Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Science of Painting Horses

I am married to a beautiful Kentucky girl and she just won't allow me to go around painting horses any old way just because I have some notion in my head that "they look good". I have discovered over the years that there is a very strict and ordered science (yes, genetics) that dictates coat colors, tails and manes, the color and size of leg socks, blazes, and other markings. What gets complex is how all of these characteristics  relate to each other and all of the various combinations that are common, rare, or downright impossible to have in a horse.

If you are serious about painting the horses for your cavalry units as accurately as you paint the uniforms of the soldiers, then take a look at the amazing horse color and patterns chart below and print it out to keep near your painting table for reference. Of course paints and genes are not the same thing, so it will never be an exact match - but you can get close if you try.

Guide to horse colors and patterns.


  1. This is something I've actually been thinking about a lot lately. Thanks for the resource!

  2. I painted 350-400 horses last year and although I'm vaguely aware of a few of the rules, I really need a visual reference to get this right. Thanks to you, I found a site selling this as a slightly overpriced poster, which I'll order up and for reference. THANKS!

  3. Such a useful post! Am belatedly making use of it...

    Cheers, Simon