This study was initiated to determine the accuracy of M-mode echocardiography in measuring left ventricular dimensions and estimating heart weights in horses. Left ventricular free wall and interventricular septal thickness and left ventricular external and internal diameters were measured and heart weights estimated from the echocardiograms of 47 horses. Autopsy measurements of the same parameters were then recorded. Statistical comparison of the data demonstrated: (1) Systolic measurements of wall thickness more closely resembled the heart in death than the diastolic measurements; (2) good correlations existed between parameters measured echocardiographically and at autopsy, especially wall thicknesses and left ventricular external diameter (maximum r = 0.82); (3) heart weight was readily predicted from echocardiographic wall thickness regressions (maximum R-squared = 68 per cent). M-mode echocardiography demonstrated the potential for direct and accurate measurements of cardiac mass and some ventricular dimensions in the horse. The data suggested that intense rigor and exsanguination may render the autopsied heart unsatisfactory for comparative measurements when assessing techniques such as echocardiography.