Measuring a Horse's Height
The height of a horse is measured in hands and inches. Here you can find out how to measure the height of a horse.
Your horse should be on even ground
To ensure your horse's height is measured accurately, it is very important to make sure your horse is standing on even ground with their feet fairly close together. You might want to get someone to hold your horse or tie your horse to a hitching post whilst you measure their height.
Ideally a horse's height should be measured when they aren't wearing shoes, but this isn't vitally important.
How to measure your horse's height
Either by using a roll-out tape measure or measuring stick, measure your horse's height from it's feet to the highest point of it's withers (shoulder blades).
If you are using an equine measuring tape, place the end of it under your foot and unravel it until you reach the withers. If you are using an equine measuring stick (or hand stick), simply rest the base on the ground and move the adjustable slider to rest on the withers. Take your horse's measurement!
TIP! Always make sure the stick or tape is perpendicular to the ground - and not slanted!
Calculating the height of your horse
Since some measuring devices will give your the height of your horse in inches (or centimetres), you may need to do some conversion to find out your horse's height in hands. Remember that one hand is 4 inches, and 4 inches is 10.16 centimetres.
If your horse if 15 and a half hands, it is written as 15.2, not 15.5. The figure after the decimal point is not a fraction of a hand, but the inches over the nearest number of whole hands. The way you would say the height of this horse is "fifteen two", which means fifteen hands and two inches in height.
Horse height conversion chart
Why are horses measured in hands?!
It's simple really - people didn't have measuring devices historically, so they decided to measure the height of their horse by placing a hand width on on top of the other from the horse's feet to the horse's withers. Historically people used body parts to measure distances.