Leg length, growth and final height

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
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At what age do horses' legs stop growing?

I interpreted the "string test" for eventual height (piece of string from fetlock to elbow, swivelled from elbow to above withers, gives final height) to mean that after about a year horses' legs don't grow much. At the moment Charlie's front legs are about a hand shorter than Mattie's, and Mattie is 15.2 or 15.3, so I would guess from that that Charlie will make about 15hh. But one of my fellow liveries said "he's going to be tall, he'll make 15.2 easy" and I thought "not if his legs don't grow" and am now very confused.

Is there a way to know? Or no real rule of thumb?
 
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MrC

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At what age do horses' legs stop growing?

I interpreted the "string test" for eventual height (piece of string from fetlock to elbow, swivelled from elbow to above withers, gives final height) to mean that after about a year horses' legs don't grow much. At the moment Charlie's front legs are about a hand shorter than Mattie's, and Mattie is 15.2 or 15.3, so I would guess from that that Charlie will make about 15hh. But one of my fellow liveries said "he's going to be tall, he'll make 15.2 easy" and I thought "not if his legs don't grow" and am now very confused.

Is there a way to know? Or no real rule of thumb?

I used the string test on an 18month old my friend bought, unknown breeding and origin said he would make barely 15hh he made 16hh.

Faran was bought to make 14.3hh, perfect height for me. Dad was 14.1hh and mum was about 14.3/15hh I think, he’s 14.2hh right now at 15months old. I haven’t string tested him yet as I’m in denial lol ;)

I’m thinking he’s going to make 15.2hh I have people saying he will be bigger but looking at his frame and current supermodel legs I’m guesstimating 15.2hh.
 

domane

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Legs stop growing at 12 months, would you believe? After that, all growth is in the body.
 

Jessey

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The growth plates in legs fuse by 12 months unless there is something causing developmental delay, growth plates fuse from the ground up.
I thought it was ground to elbow for the string test? I'll have to double check it on Jess in a bit as it's bang-on on her. She was 14.2 at 16 months when I brought her and is only 15.1 now.
 

Bodshi

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It can't always be totally accurate can it? I mean some horses have long legs compared to their body and some have short legs. Raf and Jack would probably be meant to be the same size if you compared their leg length :D
 
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domane

Gracie's mum
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Provided the horse is of average conformation, I've always done the string test from the middle of the fetlock to elbow.... with surprisingly accurate results.

Joe-pony was 14.1 and his cannon bones were short and dense. His string test put him at 12.2hh!!!
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Well, gosh. Charlie already has a big solid body, his legs look a bit spindly for it. But I will try the string test again and see what it says.

On some American sites I read another test: measure in inches from the very start of the coronet band to the soft spot in the middle of the knee. It will give you the height in hands, ie 15 inches = 15 hands, 15.75 inches = 15.3 and so on.

I think I need to desensitise Charlie pony to tape measures!
 

Skib

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My very first ride was scared witless by tape measures. I needed to measure him for a rug. In the end I went home and came back with a reel of cotton sewing thread.. I unwound a length of that, measured him with it and then measured the length of the thread.
He took not notice of the sewing thread at all.
He was the first horse I ever rode and I didnt know anything abut desensitising and teaching horses in those days. Plus it was my farewell present to him.
I assumed that a horse mistook the measure tape for a snake and it was genetic that he was frightened. He shrank against the wall quivering.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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My very first ride was scared witless by tape measures. I needed to measure him for a rug. In the end I went home and came back with a reel of cotton sewing thread.. I unwound a length of that, measured him with it and then measured the length of the thread.
He took not notice of the sewing thread at all.
He was the first horse I ever rode and I didnt know anything abut desensitising and teaching horses in those days. Plus it was my farewell present to him.
I assumed that a horse mistook the measure tape for a snake and it was genetic that he was frightened. He shrank against the wall quivering.
Poor chap!
Charlie isn't fond of them either though he will handle string. I was so used to Ziggy, who would trust me to do anything *sigh*
 

newforest

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I think it depends if they are long in the leg or not?
Mine has short legs for her body, the string test I think made her 13hh which was shorter than what I viewed.
Though aren't cobs meant to have short legs and a big bum. :p

I found this article.
From memory I am sure I remember the course I did saying something about the legs fusing around two.
 
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