Horse height


New Member
Jan 7, 2023
Disclaimer I'm not looking for a horse(at the momment...)
What height horse is best for a person 5.7/5.8ft tall with the possibility of a 5.10ft rider as well if it adds anything I'm interested in jumping and possibly a bit of dressga and of course lots of hacking and breeds such as irish sportshorses and thorougbreds(if a sane one exists!) As I know it also horse width plays a part in it and saddle size


Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
Well you kind of already know there are so many variables that there is no one answer. I'm 5'7 and ride a 15 hand Arab. He's short backed and quite slight so getting a saddle short enough for him and to fit the length of my legs maybe wasn't as straightforward as it would have been with a bigger horse. Although I don't feel too big on him, in some photos, especially ones from the front when you can see how narrow he is, I think I do look too big. Also my lower calves/heels dont touch his sides which means there's always the temptation to swing my lower leg back to give an aid.

Rider weight is also important obviously. I wouldn't want to put more than a 10 stone rider on mine, which means my 6' OH can't ride him, even if he didnt mind riding with his legs dangling.

Having said all that, I've ridden 13 hand native ponies that have taken up my leg better - their bodies have been as big, or wider, than my own horse, they just had short fat hairy legs lol. They could probably take as much weight, or more, than mine.

Look at videos of adults riding Icelandic horses - a different style of riding that caters for taller riders on strong little pony sized horses. I love watching them, the riders look so secure.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Anything from 15hh up probably, type and stature will make a difference though.

Same TBs do exist, but they’re not really an ideal first horse generally speaking, they’re just a bit more sensitive to the world.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
It really does depend on the horse, and also what you feel comfortable on. I'd rather ride something smaller with a good length of rein than something bigger that has less length of rein, but I also like some substance to the neck which rules out a lot of tbs. And talking tbs I've known many sane and gentle ones, don't think that because the breed is used for racing their all high energy horses that want to gallop everywhere - I'm not a fan of them but that's partly because I find them rather boring!

I used to have a 14.1 Welsh Cob who was at the lightweight end of the breed, and while I wouldn't have had someone that height ride him regularly there were a few occasions where he was ridden by a rider around the 6ft mark and they didn't look as daft as you'd expect.

Realistically you're best ignoring the breed and looking at individuals. Even chunky you wouldn't want below 14hh if the taller rider is likely to do much, but it's amazing what a deep girth and wide back will take up. There's not really an upper limit, but bear in mind if you start looking that big horses tend to be harder to keep sound as they get older and also usually cost more to keep. Plus for hacking you're less likely to have a problem with overgrown paths on a 15hher than a 17hher!


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2014
I'm 5'6 and P is 13.2hh. I've owned up to 16.3hh & ridden regularly over 17hh.

Sanest horse ive sat on was 17.1hh and there are two people I've trusted to ride my 13.2hh in 11+ years, so ... 🤣


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
I maybe wrong but sometimes you won't buy what's on your list, because you come across something else.
My native gelding turned into a tb mare. She was 15.3hh, but 3" of that was wither, so really only 15hh.

People selling horses have a different height measuring stick to the rest of the world anyway ,from experience😂

If it says lots of character walk away 😂 🤣


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
No @newforest lots of character is FUN! If you have a sticky seat, strong nerves, and the patience of a saint 😂. Doesn't the saying go something like mine has character, yours is quirky, and his is a lunatic?
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