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How to find a Horse or Pony's Height

Height Measurement

Horses and Ponies are measured from the ground to the withers and
are measured in hands.

How much is a hand?

One hand is equal to 4 inches.

The reason for this is that originally horses were measured by the
width of a person's hand which was approximately 4 inches, and by
placing one hand on the ground, the other above it and moving the
first hand over the second the horse could be measured.

The term used for height is "hands high" or "hh". Often the
height is just over a number of hands eg 16 hands and 2 inches
and the height is referred to as 16.2 hh. Particularly small
ponies are often measured in centimetres and with Europeanisation
horses are also now being measured in centimetres.

When measuring a horse or pony it is best to ensure they are
stood squarely on solid ground as this will give the most
accurate measurement. There are tape measures marked out in hands
which can be used but it is difficult to ensure these are held
straight and then judge the mark as the tape has to be held some
distance away from the withers.

Measuring sticks are the best way of measuring a horse. These
consist of a large wooden "ruler" marked out in hands with
another piece of wood at right angles which can be lowered to sit
on the horse or pony's withers ensuring an accurate reading

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