15.2 – This is the correct way of writing that a horse is 15 hands, 2 inches tall. (Spoken as “fifteen two,” or “fifteen hands, two inches.”) … This means that a horse is 15 hands, 4 inches tall. Since a hand is equal to four inches, this horse is actually 16 hands tall.
Thus, a horse that measures 60 inches is 15 hands high (15 × 4 = 60) and a horse halfway between 15 and 16 hands is 15.2 hands, or 62 inches tall (15 × 4 + 2 = 62) Because the subdivision of a hand is a base 4 system, a horse 64 inches high is 16.0 hands high, not 15.4.
A large horse, the Percheron is between 15.2 and 17 hands high.
In English–speaking countries, horses are measured in “hands,” or four–inch increments, a measurement that originated in ancient Egypt. For example, a horse that measures 56 inches from the ground up to the top of the withers is 14 hands high, or 14 hh.
The thoroughbred grows to an average height of 63.78 inches, or about 16 hands, with a range of 62 to 68 inches or more. The standardbred, used for harness racing, averages about 63 inches tall, with a range of 60 to 66 inches or more.
Belgian Draft horse
Horse and Pony Measurements
A horse can be 15 hands, 15.1 hands, 15.2 hands, 15.3 hands, but never 15.4 hands tall.
A “Hand” is a unit of measure equal to 4 inches, used to measure the height of a horse at the highest point of the withers. The number of whole hands is properly followed by a period, then the remaining height in inches. Thus a horse who measures 5 feet and two inches at the withers would be designated “15.2 hands”.
Looking at size in terms of weight and sturdiness, though, the Clydesdale is the lighter built breed. They generally weigh somewhere in the arena of 1,800 to 2,000 pounds, while Percherons can weigh a whopping 2,600 pounds!
There are more than 300 breeds of horses and ponies in the world and all of them can be boiled down into these 5 major categories:
Hands are the traditional unit of measurement.
Henry VIII standardized the hand measurement at 4 inches in the 1500s. Having a consistent width allowed buyers and sellers of horses to have a standard reference. It is a practical way to measure horses and is still used today.
Your inseam should be 60% or less of the horse’s height in inches. That means, if you have a 36″ inseam, your horse should be at least 15 hands tall.
Hold one end of a tape at the foal’s elbow and measure the distance to the ground. Double this measurement and you have an idea of how tall the mature horse will be. For a weanling that is four to six months old, measure from the elbow to a point about halfway between the ground and the young horse’s fetlock.