View Full Version : approximate horse measurements

03-05-2017, 10:20 AM
Hi, cross posted to western art
Help please. I haven't been able to find anything on the width measurements of horses.
What is the approximate general width of the rear at dock?
how much wider at widest point? --maybe 25 to 28"?
Widest chest measurement?


Equus Art
03-05-2017, 07:43 PM
Do you want these measurements for painting or sculpting? I have a few books on horse anatomy that have some really good points of reference on measureements, for instance, the length of the head from poll to tip of muzzle is usually the same length as the neck from poll to withers, is also the same length of the scapula of the shoulder, is also the length of the horse's barrel from the end of the withers to the last rib. There are many comparative measurements that "should" all equal each other in the horse that has the most ideal conformation. Of course, every horse will be a little different also, depending on the breed. The width of a draft horse's muzzle and body will be vastly different from that of a fine boned Arabian.

Give me a day or so to see if I can dig out the books.


03-05-2017, 08:33 PM
Your work is gorgeous.
Thanks for your response.
These are for painting.
I have two images I plan to paint, both of, I suppose, stock western riding horses, no specific breed. (That may come later) Not draft horses for these, for sure. Trail horses, or, what cowboys years ago rode daily. That's why approximations will probably do--a range.

When googling "width of a horse's butt", I found answers such as "a stall gate should be at least 4 feet, a pasture gate 12 feet to allow machinery in and out."

03-05-2017, 09:06 PM
I can't wait to see what you do.

03-05-2017, 11:24 PM
Instead of measurements, why not use a grid over your photos as a guide. You can increase the photo image or reduce it with software to get the size for your painting.

The main thing is balancing the body and the correct angles & muscles, an Arabian is slimmer /less muscled than a quarter horse..
My pinto is about 20" wide across looking from the rear end.
Her sire was a tank - about 30" across his rear end.
Lots of variation in width , fat or thin , huge muscles or slim etc...

If you want to post your images we can help with size or layout...

03-06-2017, 12:11 AM
ntl, you are over thinking your process just a bit. Post your images, it will give us some idea as to what you are looking at. A grid is a good way to start when you are unsure of body proportions. Post your drawing & we can also help with that. We are a friendly bunch here & willing to help.

03-06-2017, 01:01 PM
KreativeK, me too! I've been working on 3-4 different views of the first, and will play with them for a while. I haven't decided on the story, the composition yet.
tj84, there is no picture. This is a dream image --both are. Your two measurements 20" and 30" actually helps. After I get a composition I'm satisfied with I will post. I'm thinking I may want to do it two or three different ways.
She-She, Thanks. I'm still doing compositional type thumbnails, working to get this to the next step.

09-20-2017, 12:57 PM
I'm still working on this, and I have
Another question or two: Given a horse's visual abilities, when a horse is walking or running along, and sees something off to it's side, yards (meters) or more away, do they turn their heads while continuing to move forward, or do they have to stop to turn their heads to see what is there?
I know if they are standing or grazing they will (maybe) turn their heads for a better look, but what about while moving forward? Do they turn their heads in midstep, or with all four feet on the ground?
I guess those might sound like dumb questions...
Is it the same if they are being ridden or not?

09-20-2017, 10:54 PM
I may be wrong on this, but... We turn our heads directly toward what we are looking at because our eyes are on the front of the head and we use them both at once. Since a horse's eyes are more toward the side of the head, they don't have to turn their head all that much. A horse walking without a rider might pause, with a flexed leg and hoof touching in a resting position, to study something more closely. A horse is less likely to turn its head when being ridden, assuming its rider has trained it well. It trusts the rider to make the decisions.

If you are a Facebook user, look at Salt River Wild Horses - Advocates for lots of photos with different natural poses. I'm sure there are similar sites from other wild horse groups. These are not legal for reference photos without permission but can give you a good feeling for how horses are built and how they move.

09-21-2017, 11:45 AM
Libby, thanks for your thoughts.
I don't use FB, but did see a few on "public" sites.

09-21-2017, 12:47 PM
Horses can see independently out of each eye, but they will also turn their head to get a better look at things if needed. They rarely turn their head when moving faster than a walk or jog... Unless spooked, then they they may stop, buck or bolt..

09-21-2017, 05:46 PM
tj, thanks for that information. It helps to know that.
I just posted my HORSE STUDY here. Depending on what you all say, I may finally have a handle on the piece I want to do. DO NOT hold your breath, though! :)