How to Measure Horse Height

Something we encounter frequently in rescue is “My horse is 15.5 Hands. He is a big guy” or “He is 15.8hh” and so forth. I’ve heard “18.9hh.”

People sometimes assume the numbers coming after the . (Point) go through 10. They are actually 1/4 increments.

The height of a horse is measured from the ground to his withers, the last hair of his mane. A hand is the equivalent of 4 inches. When measuring in hands, partial hand widths are expressed in inches. So a horse that is 14.2 hands is 14 hands plus 2 inches (for a total inches would be 58 inches).

A horse could never be said to be 14.5 inches, as the number after the decimal is not a fraction, but represents an entire inch.

Most Equines under 14.2 are considered ponies and 14.2 and up are horses.

Some equines, like Arabians, regardless of height, are classified as “horses”, even though 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) is the traditional cutoff height between a horse.

In Miniature Horses, inches are the correct form of measurement at the withers, as opposed to Hands.

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