Have you ever tried to figure out how to draw a horse? Sure, it looks great when other people do it. But without guidance, when you try to draw a horse, it usually comes out looking a bit odd. They have specific face shapes, so it’s crucial to learn how to draw a horse properly.
Types of Horses to Draw
You might know there are different breeds of horses and usually, they have a different colored coat or maybe a thicker tail, but there are more than just white and brown horses to draw, they vary in size and build too.
Heavy horses are just that, heavy. They are large, muscular horses often seen as workhorses on farms, pulling plows through the dirt for the planting season. In comparison to other horses, these horses have very muscular legs and are overall much bigger. Some of the best-known heavy horse breeds are
- Shire horses
- Draft horses
- Russian Draft horses
- Clydesdale horses
These are the most recognizable horses, they are also known as saddle horses and are often used in racing, show jumping, and other horse-related sports. They are more often classified by the color of their coats such as
- Tennessee Walking horse
Ponies are miniature horses and their height is usually below the average of 34-38 inches. They are valuable pets and are also seen in show performances. Some of the best-known breeds include
Most Popular Horse Breeds
While most horse breeds appeal to anyone who loves horses, there are some favorites for different industries
- American Quarter Horse – This breed has the largest breed registry in the world and is popular in the USA because of its athletic, agile, and working abilities.
- Arabian – If you trace back the lineage of this horse, you’ll find it is one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world. They have distinct physical features and are easy to spot.
- Appaloosa – This uniquely spotted horse is a mixed breed that was created by the Native Americans, their lineage includes Arabian, Quarter Horse, and Thoroughbred.
Tips for How to Draw a Horse
Whether you’re starting out drawing horses or you’re an old hand at drawing them, here are a few tips to make you step up your drawing skills.
Understand How Their Legs Work
Horses’ legs may look to you like they work in the opposite direction as human legs work, similar to dogs, but this is untrue. Their ankle is often confused for being their knee when their knee is much higher on the horse’s leg.
They have a much shorter femur than humans. The same goes for their front legs.
Use Different Line Weights
Horses have delicate features such as their eyes and eyelashes, and heavier features such as their abdomen. Adding some weight to the lines used for larger areas will make your drawing look much more realistic and place the emphasis where it’s needed.
Keep the entire horse in mind too, even if their ears are much larger than yours, in comparison to the rest of its body, they’re not that big, so use thinner lines at the ears.
Add Secondary Action
To make a still image or action image look even better, is to add secondary action. You should always add some sort of movement to your image if you’re drawing a horse.
Make the hair seem like it is flowing in the wind, or if you don’t want to add secondary action to the horse drawing itself, add some to the background, such as moving grass, dust, leaves blowing in the wind, etc.
Always Start with Base Shapes
Any drawing is easier when you start with the base shapes for your subject. Horses are no exception to this rule.
Start by marking out with circles and ovals where the body, head, and legs will go, this will give you a better chance at making an accurate drawing and teach you how to draw a horse the easiest way.
Easy Steps to Draw a Horse for Kids
If you want to teach a child how to draw a horse, or maybe even try your hand at a basic horse drawing yourself, here are some easy steps to try and recreate an easy horse drawing. Grab a pencil and eraser to get started.
Step 1 – Drawing the Horse’s Head
Start by drawing a slightly angled oval shape, and add two smaller oval shapes to the top of the larger oval for the ears. Erase overlapping lines. Add two dots for the eyes and a smile for the face.
Step 2 – Drawing the Neck and Body
Draw a large oval for the horse’s body slightly down and to the left or right (depending on which way your horse will face) of the head. Connect the body to the head with two straight lines and erase any overlapping lines again.
Step 3 – Add the Mane and the Tail
Using a scallop pattern, add a scalloped line on the upper line you drew for the horse’s neck down where the neck connects to the oval body. Add a wavy or bunchy tail at the back of the horse’s body.
Step 4 – Add a Saddle
Add one half moon shape at the top-middle of the horse’s body, this will be the saddle. Add two straight lines connecting the saddle down to the horse’s body to show some straps holding the saddle to the horse’s body.
Step 5 – Draw the Legs
Draw four pairs of straight legs for the horse. Use slightly bendy rectangles for this shape, and add some at the front and back of the horse’s body.
Two just underneath where the neck is attached to the body, and two underneath where the tail meets the body. On each leg, add one horizontal straight line to indicate the hooves. You should have a complete horse now, color it in if you’d like.
How to Draw a Horse: 15 EASY Drawing Projects
If you need some different types of horses to draw to find a style and pose suitable to you, try your hand at drawing some of these horse drawings below. They’re easy enough for a beginner to try.
1. How to Draw a Pony Cartoon
The easiest style of a horse to draw in is cartoons, they don’t require shading or excessive detail, so they’re easy enough for children and beginners. Easy Drawing Guides has a step-by-step tutorial to follow.
2. How to Draw a Realistic Standing Horse
If you just want a basic drawing of a horse standing, but still need it to look somewhat realistic, try looking at the tutorial over at Super Coloring. You can add more detail as you grow comfortable with your drawing skills.
3. How to Draw a Jumping Horse
When you’re adding movement to your horse drawing, it can get a bit confusing on how their legs and tails work and where they need to be placed, luckily, How 2 Draw Animals has a great guide to help you understand the method behind drawing a jumping horse.
4. How to Draw a Horse with a Rider
Once you’re comfortable with drawing jumping horses, why not try to add a rider on top of the horse, this is a more advanced drawing, but thanks to Drawing for All, it is very easy to draw a rider on a horse.
5. How to Draw a Horse Head
If you’re looking to draw a full detailed close-up of a horse’s head, try following My Modern Met’s guide which includes drawing a horse’s head from 3 different angles.
6. How to Draw a Horse Emoji
If you love horses, you might have used the horse head emoji often when using your phone or messaging device, so Arts For Kids Hub made an easy-to-follow guide on recreating the emoji in a drawing.
7. How to Draw a Running Horse
How 2 Draw Animals has compiled a step-by-step tutorial for you to be able to draw a running horse easily. Running horses have a lot of movement, and it can get overwhelming to remember all the details, but stick to their guide to make drawing a running horse a breeze.
8. How to Draw a Foal
Baby horses, or foals, are super cute, but they do require a slightly different approach when drawing them since they’re smaller and have different proportions than a fully grown horse. Harriet Muller has a video to follow along to draw a foal of your own.
9. How to Draw a Foal and Mother Horse
If you like the idea of drawing a mother horse and her foal, try following along with Drawing How to Draw’s guide on how to draw the pair of grazing horses.
10. How to Draw A Cartoon Horse
If you are trying to draw a clip art style horse, or a low-detail horse, the guide by We Draw Animals is ideal for you. It has just enough detail to show off a great-looking horse without demanding too much time from you to finish the drawing.
11. How to Draw A Horse Saddle
If you feel like you need to dress up your horse drawing with a saddle, Easy Drawing For Everyone has a video tutorial on how to draw a saddle for your horse. It is easier to practice both these subjects separately first before adding them together in one drawing.
12. How to Draw A Horse Laying Down
Drawswan shows you how to draw a horse lying down if you need to change up your usual drawings, apply this tutorial to your other styles of drawing to achieve a different result if required.
13. How to Draw A Horse From Numbers
If you have ever seen those drawings people start from a few numbers, AC Drawing has a tutorial on how to draw a horse from the numbers 1, 4, and 2.
The result is interesting as you can’t see the numbers hidden at all when your drawing is complete. This is a fun challenge to try with friends.
14. How to Draw A Horse with a Single Line
Single line drawings are a complete figure or scene, using one single line and never lifting your hand. The result is a minimalist figure resembling a horse, follow Art Pro’s tutorial and impress anyone next time you’re challenged to a time-limited drawing.
15. How to Draw a Pegasus
A pegasus is a mythical creature, it is a horse with angel-like wings. Follow Easy Drawing Guide’s guide to drawing a simple yet striking pegasus, if you want to add a mythical element to your horse drawing.
How to Draw a Realistic Horse Step-By-Step
Learning how to draw a horse is easy if you know the basics of drawing and have some patience to learn the few tricks needed to successfully draw a horse. Gather some paper, pencils, a reference picture, and an eraser to start drawing a realistic horse.
Step 1 – Outlining the Body
Using your reference picture, break up the parts of the horse into different shapes. Use a large oval for the body, 2 circles for the jaw and mouth, and ovals for the thighs and shoulders.
Add triangles for the ears and long rectangular shapes for the legs. Draw on your picture if you can, to make it easier.
Step 2 – Connect the Shapes
To draw the outlines of the horse, connect the big basic shapes by using gentle curves where they’re needed. Pay attention to what lines are straight and which ones are curves. Very few lines on the horse will be perfectly straight, so keep that in mind.
Step 3 – Refine your Curves
Add more details where they’re needed, like on the inside of the horse’s body. Pay attention to the legs’ curves and how they are connected to the main body.
You don’t need to add major details just yet, just make sure you have a good outline and basic inner lines of your horse
Step 4 – Delete Rough Lines and Add Detail
Gently erase the lines of the basic shapes you created, keeping only the necessary lines in your drawing. If you’ve paid enough attention to detail, you should have a basic copy of the reference photo.
Add in the details such as the eyes, nostrils, and lips of the horse.
Step 5 – More Detail and Shading
Add more details to your drawings such as a few strokes of hair, the hair of the mane and tail, and start shading the darkest parts of your horse first. Start lightly and add more shading as you go.
Also don’t overdo the hair by filling the entire sections with strokes to resemble the hair, rather lightly shade the section and add a few strokes here and there.
Step 6 – Final Details
You should have a very realistic-looking horse at this stage. Go over your whole drawing again to check where you should add a few more hair strokes, erase dark spots or add a bit more shading.
How to Draw a Horse Head
Drawing a horse head is a bit easier than an entire horse body, but it also usually demands more detail. Grab a reference photo of a horse’s head, and try to get a side view since that is easier than a front view for beginners.
Step 1 – Basic Shapes
Using circles, triangles and ovals, mark out the basic parts of your reference photo by using easy shapes. Use a large oval for the whole head, a smaller oval or circle for the jaw, and an even smaller circle for the nose and mouth area. Triangles are great for the ears.
Step 2 – Curves
Create the outline of the head by connecting your shapes, using your reference photo as you go along. Once complete, you can add some lighter inner curves such as the mouth, nostrils, and jawline if your reference photo shows them.
Step 3 – Details
Erase any leftover basic shapes’ lines you started with and start adding the finer details such as the eyes, nostrils, and ear cavities similar to your reference photo.
If you’re having trouble with any of these details, apply the first 2 steps to these parts to make it easier. Add a few strokes of hair here and there.
Step 4 – Shading
Add shading in layers, starting lightly with the darkest parts first, and layer on more shading as you need. Avoid shading full black as you start. Refine your drawing’s detail and shading until you are happy with the result.
How to Draw a Horse FAQ
Are Horses Hard to Draw?
Horses are not hard to draw if you practice often, there are plenty of tutorials on how to draw a horse according to your skill levels.
What Do Horses Symbolize in Art?
Horses usually symbolize status, wealth, and power in art. They are seen alongside soldiers, guards, and royals in many paintings and drawings.
Why Would You Need a Horse Drawing?
It could be because of your love of horses, or if you need a challenging subject to practice. They are also great as gifts to others who love horses.
If you need to learn how to draw a horse for an art project, as a personal challenge, or as a gift, there is no better time to learn than right now. They aren’t much more difficult to draw than any other subject, you just need to look closely at the curves and basic shapes they use, and you’re halfway to fully understanding how to draw a horse.