How tall is a horse? The average horse stands 14.2 hands (or 58 inches) tall, measured from the ground to the top of its withers. In technical terms, a hand is equal to 4 inches, so horses measure between 56 and 58 inches tall.
The height of a horse can vary depending on its breed and gender. Draft horses, for instance, tend to be much taller than other breeds.
There are tons of other things that factor into determining how tall a horse is. This article will go through relevant topics related to a horse’s height.
How Tall is the Average Horse?
You measure a horse’s height from the ground to the top of its withers. This measurement, given in hands, averages 14.2 hands tall.
But several significant factors determine a horse’s height. These factors range from breeds, genders, age, and nutrition. The following are types of horses and their corresponding height average:
|Miniature||6.2 H||26-28 inches||66-70 cm|
|7 H||28-30 inches||71-75 cm|
|7.2 H||30-32 inches||76-80 cm|
|8 H||32-34 inches||81-85 cm|
|Small Horse||8.2 H||34-36 inches||86-90 cm|
|9 H||36-38 inches||91-96 cm|
|9.2 H||38-40 inches||97-101 cm|
|Shetland||10 H||40-42 inches||102-106 cm|
|10.2 H||42-44 inches||107-111 cm|
|11 H||44-46 inches||112-116 cm|
|Pony||11.2 H||46-48inches||117-121 cm|
|12 H||48-50inches||122-126 cm|
|12.2 H||50-52 inches||127-131 cm|
|13 H||52-54 inches||132-136 cm|
|13.2 H||54-56 inches||137-141 cm|
|Horse||14 H||56-58 inches||142-146 cm|
|14.2 H||58-60 inches||147-152 cm|
|15 H||60-62 inches||153-157 cm|
|15.2 H||62-64 inches||158-162 cm|
|16 H||64-66 inches||163-167 cm|
|16.2 H||66-68 inches||168-172 cm|
|17 H||68-70 inches||173-177 cm|
|17.2 H||70-72 inches||178=182 cm|
|18 H||72-74 inches||183-188 cm|
|18.2 H||74-76 inches||189-193 cm|
Miniature horses are a special type of horse characterized by their small size. It’s usually bred to display a miniaturized version of a full-sized horse.
The American Miniature Horse Registry states that there are two divisions of minis:
- A-division mini horses have an average height of 8.5 hands (or 34 inches) or less.
- B-division mini horses have an average height range of 8.5 to 9.5 hands (or 34 to 38 inches).
A small horse has a height of fewer than 10 hands (or 38 inches), depending on the breed. It’s a miniature horse if its height falls under 9.5 hands.
A Shetland is a type of pony with no taller than 11.2 hands (or 46 inches). This breed features a thick coat, short legs, and long mane.
Ponies are a bit taller than the average small horse. Equines under 14.2 hands tall fall under the pony breed, slightly larger than miniature horses.
The average-sized horse stands 14.2 hands (or 58 inches) tall. This size applies to most breeds.
Average horses tend to be the most popular breed, as they can accommodate riders of all sizes.
Convert Horse Height Measurements
Horse height is often measured in units called hands. One hand is equal to 4 inches, so to convert horse height measurements in hands to inches, you just need to use this formula:
4 x WH + FH = Inches High
WH: the horse’s whole hands
FH: any fraction of the horse’s height left over
For example, a 14 hands and 14.2 hands horse’s height could be calculated as follows :
4 x 14 + 0 = 48 inches
4 x 14 + 2 = 50 inches
It’s worth noting that while hand measurements are commonly used in the horse industry, they can be somewhat imprecise since one hand is equal to 4 inches, but the size of a person’s hand can vary. Some people have larger hands and some have smaller hands, so the measurement in hands will be slightly different depending on who is doing the measuring. Nonetheless, hand measurements are still a useful way to get a general idea of a horse’s height.
How To Measure a Horse’s Height?
Measuring a horse’s height is an important task that is often done by breeders, trainers, and owners. It is used to determine the size of a horse and can also be used to identify a specific breed or age. Here are some steps on how to measure a horse’s height:
- Find the withers: The withers is the highest point of the shoulder blade and is used as the reference point for measuring a horse’s height. It is located just behind the base of the horse’s neck and is usually the highest point on the body when the horse is standing on level ground.
- Measure from the ground to the withers: To measure the height of a horse, use a tape measure or a ruler to measure from the ground to the withers. Make sure to hold the tape measure or ruler straight and avoid sagging or stretching.
- Convert to hands: In the English system, a horse’s height is measured in hands, with one hand equal to 4 inches. To convert the measurement to hands, divide the number of inches by 4. For example, if the measurement is 56 inches, the horse’s height would be 14 hands.
- Record the measurement: It is important to record the measurement accurately so that you can refer to it later. Make sure to record the measurement in the correct unit of measurement, whether it is hands, inches, centimeters, or meters.
Measuring a horse’s height is a simple task that can be done quickly and easily with a tape measure or a ruler. By following these steps, you can accurately determine the size of a horse and use the measurement for a variety of purposes.
Why Are Horses Measured in Hands?
During the ancient times, measuring instruments were not available. People needed a way to measure the height of their horses for trading purposes.
Most traders used their hands as a unit of measurement. They used their hands to estimate the size of various animals—including horses.
The practice of measuring horses in hands has been in use for centuries, and it is still used today as the standard unit of measurement for horses. It is a simple and convenient way to measure a horse’s height, and it allows for easy comparison of horses of different sizes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing the horse’s height is great, but we can go deeper and get into the finer details. Here are some frequently asked questions that may help us understand this topic further:
How Tall is the Tallest Hose in the World?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record for the tallest horse in the world goes to a Belgian gelding named Big Jake. Hailing from Poynette, Wisconsin, he stands at an impressive 20 hands, 2.75 inches (or 82.75 inches) tall!
Big Jake died in June 2021 at 20 years old. Until now, the horse has yet to match or surpass Big Jake’s impressive height.
How Tall is Rich Strike Horse?
Rich Strike is an American Thoroughbred racehorse and the champion of the 2022 Kentucky Derby. This thoroughbred stands 17.2 hands (or 68 inches) tall.
How Tall is Medina Spirit Horse?
Medina Spirit was the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby, and he is slightly shorter than Rich Strike. In fact, Medina Spirit measures 16 hands (or 64 inches) tall—making him slightly taller than the average-sized horse.
Medina Spirit died in December 2021 from a heart attack at the young age of 4 years old. He collapsed during a five-furlong workout.
How Tall Was the Trojan Horse?
Although not a real horse, the Trojan Horse was an iconic symbol of deception and cunning. According to accounts by Homer, the fabled Trojan Horse stood 25 feet tall.
It was able to fit an entire group of soldiers, who then used its height to their advantage. In the end, they tricked the Trojans into believing that the horse was a sacred offering from the Greeks.
This move allowed them to sneak into the city of Troy, which spelled its eventual downfall.
How Tall is a Clydesdale Horse?
A Clydesdale horse is a draft horse that typically stands between 16 and 18 hands high. They can accommodate riders of all sizes and abilities. However, the female Clydesdale horse tends to be smaller than its male counterpart, measuring an average of 16 hands instead.
How Tall is a Shire Horse?
Shire horses are similar to Clydesdales but tend to be slightly smaller. A Shire horse typically measures between 16 to 17 hands high. They are known for their gentle and reliable temperament, making them popular horses for leisure riding, show jumping, and dressage.
How Tall is a Quarter Horse?
Quarter horses are the smallest of all horse breeds and typically measure between 14.2 to 16 hands tall. This horse breed is popular in rodeo events due to its muscular build and agility.
How Tall is a Draft Horse?
Draft horses are much larger than average-sized horses. They typically measure between 16 to 18 hands tall and can weigh up to 8,000 pounds. They are known for their muscular build and strength, making them perfect horses for hauling heavy loads or working on the farm.
How Tall is a Thoroughbred Horse?
A Thoroughbred is a popular horse for racing and other equestrian sports. This breed typically measures between 15.2 to 17 hands high, and they are known for their speed and agility.
How Tall is a Friesian Horse?
The Friesian horse is a heavy-bodied draft breed with long manes and tails. This breed is considered to be medium-sized, usually measuring between 15 to 16 hands high. They are known for their powerful gait and graceful movements, making them popular horses for dressage, show jumping, driving, and horseback riding.
How Tall is a Morgan Horse?
A Morgan horse is traditionally small and measures between 14.1 to 15.1 hands tall. They are popular for their intelligence, athleticism, and versatility. This breed is used for dressage, eventing, show jumping, and barrel racing.
How Tall is a Belgian Horse?
A Belgian Horse is a draft breed that typically stands between 16 to 17 hands high (or 66-68 inches). They are known for their even temperament, intelligence, and strength. This breed is often used for pull competitions, dressage, driving, show jumping, and other equestrian activities.
How Tall is an Arabian Horse?
The Arabian horse is a small but powerful breed that typically measures between 14.1 to 15.1 hands tall (or 58-62 inches). This breed typically has a smaller stature with a high tail carriage and is known for its beautiful gait, agility, and intelligence. They are often used for endurance riding, show jumping, dressage, cutting, and more.
How Tall is a Percheron Horse?
A Percheron horse is a draft breed that typically stands between 16 to 17 hands high (or 62-68 inches). They are known for their reliable temperament and strength, making them popular horses for pulling carriages, farm work, and riding.
How Tall is a Mustang Horse?
Mustangs are smaller horses, typically measuring between 14 to 15 hands (or 58-62 inches). This breed is known for its endurance and intelligence, making it popular for horseback riding, show jumping, dressage, reining, and more.
How Tall is a Rombauer Horse?
A Rombauer horse is a cross between two draft breeds, the Clydesdale and Shire. This breed typically measures between 15 to 16 hands (or 62-66 inches) and is known for its intelligence and even temperament. They are often used for riding, driving, show jumping, dressage, and more.
How Tall is an Andalusian Horse?
Andalusian horses are typically medium-sized, measuring an average of 15.1 hands high (or 62 inches). They are known for their powerful gait and graceful movements, making them popular horses for dressage and other equestrian activities.
How Tall is an Icelandic Horse?
Icelandic horses are a variant of ponies that usually measure between 12.2 to 13.2 hands (or 50-56 inches). They are known for their speed, agility, and stamina and are often used for horseback riding, show jumping, dressage, and more.
Horses come in different shapes, sizes, and heights. So while there’s an average height for horses, the truth is that it depends entirely on the breed and type of horse.
As a general guideline, a horse usually stands between 12 to 17 hands high (or 50-68 inches). Anything lower than that usually falls under the pony category.
If you’re looking to buy a horse, it’s important to know the average size of the breed and do your research to find one that fits your needs. With the right care and training, you can find a horse just the right size for you and your activities.