Don’t Sell Smaller Horses Short; Rider Fit More Important Than Height - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Don’t Sell Smaller Horses Short; Rider Fit More Important Than Height

Pirate and Megan O’Donoghue in the Dressage portion of Rolex 2013

The height of a horse that is retiring from racing should not affect his value as a riding partner, Aubrey Graham, anthropologist and trainer at Kivu Sport Horses, told Horse Nation.

Though riders who are horse shopping often have a desired height on their wish list, Graham points out that their ability to grow into good horses – not their height – should determine suitability. Smaller horses are often easier to compress strides on and are often “cattier” – meaning they can get their feet out of the way faster in most situations. 

Graham also notes that while a rider may have long legs and feel that they “need” a bigger horse to take up leg length, height isn't the only way in which a horse can do that. A smaller, but broader, horse can take up just as much leg as a taller, rangier mount, making a rider feel secure.

Horses can grow until they're seven years old, so kicking a horse out of the possibility pile because they aren't yet a set height is presumptuous if they're on the younger side, Graham reminds. Horses — and Thoroughbreds in particular — don't grow evenly, so passing on a horse that is disproportionate as he transitions from the track can lead to a missed opportunity. 

Read more at Horse Nation

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