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How tall should a yearling be?

From: Megan

My filly is 12.2 at 10 1/2 months old. Her mom is 15.1 and dad is 15.3. She is a first foal from a maiden mare. How tall have other QH babies been at this age, and how tall did they mature to? Pepper hasn't had a growth spurt in months and we are starting to doubt her parentage.

Hi Megan -- first of all, you have to understand that asking "How tall should a yearling be?" is sort of like asking "How long should a piece of string be?" It's very hard to give an accurate answer to this question! Different breeds tend to be different heights at different ages, and different individuals within a breed won't match exactly, either!

First foals tend to be smaller at birth, and sometimes smaller when full-grown, than later foals.

In general, a foal's wither height is 60% of what its mature height will be, and the foal will do most of its growing in that first year. But as long as she's fed properly and turned out for lots of exercise, she'll get as tall as she was meant to get. She's only a year old, and horses keep growing until they are 5 or 6. So don't worry, Pepper will continue to grow, just more slowly. Horses, and especially Quarter Horses, tend to grow in a see-saw pattern -- the hind end will get taller, and then in a few months you'll notice that the front end is taller, and it will go back and forth until she's full grown.

She won't be at her full height until she's quite a bit older -- but give her a few more years, she'll get there.

I suspect that what you REALLY want to know is how tall she will be when she's full-grown, and that's a bit more predictable.

If you'll enlist someone's help, you can get a good idea of how tall Pepper will be when she grows up. You'll need someone to hold Pepper, and a measuring stick, and a piece of string about three and a half feet long.

Stand Pepper on dry ground (just so you'll stay clean!) and have someone hold her while you take one end of the string and put it just at her elbow. Then stretch the string down to the ground, and mark it or tie a knot in it at fetlock-level. Now you have a string that measures the same as Pepper's front leg from elbow to fetlock.

Now take the string, put one end on her elbow again (same place) and this time, stretch the string UP so that it's going straight up into the air over her back. The knot in the string, or the place where you marked it, is probably at the height where her withers will be when she is full-grown. Keep the knot or mark at that height and use the measuring stick to tell you how tall she'll be. This is usually accurate within an inch or so.

- Jessica

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