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Discuss Tall horse, short rider...how tall is too tall? at the Horse Chat forum - Horse Forums.

I'm considering several horses at the moment for purchase. The one who's at the top ...
  1. #1
    Senior Member+
    Ambrose's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Pine Knoll Shores, NC

    Tall horse, short rider...how tall is too tall?

    I'm considering several horses at the moment for purchase. The one who's at the top of the list at the moment is a 6-year-old Tennessee Walker from a rescue. The pros are that he is a Walker, his age is pretty much perfect for what I'm looking for, he's very close by, and his temperament seems to be ideal.

    The downside? I'm short and he's not.

    I guess my question is, how how much of a sticking point is this going to be? He is 16.2, maybe an inch or two less, and I am 5'1" with stubby little legs. My main worry is ease of mounting, since we'll be doing trail-riding for paying customers, not just for pleasure - you never know when you have to hop off to help someone and get back on, y'know? I know most people wouldn't consider 16.2 hands to be excessively tall, but potentially owning one has made me think about how much bigger than me he really is.

    This is a new thing for me, since pretty much all the horses I work with now are short-to-average quarter horses. I'm not worried about being overhorsed while riding, just the potential problems his height would cause us/me as a trail guide.

    I know I'm not the only short person here, so what do you guys think? How much of an issue is it, really, and if it IS a potential big deal, what can I do to get around it? I'm going to visit the horse within the week, so is there anything I can do while I check him out to address this problem specifically?

    Thanks a bundle.

  2. #2
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    SuZQuzie's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    California Central Coast
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    I am 5'2" and my main mount is 16.2hh.

    Too tall to me has more to do with leg length than height. If you can properly ride the horse properly, no reason that you can't ride it.

    My trainer rode her 17.3hh mount to the Olympics and she is only 5'2" as well.
    Mazaire (Ed - 1994 Dutch Warmblood gelding) & Yvening Affair (Yves - 2009 Zweibrucker gelding)
    Competing Yeager GF (Yeager - 2001 German Warmblood stallion)

  3. #3
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    Aug 2008
    Windsor, CT
    I'm 5' tall and 105lbs and I've had horses from 15h to over 17h. A lot of it depends on your length of leg, and a lot of it depends on the build of the horse...if I have a fatty warmblood with a big ribcage, that takes up much more leg than a slab sided OTTB.

    I've never looked TALL on anything other than a 13h pony, but I never really looked all that short either. I now in my injured state prefer smaller horses only cause the distance to the ground is less.

    However if you plan to mount and dismount from the ground frequently, you would probably want something in the 14-15h range to be able to easily mount without twisting the saddle on the horse's back.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Midnight Felicity's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    I would say your fine and you can always lower your stirrups for mounting then adjust again when your back on, or find a nice big rock or log lol.
    *Midnight Felicity*
    1999 Black Appendix Quarter Horse
    2008 Cream Standard Poodle

  5. #5
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    Oct 2003
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    If you have short legs like I do then he is too big.
    I'm 5ft 5 and have comparatively short legs. There is no way in the world I would ever be able to ride with maximum effectiveness on anything bigger than 16.2hh - and that would have to be a very narrow 16.2hh, in reality MOST horses 16hh upwards are too big for me. Mounting is the very least of the problems, I can mount from the ground on horses 17hh plus without altering my stirrups, not being able to get your leg on properly - now that IS a big problem, and can be a dangerous one too.
    Take another 4 inches in height off my height, keep the proportions the same and you have an even worse situation.
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  6. #6
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    Oct 2009
    Pine Knoll Shores, NC
    The leg cues were another point of contention. Heck, it's hard enough for me to apply leg cues properly on most of the horses at the barn because they're shaped like barrels and I run out of leg. :/ This horse will not be used for riding where expert leg aids are expected (just judging from his background, I don't think he's even experienced cues other than "kick" and "pull reins", so he's going to take retraining anyway), but I do want to ride effectively.

    I'm hoping that he isn't shaped like a big soup can, but I won't know for sure until I see him in person. The more input I get on the issue, the better, so keep throwing out yays and nays. I'm crossing my fingers!

  7. #7
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    cassidy's Avatar
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    May 2004
    england - its sunny sometimes honest!
    dont worry my warmblood gelding is 17hh and im only 5' it doesnt matter at all
    bluebell , haribo , william & lil bill
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mommadoc's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    I'm 5'2" as well and mine is 16.2. If you are worried about mounting, they make this extra stirrip adapter that gives you about 6 in. more length, can't remember what it's called... anyway, I always ride tall horses and the only problem I have is I hit branches that nobody else does... and spiderwebs. I have to carry a twig with leaves on it to catch them before my face does, lol. Mounting really isn't a problem for me, but my horse is very patient and I always get on the uphill side if possible. Where there's a will, there's a way. Good luck!
    Of course she's charming! That's how they lure you into their houses made of candy and gingerbread!

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