How to measure a horse

How to measure a horse correctly

Measuring a horse or pony is taken from the ground to the highest point on the withers.

 A measuring stick is the easiest way to measure.



It is an upright ruler with a sliding arm that contains a spirit level.

Place the stick upright on the ground and then lower the horizontal arm until it sits on the highest point of the withers.

To get the right measurement check the spirit level to see if it is reading level.

The horse or pony should be standing on level ground without shoes.

It should be relaxed with head in normal position, not down on the floor.


How to measure a horse

Traditionally we have always measured horses in hands, hh.

One hand is equal to four inches.


A pony can measure up to 14.2hh; anything bigger is regarded as a horse.

With Europeanization, horses are officially measured in centimetres.

Official horse measurements

To get officially measured a horse needs to be micro chipped.

Do not worry if he is not because you can have it done straight after the measuring for an additional fee.

Preparing the horse for measuring

It is important to get your horse used to the measuring stick before attending the official measuring.

The horse will be allowed time to relax in a stable with a level floor, and be expected to stand quietly for measuring.

If your horse will not stand still you will need to book another appointment and will be charged twice.

You will also need to take your horse’s passport along for inspection.

An annual height certificate is issued for horse’s four, five and six year olds who have not been measured before.


If you have an older horse who has not been measured before he will have to have an annual first and the following year can apply for a full life height certificate, which will mean another measuring with a different vet.

A horse has to be at least seven years old to receive a full life height certificate.

A life certificate can still be disputed at equestrian events, premier and international shows.

All ponies entering classes are sometimes measured as standard practice with an allowance made for shoes and the fact that the horse might not be relaxed from just coming out of the ring.

Scroll down for more information on how to measure a pony and official measuring.


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