mare's siblings have grown. I had a mare that looked mature at 3 and 16 hands and finished at 16.3 at 7. Her offspring have been quicker to mature but all have added 2-3" after 3 y/o.
          Cindy Bergmann
          Canterbury Court


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mistysmom View Post
            We recently looked at a 4 year old mare, 16.0 hh, and her owner says she will finish close to 16.3 hh. Is this realistic? In my experience, I have never seen this much growth in a mare after 4 years old.
            It depends. The ones that I've had that continued growing looked immature to begin with. Does she look like she's all grown up? Or does she still have that gawky, immature look to her? While it's not impossible, I don't usually see a thee inch growth in our kids after 4. An inch or two occasionally. Good luck!
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            • #7
              My daughters mare was a very small 15.2 as a four year old.. now as a 6 year old she is 16.1 I agree it depends on the lineage...

              Some are slower to mature...


              • #8
                My guess is that she could finish at 16.1 hh given her age and if you know the sire and dam's height is closer to that. You should find out about her siblings though.
                Last edited by remrenam; Nov. 5, 2012, 12:16 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mistysmom View Post
                  We recently looked at a 4 year old mare, 16.0 hh, and her owner says she will finish close to 16.3 hh. Is this realistic? In my experience, I have never seen this much growth in a mare after 4 years old.
                  When was she born? It's possible she's coming on 5 years old. Is she broke? Has she been ridden consistently?

                  I probably wouldn't expect much growth at this stage of the game. But as others have mentioned, it's possible, but the odds are against you. Some horses add height when they are put into regular work. Muscle development, particularly in the chest, shoulder and forearm can increase height.

                  I'd be a bit amused by a seller who claims that a 16.0 hand 4-year-old, coming 5-year-old "will mature to 16.3." I never guarantee height on anything I sell.


                  • #10
                    I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but my geldings seem to finish growing later than my mares. My geldings always seem to surprise me with a couple of extra inches...but the mares, not so much it seems.

                    There can be a lot of variety in height between full sibs, parents, etc., though, height prediction can be tricky. That having been said, if the stallion is 16.1 and the mare is 16H at age four, I'd be with you putting my money on about 16.1.

                    Just be careful you don't put too much attention on height, though. Realistically there's pretty much no difference between 16.1 and 16.3.


                    • #11
                      Never say never.

                      I had a gelding that was supposed to stop at 16.1 when I bought him as a 4-year-old and he ended up 16.3 3/4 when all was said and done. I have a 5-year-old mare who is following the same trend and still actively growing taller. She's currently 16.2HH, both parents were 17HH.
                      Practice! Patience! Persistence!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mistysmom View Post
                        We recently looked at a 4 year old mare, 16.0 hh, and her owner says she will finish close to 16.3 hh. Is this realistic? In my experience, I have never seen this much growth in a mare after 4 years old.
                        depends on the breed and bloodlines. So...maybe though not likely. Would need more info. I would not bank on more than an inch though. My 4 YO TB/WB cross is 16.0H and does not look like she will make more than 16.1 for a variety of reasons. Does your horse look gangly and leggy and babyish or pretty well filled out? The latter is less likely to grow much more.
                        Providence Farm


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
                          I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but my geldings seem to finish growing later than my mares. My geldings always seem to surprise me with a couple of extra inches...but the mares, not so much it seems.
                          You actually do have scientific evidence to back that up. The testosterone surge that comes with puberty is part of the process that normally tells the growth plates to close. Horses (and most other male animals) who are gelded prior to puberty will grow taller than their genetically predisposed hieght because it takes longer for the growth plates to close. Which also means they will grow later in life.
                          For the horse color genetics junky


                          • #14
                            I've had several grow 2+ inches between their 6th and 8 th birthdays. I've wondered whether that is because I don't grain them up very much. They mostly are fed grass hay.
                            co-author of
                            Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry