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Horse Problem - Height of Horse - How to estimate how tall foal, colt or filly will get










QUESTION: Good afternoon Sylvia. I have a trivia question. I have heard when a horse is born, their legs are as long as they are going to get. Only the body grows from that point. Is that true? We have a 17-month-old mare that's just a little over 13 hands high. Do you think she will grow another foot by the time she is two years old? She will be two this coming June. Just wondering, thanks...

REPLY: False. Their legs keep growing (which is the whole point of the "growth plates," allowing for that bone growth). Here's a link on my site to learn a little more about horse growth plates:

Horses keep growing until around the age of 7. By the time they are 7, that's generally the full height they will be for all of adulthood.

Best way to assess how tall your 17-month-old mare will be is: (if you know) average the height of her dam (mother) & her sire (father). She'll be somewhere around there. She's got many more growth spurts to go yet before she settles out to her final height.

There is a method you can use to "guesstimate" a foal or colt/filly's future height. Have someone hold the horse's lead rope. And you'll need a horse measuring stick (like this one here: CLICK HERE), and you will need a piece of string about three and a half feet long.

Have a handler hold the horse still while you take one end of the string and place it at her front leg elbow. Next, stretch the string down to the ground, and mark it or tie a knot in it at the horse's fetlock-level. Here's a drawing that shows where the horse's elbow & fetlock is:

Now you have a string that measures the horse's front leg from elbow to fetlock.

Next, take the string, put one end on the horse's elbow again in the same spot as before, and now stretch the string up so that it is up in the air over her back. The knot in the string, or the place where you marked it, is approximately at the height where her withers will be when she is full-grown. Keep the knot or mark at that height and now use the measuring stick to tell you how tall she will be. This is usually fairly accurate within an inch or so.

Here's another good article by Dr. Jessica Jahiel about assessing how tall foals/colts will get when picking them out: CLICK HERE


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