Measuring the Height & Weight of Horses

Measuring A Horse’s Height

Horses & Ponies Are Measured in “Hands”

What Is A Hand?

A hand is 4 inches and is the approximate width of the palm of an adult’s hand.


How Wide Is Your Palm?



How Do You Measure Horses and Ponies?

Learn How To Measure the Height of Horses


Horses and ponies are measured from the ground straight up to the withers with something called a stick, which is a special measuring stick made just for measuring horses.

Did you know ponies are smaller than horses, even when they are full grown?

Learn more about the parts of a horse.

Horse and Pony Measurements

The pony on the left measures 12 hands high (h.h.), while the horse on the right measures 17.2 h.h. Each hand contains four inches. A horse can be 15 hands, 15.1 hands, 15.2 hands, 15.3 hands, but never 15.4 hands tall. If a horse measures 15.4 h.h. then it is actually 16 hands high.

Measure horses ponies graphic

You pronounce a 13.2 h.h. pony as “thirteen two hands”, a 14.1 h.h. pony would be “fourteen one hands”, and a 16.3 h.h. horse would be “sixteen three hands”.


Difference Between Ponies and Horses

The difference between ponies and horses is their height. Ponies are no taller than 14.2 hands high (58 inches) at the withers, while horses are taller than 14.2 hands high.

Horses Ponies Difference


Pony Heights Explained

The shortest a horse can be is 14.3 hands high (h.h.); otherwise it is categorized as a pony.

The tallest a pony can be is 14.2 h.h.

Small Pony

A SMALL pony measures up to 12.2 h.h.

Medium Pony

A MEDIUM pony measures from 12.2 h.h. to 13.2 h.h.

Large Pony

A LARGE pony measures from 13.2 h.h. to 14.2 h.h.

How Do You Measure the Weight of Horses & Ponies?

Learn How To Measure & Calculate the Weight of Horses

heavy horse

There are times when it is important to know how much a horse weighs, such as when figuring out how much feed, dewormer, medicine, or supplements are the correct amount for the size of the animal.


How to Figure Out How Much a Horse Weighs
  1. A livestock scale
  2. A specialized weight tape purchased at a feed store or tack shop
  3. Calculate it’s weight with girth and length measurements with a standard vinyl measuring tape.

How to Calculate a Horses Weight With a Standard Measuring Tape

Measure a horses weight

Measure the Heart Girth

Measure with a vinyl measuring tape all the way around the horse from an inch behind the top of the withers and behind the elbows.

Measure a horses weight

Measure the Body Length

Measure the horse from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock.

measure a horse's weight

Horse Weight Calculator

    x x =

    Please note this is an educational tool to teach kids about estimating a horse’s weight and it does not consider the physical differences between individual horses and ponies. If a more accurate weight is needed, use a livestock scale with the help of a veterinarian.

    Formula to Calculate a Horse or Pony’s Weight

    A horse older than one year old is: (heart girth x heart girth x body length) / 330 = estimated body weight in pounds.

    For a weanling: (heart girth x heart girth x body length) / 280 = estimated body weight in pounds

    For a yearling: (heart girth x heart girth x body length) / 301 = estimated body weight in pounds

    Play the Horse & Pony Heights Matching Game

    Drag the Size of the Horse Or Pony to the Correct Image