How to Draw Horses

There is something amazing about seeing horses drawn, and something very special if the horse that has been drawn is your own. It’s a memory that will stay forever. So I put together a few links to websites and resources to help get your art hobby off to a fresh start. If you are looking for information on art materials there is another post covering this topic in more detail How to Draw Horses|Materials.

 

Video

In the following video Mark Crilley takes you through an easy to follow step by step guide to drawing a horse’s head.  This is a very detailed video and I really enjoyed his breakdown as every pencil stroke is described with a grid for you to use. (There is a other video on How to Draw Horses|Materials that draws a simple complete horse)

Mark is a prolific artist and has many other videos on YouTube for drawing all sorts of other animals. So if you enjoyed this work please do check him out for his other videos.

Drawing Horses and Other Animals

Although videos work well to instruct there are also a number of books designed to help you draw horses. One book that seems to do well in reviews is How to Draw Horses in Simple Steps by Eva Dutton

Eva really provides detailed diagrams and step by step illustrations which you can see from the sample page below, some of the book reviews said the images were so easily laid out that children could also follow them

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 20.26.10

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 20.24.40

 

However the complexity of the artwork provides images that even the most experienced artist can also gain from.

 

How to Draw Horses in Simple Steps

 

In the words of one reviewer …

If you want a book which shows you not only how to draw a horse 
but how to paint one (watercolors), add this book to your 
collection. [Review Amazon]
Websites

There are several web sites that describe and show how to draw horses such as drawsketch which can be done with or by children and well as adults. Similarly simple cartoon sketches can be done through sites such as Wiki How and produce a horse for your (younger) children.

Erase-guidelines-Intro

I came across the following series which could be a great resource for primary and national school teachers, as well as parents trying to find entertainment for their children during the holidays. It is the howtodrawanimals series that covers quick and easy steps to draw all types of animals and which can be viewed and purchased here.

For the more serious artists though there are detailed sketches to aspire towards, such as the Jack Russell dog below. There are plenty of drawing and painting books all over the place, but this is one book that I came across recently and the website (link below) gives more samples of the drawings inside.

Jack Russell drawing
Jack Russell drawing

The Drawing Animals Ebook

Finally on the topic of drawing horses, although drawing still pictures is great capturing animals in motion through drawing or painting has to be the greatest challenge. Although it’s very basic I actually liked the following website, which shows the animated sketches of horse movements in the different gaits. Also interesting for pony club and riding instruction as well, since it visually shows the movements in a very easy to understand way.

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is the social media site for collecting images of all sorts. It has a number of interesting images covering all sorts of topics, such as the following link to a 3D drawing website. It’s a great source of horse photos and material to sketch from or use for painting ideas.

image 3D drawing Zebra
Image found on drleesb.wordpress.com

I would love to hear of other websites that you would recommend about drawing that could be shared with others. Please leave a comment below with links to anything relevant.

The Equine Artisan Market

Finally the Equine Artisan Market is our online gallery for horse art and the opportunity  for artists to share a sample of their work as well as providing a link to the website or social media contact. Also don’t forget to follow the site on twitter @equineblogire where we often follow other artists specialising in horse art from around the world.  

The market stall on EBI is an online mini gallery that provides links to artists across the globe, that are promoted through an artists curator site called Society 6.

Horses Canvas Print by Michael Creese
Horses Canvas Print by Michael Creese

As the weeks move on I hope to be able to add interviews and bring more details of individual artists and their work. However I am sure there is a budding artist in many of us and even if it doesn’t stretch to the confidence of selling your own work, that doesn’t mean it can’t be inspired by seeing the work of others.

 

 

Horse Accidents

As Winter approaches and the weather becomes even more treacherous, riding safety becomes even more of a concern. Hopefully most riders do ride safely, but even so horse accidents can always happen.

The youtube clip of a jockey falling rather spectacularly at the Wincanton races, went viral at the time and is a reminder as to what can happen even at the highest level of riding (spoiler alert – the jockey Lewis Ferguson was unharmed and the horse finished the race in third place, albeit without a rider).

Rider Injuries

Although Lewis Ferguson walked away from his accident uninjured others are not so fortunate. According to one research report horse riding is the third greatest cause of hospitalisation amongst children and the fourth for adults (beating bunjee jumping which was a mere 10th).

According to recent BHS figures, there are 3.5 million people (6% of the GB population) who have ridden a horse at least once in the past 12 months. Therefore the potential for accidents is obviously quite high, and in fact recent figures from the BHS show that there are an estimated 3,000 horse related accidents each year in the UK alone.

 

Riding Safety

In response to riding safety concerns the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) in the UK have developed their own fact sheet for horse riding safety which can be downloaded here. In addition there is training available to BHS members through the BHS Riding and Road Safety as well as for younger riders through the Irish Pony Club Road Safety test.

As well as riding on roads and being aware of secondary dangers there are also the safety precautions that all riders can take. The obvious ones include;

  • Clean and well kept tack that isn’t worn
  • Safety equipment that meets the required standard and is undamaged, such as helmets and body protectors
  • Wearing appropriate footwear and other clothing.
  • Ensuring that young and inexperienced riders are accompanied by an experienced person.
  • Carrying a first aid kit on longer treks.
image ankle phone holder riding safety
Carrying a mobile phone is important in case of an accident, making sure you can access the phone when you fall off is equally as important.

One important thing to remember is to carry a mobile phone at all times with you (with credit). The difficulty though can be if you fall off and the phone is in a  saddlebag on the horse how do you access it, or if you are injured trying to locate the phone from inside layers of coats and your visibility vest.

This invention available on Amazon is an ankle phone holder which can also carry your medical ID. It ensures that if you do get separated from your horse that your information remains easily accessible and within reach.

Cashel Ankle Safe cell phone holder horse tack saddle cantle horn bags (SMALL)

 

Visibility of Horse Riders and Horses

Visibility is one of the most important things to consider especially in winter. Increased visibility will give other road users greater time to react and avoid any last minutes braking and swerving.

The use of vests is and reflective bands on the horse is the minimum that should be used, and other options can include reflective nosebands, bridles, breast plates and leg wraps.

screenshot reflective wear for horse and rider
Safety Reflective Adult Vest & Black Nylon Bridle & Breastcollar Leg Wraps Set

 

Safety on the Ride

There are then other precautions depending on the type and venue of the outing or ride.

  • Checking equipment for wear and potential dangers.
  • Safety of the arena, fencing and jumps (especially after storms or heavy weather conditions).
  • Lighting and visibility (including the visibility of the rider to others)
  • Having easy access to a phone and/or if trekking out alone and away from mobile phone coverage (- definitely a problem in rural Ireland!) ensuring that someone else knows the route and expected time back.

The lists mentioned above are not meant to take the fun out of riding or become scare factors. Instead they are reminders to all of us that our environment is constantly changing and that there are no guarantees in horse riding. By developing a routine of automatically looking for potential changes and safety issues, hopefully this can help towards minimising the number of potential horse accidents and injuries over time.

Horse Accidents – British Horse Society

Finally despite the entertainment value for some, riding safety is important and in order to ensure that accidents are recorded the BHS is collecting information.  They are keen to hear about anything related to horse accidents so that they can lobby for changes where necessary, and monitor the types and frequency of horse related accidents. In fact they have an incident map which shows the breakdown of accidents according to type such as; motor, dog attacks, low flying aircraft or interestingly wind farms. The most common types seem to be multiple sources but the most interesting (for me) was definitely accidents caused by Chinese lanterns.

You can email them directly at safety@bhs.org.uk or call 02476 840516 of follow the following link to the BHS to access the safety part of their site.

 

Mud Season for Horses

I was reading a blog post the other day on horses in the US and this phenomenon they have called ‘mud season. We have it here in Ireland as well, only it runs for 12 months of the year or as we horsey folk call it – life. However it did get me thinking why do horses not share our distaste for the mucky stuff and does it cause any harm?

Mud Glorious Mud

I have a grey pony that has definitely perfected the art of rolling in mud, although to be fair she will also roll in the sea or water (especially on xc courses). As you can see she is perfecting her undercover disguise – as a mud patch!

Not sure where the field ends and the horse starts
Not sure where the field ends and the horse starts

 

According to Horse & Country she isn’t the only grey horse that likes to change colour, they ran a photo share on muddy horses and the majority of them were, surprise surprise .. grey (to start with).

Unfortunately despite the enjoyment horses seem to get from playing around in mud, sometimes it isn’t a horses’ best friend.

 

 

Mud Dangers

Mud is not without risk especially once it gets quite deep, as this horse discovered after trying to drink in a stream that was thick with mud. Luckily she was rescued by the local fire brigade and a vet after being spotted by her owner.

Horse rescued by firefighters in the UK (Daily Express Nov 2014)
Horse rescued by firefighters in the UK (Daily Express Nov 2014)

Mud Fever

One of the most challenging problems for horses being kept in wet weather is mud fever. Properly known as pastern dermatitis it is an infection of the skin which produces an inflammatory reaction. According to Horse and Hound

"Symptoms vary in severity, initially starting with 
inflammation of the skin and underlying tissues at the 
back of the pastern and heel region...As the area swells 
slightly, the skin stretches, starts to secrete pus which 
dries and glues the strands of hair together forming hard, 
scabby lumps and matted, tufted hair."

The following diagram shows what typical mud fever looks like and how vulnerable the open sores can be if they are kept constantly wet and dirty.

screenshot mud fever horses
image found on scott-dunns.co.uk

Signs of Mud Fever

There are a number of signs that indicate your horse is suffering from mud fever, here are some of the more obvious ones;

  • Several small, circular, lesions beneath scabs
  •  discharge between the skin and overlying scab
  • Heat, swelling and pain on flexion of limb
  • Possible lameness in the injured leg
  • If very affected possible, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite

Other symptoms can be found in this article in Horse and Hound. If you want to read more information on this topic including some more detailed pictures, the following guide is available on Amazon for only $0.98, so it won’t break the bank.

Treating Mud Fever

There are a range of creams and lotions that can treat Mud fever such as the following organic skin lotion 4oz Horse Skin Relief Treatment

image mud fever organic lotion

 

The problem with many of the creams and lotions is that most require the skin to be kept dry, which can be difficult enough if stabling isn’t an option and your horse is living outside permanently.

 

Natural mud fever treatment

There are a number of natural remedies that work for mud fever these include some of the following;

  • Graphites (black lead): one of the main remedies, especially useful where the skin is very weepy and sore
  • Malandrinum (grease from a horse’s skin): this remedy is of most use in more severe cases but can be combined with graphites for milder cases
  • Petroleum (crude oil from rock): useful where there are severe skin cracks, soreness and thick scabs in the skin
  • Thuja (Arbor vitae, the Tree of Life). This is most useful for stubborn cases
  • Washing with an antibacterial wash (also tee tree)
  • Using pig oil and flowers of sulphur rubbed into the horses leg before it goes out (or baby oil)
  • Manuka honey is another remedy known for healing a variety of open cuts and wounds where bacteria can infect. Simply apply a couple of times a day.

To Hose or Not to Hose Mud Fever?

There are different opinions on hosing horses down after being out in a muddy field, surprisingly hosing can actually force the mud further into the leg and the moisture provides an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria.

Allowing the mud to dry naturally or wiping it off with hay and then brushing in the morning, can be more effective and provide a natural barrier preventing the bacteria reaching the skin.

 

 Grooming Muddy Horses

So finally it’s left to us as the rider to clean and groom the horse. However this will need to be done gently and if treatment is needed the legs will need to be dried thoroughly.

One option is to use mud boots such as the ones shown here

 

The biggest challenge is trying to keep the horses legs from getting too wet and muddy.

There are different suggestions for keeping horses dry (although perhaps not too many apply in Ireland unless the horse is to be stabled all the time). So perhaps all we can do is look forward to the good weather – or if it’s like today, enjoy the sunshine along with the intermittent snow, hail and rain showers.

Social Media for Equine Businesses – Twitter

Even for outdoor businesses such as the equine industry, the digital age is definitely well upon us now. Using social media has become a key part of any business marketing strategy and more people are accessing and making online purchases through mobile phones rather than computers.  But why use social media?

Advantages to Social Media

Unlike a website where the content doesn’t change very much, or offer any opportunity to interact with customers. With social media you can begin to intact with your potential customers in a different way. You can set up quizzes, offer competitions, encourage your own customers to market your products for you by sharing to their friends.

Image courtesy of https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-social-media/
Image courtesy of https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-social-media/

Another advantage to social media sites is that the content is always fresh and moving quickly, which means that people are constantly checking and rechecking their social media sites. Websites on the other hand will tend to get visited less frequently and only when the person wants to actually buy or is looking for something.

If you have a blog site attached to your website, and you are then using other social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook then this will help to ensure that your website stays highly ranked within Google. This means that you will be nearer or on the first page of the Google results for a search, meaning that more people will find your website when they do want to purchase something.

Equine Business Social Media Course

Over the course of the next few weeks I want to cover some of the most popular social media sites that equine businesses can use to support their online presence and increase their customer base.

You may think it’s difficult finding time to think about social media strategies and online marketing, but that needn’t be the case. As with all things once you are familiar with the basics and begin to see social media as a useful tool to enhance your business, then it can become a quick and easy process.

Using Twitter with your Equine Business

Twitter is perhaps one of the easiest tools for reaching a broad audience across the globe. Unlike Facebook or Linkedin, followers don’t have to know you and will  often just connect through shared posts.  Even if you already have a personal account on Twitter it is easy and straightforward to run a second account for your equine business.

Twitter_logo_blue
Twitter’s famous blue logo

This article from the social platform group Hootsuite gives a full detailed account of how to compose a Tweet that reaches a wider audience, but if you’re new to all this some of the basic points are covered below.

  • Insert your own message on the tweet if you are sharing an article or highlighting an offer on your web site. But make it shorter than the 140 characters Twitter limit, so that readers can add to and retweet the message to other people.
  • Add a shortened URL such as bit.ly or ow.ly. Read more information here on shortening URLs.
  • Use a hashtag # (e.g. #horses, #horsehealth), then if someone is putting in a general search it will pick up your tweet.
  • Add a picture, or a video to increase engagement and attract more interest.

So What Can I Tweet About?

The following infographic outlines 99 things that you can tweet about, and which potential customers may be interested in hearing from you.

Infographic 99 things to tweet about
Image found on softandapps.info

Following Others in the Equine Trade

Twitter is also about following others and provides an opportunity to network and find others working in your sector. Most of the big equine brands, horse magazines, and specialised horse products are all on twitter. This makes it an invaluable place to be to learn about emerging trends and new products in the industry. Other reasons for using a twitter account for your business are;

  • Many companies also use social media sites to give advance notice of upcoming offers and your business could do the same in order to bring in extra people to visit your website.
Image horse being led by dog
The Equine industry is slowly being led into the digital marketing era. Image found on Pinterest
  • Linking you website to your Twitter account means that the website is always being updated and appears to be more active to Google.  Again this helps with rankings and being discovered in a search when people do want to purchase or find something.
  • Having a strong online presence is the same as advertising, the more people see your products and logo the more likely they are to visit and trust your site when they are looking for something. And that can only be a good thing!

And finally don’t forget to follow us at Equine Blog Ireland on Twitter

 

 

 

Equine Chat

Hi welcome to the discussion forum part of the blog known as ‘equine chat’. This section is aimed at encouraging you to share horsey things that you have an interest in.

1196351-Cartoon-Of-A-Talking-Brown-Horse-Standing-Up-no-writing

Equine Chat Topics

The topics can be anything you want to discuss but ideally should encourage a conversation and sharing of ideas. Comments can also be questions that you would like answered, or perhaps written about in a blog article. It can also include links you have come across to other interesting articles. Equine Blog Ireland (EBI) is also on Twitter and Facebook so join us there to keep up to date with horsey news from around the globe.

Equine Events

The Equine Chat section is where you can flag up topics or queries that you would like to see covered on the blog. However there is a separate section just for local events that you would like promoted, this was done for easier reference hopefully and other sub categories can be added as time progresses.

 

 

Horse Artwork & Artisan Market

I want to introduce the idea of Equine Blog Ireland hosting an online Horse Artwork and Artisan Market. My thinking is that it would be like an online farmer’s market but the sellers would be local and international artisans, who specialise in horse artwork and equine artisan crafts. Let me explain the idea a bit further.

Horse Artwork

The North West of Ireland is a treasure trove of artists and creative people and I personally have

Equine Blog Ireland equineblogireland.com
Equine Blog Ireland
equineblogireland.com

seen some amazing talent. I would love to see more of that and I thought it would be great to have those artists involved who have an interest in horses (OK we could stretch to dogs too!) and would like to display their work. I haven’t thought through the exact details of the stalls yet but it would include a link to the artist’s website or social media outlet, bait like the diagram opposite. Any purchasing of horse artwork goods would need to be through a third party site, or contact to the artist directly.

Artisan Market

As well as art there are other crafts that horse lovers may enjoy. Jewellery, badges, wooden crafts and sculptures are some of the many crafts that have horsey connections. The market stalls could also include personalised crafts such as embroidery on Saddle Pads and Numnahs.  There are also other skills such as leather work that can be included, and any other related skill that you may think of. On the stall information there would need to be a link provided to the artist’s web page or contact information.

Also if you have any ideas to be included in the design of the market please drop me a line and spread the word to any known horse artists or artisans. Or if you fancy taking up art and sharing your skills there are a number of books and products that will be promoted over the weeks (as I discover them) such as this one.

How to Sign Up

If you’re interested in becoming involved in the market as a seller, then simply post a comment below or email at info@equineblogireland.com so that I can develop a special artisan newsletter that will be sent straight to your inbox whenever I have a few names and have designed the stalls! And remember the blog is looking to grow over the next year, so please spread the word.

Welcome & Introduction

Hi and welcome to the Equine Blog Ireland site, which is a site aimed at both online equine businesses and horse owners. Hopefully you can begin to browse the, by now growing library of resources and information. So in this first post I want to explain the thinking behind Equine Blog Ireland or EBI, and hopefully give an idea of where I plan to go over the months ahead with this new venture.

A Blog Site about Horsey Stuff

I started Equine Blog from my home based in Donegal, in the West of Ireland. I am a horse/ pony owner (2 horses actually, although they both belong to my kids until it comes to mucking out, feeding or exercising). But I had noticed that whenever I needed information or horse products, or wanted to read reviews on anything connected to the horses it meant spending a lot of time on the internet, looking for online equine businesses, (which meant less time for feeding, mucking out or exercising). I also found that each new search meant visiting lots of separate web sites depending on the topic; so feed was in one area, tack on other sites, ailments and injuries etc etc.. And I thought – wouldn’t it be great if there was one place that acted as a kind of hub for all these topics and where other horsey people could write or add comments based on their own experiences. I also thought that as many horse owners are also working and therefore don’t have much time for research, what if someone did it for them – after all I am a researcher and writer by trade!

 

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Online Equine Businesses

Now there are other blog sites out there aimed at horse owners I appreciate that, but I had another thought. What if local online equine businesses (or equine businesses that have an online presence) and other equine businesses who were interested in trading in the North West of Ireland, were all visible on one blog site. That way interested horsey people only have to have one place to visit and could link onto the local business site, directly from the EBI site. Again for the online equine business side, the internet is new and finding time to blog and attract customers is difficult, but what if another site was doing that work for you?

Equine Discussion Forum

As the EBI site is evolving it’s possible, especially with all the brands and products out there, that some things will not stay all the time and other things that you presumed would be mentioned don’t appear at all. Well that’s also the purpose of the discussion forum. As well as being a place for general information sharing, anything you want discussed, researched or included in the blog please mention it here. And for those of you who are into social media and have time (or have kids who do actually feed, muck out or exercise the ponies) then follow EBI on Twitter or like our Facebook page.

Equine Blog Ireland Newsletter

The thing about blog sites is that content tends to rapidly move out of sight, as newer posts are added. To prevent this happening too much and stop information becoming lost in archives, a periodic newsletter will be published and sent to your inbox. It will also be stored in the newsletter section (mental note to self to create a newsletter section), along with other documents such as tip sheets, web site addresses for interest topics or review sheets on popular products. These will be stored as a sub group (s) under the Information category.

Finally and most importantly this should be a point of interest for you and a place to share thoughts and ideas. It is also a place for online equine businesses and owners to link up and make those all important connections.  I hope you enjoy it and become happy to participate and give me loads of ideas to follow up on. I look forward to reading your comments.

Marie – Equine Blog Ireland