The Art Of Horseback Riding: How To Create Beautiful Equine Paintings

Horses are amazing animals. They have been through history—from war to transportation to just being beautiful creatures. Horses have been painted for hundreds of years, but it’s not something that comes easily. 

It takes time, patience and understanding of how horses move and how their bodies work before you can create a great equine painting. In this guide, we’ll show you what techniques will help you produce some beautiful equine art!

How to Paint a Portrait of a Horse | Valegro Oil Painting Demo
– Creating beautiful equine paintings requires time, patience, and practice.
– Studying the anatomy of the horse and understanding their movements and characteristics can help in producing accurate paintings.
– Paying attention to the lighting and composition of the painting can make a huge difference in its overall appearance.
– Using the right brushes and colors can bring your painting to life and make it look more realistic.
– There are many resources available, such as guides and blogs, that offer tips and tutorials on horse painting.

Use A Brush That’s Right For The Job

As with anything else in life, the right brush for the job is essential. When it comes to painting horses, there are a few different types of brushes that you should consider using. 

Some artists prefer sable or mongoose brushes because they hold their shape well, which means that you can make sharp lines with them. Other artists prefer ox hair since these tend to be softer and more flexible than other types of paintbrushes.

Some artists prefer using fine points on their horse paintings so that they can create finer details in their artwork–a good example would be crosshatching (which we’ll cover later).

 If this sounds like something you want from your own equine paintings then look for a brush with an extra-fine point at its end; this will give you maximum control over every stroke!

If you’re a fan of Andalusian horses and want to learn more about their unique characteristics, check out our guide on Discovering the Unique Characteristics of the Andalusian Horse. From their rich history to their impressive physical attributes, you’ll find everything you need to know about this remarkable breed.

Experiment With Different Supplies

While you’re learning the basics of horseback riding, it’s important to experiment with different supplies. 

You might be tempted to just buy whatever brand of paint or brush that you like best. However, there are many different types of paints available and each one has its own unique characteristics. 

For example, some brands are more water-soluble than others; some have higher pigment concentrations than others; some have better coverage and flowability; some have less odor when wet or dry (or both).

If you don’t know what kind of paper will work best for your painting style, try experimenting with various types until you find one that works best for you!

Understand The Basics Of Horse Anatomy.

As you begin your journey into the world of equine art, it is important to understand some basic anatomy.

The horse’s body is divided into three areas: head, neck and body. The head is further divided into two parts: skull and muzzle (which includes nostrils). The neck is separated into five parts: withers (top), throat latch (middle) poll (pointy part on top of their heads), crest (bottom) and base (back).

If you’re an avid reader and looking for some great books on horseback riding, our guide on Equestrian Literature recommends some of the best ones to add to your reading list. Whether you’re interested in memoirs, instructional books, or horse fiction, there’s something here for everyone.

Know Where To Start

If you’re just starting out, it’s helpful to keep things simple. Don’t worry about the details yet; focus on getting the fundamentals down.

Start with a simple horse. A good place to start is with a horse that has little detail in its coat or mane, but still conveys movement and energy through its pose.

Use a simple background. For example: grassy fields or hillsides are great for showing off your subject matter’s beauty while giving yourself room to experiment with different angles of light (i.e., how much sunlight falls on your subject). 

You could also use other types of landscapes like beaches where sand dunes provide natural contrast against the body of water behind them (like ocean waves) as well as providing interesting textures when painted onto paper instead of canvas boards–just be sure not go overboard; otherwise everything will look too busy!

Choose poses that aren’t too complicated either! The key here is simplicity because otherwise viewers might get lost trying figure out what everything means versus being able know exactly why something looks so beautiful without having any prior knowledge about horses themselves beforehand.”

Blick Art MaterialsStudio Acrylics PaintA high-quality acrylic paint available in a range of colors suitable for painting horses and other subjects.
ConnoisseurKolinsky Sable BrushesA set of high-quality brushes, made with natural kolinsky sable hair, designed for fine art and suitable for painting horses and other subjects.
CansonXL Mix Media PaperA heavyweight paper designed for mixed media use, available in different sizes, suitable for painting horses and other subjects.
Adobe Creative CloudPhotoshopA digital art software that allows you to create art digitally and offers a range of brushes and tools ideal for practicing painting horses.

Decide What Kind Of Horse You Want To Paint

The first step in creating a beautiful equine painting is to choose the right horse. You want to choose a horse that is interesting to you, but not too complicated. 

It should also be simple enough for you to paint without getting lost in all the details of its anatomy and coloring. 

Finally, your subject shouldn’t be dull or bright; if it’s too dark, then it will be hard for viewers’ eyesight (and yours) when they look at your painting later on!

When it comes to horseback riding, safety should always be a top priority. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide on the Top 15 Pieces of Safety Equipment every rider should have. From helmets to boots, our guide covers the essential safety gear that can make all the difference in case of an accident.

Incorporate The Setting Around Your Horse

The background can be used to enhance the subject of your painting, help tell the story, set the mood and tone, or even set the time of day. 

As you are painting your equine piece consider incorporating elements like trees in bloom or deadfall leaves on the ground if they’re appropriate for your chosen scene. 

Also consider adding signs of civilization such as houses or fences if they’re part of what makes up that particular location in real life.

If you’re looking for ideas on how other artists have incorporated their settings into their work check out our article “How To Incorporate The Setting In Your Horseback Riding Paintings”

Paint From Life And From Photographs

There are several ways that you can use photographs as a reference for your artwork. First, they can help you to capture the essence of an animal’s personality and movement, even if you’re not able to paint from life. 

Second, they can serve as a guide for posing and posture–especially when working with horses that don’t want to do what you want them to do (horses are stubborn like that). 

Finally, photographs can be used as references for specific details such as facial expressions or mane/tail textures so that these details look realistic in your paintings!

Horseback riding can be a lot of fun, but it also comes with its own set of risks. To help you stay safe while enjoying your ride, check out our guide on Understanding the Risks: A Guide to Horseback Riding Safety. Learn about the common dangers associated with horseback riding and find out how you can reduce the risks and stay safe.

Practice Painting Horses Again And Again Until You Feel Comfortable Painting Other Subjects

Once you have mastered the art of painting horses, it is time to practice on other subjects. The best way to do this is by painting them again and again until you feel comfortable with other subjects. 

Practice on different materials and styles as well, so that your skills will be ready for anything!

Winsor & NewtonGaleria Acrylic PaintHigh-quality acrylic paint available in a range of colors suitable for painting horses and other subjects.
Princeton Artist Brush Co.Round BrushesA set of high-quality round brushes, made with synthetic bristles and designed for detail work, perfect for painting horses and other subjects.
Strathmore400 Series Watercolor PaperA high-quality watercolor paper available in different sizes, suitable for painting horses and other subjects.
iPad ProProcreateA digital painting application that allows you to create art digitally on an iPad Pro. Ideal for practicing on various subjects, including horses.

Tips for Practicing Painting Horses and Other Subjects:

  • Start with basic shapes and work up to more complex subjects.
  • Use reference photos or live subjects for accuracy.
  • Experiment with different techniques and brushes to find your style.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they can lead to unexpected creativity.
  • Keep practicing to improve your skills and gain confidence in painting new subjects.

Be Honest About Your Work

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t be afraid to try new things. If an idea doesn’t work out, that’s okay! It just means you’re making progress toward getting better at painting horses (and probably learning some lessons along the way).

Don’t worry about failing–it’ll happen sometimes no matter what you do. Just learn from it and move on! And if something isn’t working out exactly as planned? That’s okay too; maybe there’s a different way of doing things that will work even better than what was originally envisioned… and maybe not! 

Either way, give yourself permission to experiment without feeling like every choice has serious consequences for how good (or bad) your painting will turn out in the end… because most likely nothing will go wrong anyway 😉

A horse’s hooves are crucial to its health and well-being. To help you keep your horse’s feet in top shape, check out our guide on Hoof Care 101. From proper trimming techniques to identifying and treating common hoof problems, our guide covers everything you need to know about hoof care.


If you’re looking for a way to express your love of horses and art, horseback riding is the perfect outlet. It’s also a great way to get some exercise, connect with nature and meet new people. 

As we’ve seen here today, there are many different ways that you can paint horses–from life or from photographs–and each will have its own unique challenges and rewards.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed learning about how to create beautiful equine paintings, here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

Horse Painting: A Comprehensive Guide – This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about horse painting, from materials and techniques to famous artists and styles.

How to Paint a Horse: A Step-by-Step Guide – If you’re new to horse painting or looking for some practical tips, this step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know, including materials, color mixing, and brush techniques.

Horse Paintings: A Study on Depictions of Horses Throughout History – This fascinating article explores the history of horse paintings, from cave art to modern-day masterpieces, and the symbolism and beauty behind these works.


What kind of paint should I use for horse paintings?

It is recommended to use acrylic paint or oil paint for horse painting, as these types of paint have strong adhesion and can be applied in thin layers to create depth in the painting.

What kind of brushes do I need for horse painting?

For horse painting, you’ll need a range of brushes, including flat and round brushes in various sizes. Synthetic brushes are recommended for working with acrylic paints, while natural hair brushes are better suited for oil painting.

Do I need to have previous experience with painting to create equine art?

No, you do not need to have previous experience with painting to create beautiful equine art. It takes practice, patience, and willingness to learn, and following some basic guidelines like fundamentals of color theory, and composition.

Can I use photographs as a reference for horse paintings?

Yes, photographs can be a useful reference for horse painting. Look for sharp photos of horses and take into consideration the lighting, angles, and overall composition.

Is it necessary to know how to ride a horse to paint them?

No, you do not need to know how to ride a horse to paint them but understanding their anatomy and movements can help you to accurately depict them in your art.