Short people on big horses

Lexi 123

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I am just barely 5 foot and my horse is 16.2 sometimes I do feel a bit odd because of the size difference but I would not change my mare for the world. So what’s you opinion on short people riding big horses.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I am 5 ft 3 so taller than you but as an older beginner I was constantly put on wide native ponies.It took an exper tto move me to proper horses and the height makes no difference. I have twice ridden horses over 17 hands - tho in schools. I havent hacked one that tall. I am not sure I would want to - My current hack is 15.3. But it isnt the height is it? It is the shape of the back and the width.
 

carthorse

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By big are you meaning just height, or build too? Some tall horses are just long legged and don't actually ride much bigger than a much shorted horse, with those I thing the only issue being a short rider is getting up there.

With a big horse I think it's not an issue until something goes wrong and you suddenly find you've got an awful lot of power to contain and maybe not the physical strength to do it. Yes I know they are all stronger than us, but believe me when I say there's a lot of difference in riding through a strop from a 400kg horse or a 700kg horse, particularly if the big horse is also very athletic. There's also the issue that it's harder to wrap your legs around to improve your security, and even if things are going well you have to be much more on the ball when schooling as you really do need to set up those turns if you want to ride them smoothly and accurately.

Do I have a problem with it? Absolutely not, I'm 5'5" and used to have a very substantial 16.3 ID who was my horse of a lifetime. I do think riders need to be aware of what they're taking on though and be confident they can cope in bad times as well as good.
 

Sparky Lily

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I am 5’5” and sometimes rode a friend’s 17.3 horse. I needed a mounting block and a stretch to get on, but he was lovely to ride. But it was an awful long way down when dismounting!
 

Trewsers

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I'm five feet nothing (well maybe an inch over on a good day!) and ride just over 17hh without a problem. Like Sparky Lily says it is a long way down lol getting off atm my lovely other half has to help me as I have plantar faciitis and can't jump off like I used to - not unless I want painful zingers in my feet for the rest of the week! Getting on isn't a problem as we have a super duper tall mounting block. I would hack Zi any day of the week in most conditions with lots of distractions - would I hack my now retired 15hh mare? Nope not a chance. I don't think you can generalise or worry too much about size. Some even smaller ponies would scare the pants off me. This is just my own personal point of view. I am sure lots of people are better suited to a smaller ride and feel much more secure. I've ridden lovely chunky 14.2hh cobs and enjoyed them but not necessarily felt like I had any more control than I do now over a bigger animal. Horses for courses.............
 

carthorse

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It's funny because I actually found it easier getting off Jim (16.3 ID) than Little Un (barely 14.2 welsh cob) because with Jim I could slide down his shoulder and so land gently - mind you he did have a massive shoulder and was very deep through his body so there was plenty to slide down. Little Un I just hit the ground and my cold feet hurt!
 

newforest

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I don't have an opinion.
If the horse are rider are matched and both are happy size is irrelevant.

I'm glad mine isn't bigger. She looks you straight in the eye before she strops.
 
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Trewsers

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I don't have an opinion.
If the horse are rider are matched and both are happy size is irrelevant.

I'm glad mine isn't bigger. She looks you straight in the eye before she strops.

So true about being matched and it being important. Lol to the cob looking you in the eye!!!!
 

Skint

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I always thought I was 5ft7 but have recently found out more like 5ft5 and some change lol, my first horse was 16.3, second 16hh and my newest is nearly 17hh, but I am not light so I need a horse with the right build, I also need a quiet horse as I am not that confident, so for me it's more about weight carrying ability and temperament than height. That said, I tried a couple of (allegedly) 15hh built like a brick outhouse types and felt too big for them, but perhaps I have just not ridden that many horses of that size.
 

carthorse

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@Skint I find the length of rein has an impact on how big I feel on a horse, and some of the chunky types have a relatively short neck. Silly that it should bother me since I have no intention of sitting on the neck! I also don't like a very thin long neck - thinking about it I'm quite picky lol
 

Skint

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@Skint I find the length of rein has an impact on how big I feel on a horse, and some of the chunky types have a relatively short neck. Silly that it should bother me since I have no intention of sitting on the neck! I also don't like a very thin long neck - thinking about it I'm quite picky lol

Lol, I think you have hit the nail on the head there! Also, I think I like to be able to nose in people's gardens as I am riding by :D
 
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newforest

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@Skint I find the length of rein has an impact on how big I feel on a horse, and some of the chunky types have a relatively short neck. Silly that it should bother me since I have no intention of sitting on the neck! I also don't like a very thin long neck - thinking about it I'm quite picky lol
Mine had a short neck and I wonder if this is why I struggle with my two point.
I have no where to fold.
 
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Bodshi

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@Skint I find the length of rein has an impact on how big I feel on a horse, and some of the chunky types have a relatively short neck. Silly that it should bother me since I have no intention of sitting on the neck! I also don't like a very thin long neck - thinking about it I'm quite picky lol
Mine had a short neck and I wonder if this is why I struggle with my two point.
I have no where to fold.

I completely get this. When I ride Jack his head feels miles away and very heavy, compared to Raf's, which I can easily reach to adjust his forelock if necessary. He does have quite a high head carriage though, so I don't feel as if I have nothing in front of me. When I rode a Welsh D x trad it was like sitting on a bull, he was wide and his neck seemed so thick! I do prefer a shorter neck, but as you suggest @newforest, if I go into 2 point I feel as though I'm balancing over his ears. I do my best to stick my bum back so I don't have to lean forwards but I'm not too successful :p

I'm 5'7 so will never know what it feels like to be a short person on a tall horse, not unless I ever meet a 19 hander ... I have a problem in that my feet fall below my horse's barrel which makes giving aids more tricky, as I tend to lift my leg up and back so I can get it on the horse. I suppose if your legs are short compared to the horse you'd have the opposite problem in that your legs don't reach far enough down the sides to give the aids in the appropriate place :rolleyes: 1st World problems ...
 

newforest

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I completely get this. When I ride Jack his head feels miles away and very heavy, compared to Raf's, which I can easily reach to adjust his forelock if necessary. He does have quite a high head carriage though, so I don't feel as if I have nothing in front of me. When I rode a Welsh D x trad it was like sitting on a bull, he was wide and his neck seemed so thick! I do prefer a shorter neck, but as you suggest @newforest, if I go into 2 point I feel as though I'm balancing over his ears. I do my best to stick my bum back so I don't have to lean forwards but I'm not too successful :p

I'm 5'7 so will never know what it feels like to be a short person on a tall horse, not unless I ever meet a 19 hander ... I have a problem in that my feet fall below my horse's barrel which makes giving aids more tricky, as I tend to lift my leg up and back so I can get it on the horse. I suppose if your legs are short compared to the horse you'd have the opposite problem in that your legs don't reach far enough down the sides to give the aids in the appropriate place :rolleyes: 1st World problems ...
I can put the bridle on and off from on board. Ha ha.
My heel is below her belly line, but it's your inner calf you give the leg aid from.
 
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Jessey

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I'm 5'4" and have ridden 17+hh, personally I prefer under 16hh but that is just because mounting from the ground is virtually impossible with my creaky body and I do a lot of hacking and sometimes you just have no choice but to dismount while out and there isn't always a handy mounting aid. I have occasionally seen a sub 5ft person on 17+hh of very chunky horse and they look a bit like a pea up there but if they are happy and able to manage that much horse safely, who cares :)
The neck does make a difference, I borrowed a friends horse earlier in the year when Jess was out of action, similar breeds, similar height and visually I always thought Maddie was bigger/chunkier than Jess but I felt like there was no horse when I got on, she was narrower to sit on, had a really skinny neck which was also shorter, it was quite unnerving to start with.
 

Kite_Rider

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I'm 5'4" and have ridden 17+hh, personally I prefer under 16hh but that is just because mounting from the ground is virtually impossible with my creaky body and I do a lot of hacking and sometimes you just have no choice but to dismount while out and there isn't always a handy mounting aid.
This is why I bought a 14.2 :rolleyes:
Interestingly I actually look bigger on taller, finer horses than I do on Belle. Can't see it matters at all how small/tall you are compared to the horse/pony as long as you are both comfortable and are in control why would it matter?
 
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