I must confess that I am not the biggest fan of horses; I blame having a horse mad older sister, who didn't have a horse but had a little brother she could bully.

So I always used to paint horses as quickly as possible, dark brown, with dark brown manes and tails, and dark brown tack. My token gesture to 'not dark brown' was the occasional white flash or sock.

Here is my current horse formula. Well it works for me, and my horses look, well, horse like.

Colours: I avoid greys and blacks unless absolutely necessary (commanders being known for only riding horses of a specific colour, or certain Napoleonic cavalry units). So my horses are almost exclusively chestnut, bay or dun. In the seventeenth century there wear superstitions surrounding horse colours: black horses were the devil's horse (which is handy because black horses are really really difficult to paint well), greys were seen as unlucky (again,  buggers to paint convincingly).

My starting point is Coat d'Arms horse tone paints. They look awful when block painted - chestnut is too red, bay looks orange. Bear with it! Next up I paint in manes and tails (black for bays chestnuts, and duns, roan and brown horses get bone manes and tails). Next I dry brush their legs black if they have black tails (technical name for this is 'points'). This really tones the block colours down, and the horses start to look a bit more horse like, but still looks too bright. Next I wash with Citadel Agrax Earthshade - now they are beginning to look much more horse like.

Tack is next, Cd'A wood brown, blankets and saddles as appropriate. Then pick out buckles and bits with Foundry metal.

A light wash with Citadel Nuln Oil, then flashes and socks in white. Socks are not as common as you would think in real life, but they make horses look more horsey, so they are fairly common in my armies. Socks come in patterns: you'll find one by itself; a pair will be either front or back or on one side, never in opposite corners; rarer still you'll find all four legs with socks. Lots of superstition about the number of socks, but they do finish a horse off nicely so I'm ignoring them.

Of course a subscriber to 'Horse and Hound' would be mortified, but they look sufficiently horse-like for me not to care.


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