What Is A Hand In Horse Height? (Best solution)

A hand is a measuring unit for an equine’s height that has been used for several centuries. The measurement may, in fact, trace back to the ancient Egyptians. A hand represents four inches or approximately the width of a male adult’s hand.

How tall is 15 hands on a horse?

  • This means that a horse is 15 hands, 4 inches tall. Since a hand is equal to four inches, this horse is actually 16 hands tall. How old can a horse live? You might be interested: How many plan b can i take?

How tall is a 20 hand horse?

Standing at 20 hands 2 ¾ inches or 210.2 cm, Big Jake, an 11-year-old Belgian gelding, is officially the world’s tallest horse.

Why are horses heights measured in hands?

Horses are measured in hands because they didn’t have standard measuring tools in ancient societies, so they commonly used hands to measure horses; this tradition continues to the present. One hand is considered 4 inches, so a 15 hand horse is 60 inches tall.

Can a horse be 14.5 hands?

Hands and Other Measurements A horse could never be said to be 14.5 inches, as the number after the decimal is not a fraction, but represents an entire inch. If a horse is 14.2 1/2 HH, that means he’s two and one-half inches over 14 hands.

Is 17 hands a big horse?

How tall is the average horse? Light riding horses are typically 14–16 hands (1.42–1.63m), larger riding horses are 15.2–17 hands (1.57–1.73m), and heavy or draft horses are usually 16–18 hands (1.63–1.83m). Growth can also be influenced by genetics and nutrition.

How tall is a 20.1 hand horse?

We have our winner, and the answer is 20 hands 1 inch, or 20.1 hands. That translates to 81 inches tall at the center of his withers. A hand is 4 inches, so increments are by.

Can a horse be 15.5 hands?

There is a proper way to figure and write out the measurement of a horse. Example: If a horse measures 60 inches you would divide that number by 4 (since a ‘hand’ is 4 inches) and get 15, which means the horse is 15 hands tall. 62 inches – 15.2 (when you divide by 4 you will get 15.5, but the.

What is the tallest horse?

Shires are the tallest horses in the world. It is not uncommon for one of these beauties to measure 20 hands. In fact, the biggest horse ever measured is the Shire gelding Sampson, who is now called Mammoth. Mammoth was born in England in 1846 and stood at 21.2-1/2 hands, over 7 feet 2.5 inches tall!

How many hands is a pony?

A horse’s height is measured in hands from the ground to the withers (the area on top of a horse between its neck and back). A hand represents 4 inches. The term horse is generally applied to one that is 14.2 hands (4 feet, 9 inches) or taller. A mature horse shorter than 14 hands is considered a pony by the industry.

What is a 16 hand horse?

A hand is four inches, and a horse who is sixteen hands and two inches will be described as “16.2hh.” Sometimes that number even gets to be a noun, calling a horse of the eponymous height, “a sixteen-two”. They are measured to the wither, the highest point above the horse’s shoulder that doesn’t move.

Is 15 hands a big horse?

The average height of a horse is 15.2 hands or around 5 feet. Any equine measuring more than 14.2 hands (57 inches) is classified as a horse, and anything less is classified as a pony or miniature horse. A cob measures at about 15 hands and often straddles the line between ponies and “horse” sized.

What does it mean when a horse is 16 hands?

These are not traditional decimals. A 15.1 hand horse will have a measurement of 15 hands plus 1 inch. Since each hand equals 4 inches, you will not see a horse measured at “15.4” or “15.6” hands, as a horse that measures 15 hands plus 4 inches will be recorded as 16 hands.

Horse Height Conversion Chart

The height of a horse is measured in hands, with one hand equaling four inches in height. When measuring the withers of a horse, the measurement should be taken vertically from the ground to the highest point of the withers. If you need to know the appropriate measurement in meters, feet, or inches, you may look up the information on the internet. The height of your horse may be converted into both metric and imperial dimensions using the table provided below (feet, inches, and centimeters). Given that one hand is equal to four inches, calculating the number of inches is a rather straightforward process.

As an illustration, here’s how it might function in practice: 14.2 hands (4 x 14 = 56 + 2 = 58 inches) is equal to 56 + 2 = 58 inches.

Why Horses Are Measured in Hands?

You’ll be able to employ metric or imperial measurements now that you know how to convert the customary hands measurement. But what precisely are hands, and why are they employed to assess the size of horses in this context? The solution to this question extends back hundreds of years, to a time when rulers and tape measures were not available. Instead, various portions of the horse body were employed as yardsticks in most cases. A foot – which currently measures 12 inches – was once referred to as a man’s foot, which was pretty literal.

  • It was eventually standardised at four inches, and it is still the commonly used horse measurement today.
  • Aside from the fact that there were no measuring instruments available at the time, it has been argued that one of the reasons that hands were employed was because horses loved to use them.
  • Although it is unclear whether this is a true urban legend, it is a plausible idea!
  • Also view our chart of typical height and weight for horse breeds.

Measuring Your Horse’s Height Accurately

If you read advertisements for horses, or if someone tells you about the height of their horse, the likelihood is that they will use the term “hands” to represent the measurement. For example, an extremely tall horse may stand at 17 HH in stature. Ponies are equines with heights less than 14.2 HH. “HH” or “H” is an abbreviation for “hands high” or “hands,” respectively. A hand is a measurement unit for the height of an equine that has been in use for hundreds of years to determine its height.

A hand is four inches wide, which is about the breadth of a male adult’s hand in circumference.

It should be noted that horses are not always measured in hands. The height of horses is measured in cm in some countries and for FEI competition. Ponies, miniature horses, and other small equines may also be measured in centimeters or inches rather than hands, depending on their size.

Hands and Other Measurements

Due to the fact that one hand is equivalent to four inches, fractional hands are given in decimals. When a horse reaches 14.2 hands, it is 14 hands + 2 inches in height. 14 x 4 plus 2 is a total of 58 inches: (14 times 4 plus 2). As a result, it is impossible to say that a horse is 14.5 inches since the number following the decimal is not a fraction, but represents one complete inch. If a horse’s height is 14.2 1/2 HH, it implies he is two and one-half inches taller than the standard 14-hand height.

This is the only portion of the horse’s top line that remains constant regardless of whether he lowers or raises his head or whether he drops or arches his spine.


There are a number different tools that may be used to determine the height of a horse. When measuring the height of a horse, the most precise and straightforward approach is to use an equine height measuring stick. With a horizontal bar that glides up and down the length of the stick, this is a tall stick marked with inch measurements. The stick is held alongside the horse, and the horizontal bar is slid down until it hits the horse’s withers, then the process is repeated. Some sticks are equipped with a leveling bubble, which allows you to be certain that you are holding the stick level.

  1. The difficulty with tape measures is that they are floppy and light, making it difficult to hold them taut enough to obtain an accurate reading.
  2. You are not permitted to place the tape against the horse.
  3. Height tapes are frequently printed with a weight tape printed on the other side of the tape.
  4. Additionally, metal tape measures generate rattling noises that horses might be sensitive to, making it difficult to persuade the horse to remain still long enough to take a measurement with them.
  5. Using the metal weight as a stop, the handler may keep the string firm as he or she inspects the withers and signs the twine with a magic marker.

To make it simpler to obtain a line from the string to the withers, another method is to use a yardstick, piece of lath, or even a whip. Simply position the yardstick so that it sits on the horse’s withers and is parallel to the ground, and record the point at which it touches the tape.

How to Measure

Allow your horse to stand straight on a level surface while you measure it. Hold the tape or stick perpendicular to the ground and beside the horse, with the highest point of the horse’s withers exactly in line with the tape or stick. Use a suitable measuring stick and lower the bar until it is level with the horse’s withers on a level surface, if possible. Remember to make a note of the measurement. If you can only measure in inches, divide the inches by four and use the remainder of the inches to get the length.

You may need to take into consideration horseshoes if the height of your horse is a deciding factor in whether or not your horse will compete in pony or horse activities.

Whether you require a horse of a certain height or need to qualify a horse’s height, you’ll need to know whether the measurement takes into account the horse’s footwear.

Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.

How are horses measured? Why “hands high”? Horse & Hound explains

  • One of the most bizarre features of the horse industry is that horses are measured in hands, an ad hoc unit of measurement that isn’t used for anything else.

What is a ‘hand’?

A hand is four inches in length, thus a horse that is sixteen hands and two inches in height will be referred to as “16.2hh” (sixteen hands and two inches). Sometimes that number is used as a noun, such as when referring to a horse standing at the corresponding height as “a sixteen-two.” Measurement is taken to the wither, which is the highest point above the horse’s shoulder that is not subject to movement. The hand is based on a four-base method for measuring distances. Sixty-four inches would not be represented as 16.5 or sixteen-and-a-half hands, but rather as 16.2, and 68 inches would be stated as 17 hands, not 16.4.

Why are horses measured in ‘hands’?

But why are horses measured in hands in the first place? Unsurprisingly, a four-inch hand is about the breadth of a man’s hands, with or without the thumb, and is a measure of length that may be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and other cultures. They have the world’s oldest known regulated system of measuring, which is based on the royal cubit, which is the length of a man’s arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, as measured from the tip of the middle finger. Cubits are subdivided into seven palms, each of which is around 75cm in length.

  • The English palm, also known as the hands-breath, was around three inches (7.61cm) in circumference, however it was often mistaken with the hand and has been described as both the fist and the palm.
  • In the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, and India, the hand is still the primary unit of measurement for horses, whereas the majority of European countries and the FEI use metres and centimetres.
  • Continue reading below.
  • We Brits are sticklers for tradition, and nowhere is this more evident than in the noble sport of equestrianism, which has been around for hundreds of years.
  • “It is a really practical means of evaluating cattle in the field, and of course, an entire infrastructure of everything from horse trade to exhibiting classes has arisen around particular standards,” explains equestrian historian Katrin Boniface.
  • A new issue of HorseHound magazine is published every Thursday, and it is jam-packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews and special features, as well as nostalgic articles and veterinarian and training advice.

Find out how to have the magazine delivered to your door every week, as well as how to upgrade to access ourH H Plus online service, which provides you with breaking news as it happens, as well as other benefits, by visiting our website.

Measuring a Horse’s Height

The image above was borrowed from Pinterest The height of a horse is measured in ‘hands,’ which is a unit of measurement equal to 4 inches. The height of the horse is measured from the ground to the highest point of the withers. There are two popular methods for determining the size of a horse. One method is by the use of a measuring stick. The image above was borrowed from Pinterest The alternative method involves the use of a measuring tape. The image above was borrowed from Pinterest There is a correct method for calculating and writing down the measurement of a horse.

  1. Here are three additional instances of the proper method to write down a horse measurement in the format shown above.
  2. The.25 refers to a quarter of a hand, which is equal to one because a hand is four inches in length.
  3. The only numbers that are correct to be placed to the right of the decimal point are 0, 1, 2, and 3 due to the fact that a complete hand is 4 inches in length.
  4. The height of miniatures, ponies, and horses is typically determined by their breed: Miniatures – A miniature horse is defined as one that is less than 38 inches tall (approximately equal to 10 hands).
  5. Horses with a height of 14.2 hands or more are considered average horses.
  6. – Jelaluddin Rumi – Get Your Saddle On
See also:  How Much Grain Should I Feed My Horse? (Solution found)

Hand (unit) – Wikipedia

See Palm for information on the handbreadth or handsbreadth (length). The measures of the hand (2) and palm (3) are illustrated, among other things, on a human hand. When measuring length, the hand is a non-SI unit of measurement that is standardized to 4 inches (101.6 mm). There are numerous English-speaking nations where it is used to measure the height of horses. These countries include Australia; Canada; the Republic of Ireland; the United Kingdom; and the United States. In the beginning, it was based on the breadth of a human hand.

It is sometimes shortened as “h” or “hh.” In spite of the fact that measures between whole hands are typically stated in what appears to be decimal notation, the subdivision of the hand is not in decimal format but rather in base 4, and subdivisions after theradix point are in quarters of a hand, which are measured in inches.

As a result, 62 inches equals fifteen and a half hands, or 15.2 hands (normally said as “fifteen-two”, or occasionally in full as “fifteen hands two inches”).


In some cases, “Hands” might be shortened with the letter “h” or “hh.” In certain circles, the abbreviation “hh” is understood as standing for “hands high.” Whenever hands are mentioned aloud, they are stated as numbers. For example, 15.0 is “fifteen hands,” 15.2 is variously “fifteen-two” or “fifteen hands, two inches,” and so on. To convert inches to hands, divide the number of inches by four, and then add the leftover after the radix point to get the final result. For example, a horse that measures 60 inches tall is 15 hands high (15 4 = 60), while a horse midway between 15 and 16 hands tall is 15.2 hands, or 62 inches tall (15 4 + 2 = 62) when measured in hands.

A designation of “15.5 hands” does not refer to the midway point between 15 and 16 hands, but rather to 15 hands and five inches, which is impossible in a base 4 radix numbering system, where a hand is four inches in length.


Cubit rod in the Museum EgizioofTurin, with lengths of the fingers, palm, hand and fist shown in detail. Originally based on the breadth of a malehuman hand, with or without the thumb, or on the height of a closed fist, the hand, also known as the handbreadth or the handsbreadth, is an anthropic unit of length. The royal cubitis split into seven hands, each of which has four fingers or four digits, according to the ancient Egyptian cubit-rods that have survived. Five numerals correspond to a hand with the thumb extended, while six digits correspond to a closed fist.

Ancient Egyptian units of length

Name Egyptian name Equivalent Egyptian values Metric equivalent Imperial equivalent
Royal cubit
meh niswt
7 palms or 28 digits 525 mm 20.67 in
Fist 6 digits 108 mm 4.25 in
Hand 5 digits 94 mm 3.70 in
Palm shesep 4 digits 75 mm 2.95 in
Digit djeba 1/4 palm 19 mm 0.75 in

Biblical use

If you look at a passage like Ezekiel 40:43, you’ll see that the hand measurement is commonly interpreted to bepalmor handbreadth. In current translations, this measurement is either referred to as “handbreadth” or “three inches,” depending on the context.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the hand is a conventional unit of measurement. However, considerable misunderstanding between the different forms of hand measurement, and notably between the hand and the handsbreadth, appears to have lingered even after a legislation of King Henry VIII in 1540 fixed it at four inches. In Phillips’s dictionary from 1706, the length of a handful or hand is four inches, and the breadth is three inches. In Mortimer’s dictionary, the same is true, with three inches for the Hand’s-breadth and four inches for the “Handful, or simply, Hand,” but he also adds “The hand among horse-dealers,c.

Use in measuring horses

Horses, ponies, and other equines are now measured by the hand, which was formerly used to measure their height. It is widely used in the United States, as well as in several other countries that use the metric system, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (UK). Horses are measured in metric measurements in other regions of the globe, particularly continental Europe, and in FEI-regulated international competition. Metric units are commonly measured in metres or centimetres.

In areas where hands are the standard unit of measurement for horse height, inches are sometimes used instead of hands to measure the height of smaller equines such as miniature horses/ponies, tiny mules, donkeys, and Shetland ponies.

Palpation and marking of the spinous process of the fifth thoracic vertebra, if necessary, can be used to determine the official measurement of this vertebra.

Horses can be measured with or without shoes in international competition governed by theFédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and in USEF competition governed by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

A body called the Joint Measurement Board is in charge of overseeing official horse measurements in the United Kingdom (JMB). Prior to taking measurements for the JMB, the shoes must be removed and the hooves must be properly prepped for shoeing before taking the measurements.

See also

  • Anthropic units
  • A list of horse breeds
  • Anthropic units A list of strange units of measurement is provided below. Pony
  • Span (as a unit of measurement)


  1. “Equestrian Australia Measuring Rules Effective 1 July 2008” (PDF).equestrian.org.au/. Equestrian Australia Limited. 2008. “Equestrian Australia Measuring Rules Effective 1 July 2008” (PDF). On January 25, 2013, a PDF version of this document was made available for download. Obtainable on August 17, 2014
  2. Abcdefghi “The “Hand” Measurement for Horses,” says the author. Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs is located in Canada’s province of Ontario. The original version of this article was published on August 22, 2011. 30th of June, 2011
  3. Retrieved 30th of June, 2011
  4. Michael Brander is the author of this work (1971). The Complete Guide to Horsemanship is a comprehensive resource for horse enthusiasts. AC Black, p. 444.ISBN0-7136-1701-2.p.409
  5. London: AC Black, p. 444.ISBN0-7136-1701-2.p.409
  6. “Can you tell me how large a hand is?” AllHorseBreeds.info. Archived at the Wayback Machine on March 26, 2012
  7. Hand Conversion
  8. AbHow to Measure a Horse | Horse Height and Weight
  9. AbShlei
  10. AbcHand Conversion “Can you tell me how tall a hand is?” Equines are being measured. There is an organization called the American Donkey and Mule Society. Retrieved on May 19, 2007
  11. Measure the height of the horse accurately
  12. Good, J.M., Gregory, O., and Bosworth, N. (1813). PANTOGRAPHIA: A new cyclopaedia, comprising a complete series of essays and treatises and systems, all alphabetically organized
  13. Together with a general dictionary of arts, sciences and words, the entire work presenting a distinct survey of human genius, learning, and industry
  14. Illustrated with engraved plates, the historical plates being based on original drawings by Edwards and others. Kearsley, London.:CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)”Hand (2)”
  15. Selin, Helaine, ed., London: Kearsley (1997). An encyclopedia of the history of science, technology, and medicine in non-Western cultures is published by the University of California Press. Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-0-7923-4066-9
  16. AbClagett, Marshall, and others (1999). Ancient Egyptian Science, A Source Book, Volume 3: Ancient Egyptian Mathematics is the third volume in the series. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA, ISBN 978-0-87169-232-0
  17. Richard Lepsius is credited with inventing the term “lepsius” (1865). The altaegyptische Elle and her enthralling enchantment (in German). Dümmler is a German publisher based in Berlin. Ezekiel 40:43 is a verse in the Bible that says The New International Version (NIV)
  18. Ezekiel 40:43 is a verse in the Bible that says Thomas Mortimer’s An Acte for Bryde of Horses (32 Hen. VIII c. 13) is included in the New Century Version (1810). One of the world’s most comprehensive dictionaries of business, trade, and manufacturing, illustrating their current situation in every corner of the globe and meticulously compiled from the most recent and greatest experts. R. Phillips & Sons Limited, London. Edward Phillips and John Kersey (eds.) have published a book titled (1706) This is the new universe of words, often known as the Universal English dictionary. Including an explanation of the original or appropriate sense, as well as a variety of other meanings for all hard terms adopted from other languages. Additionally, there is a concise and straightforward explanation of all terminology relevant to any of the arts and sciences, to which is also added the interpretation of proper names. This is the sixth version, which has been altered. Because of the insertion of about twenty thousand additional words London
  19. s^ Le Clerc, George Louis, Comte de Buffon was a French nobleman who lived in the nineteenth century (1831). A natural history of the world, including the evolution of man, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and plants. John Wright is the fifth volume (trans.). Gray and Bowen
  20. Thomas Desilver, Jr.
  21. Gray and Bowen, Boston
  22. Gray and Bowen, Philadelphia (1816). Encyclopaedia Perthensis
  23. Or Universal Dictionary of the Arts, Sciences, Literature, and other fields, intended to replace the usage of other reference books, Volume 16
  24. “Equestrian Australia Measuring Rules Effective 1 July 2008”
  25. “Equestrian Australia Measuring Rules Effective 1 July 2008” (PDF). Equestrian Australia Limited, equestrian.org.au/, Equestrian Australia Limited, 2008. On January 25, 2013, a PDF version of this document was made available for download. On the 17th of August, 2014, I found this: “Show Rules. Standards of Excellence: MiniatureSmall Horse.” The Australian Miniature HorsePony Registry is a non-profit organization. “About Miniature Mules,” which was retrieved on July 3, 2011. The American Miniature Mule Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of miniature mules. The original version of this article was published on June 24, 2011. “The Donkey,” which was retrieved on July 3, 2011. Agriculture and Rural Development is a department of the Alberta government. The original version of this article was published on November 16, 2012. 3 July 2011
  26. Retrieved 3 July 2011
  27. Elwyn Hartley Edwards is a fictional character created by Elwyn Hartley (1994). The Horse: A Reference Guide is a comprehensive resource for horse enthusiasts (1st ed.). p.176
  28. Ab”JMB measurement,” The Joint Measurement Board, London: Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 0-7513-0115-9
  29. Ac”JMB measurement,” The Joint Measurement Board. The original version of this article was published on March 26, 2012. Retrieved on June 30, 2011.

How Tall is a Horse? (Average Horse Height Chart)

HHorses are available in a variety of sizes and forms, with their bodies varying based on their breed, food, and degree of exercise. It is necessary to measure the height of a horse since this will allow you to better manage its feeding requirements and exercise level. Furthermore, it is critical information that you will want while selecting the most appropriate horse for you. The proper way to measure the height of a horse is from the withers of the tallest horse to the ground. Let’s see what happens.

Hand Unit

A hand unit is equivalent to 4 inches (10 cm), and you must use it to measure a horse from the wither, which is the place at which the horse’s shoulders are at their tallest. Despite the fact that the hand may be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, it was Henry VIII who standardized it to 4 inches (10 cm) in length in 1541.

Horse height measurement

Hands Inches (m) Hands Inches (m) Hands Inches (m)
7 28 (0.71) 11 44 (1.12) 15 60 (1.52)
7.1 29 (0.74) 11.1 45 (1.14) 15.1 61 (1.55)
7.2 30 (0.76) 11.2 46 (1.17) 15.2 62 (1.57)
7.3 31 (0.79) 11.3 47 (1.19) 15.3 63 (1.60)
8 32 (0.81) 12 48 (1.22) 16 64 (1.63)
8.1 33 (0.84) 12.1 49 (1.25) 16.1 65 (1.65)
8.2 34 (0.86) 12.2 50 (1.27) 16.2 66 (1.68)
8.3 35 (0.89) 12.3 51 (1.29) 16.3 67 (1.70)
9 36 (0.91) 13 52 (1.32) 17 68 (1.73)
9.1 37 (0.94) 13.1 53 (1.35) 17.1 69 (1.75)
9.2 38 (0.97) 13.2 54 (1.37) 17.2 70 (1.78)
9.3 39 (0.99) 13.3 55 (1.39) 17.3 71 (1.80)
10 40 (1.02) 14 56 (1.42) 18 72 (1.83)
10.1 41 (1.04) 14.1 57 (1.45) 18.1 73 (1.85)
10.2 42 (1.07) 14.2 58 (1.47) 18.2 74 (1.89)
10.3 43 (1.09) 14.3 59 (1.50)

The technique for gauging horses is not difficult to understand. Given that a hand is equal to 4 inches, the computation is as follows: 1hh = WH x 4 inches + FHWH– the total number of hands. The hand fraction is abbreviated as FH. As an illustration: A horse that is 12 hands tall will have 12 x 4 + 0 = 48 inches in length. A horse that is 12.2 hands tall will have 12.2 x 4 + 2 = 50 inches in length. In most countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, the United States, Canada, India, and South Africa, the hand is the primary measurement unit for horses.

Horse Types

Height-based classifications are available for horses, with subcategories such as miniature, Shetland, and draft horses being occasionally seen within the three basic classifications.

Horse heigh

Horse type Hands Inches (meters)
Miniature 6.2 hands 26 to 28 inches (66 – 70 cm)
7 hands 28 inches (71 cm)
7.2 hands 30 inches (76 cm)
8 hands 32 inches (81 cm)
Small 8.2 hands 34 inches (86 cm)
9 hands 36 inches (91 cm)
9.2 hands 38 inches (97 cm)
Shetland 10 hands 40 inches (1.02 m)
10.2 hands 42 inches (1.07 m)
11 hands 44 inches (1.12 m)
Pony 11.2 hands 46 inches (1.17 m)
12 hands 48 inches (1.22 m)
12.2 hands 50 inches (1.27 m)
13 hands 52 inches (1.32 m)
13.2 hands 54 inches (1.37 m)
Horse 14 hands 56 inches (1.42 m)
14.2 hands 58 inches (1.47 m)
15 hands 60 inches (1.53 m)
15.2 hands 62 inches (1.58 m)
16 hands 64 inches (1.63 m)
16.2 hands 66 inches (1.68 m)
17 hands 68 inches (1.73 m)
17.2 hands 70 inches (1.78 m)
18 hands 72 inches (1.83 m)
18.2 hands 74 inches (1.89 m)

When it comes to mature full-size horses, the majority of them stand between 14.2 and 16.2 hands tall. Despite the fact that most riders regard medium-sized horses between 15 and 15.2 hands height to be the most comfortable, rookie riders feel that smaller horses are a better alternative for learning to ride.


Miniatures are miniature horses that have been created by isolating the genes that produce this desired characteristic from the others. A toy horse might be a treasured companion, or you can use it to pull a cart around the yard. They are always shorter than 9.2 hands or 38 inches (97 cm), however there are certain categories that consider creatures shorter than 8 hands or 32 inches (90 cm) to qualify as miniatures (81 cm). The taller animals are herded together with a herd of little horses.

Pony height

Breed Height
Shetland pony 7 to 10.2 hands 28 to 42 inches (71 – 107 cm)
Spotted pony 8 to 14 hands 32 to 56 inches (81–142 cm)
Dartmoor pony 11.1 to 12.2 hands 45 to 50 inches (114 – 127 cm)
Exmoor pony 11.1 to 12.3 hands 45 to 51 inches (114 – 130 cm)
Welara 11.2 to 15 hands 46 to 60 inches (117 – 152 cm)
Eriskay pony 12 to 13.2 hands 48 to 54 inches (122 – 137 cm)
Hackney pony 12 to 14 hands 48 to 56 inches (122 – 142 cm)
New Forest pony 12 to 14.2 hands 48 to 58 inches (122 – 147 cm)
Welsh Pony 12.2 to 13.2 hands 50 to 54 inches (127 – 137 cm)
Connemara pony 12.2 to 14.2 hands 50 to 58 inches (127 – 147 cm)
Dales pony 13 to 14 hands 52 to 56 inches (132 – 142 cm)
Highland pony 13 to 14.2 hands 52 to 58 inches (132 – 147 cm)
Fell pony 13.2 to 14 hands 54 to 56 inches (137 – 142 cm)


Ponies are horses that range in height from 10 to 13.2 hands (1.02 m) or 40 to 54 inches (1.02 m) in height (1.37 m). Ponies may be divided into three sizes: small, medium, and large. Small ponies are the most common. Keep in mind that in the United Kingdom, only horses under 14.2 hands or 58 inches (1.47m) in height are called ponies.


This category includes any horse with a height greater than 14.2 hands, however some of them may stand as tall as 18.2 hands, or 74 inches (1.89 m).

Only a few of horses stand at around 19.2 hands or 78 inches (1.98 m) tall.

Horse height

Breed Height
Spanish Mustang 12 to 14 hands 48 to 56 inches (122 – 142 cm)
Halfinger 13.2 to 15 hands 54 to 60 inches (140 – 152 cm)
Gypsy Vanner 14 to 15 hands 56 to 60 inches (142 – 152 cm)
Morgan 14 to 15 hands 56 to 60 inches (142 – 152 cm)
Walkaloosa 14 to 15 hands 56 to 60 inches (142 – 152 cm)
American Standardbred 14 to 15 hands 56 to 60 inches (142 – 153 cm)
Appaloosa 14 to 15.3 hands 56 to 63 inches (142 – 160 cm)
American Quarter Horse 14 to 16.1 hands 56 to 65 inches (142 – 165 cm)
Paso Fino 14.1 to 15 hands 55 to 60 inches (140 – 152 cm)
Arabian 14.1 to 15.1 hands 55 to 61 inches (140 – 155 cm)
Tennessee Walker 15 to 15.1 hands 60 to 61 inches (152 – 155 cm)
Lipizzaner 15 to 15.3 hands 60 to 63 inches (152 – 160 cm)
Criollo 15 to 15.3 hands 60 to 63 inches (152 – 160 cm)
Paint Horse 15 to 16 hands 60 to 64 inches (152 – 163 cm)
American Saddlebred 15 to 16.1 hands 60 to 65 inches (152 – 165 cm)
Andalusian 15 to 16.1 hands 60 to 65 inches (152 – 165 cm)
Hackney 15 to 16.2 hands 60 to 66 inches (152 – 168 cm)
Gypsy Vanner 15 to 16.2 hands 60 to 66 inches (152 – 168 cm)
Orlov Trotter 15 to 17 hands 60 to 68 inches (152 – 173 cm)
American Cream draft 15 to 17 hands 60 to 68 inches (152 – 173 cm)
American Warmblood 15 to 17 hands 60 to 68 inches (152 – 173 cm)
Belgian Draft 15 to 17.3 hands 60 to 71 inches (152 – 180 cm)
Westphalian 15.2 to 17.2 hands 62 to 70 inches (157 – 178 cm)
Ardennes 15.3 to 16.1 hands 63 to 65 inches (160 – 165 cm)
Irish Draught 15.3 to 16.1 hands 63 to 65 inches (160 – 165 cm)
Dutch Warmblood 15.3 to 17 hands 63 to 68 inches (160 – 173 cm)
Suffolk 15.3 to 17 hands 63 to 68 inches (160 – 173 cm)
Trakehner 15.3 to 17 hands 63 to 68 inches (160 – 173 cm)
Thoroughbred 15.3 to 17.2 hands 63 to 70 inches (160 – 178 cm)
Percheron 16 to 17 hands 64 to 68 inches (160 – 173 cm)
Holsteiner 16 to 17 hands 64 to 68 inches (160 – 173 cm)
Shire 16 to 17 hands 64 to 68 inches (163 – 173 cm)
Swedish Warmblood 16 to 17 hands 64 to 68 inches (163 – 173 cm)
Hanoverian 16 to 17.2 hands 64 to 70 inches (163 – 178 cm)
Oldenburg 16 to 17.3 hands 64 to 71 inches (163 – 180 cm)
Cleveland Bay 16 to 17.3 hands 64 to 71 inches (163 – 180 cm)
Clydesdale 16 to 18 hands 64 to 68 inches (163 – 173 cm)

Height of an average horse varies depending on the breed of the horse. Quarter horses, for example, often reach 15 hands or 60 inches (1.52 m) in height, which permits them to perform their intended functions. In contrast, Thoroughbreds are utilized for racing, and as a result, they must be significantly taller. They typically have at least 16 hands or 64 inches between them (1.63 m). Finally, draft horses are the tallest, with heights ranging from 17 to 19 hands, or 68 inches (1.73 m) to 76 inches (1.93 m), respectively (1.93 m).


When it comes to practicing proper horsemanship, knowing the height of the horse is critical. This measurement establishes the specific breed and provides the required information for determining the meal size and medicine dose, if any are necessary.

Understanding Horse Height & Hand Measurements

People who haven’t spent a lot of time with horses may find the many ways in which horse height is defined to be perplexing. Horse sizes are described in horse industry publications (such as sales webpages, equipment vendor catalogs, and so on) in terms of “hands,” but for many novice horse owners, riders, and horse-curious individuals, this measurement is completely useless and confusing! Horse sizes, how horses are measured, the benefits and drawbacks of owning a very tall or very small horse, as well as why horses are measured in hands rather than feet will all be discussed in this article.

Having a better understanding of how horses are measured can help us communicate more effectively about the height of a horse.

First, How Horses are Measured:

Horses are measured in what is known as a “hand,” which is a unit of measurement. A hand measures exactly 4 inches in length. This measurement defines how tall a horse stands when measured from the ground to the withers—which is defined as the place where the horse’s neck joins the body with a tiny hump at the base of the mane—when measured from the ground to the withers. Horse’s head and neck are never measured since the posture of the horse’s head might have a significant impact on the height measurement of the horse!

Why is horse height measured in this unit?

People and horses have been partners for millennia. Long before rulers and measuring tapes were accessible, much alone standardized, there was a need to be able to explain the size of a horse accurately and precisely to others. When horse handlers realized that most people’s hands were approximately the same size: 4 inches, they began to assess horse height by measuring the breadth of the hand. This is a simple, portable, and fairly universal method of measuring horse height. They would simply stack their hands one on top of another and count how many hands it required to measure the horse from hoof to shoulders when measuring a horse for sale or auction.

photo courtesy of carterse

Rounding Horse Hands Up or Down

In most cases, the height of a horse is not rounded to the closest hand, either up or down. Instead, decimal points ranging from.1 to.3 are used to indicate measurements between the two positions. This is a little out of the ordinary, and it is not how decimal points are generally computed. While half of a unit of measurement is typically expressed as.5, it is never accurate to describe a horse as “_.5 hands” when it is referring to its height or length.

As an alternative, the number.2 (which represents 2 inches of the 4-inch hand measurement) is used to indicate one half of a hand. Consequently, horse heights may be expressed as 14.1, 18.2, 12.3, etc., but never as 14.5, 15.8, or other such numbers.

Is a Hand Measurement Accurate?

It is well known that measuring horse height, and especially doing so with an actualhand, is a rather unreliable procedure. The fact that human hands vary in breadth led to the widespread use of a measuring stick that stands straight up from the ground and has an extension arm that can be placed on the horse’s withers in the twentieth century. Below is an illustration of this unique horse measurement stick in action. This measuring tool assists in obtaining a more precise measurement than using one’s hands or a tape measure (which might result in an erroneous reading owing to the curves of a horse’s body being measured).

How to Measure Your Horses Height

Check to see that your horse is standing on level ground, and position or give your horse the instruction to stand square before measuring from the ground to the withers of your horse. Alternatively, if you don’t have a measuring stick, you may construct one out of cardboard. You may simply mark the height of your horse with a pen, and then measure the distance from the ground to that mark using a regular tape measure. The great majority of adult full-size horses are between 14.2 and 16.2 hands in height and weight.

The mounting and riding of horses above 16.2 hands can be more difficult, as well as possibly more dangerous, due to the possibility of a more difficult fall from a higher horse.

The taller horses with a long beautiful stride are generally preferred in other horse activities, such as hunter/jumper competitions and dressage.

Because of their adjustable size, average-sized horses are easy to saddle and provide a high level of versatility.

Should Larger Riders have Larger horses?

Many new plus-size riders believe that because they are larger, their horse should be larger to suit them. However, this is not always the case. As a result of this misconception, many larger riders purchase draft or draft-cross horses that are 16, 17, or even 18 hands tall. However, larger horses may not be the ideal choice for all situations. Why? In order to properly draw weight, draft horses have been deliberately bred for thousands of years and through countless generations. They are generally built downhill (with their withers lower than their rump) and may not be any more adapted to supporting a huge rider than an ordinary horse of medium build, owing to their powerful, hefty shoulders.

Heavy riders may find that horses with withers that are somewhat higher than their rump, as well as a shorter body length from withers to rump, are more suitable for carrying them.

A stockier horse is produced by a shorter spine and a more compact body, which is exactly the type of horse that heavier riders loved to utilize for cattle labor on the range, pack work, and mounted warfare in centuries past.

Horse Height

Traditionally, a horse’s height is calculated in hands, one hand being equal to four inches. The measurment is taken from the ground level to the highest point on the horse’s withers.A hand is equal to 4 inches.The 3 inches in between each hand measurement are denoted as decimal measurements, therefore a horse which is described as 14.1 hands is 14 hands + 1 inch.Horses are beginning to be measured incm however hands are still in common use.All miniature horses and ponies under 10 hands are always measured ineither inches or cms.Here is a handy table that will convert your horse’s height in hands to show you how many inches, feet, or meters tall your horse is.
12.0 48 4ft 1.2192
12.1 49 4ft 1 1.2446
12.2 50 4ft 2 1.27
12.3 51 4ft 3 1.2954
13.0 52 4ft 4 1.3208
13.1 53 4ft 5 1.3462
13.2 54 4ft 6 1.397
13.3 55 4ft 7 1.397
14.0 56 4ft 8 1.4224
14.1 57 4ft 9 1.4478
14.2 58 4ft 10 1.4732
14.3 59 4ft 11 1.4986
15.0 60 5ft 1.524
15.1 61 5ft 1 1.5494
15.2 62 5ft 2 1.5748
15.3 63 5ft 3 1.6002
16.0 64 5ft 4 1.6256
16.1 65 5ft 5 1.651
16.2 66 5ft 6 1.6764
16.3 67 5ft 7 1.7018
17.0 68 5ft 8 1.7272
17.1 69 5ft 9 1.7526
17.2 70 5ft 10 1.778
17.3 71 5ft 11 1.803
18.0 72 6ft 1.8288

Why Horses Are Measured In Hands: Horse Hand Unit Guide

Posted at 13:30 p.m. EST hinHealth,Horse Care,Horse Training Over the course of many thousand years, units of measurement have evolved, with the exception of horses, which have remained constant. According to historical descriptions of measuring horses, the unit of measurement referred to as “hands” is used to characterize horses. This unit of measurement has remained constant throughout history. Why are horses measured in hands instead of feet? Thousands of years ago, there were no measuring tapes to be found in public places (or a metric system, for that matter).

This unit of measurement has been in use since the 1500s, when it was established to be one hand equal to four inches.

A History of Using Hands to Measure Horses

The ancient Egyptians utilized a unit of measurement known as cubits, which is one of the earliest forms of measuring that has been recorded in the historical record. Cubits were defined as the length of a man’s arm, measured from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger on his right hand. Ancient cultures utilized portions of their bodies to measure things since it was a straightforward and understood technique. For trade reasons, there exist records of Egyptians utilizing their hands, or the space between their thumbs and pinky fingers, as a means of measuring horses, which suggests that the unit of hands originated in Egypt.

Due to this well-documented issue, King Henry VIII standardized the hand to be exactly 4 inches in length, which is the measurement we still use today to determine the height of a horse’s hind legs.

How To Measure A Horse In Hands

While many experienced equestrians can estimate a horse’s height in hands by sight with a reasonable degree of accuracy, it is critical to accurately measure your horse for the purposes of registering, displaying, sporting, and selling. Using a tape measure, measure the height of your horse’s hands. So, how do you go about measuring your horse’s hands in the first place?

Where to Measure Your Horse for Height

It is customary to measure a horse from the ground to the withers, often known as the shoulders. This is the spot on the horse’s body where it is the most stable. Due to the fact that the horse’s head is moveable, it would be difficult to take a height measurement from the ground to the top of its head. This means that a height measurement taken to the top of its head would fluctuate as the horse raised or lowered its head. The withers are the horse’s highest “stationary” point and are located at the top of the neck.

When you are ready to measure your horse, move him to a level patch of flat ground so that he is standing on a level surface, which will increase the accuracy of your measurement by several percent.

Horse Measuring Tools

You can measure your horse using a measuring tape, but it may be difficult to hold both your horse and the measuring tape at the same time. A measuring stick, which you can get online or at any tack store, is the most straightforward method of determining the size of your horse. Equitation-specific measuring sticks are stiff and have a bar at the top that can be moved up and down. With the bar in place, you may “mark” your measurement by placing it on top of your withers. The bar will remain in place as you measure.

Place the measuring stick as near to the front of the withers as feasible after you have secured your horse on a flat piece of ground and tied or restrained him.

The point at which it rests is your measurement – this is the height of your horse.

Horse/Pony Height Measurements

A pony is not merely a little or baby horse; there are certain height requirements that a small horse must achieve in order to be classified as a pony in some jurisdictions. Ponies are horses that are 14.2 hands high or smaller in height and weigh less than a mule. If a horse’s height is greater than 14.2 hands, it is considered a horse.

Does Everyone Measure Horses in Hands?

In most English-speaking nations, hands are the official unit of measurement for horses; however, certain European countries, as well as the Federal Equestrian International (FEI), utilize meters to measure horses as well. Australia, Canada, the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are just a few of the countries that use their hands to measure horses in competition.

Are Hands Used to Measure Other Animals Besides Horses?

It is interesting to note that the unit of hands is not used to measure any other animals other than horses. Why have we moved to other units of measurement for everything else, yet continue to use hands to measure horses in our country? Because nothing else is measured in this manner, and because there are instruments available today that make measuring in any form an easy operation, it is only reasonable to believe that we continue to use our hands to measure horses today merely because it is a tradition to do so.

Are Hands Fractioned?

For this reason, you will hear horses characterized as “15.1” hands or “16.2” hands, rather than in 4-inch increments, as you would with humans. Unlike regular decimals, these are not rounded numbers. If a horse is 16 and a half hands in height, it will not be referred to as “16 and a half hands in height.” Inches are represented by the number following the period. This means that a horse that is 16 and a half hands will be recorded as “16.2” hands on the paper (literally, 16 hands plus 2 inches).

One inch is added to the length of a 15.1 hand horse to make it 15 hands + 1 inch. Since a result, you will not see a horse measured at “15.4” or “15.6” hands, as a horse that measures 15 hands + 4 inches will be recorded as 16 hands.

Terminology of Horse Measurements

Instead of hearing “sixteen point two” or “fifteen point two,” you will hear “sixteen-two” or “fifteen-two” when referring to a horse’s hand size. Even as a noun, you can hear something like “we have a sixteen-two available at auction.” Speaking of terminology, when you read the letters “hh” following a unit of measurement, this is an abbreviation that stands for “hands high.” For example, in written form, a horse’s height will be expressed as “16.2 hh,” which is 16.2 “hands high.”

What Is The Tallest Horse Breed?

A horse breed may be found in hundreds of different variations all throughout the world, but theShireis by far the most numerous. In order to be recognized as a Shire, stallions must be at least 17 hands high, with the highest documented Shire standing at 21.25 hands (and weighing 3,360 pounds!) in the 19th century. The Shire, the Clydesdale, the Belgian, and the Percheron are among the biggest breeds of horses in the world, and they are among the most popular. Draft horses are workhorses, and because they are employed to draw heavy loads, their strength and size are important factors in their operation.

Are you interested in learning more about draft horses?

What Is The Smallest Horse Breed?

The Falabella horse breed is the world’s smallest horse breed, standing on average between 6 and 7 hands high, or 21 to 34 inches in height (measurements of miniature horses are often referred to in inches because of their small stature). Contrary to popular belief, the Falabella’s physique is proportioned more like that of a horse than a regular pony. The tiniest horse ever recorded stood at 17 inches tall, or 4 hands high, and weighed just 57 pounds. It was a dwarf miniature horse. She was born in 2001 and survived to be 17 years old.

Thumbelina was her given name.

Average Height of a Horse

Known as the Falabella, this horse breed is on average between 6 and 7 hands high, or 21 to 34 inches, and is the world’s smallest horse breed (measurements of miniature horses are often referred to in inches because of their small stature). Contrary to popular belief, the Falabella’s body is proportioned more like that of a horse, rather than a regular pony body shape. When measured in inches, or 4 hands high, the smallest horse ever recorded was a tiny miniature horse that weighed just 57 pounds.

It was Thumbelina who went by that moniker.

Best Height For a Riding Horse

Taking the rider’s height and weight into consideration when determining what size horse is suitable for riding is critical. If you ask around about how much weight a horse can carry, you may hear a variety of answers, but the most believe that it is between 10% and 20% of the horse’s own body weight (though 20 percent is on the high side). Consider the following: a healthy 16-hand Quarter Horse, who weighs 1300 pounds and is in his peak, should be capable of securely transporting riders weighing between 130 and 250 pounds.

The majority of riding horses will be between 14.2 and 17 hh in height, while smaller riders and youngsters can ride ponies that are less than this height comfortably.

Hands: A Unit of Measurement Here to Stay

Taking the rider’s height and weight into consideration when determining what size horse to buy for riding is critical. If you ask around about how much weight a horse can carry, you may hear a variety of answers, but the most believe that it is between 10 and 20% of the horse’s own body weight (though 20 percent is on the high side). Consider the following: a healthy 16-hand Quarter Horse, who weighs 1300 pounds and is in his prime, should be capable of securely transporting riders weighing between 130 and 250 pound on his back.

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