22 flabbergasting (and slightly bonkers) horsey world records

  • Have you ever wondered how high a miniature horse can jump? Ever pondered over how many hands the tallest horse in the world might be? Or have you ever considered how many origami horses you could fit in a room… OK, on that one neither have we, but the answer may surprise you as we bring you this guide to some of the most flabbergasting equestrian world records. Perhaps, when lockdown is over, you may be inspired to try to achieve a Guinness World Record yourself? Let us know how you do!

    1. The smallest horse

    Measuring in at a teeny weeny 5.2hh (56.7cm) is Polish superstar Bombel, the world’s smallest living male horse. With his owner Katarzyna Zielinska, the pint-sized miniature appaloosa often visits children’s hospitals to support patients. The shortest horse ever recorded was the aptly named Thumbelina, from Missouri, USA, who stood just over 4hh (44.5cm) but passed away in 2018.

    2. The longest tail

    The mare JJS Summer Breeze, from Kansas, USA, entered the Guinness World Records in 2007 when the flowing locks of her tail were measured at a Rapunzel-like 381cm (12ft 6in).

    3. The oldest horse

    According to the Guinness World Records, the greatest age reliably recorded for a horse is 62, achieved by Old Billy, who was foaled in 1760 in Lancashire. The oldest recorded thoroughbred racehorse was the 42-year-old gelding Tango Duke, who raced in Australia and died in 1978.

    4. The most runners in a horse race

    A thundering total of 4,249 runners and riders lined up for an event run by the Federation of Mongolian Horse Racing Sport and Trainers in 2013. The race was run over 18km (11.18 miles) and the winning horse crossed the finish line in 24 minutes.

    5. Highest dressage score

    Our very own superstars Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro hold the record with 94.3%, achieved in the freestyle at Olympia, London, in 2014. The pair had broken the grand prix record the previous night. “I had so much confidence after such a good ride the previous night, so I knew I could go for it,” she said.

    6. The highest jump by a miniature horse

    OK, so he hasn’t yet come close to beating Nick Skelton and Lastic’s high jump record, but the 9.3hh miniature horse Castrawes Paleface Orion shows impressive scope when soaring into the record books in 2015. The agile gelding cleared 108cm during the national show held by the Independent Miniature Horse Registry (IMHR) in Australia. Just imagine what he could be winning if he was seven hands higher…

    7. Most consecutive jump racing wins

    The mighty Altior took this record when winning his 19th race on the trot at Sandown in April 2019 — his unbroken record spanned a mindblowing three-and-a-half years. The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding has since recorded his 20th victory over the fences but was narrowly beaten in his opening race last season.

    8. Largest rocking horse

    Probably not the ideal children’s toy this one, but Gao Ming of China’s 41ft x 14ft x 26ft (12m x 4m x 8m) creation is the largest rocking horse ever built.

    9. Oldest racehorse to win on the flat

    Still going strong at 19 years old was Al Jabal, a pure-bred Arab, who won over six furlongs at Barbury Castle, Wiltshire, in 2002.

    10. The fastest racehorses

    Two-year-old filly Winning Brew achieved a lightning-quick 43.97mph in a two-furlong race in USA in 2008. The fastest racehorse over five furlongs is Stone Of Folca, who won the Epsom Dash in 2012 in 53.69sec.

    11. The largest display of origami horses

    A herd of 11,817 origami horses went on display in Hong Kong in 2015, designed by acclaimed Belgian artist Charles Kaisan to celebrate Chinese New Year.

    12. The highest fence jumped

    The FEI record stands at 2.47m (8ft 1.25in) set by Capt. Alberto Larraguibel Morales of Chile and his horse Huaso ex-Faithful in 1949 (pictured top).

    13. Fastest pantomime horses

    In 2006, Nafi Baram and Kathleen Rice teamed up to gallop over 100m in 16.37sec in Battersea, London, dressed as a pantomime horse. The fastest marathon completed by a two-person pantomime horse is 4hr 35min achieved by Phil Cape and Roger Taylor in 2017, while Michael Odell and Guy Dunscombe trotted over the finish line dressed as a horse and jockey in the 2018 London Marathon in a Frankel-esque 3hr 25min.

    14. The tallest horse

    Big Jake, a Belgian draft gelding measuring in at over 20.2hh (210.19cm), towered high above his stable mates until his death in June 2021. The lofty resident of Wisconsin, USA, earned his Guinness World Record in 2010.

    15. Most jump racing winners

    Legendary jump jockey AP McCoy spent his career smashing records, including the 4,358 winners he rode in his 22-year career in which he was crowned champion 20 consecutive times and the 289 winners he rode in one season (2002). “I couldn’t have imagined achieving a World Record when I started racing, there were many great jockeys before me and no doubt there will be many more to come,” he said.

    16. The largest parade of horse-drawn carriages

    The majestic sight of 265 carriages were paraded at Tipperary Racecourse in Ireland in 2008.

    17. Most people riding hobby horses

    In a park in Colombia in 2014, a whopping 4,790 riders received the leg up on to their hobby horses to set the current world record.

    18. The most numbers correctly identified by a horse

    Giving Carol Vorderman a run for her money is equine boffin Lukas, a 17-year-old thoroughbred, who correctly identified 19 numbers in one minute, assisted by his owner and trainer Karen Murdock in USA in 2010.

    19. The most mounts and dismounts from a moving horse

    In a record-attempt spanning one minute, Italian rider Alessandro Conte managed to jump on and off his horse 32 times at a show in Rome in 2012. Wow!

    20. The largest quadrille

    A 132-strong quadrille team of Friesian horses in Germany set the record last year during the Equitana open air horse festival.

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    21. The fastest 10 metres on hind legs

    A 16-year-old Arab horse called Desert, trained by Rui De Sousa, walked 10m on his hind legs in 9.21 seconds at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club. The horse was not allowed to be coerced, pushed or pulled in the process. His owner Sheikha Maryam said: “He has a unique personality and is very energetic, playful, gentle, kind and has a very big heart. His trainer, Mr. Rui De Sousa, says that he is a very intelligent horse who is always willing to learn new exercises and improve them in his daily training.”

    22. And finally…

    According to the Guinness World Records, the record for the fastest time to complete 10 showjump fences by a horse has yet to be set. If any riders fancy their chances at becoming a world record holder, now (well, after lockdown anyway) is your chance!

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