Do You Know: How Tall Is A Horse? What is Average Horse Height?

Aryan Khanna
Jan 18, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Nov 01, 2021
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Beautiful portrait of a horse standing in grass field

Horses are majestic animals. They have been of great service to humans for years, dating back to the origins of the world.

Horses are often confused with ponies; ponies are shorter than horses but some horse breeds do not grow much. Let us find out how tall is an average horse and how the height of a horse is measured.

The confusion between ponies and horses isn't new as both of them belong to the same horse family which goes by the name of 'equine'.

It is said that, if an equine is taller than 14.2 hands, it is a horse but, if its height is less than 14.2 hands, then it is a pony. You must be wondering, what is this unit called 'hands'?

Well, in order to measure a horse's height or that of a pony, the unit 'hands' is used.

One hand is equal to 4 in (10.16 cm).

To better understand this system, think of a 6 ft (1.8 m) tall horse; its height is 72 in (183 cm) but, when measured as a horse, it is 18 hands tall.

Surprisingly, not only the unit of measurements but also the section of a horse's body that we measure using a measurement tape is different from that of a human.

In order to measure a horse's height, either a measuring stick or a tape is used and the height is measured from the ground where it is standing to the highest point of its withers.

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How tall is a quarter horse?

Now that you know how to measure a horse's height, you will need to know the average horse height to check if your horse is growing steadily.

The average horse's height, when measured in hands, is in a range of 15.2 hands or 62 in (157.5 cm), whereas, that of a pony is less than 14.2 hands or 58 in (147 cm). It is usually large ponies which range from 13.2 hands to 14 hands or sometimes even 14.2.

The height of a horse greatly depends upon its breed, the ones which have a stronger physique than others are known for carrying weights.

The quarter horse is a breed of North America, arguably the most useful and also the most well-known breed of that part of the world. These horses have a muscular build and average a height of around 14.3 hands to 16 hands which is roughly 57-64 in (145-162.6 cm).

The most striking feature of this horse breed is its legs. They are quite small in regard to the rest of the body of the horse.

This breed might not be the tallest of all but is very well-liked for the qualities it possesses.

Quarter horses have good body strength and are used as cattle horses, but they are also known to stand out in running short distances. Apart from these qualities, this horse breed is also one of the most elegant in the world.

How tall is a Shire horse?

A Shire is a horse breed native to the UK, and it is a type of draft horse. Shire horses are supposedly the tallest and the largest kind of horses existing on this planet. Their average height is way more than that of a typical horse.

The Shire averages a height of 17 hands which is 68 in (173 cm) tall. You can better fathom how tall these horses are when you imagine that 16 hands tall horse is considered to be quite tall.

The horses are measured in this manner using a measuring stick or a measuring tape. Taking this as a reference point, imagine that an average Shire horse measures 17 hands, but some of them grow as tall as 18 hands.

Horses tend to attain their final height by the time they are 4-5 years old.

Interestingly, the tallest horse ever recorded was a Shire horse named Sampson. Born in England, the horse reached a height of around 21 hands or 84 in (213 cm) while measured when standing on the ground to the highest point of its withers.

Shires were primarily used for pulling weights, but it was eventually noticed that they were equally adept for the purpose of riding. This breed is uniquely known for its hairy foot.

How tall is a draft horse?

The draft is a breed of horses and there are multiple types of draft horses all across the world. Located in different countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK, this breed of horses is famous for their body strength, their muscular body, and the amount of work they can do.

Owing to their muscular build, they are one of the most beautiful horses in the world.

Different types of draft horses in the world include the Belgian Draft, the Dutch Draft, American Cream Draft, Shire horse, and many more. These horses were in use during the early industrial days when they were required for transportation of goods from one place to the other.

Clydesdale is another famous draft horse typically located in Scotland, and this horse breed is believed to be the second tallest horse breed in the world after the Shire.

This horse's height is known to be in a range of 16-18 hands, i.e., 63.8-72 in (162-183 cm), and this is way taller than an average horse height, measured in hands.

The majority of these horse breeds were created by cross-breeding to serve the purpose of making strong, beautiful-looking horses, but ever since industries shifted towards mechanization, most of these breeds have been on the brink of extinction.

While breeding, people sometimes came to breed miniature horses; this is a horse that measures around 9.2 hands or 38 in tall (96.5 cm).

Later on, they were used as a pet. Any horse taller than this height would then be considered a pony.

You must be careful and not mix up miniature horses with ponies.

How tall is a Mustang horse?

Mustang horses are usually seen in the United States. They are known to hail from Spain and arrived in the United States when explorers from Spain arrived.

Even though they are known as wild horses, they are domesticated and ridden by a lot of people in America. Their muscular body type, strong legs, and hooves are perfect for riding at length.

A mustang is as tall as an average horse. This horse's height is in a range of 14-15 hands or 56-60 in tall (142-152 cm).

This horse is known to have a number of body colors but bay (which is also known as a chestnut color) is the most common one.

Mustang horses are known to stay in groups and are usually led by a mare, and the majority of this species lives its life in the wild. Just like every other horse, mustangs give birth to baby horses with an average height of 10-12 hands.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do you know: how tall is a horse? What is average horse height? then why not take a look at why do cats puke? or purrrfect facts about the ragamuffin cat kids will love?

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

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Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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