18-18.2hh is too big, isn't it?

MarniL

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Okay, so I'm 17 and have been riding for about 9 years at my local stables. Though I've never owned my own horse, I currently exercise three for the liveries there - a 15yr old highland mare with limited abilities, a 7yr old highland/fresian mare, and a 13yr old gelding that is the spookiest bag of nerves I've ever seen. I might finally be able to afford one of my own soon so I've been keeping an eye on the local market and found one the other day that caught my eye. He sounds perfect - but he's 18hh. Now, I love big horses... But that's a lot of horse! I also saw one today, absolutely gorgeous, that's 18.2hh. I was just wondering what people's opinions would be; obviously I don't want to waste anyone's time, but these horses have to be sold to someone, so why not me? I'm not silly, I know it screams of impracticability and a naive dreamer. I certainly won't be offended if I'm told to stop being stupid.
 

maccachic

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How tall are you? There is a pic of my short self on my profile of me on an 18hher nice big baby but had to keep his trot and canter short or my short legs struggle to be nice and balanced. I also had to have buckets and stuff to tack him up :)
 

MarniL

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I think I'm about 5'5" (haven't measured myself since I was about 12 but I don't think I've grown much at all). He looks lovely and you look good on him :) I've accepted that if I do ever get a big horse I'll need an array of things to stand on! :p
 

Burmilla

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Think of the expense! More food, more hay, huge rugs, and all those huge poos to shift - or pay someone to do for you! Also so much further to fall off, bigger and higher/wider spooks. Go and have a look anyway - you may have lots more money and nerve than me. Good luck!
 

Booboos

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There are some practical issues. You will find it more difficult/costly to get hold of normal tack items, so extra big headcollars, rugs, etc. You will need a bigger stable which some livery yards do not have and may have trouble fitting the horse in a trailer and the smaller horseboxes. He will eat a lot more and cost more for worming. You will probably find a huge horse more difficult to ride as it won't be as easy to hold him together between hand and leg.

If you don't need such a big horse I would avoid it.
 

WindyStacks

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A lot is going to do with the conformation. I've just bought something advertised at 17.2hh - but I suspect the tape measure is wonky because he's the tallest thing I've ever seen in my life and I've spent a few years in Germany! ...

I digress, he's got a short back and so only takes 6'9"/7' rugs and takes regular full-size head gear.

I'm 5'4" - so apart from needing a mounting block/gate/fallen log/park him in a ditch to scramble on - he is but a horse and when I'm on top there doesn't feel much in it to anything else I've ridden.
 

vickyb

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There are some practical issues. You will find it more difficult/costly to get hold of normal tack items, so extra big headcollars, rugs, etc. You will need a bigger stable which some livery yards do not have and may have trouble fitting the horse in a trailer and the smaller horseboxes. He will eat a lot more and cost more for worming. You will probably find a huge horse more difficult to ride as it won't be as easy to hold him together between hand and leg.

If you don't need such a big horse I would avoid it.

I would agree with the holding together (or not!) bit. I am 5'4" and used to ride/look after an 18.2. He was well mannered, but his 6' long legged owner could really wrap her legs around - I couldn't. Grooming/plaiting etc - had to work from a stool and was only able to put the bridle on because he was kind enough to keep his head low. Large horses are far more expensive to keep. One good point is you get a very good view from on top. Bad point is that you might get slapped in the face by an awful lot of twigs and branches that your riding companions pass beneath without a second thought.
 

PaddyMonty

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Really depends on what you intend to do with the horse. My current ride is 18hh and dont find any issue but you do need to be confident. How many times do you read on here about someones horse growing to 17hh when they were anxious. Now if you start with 18hh the horse feels more like 20hh when things worry them. They also feel incredibly powerful at the same time.
Dressage and SJ wise I see far too many big horses being lock down and their paces stifled. Big horses need to be ridden big.
XC could you hold a 18hh horse when its blood is up.
Non of the above is an issue with the horse I ride but it can be for many.
 

Maryann

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I have had all sizes over the years and loved my big boys to bits but wouldn't look at anything over 16 hands now if I was shopping. Big horses do seem more prone to all the problems and transport is a pain. There don't seem to be many big old horses in work about. (Loads of people are now going to post in to say they have one!)
 

LillyBeth

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Really depends. I had a share horse briefly last year who was 18.1hh (thoroughbred x warmblood though, not a heavy horse type as I think my legs wouldn't have gone round him if he was!!)

I didn't struggle at all in riding or handling him but it meant I couldn't take him anywhere as nobody's lorry was big enough. Which was very frustrating!
 

HeresHoping

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Not mentioned here and horses will be horses, but after my 17.0hh ISH broke - so not as big as yours - I had a lengthy discussion with the vet about the types of injury he had sustained. She (someone quite well known) made a point that [in her experience as an equine vet specialising in lameness and back issues] big riding horses can be more prone to injury and that a significant number of 'irreparable' issues she treated, such as SI injuries and hock issues were in horses bigger than 16.2.

On the riding front, I am an abnormally long-legged 5'8" and found it quite hard to get my ISH (competed elementary, BE Novice) to work through for a long time. We were just starting to get it together when he broke, skidding to a sit down in the field.
 

smja

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A lot depends on the personality of the horse. I used to have a 17.2, but he was a real gentleman to handle - little kids could bring him in from the field no issues, my tiny mum had no difficulty putting on his bridle. He rebuilt my confidence from absolute rock bottom. However, I did have trouble holding him out xc or hunting.

As an addition to HeresHoping's post, mine was lame when he came to me - spavins in both hocks and a previous tendon injury to a front leg, meaning he needed a bit of management to keep him going.

Having said all that, he was my horse of a lifetime and I wish I could have him back, so if you like the horse and you're prepared for the added baggage of big ones, why not?
 

Meowy Catkin

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I'm 5ft4 and when buying I don't look at anything over 16hh or will grow that big if it's a youngster. I find that 15hh - 15.2 is spot on, although if the horse is quite cobby I would look at under 15hh. I don't think that I could rug up or put a saddle on an 18.2 without a ladder! ;) Plus it's a long way down if you do fall off.

Would an 18.2 fit in a 12' x 12' stable?
How much extra hay and hard feed would they need over winter?
 

*sprinkles*

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Think it through all the details. You may well be able to ride a huge horse fine but things like equipment could be difficult to find. I used to work for a girl who had a 17.3hh warmblood for eventing and because of his size had to have most of his tack made to measure which was very expensive. Transport can be a problem as most trainers/lorries are made or fitted out with a more average sized horse in mind. Loose boxes are usually designed to house horses around the 16.2hh mark so you may need to look for a yard that could accommodate a bigger chap. The girl I worked for had designed her own yard and had had a larger box built in the corner with her big guy in mind. Feeding is going to be more pricey also the cost of the farrier I remember being more for the larger horse I mentioned above. Don't want to burst your bubble and these horses might be great but think all of it through, all the details which you maybe wouldn't think of need to be considered.
 

hayinamanger

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18.2? Are you sure? Have you seen the horse measured?

Horses of that height are rare, just bear in mind that an awful lot of people over exaggerate the height of their horses.
 

LillyBeth

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For size reference, I am a fairly evenly proportioned leg and body wise 5ft6/5ft7.

5949_10151715104462456_829559207_n.jpg


Horse is 18.1hh (measured myself so yes he definitely is) but as I said in my post, is a warmblood x thoroughbred so a very light build for a horse of that size! He is literally built exactly like a 16.2hh warmblood type, just like someone had grabbed him on photoshop and enlarged him haha, so he didn't take up my leg as much as a heavy horse type would.

942042_10151715103947456_1594306097_n.jpg


You can see what I mean about him not being a chunky type here
 

Morag4

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Please do a costing for the basic things before doing anything with horses that size. Will off the shelf shoes fit, if not then the price may just have doubled for that. Bear in mind before dismounting on a hack you need to find a potential mounting aid otherwise it's a nice walk you both have.
What do you want to do with the wee guy?
 

Gloi

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I wouldn't advise anyone to get a horse that big unless they really needed one for some reason. In my experience, besides costing more to feed etc, riding horses that size tend to be much more injury prone due to all the extra stress on their limbs.
 

spacie1977

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18.2? Are you sure? Have you seen the horse measured?

Horses of that height are rare, just bear in mind that an awful lot of people over exaggerate the height of their horses.

I'd actually say the opposite for anything over 16.3h. From what I've heard a lot of people with big horses will say they're smaller than they are due to the difficulty in selling such an enormous horse. They're less desirable because transporting can be difficult, tack can be expensive and hard to find, the every day practicalities of grooming, getting on/off whilst hacking etc. So I'd bear in mind if for any reason you need to sell the horse, you might have a headache finding a buyer.
 

maccachic

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I find it funny people talking about a bigger horse being hard to hold, good luck holding any size horse if it comes down to that. But controlling a horse is all down to training not size.

I didn't find 18hh looked any bigger when you were up there but I wouldn't buy anything bigger than 16.1hh
 

deb_l222

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Hmmm now I'm a HUGE fan of the bigger beast (my boy is 18hh) but it's fair to say they have to have manners to burn as arguing with a horse that weighs 800kg and is considerably taller than yourself in not an option.

Now I know you could say that about any horse or pony, for that matter but when the really bigguns get their blood up then the power is quite awesome!!

Yes buying rugs, tack and other stuff can be an issue but it's not impossible, you just have to know where to look.

I don't find riding an issue at all and you get the best view lol. You just have to remember to duck for wayward branches!! I'll be honest, when I first viewed my boy, his size scared me to death but I wouldn't swap him for the world now.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have had all sizes over the years and loved my big boys to bits but wouldn't look at anything over 16 hands now if I was shopping. Big horses do seem more prone to all the problems and transport is a pain. There don't seem to be many big old horses in work about. (Loads of people are now going to post in to say they have one!)

I agree with you. The vet was convinced that my 1st Clydesdale must have been nearly 40 when she died (born in 60s) but I've since had a show-bred Shire and a Clydesdale mare who were both pts prematurely for health reasons. I've also had to have a big IDx pts far too young.
Now I won't buy anything over 16hh.
Another problem is that big horses are often used to handlers being less than careful (at best) because they are difficult to reach when grooming/rugging/tacking-up, which makes them very wary or even head-shy.
 

BethanT

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OK, while you may be able to physically ride a horse of this size, and be able to afford all finacial costs, you say you haven't ever owned a horse before. This is something to think about perhaps, and for your first horse, one of that size may not be suitable. Purely down to the ground management i.e just general handling. Some first time horse owners find themselves not being able to handle their 14hh ponies let alone something that big.

I only say this because someone I knew was obsessed with owning the biggest horse she could find - despite not being the best of riders - as she felt it was a status symbol, and when she did eventually get one he walked all over her on the ground, to the point where she got so scared of him she refused to do anything with him and he had to go back or get sold (I can't remember). She had him for 2 weeks. Poor boy.

But we don't know you and so we can't really comment. You may be more than capable of handling a horse that size, in which case go and view. But as others have said just make sure it is all a viable option in all aspects.
 

Clodagh

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I have 2 big horses, both have soundness issues and tbh I would never again buy anything over 16hh. Around 15.2hh is the natural height for a horse, and they so much less rarely go lame.
 

prosefullstop

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I don't own him, but I regularly ride a 17.2 hh stocky Dutch Warmblood, and really struggle to wrap my legs around and stay centred. I've never had this problem before, and it's a real challenge, especially as I have tight leg muscles from running. Luckily the fellow I ride is both sound (he's 20, a retired show jumper, but still pops a small course) and extremely well-mannered, but even so, I will be looking around the 16 hh mark when I get my own horse.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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I would not advise anyone getting something that big, they grow so quickly before tendons etc can catch up. In the past we have had liveries 17.2's all ending up with lameness issues. One due to the poor thing doing to much to soon as owner through as he was big he could start working before grew into himself. Sadly he was pts at the age of 6 vet said his feet and tendons were shot to pieces
 

Cinnamontoast

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My 17.2 was a swine to bridle if he didn't like the rider. He did feel about 20hh when he was on his toes! His hinds were shot at 14. Think about stable height-none of the boxes bar one would fit that size horse at my yard and also consider shoeing-it might mean that you need huge shoes and they'll cost a fortune. Everything might be more expensive: feed, worming, bute if ever he needs it. I think I'd keep looking.
 

LillyBeth

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Oh and yes I definitely wouldn't get one any younger than like 8 if you are going to get a bigger horse, because they take SO much longer to mature and grow into themselves and it's a bit of a boring wait if you're waiting for a gangly warmblood to know where his feet are haha.
 

MarniL

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Thank you for all of your comments and those of you who shared your personal experiences of owning big horses. I like to think of myself as being quite practical and sensible when it comes to knowing my limits; while it would certainly be an adventure to own such a big horse, I do understand all of the downsides. I've had some bad luck recently with the horses I ride; a twisted ankle hopping off to open a gate and a fall the week after, resulting in being stood on, means I'm a bit battered and bruised. My confidence has also been shaken a little with the highland mare, her habit of taking off on hacks is more frequent lately. All things considered, now is not the time to even think about buying a giant horse. Again, thank you everyone for your advice, and thank you for not talking down to me.
 

Tnavas

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Far too big, a problem to find rugs, fit in trailers or lorry, expensive to feed and shoe.

I remember my dressage coach years ago saying that 16.2hh is the best size for the majority of adults. Consider getting this horse around an arena or a Showjumping course.
 
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