Tuesday, December 29, 2015

String Testing Shenanigans

Recently, someone made an offhand comment that they thought Odin would grow several more inches.  While I hope not, I grew curious when they suggested a thing called a string test.

For background, as most people probably know, there is a theory that you can predict the final height of your horse by certain leg measurements.

This is an equation relating to string theory, not a string test.
I posit that the principle is the same.

There are two different tests google educated me about:

  1. Measure from the center of the knee down to the coronary band, exactly where the hair meets the hoof.  The distance in inches corresponds to the final height of the horse in inches.
  2. Measure from the point of the elbow down to the fetlock.  Pivot the string upwards keeping it at the point of the elbow.  Where the top of the string is, that is where your horses withers will be.

Easy enough, right?  Famous last words.

Doing the first test wasn't terrible.  I had Odin in cross ties after a work out and because he is the bomb, I just brought the measuring tape out directly.  (Side note, why are most horses terrified of measuring tapes?) I tried to find the exact center of his knee while he helpfully shifted around, tried to crane his neck to eat the tape, and generally did anything except holding still.

I measured down to the hairline and had an epiphany.

My horse is currently around 16 hands.  He is 4.5.  He will likely grow another inch or 3 (please no).  So I am performing this voodoo test that relies on my ability to accurately measure within a quarter inch on a moving target.  And with about 18 seconds of patience between the two of us.  What was I thinking?

Stubborn if not smart, I approximated my final measurement as 16.5 inches.  So based on this, Odin will top out at 16.2.  You can take that to Vegas.

Things got busy around the grooming area so I decided to save the second test for another day.

On Christmas it was just my husband and I at the barn and he thought it would be fun to try the second test.  Hey, if you are crazy enough to spend your life with me, you might find things like this fun.  Or it is possible I am remembering wrong and it was my idea, whatever.

And with a dedicated horse handler and dedicated measurer, how hard could this be?

First problem, post op I am not supposed to be bending so measuring fell on poor J with me wrangling the constantly moving baby horse.

Second problem, a horse has a pretty long leg.  And J and I are small people with t rex like arms.  Crouching on the ground while holding the tape at the point of elbow on one end and down to the fetlock hairs with the other was a struggle.

Approximate recreation

And again Odin was doing everything in his power to assist this process.  Leaning away from the crazy humans, sticking his nose in it, making sure his feet never stopped moving.

Precision, we has it.

Eventually, we were relatively sure we had the length mostly correct and pivoted the tape.  Then we couldn't figure out if you should just hold it straight up or follow the contour of his body.  If you held it straight up, which was logical, you couldn't see how it aligned with the withers.  If you followed the body contour, I think my horse is predicted to be about 15.2....shorter than he is now.

Finally we decided to just double the length measured and add on the distance from fetlock to ground.  We did it twice and came up with 16.1 the first time and 16.3 the second time.

So I am averaging that and saying 16.2.  Just trust me on this.

YAY both methods came up with the same height prediction!!  Magic!


  1. I don't put much stock in things like this for humans or horses haha. You have more patience than I do!

    1. Yeah, it seemed silly and fun in theory but really was just silly and annoying. We will sum it up as horsey bonding time!