Drawing and painting horses is a challenge. Horse anatomy is quite difficult.
One of the mistakes I always did was to make the neck too short and the body, or the flank, too long. Most important is to get the curves of the rear, the back and the belly right. Often, in landscape painting, the horses we paint are quite small so as long as it looks right, we’re good. It does not actually have to be right. There is a difference! I should trademark that..
As Richard Schmid rightly says, you don’t actually have to know anything about the thing you’re painting. But it is imperative to spend time observing and drawing it!
In the end, the only way to fully understand an object, whether it be a horse or a car, is to draw it many, many times.
Only then will we ‘get it’ and I am not talking about intellectually getting what a horse is all about, just referring to drawing skills here. Horses are more challenging to draw than cows, don’t you think?
I recommend charcoal drawing for the simple reason that you can take it anywhere you go. It doesn’t weigh much and it’s a great way to improve drawing skills. I use vine charcoal sticks and charcoal pencils by Faber Castell and General’s. They do come in different categories, from the super hard to super soft.
There’s a great website covering horse anatomy and more: http://www.thinklikeahorse.org
Also visit some blogger friends of mine doing dressage training (great pictures of horses):