Dear Mark,

I just got my first horse, an American Paint Horse. He is barely 15h. I did what you and many other trainers advised. I bought him b/c of his soundness, temperament. Not to mention that he is so cute!

But, my question is this… I want to start him in Paint shows soon. I ride hunt seat. I have been told that the judges will not even look at us b/c of his small size. I’ve been told that the judges only want bigger paints if being ridden English. Have you ever heard of this? I have been a spectator at a couple of Paint shows here in my area (middle GA) and darn if I didn’t find that the Paints being ridden English were bigger. What do you think?

Thanks- Wendy


Hi Wendy,

The English classes are traditionally for taller horses because they are hunters, and it is an advantage to have a taller horse with a bigger step/stride to get over a hunter course. Smaller horses are traditionally working horses, cutting, reining, and cow horses. It would not work well to have a 16-hand cutter, or a 15-hand hunter. However with that said, it is not out of the question to have a 15 hand English horse, if he is a good mover and covers the ground well. Nothing is written in stone, but there are these reasons that height plays a part in their performance. Just go show your horse in all the classes and have fun, and concentrate on what he does best