How to Properly Measure a Horse

Measure your horse with confidence… it’s easy, here’s how!

Horses are measured from the ground, just beside and behind a front foreleg to the top of the withers or fifth vertebrae. The reason for this is because whether the horse raises of lowers his head this part of the top line stays the same.

A horse’s height is measured in hands, partial hand widths are given in inches. What that actually means is a horse that is 15.2 hands, he is 15 hands plus 2 inches. It would be incorrect to say a horse is 14.5 hands as the number after the decimal isn’t a fraction, but represents a full inch. So, if a horse is 14.4 ½ hands high, that means he’s four and one half inches over 14 hands.

Most Accurate way to Measure Height

Most feed/tack stores will carry a measuring stick, this is a tall stick with measurements and an adjustable horizontal bar. The stick is held alongside the horse, and the horizontal bar is slid down until it touches the horse’s withers. They come in various sizes to accommodate mini horses and ponies as well.

Inexpensive soft measuring tapes are also available, but their flexibility compromises accuracy.

–> Where did the “hand” measurement come from? ANSWER

amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch


About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
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