As you may (or may not) know, horses are measured in hands. And not everyone knows exactly what that means; we will clarify that for you. One hand = 4 inches. A “tall horse” to you does not mean it is 16+ hands. It could still very well be 15.1 hands. It’s important you actually know what it means to label a horse as 16 hands (or any other height for that matter) – otherwise that is false advertising. And if you are selling the horse you could potentially REALLY upset prospective buyers that show up and the horse is not as advertised. Also, those that know what hands mean, and see a 17H horse advertised that is clearly NOT, it drives us batty!!!
16 hands also is not the magic number, there are a LOT of adults that would fit MUCH better with a 15 hand horse, and even some adults that would fit better with a large pony! So please don’t let height be your only deciding factor on horse purchases.
So to clarify, before labeling your horse’s height – please bust out a measuring stick/tape/anything.
To break it down really quickly in a singular hand format:
.1 Hands = 1″ tall
.2 hands = 2″ tall
.3 hands = 3″ tall
.4 hands = this is NOT a thing.
.4 hands actually brings you to 1.0 hands.
Now – for the sake of ease, we will start with large ponies and give you inch equivalents. But keep in mind: for showing purposes, ponies are often grouped into small, medium, and large sizes. Small ponies are 12.2 hands and under, medium ponies are over 12.2 but no taller than 13.2 hands, and large ponies are over 13.2 hands but no taller than 14.2 hands. Horses are ANYTHING over 14.2 hands. And taller does NOT equal better. If you cannot effectively use your legs and seat, height does not usually benefit you.
Also, horses are measure at the withers (the ridge between the shoulders).
13.2 hands = 54″ tall (4 Foot 6 Inches)
13.3 hands = 55″ tall
14 hands = 56″ tall
14.1 hands = 57″ tall
14.2 hands = 58″ tall
14.3 hands = 59″ tall
15 hands = 60″ tall (5 Foot)
15.1 hands = 61″ tall
15.2 hands = 62″ tall
15.3 hands = 63″ tall
16 hands = 64″ tall
16.1 hands = 65″ tall
16.2 hands = 66″ tall (5 Foot 6 Inches – AKA if you are 5ft. 6in. and the withers are not as tall as/taller than you, your horse is NOT 16.2 hands)
16.3 hands = 67″ tall
17 hands = 68″ tall
17.1 hands = 69″ tall
17.2 hands = 70″ tall
17.3 hands = 71″ tall
18 hands = 72″ tall (6 Foot)