How to Measure a Horse

How tall is your horse or pony? Here’s how to find out.

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How to Measure a Horse
A horse is measured at the highest point of her withers. Using measuring stick with a level offers an easy and accurate way to find out a horse's height. | Photo: Michelle N. Anderson/The Horse
Horses are measured using one of two units: hands or centimeters.

Hands, a traditional British way of measuring horses that’s still used in the United States, are units composed of four inches (the approximate width of a hand). Centimeters are used in Europe and many countries outside the United States to describe a horse’s height.

What you need:

  • A halter and lead rope or bridle;
  • A helper;
  • A flat, level area to stand the horse—a concrete slab works well; and
  • A horse measuring stick, measuring tape and level, or a line with a plumb bob.

Step 1: Get a helper to hold the horse using a halter and lead rope or bridle. You’ll want the pair standing on a flat surface

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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