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Horse Breeds

A Look at Different Horse Heights

There are hundreds of breeds of horses in the world and so many different sizes. There are horses small enough to fit on your couch and horses so tall you would need a ladder in order to touch their ears. But if you’re new to horses, learning all the different breed heights can be a real challenge. What makes Miniature Horses miniature, compared to a pony? How big is a draft horse, compared to a Thoroughbred? And what is a ‘hand,’ anyway? Luckily, we’re here to help.

Watch a video demonstrating how to measure a horse’s height >>

Explore the infographic below and take a fun look at the different average heights of some common horse breeds and how they compare to each other—there’s a wide range of sizes in the equine world!

Click image to view larger


Note: The two Miniature Horse registries, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) and the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR), have different criteria for measuring Miniature Horses. The AMHA will not register a horse of a height over 34” tall, while the AMHR has two separate categories of sizes; horses under 34”, and horses between 34” and 38”. All registered Miniature Horses will be under 38” tall.

This article about horse heights is a web exclusive for Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson is a freelance writer and professional photographer, and watcher of horse movies. His favorite is probably Misty (1961). He’s the author of several books, including How to Raise Horses: Everything You Need to Know, (Voyageur Press, 2014). Dan’s barn is home to Summer, a Welsh/TB cross, Orion, a Welsh Cob, and Mati and Amos, two Welsh Mountain Ponies.

View Comments

  • And here i enplane the height of my horses as counter height, bar height, rideable and too tall to see over.... and oh he is horse height when he stands up straight but when he slouches he is a pony.

  • The last hair of the mane is where the withers are are you that dense about horse anatomy. You measure at the highest point of the withers.I hate it when on internet some people especially the English think a hand is 5 or 6 inches.example 14.5.

  • Hey mary, us english measure a hand at 4". No idea where u got the idea that we measure a hand at any other length. Obviously speaking to none horsey people or those new to the equine experience!

  • I think that when I hear a measurement such as, 14.5, they really mean 14.2, since ,5 usually means 1/2. So half of 4 is 2, therefore 14.5 would mean 14-2hhs.

  • Umm, no Quarter Horses on this chart??? That's cool. I see how it is. Discriminate against one of the most popular horse breeds in the world.

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