Monday, July 4, 2011

The tall girl who would rather ride ponies than warmbloods...

Isn't this little lady a cutie?

Ponies (I'm mostly talking about smaller horses here, those under 16 hands, I just like to call them ponies lol) are my favorites. They are short, easier to manage, you're closer to the ground, they don't have massive gaits. I like <16 hand horses.

Too bad I have a little height discrepancy!

I would much rather have a smaller horse freaking out on the other end of a lead rope than a 17.3 hand beast. I would much rather bounce around on tiny gaits rather than feel like I'm about to be surged off into space on huge, albeit beautiful, gaits. I'd much rather groom a horse whose back I can see over than hop on a stool to put a saddle on and hope that big boy doesn't get ancy about the change in the human's height!

Most of the horses I get to ride, including Greta, are all under 16 hands, although Greta is 15.3 hands so she barely makes the cut haha! On most of them, if I were to hang my legs straight down, my femur goes almost to the bottom of their belly!

I see a lot of - although I wouldn't call it a commonality - short riders on big horses and tall riders on smaller horses. Maybe it's the little-guy factor for the short people? I don't know for sure as far as us tall ones go. I'm sure a lot of your taller pros who can seem a tad big on some of their client's horses would probably much rather ride a proportionate big beasty boy, but seeing as they're getting paid, well... they'll ride little firecracker anyway.

I just think it's odd. One would think tall, long-femur girl would like big horses, but, no, not really. I love any horse, don't get me wrong, but Greta is a nice comfortable height for me.

What size pony (er, horse... we can count ponies too!) do you like to ride?


  1. Great subject! Smaller horses tend to be more naturally balanced!
    I'm 6 ft tall and ride horses that are anywhere from 15 to 16 hands. Believe it or not... despite my height, I don't feel like I "need" a horse taller than 16 hands. My main event horse is a 16 hand Akhal-Teke gelding.... but as part of my job I ride as many as 6 horses per day, and he is the tallest one! Although it's important not to be TOO big or too small for your horse... it's much more common that people are riding gigantic horses that they can't even hope to get their legs around. My previous competition horse was only 15.1! He moved like a big horse... could jump the moon.... I have a slender build, and never had anybody tell me that I looked too big on him. But I often hear from people who are shorter than I am, that they can't imagine riding anything less than 16.2. Personally, I think it's silly...

  2. I have this theory that horses are not meant to be huge. My mare is 16.2, which is big enough for me. I feel silly on anything smaller than 16 hands. BUT huge horses 17 hands and taller? Most just look out of proportion and have confo faults. I am very wary of tall horses who get their height from their cannons. Bad combo!

  3. I find it absurd that people now think a horse is short if it's under 16 hands. My last show horse as a teen was 16 hands and I thought he was HUGE! Of course, the only horse I've found who his girth fit was a 17 hand draft cross, so perhaps his hugeness wasn't about his height.

    When I started looking for a horse my requirement was that it had to be suited to me. I said nothing over 17 hands for sure, preferably 15-15.2. What I got? 16.3+ hh:

    He happens to be just right for me personality-wise, as far as what he wants out of a rider and I want out of a horse. I had seen him about 6 months before my trial ride and thought he was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen, but didn't know he was for sale at the time. My trainer felt we were going to be a great match, as she was the one riding him that first time I saw him, and she said we had similar riding styles.

    I was not thrilled about his size at all. And in longe lessons when he REALLY gets his back moving and elasticity and suspension while I'm sitting the trot, I realize I have to ride him perfectly, because the range of motion in my short self is barely enough to ride him really well. His long legs mean my legs work well on him... but that he moves BIG and it's a challenge to keep up!
    This was the cell photo my trainer took that first test ride to show me I was ok on him height-wise and didn't look absurd:

    I'd still be happy if he were 5 or so inches shorter, but the exact same horse!

  4. I don't think I look disproportionate on Greta, but I have had people tell me that a bigger horse would suit me. In my opinion, I agree that riders need to ask themselves simply, "Do I feel comfortable on this horse and does this horse seem to be comfortable with me on them?" If super tall Doug Payne can look comfortable on this little guy and the horse look comfortable with him, then I say it's a match! I do also agree that smaller horses seem to be more balanced and perhaps even sturdier, not to bash the big gentle giants (you gotta love those guys), but it is something to think about. Thank you for the comments!


Comments are greatly appreciated and, most importantly, Greta loves you for commenting ♥

Thanks guys!