How To Measure A Horse’s Height?

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How to measure a horse’s height? You can measure the height of your horse from the highest point of the withers and down to the ground. The withers are where the neck of the horse meets the back.

There are tons of misconceptions when it comes to measuring a horse’s height. People tend to either over or underestimate the height of their horse. This often leads to frustration, as you may feel like you do not measure correctly.

Some measure the height of their horses the wrong way. For instance, some start from the horse’s head and all the way to the tail. Doing so is wrong and will give you an inaccurate measurement.

You may have other questions regarding the proper way of measuring your horse’s height. This article will answer all of the important questions related to this topic. That way, you’ll be well aware of how to measure the height of your horse properly.

Why are Horses Measured in Hands?

Great question! I thought about that myself when I first started horseback riding. The reason is that horse height has been traditionally measured in hands for centuries.

Thousands of years ago, people didn’t have an actual metric system for measuring. But since people needed a way to measure their horses for selling and trading purposes, they settled on a unit of measurement they always have with them wherever they go—their hands!

Horses Measured in Hands

This method of measurement somehow stuck around and is still used today. So, if you’re ever horse shopping or need to give your horse’s height for any reason, you’ll need to know how to measure it in Hands.

Fortunately, you won’t have to do it manually as people did back in the day. Instead, with readily available measuring tapes and horse height charts, you can easily and accurately measure your horse’s height in both hands and inches.

How a Horse’s Height is Measured?

Measuring a horse’s height is important for many reasons. For horse owners, it’s a way to keep track of their horse’s growth. It can also be helpful in horse breeding. And, of course, it’s simply a way to find out how tall your horse is!

A horse’s height is measured from the highest point of the withers and down to the ground. The withers are the ridge between the horse’s shoulder blades.

Many people confuse the horse’s withers with the horse’s shoulder. The horse’s shoulder is actually located further down the horse’s body.

To find the horse’s withers, feel for the highest point of the horse’s back. This is where the horse’s neck meets the back.

Some people think that the head of the horse is the highest point. However, this is not the case. The horse’s head is located further down the horse’s body than the withers.

As such, measuring from the horse’s head to the ground will not give you an accurate measurement of the horse’s height since you would measure from the wrong starting point.

horse height measurement

Once you have found the withers, measure down to the ground. The result of this measurement is the horse’s actual height.

Tools Needed for Measuring a Horse’s Height

To measure a horse’s height, you will need the following:

  • A measuring tape
  • A measuring stick (if you don’t have a measuring tape)
  • A string or rope (if you don’t have a measuring tape or measuring stick)

When it comes to measuring your horse’s height, you must use an accurate measuring tape. One product that I would recommend is the Qik Sports Horse Measuring Tape. You can use this tool to measure the height and weight of your horse.

The Qik Sports Horse Measuring Tape is made from tough vinyl-coated nylon. It can measure both hand and centimeters, as well as pounds and kilograms. It’s a great option if you’re planning to measure your horse’s height and weight.

Preparing Your Horse for Measurement

When preparing your horse for measurement, it’s important to ensure that you measure the horse on a level surface. Doing so will ensure that you get the most accurate measurement. A concrete floor is a good option.

When measuring the horse, it’s important to have someone help you hold the horse still. A moving or fidgeting horse can make it difficult to measure accurately.

It’s also a good idea to trim the horse’s hooves before measuring. ensure your horse stands with its front and back feet directly beside each other. This position will ensure they stand at their fullest height when you measure them.

Once you have everything that you need and your horse is on a flat surface, you’re ready to measure your horse’s height.

Measure Your Horse and Pony

measure your horse height

Start by measuring from the horse’s withers down to the ground to get an accurate measurement. Place your measuring tape at the horse’s withers, then let it drape down to the ground.

If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a string or rope instead. Simply measure the horse with the string or rope and then measure the string or rope with a ruler to get the horse’s height.

Another popular option is a measuring stick. Measuring sticks are designed specifically for measuring horse height. They have a long handle and a slot at the end through which you slide the horse’s neck.

To use a measuring stick, hold the stick level with the ground and slide the horse’s neck through the slot until the stick rests on the horse’s withers. Then, read the measurement on the stick to find out the horse’s height.

Whichever option you use, remember that to have someone help you hold the horse still. That way, you’ll get the most accurate measurement and avoid any potential accidents.

Once you determine the height of your horse, make sure to write down the horse’s height so that you can reference it later.

Horse Height Hands Conversion Chart

A horse’s height is typically measured in hands. One hand is equal to 4 inches (10.2 cm). Horse heights are written in the following format: “14.2 hands” or “14.2h.”

If you’re unsure how to convert horse height in hands to horse height in inches, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out the horse height conversion chart below.


Another way to convert your horse’s height from inches to hands, or centimeters to hands, is by using the following formula:

Horse height (in hands) = horse height (in inches) / 4
Horse height (in hands) = horse height (in cm) / 10.2

For example, if your horse is 60 inches tall, you would divide 60 by 4 to get 15 hands. Similarly, if a horse measures 154 cm, you would divide 154 by 10.2 to get 15 hands.

Now that you know how to measure your horse’s height and convert it from inches to hands, you’re ready to start measuring it and using that information for whatever purpose.

Horse height is an important factor to consider when horse owners want to know how big their horse is, how much weight their horse can safely carry, and how big of a horse trailer they need to transport their horse.

Also, horse height may be important for horse owners who want to compete in horse shows and other competitions with height restrictions.

So, whether you need to know your horse’s height for practical or competitive purposes, measuring your horse’s height is a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes to complete.

Measuring Your Horse or Pony


Got other questions in mind? Here are specific horse height questions that horse owners often ask and their corresponding answers.

How Tall is the Average Horse?

The average height of horses depends on the horse’s breed. For example, the average light horse is typically 14 to 16 hands or 56 to 64 inches (142 to 163 cm) tall.

In contrast, Larger riding horses are around 15.2 to 17 hands, or 62 to 68 inches (157 to 173 cm)tall on average. The average draft horse is typically 16 to 18 hands or 64 to 72 inches (163 to 183 cm) tall.

Many factors go into horse height, including the horse’s diet, environment, and genetics—however, most horses’ average height range from 14 to 17 hands in height.

What’s the Difference Between Ponies and Horses?

Ponies and horses are actually the same species. One way to determine one from the other is their size and height.

A horse is equine with at least 14.2 hands tall at the withers. Ponies, however, measure less than 14.2 hands at the withers. So, if you want to know if you have a horse or a pony, measure the horse’s height at the withers. If they’re under 14.2 hands, then you have a pony on your hands.

Many people tend to consider ponies as younger horses. However, this is a misconception. There’s a huge difference between ponies and foals. A foal, or baby horse, is under a year old and will eventually grow bigger as it transitions to adulthood.

Ponies, on the other hand, can be any age and will never grow taller than 14.2 hands. So, if you have a horse under 14.2 hands and over one year old, you have a pony, not a foal.

How Tall is a 14 Hand Horse?

A horse that’s 14 hands tall is 56 inches or 4.67 feet (142 cm) tall at the withers. This is the average height of a horse and the tallest height a pony can be.

Hands is the standard horse measurement used worldwide, especially in English-speaking countries. So, if you’re ever horse shopping in the United States and Europe, you must be familiar with horse measurements in Hands.

When Do Horses Reach Their Full Height?

Most horses will reach their full height by the time they are 4 years old. However, some horse breeds can grow a little taller and may not reach their full height until they are 5 years old.

For example, Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses reach their full height by the standard 4 or 5 years. On the other hand, Arabian horses don’t reach their full height until they are around 6 years old.

Draft horses reach their full height anywhere between five to seven years. So, as you can see, your horse’s breed will play a major role in how tall it will grow.

Growth spurts in horses usually happen during the spring and summer months. So, if you want to know how tall your horse will be when they reach full height, take its measurements during these periods.


Now that you know how to measure a horse’s height, you can easily give an accurate measurement the next time someone asks. Just remember to measure from the withers down to the ground, and use a horse height chart if you need help converting from hands to inches.

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