I want to thank everyone for for taking such an interest in my painted SKELETON HORSE.
The love for her has made my effort worth all the time I have into this project....so again...THANK YOU!!
In 2012, I entered the Yellow Horse Tack Shop's horse and rider Halloween costume contest and needed a photo of me with a horse. I had never created a costume before, although I had thought about doing so. I have taken part in many Halloween "fun" horse shows and always sat out the costume contest class.... but this time, I wanted to do a costume with my horse.
Like most of you, I searched the internet to get ideas, I am not the first nor will I be the last to paint my horse as a skeleton...but, when you have a black horse..... why not?
I had already been using this particular paint to paint my horses as Indian War Horses for pony rides at our local Pow Wow and decided to use the same paint. I spent one morning painting Raven. My Husband took photos of us later that afternoon. I brought pictures in to the shop and showed other vendors.
There was so much love for her that I was asked to bring her to the shop on Halloween day and then go trick or treating with her. That one day was such a hit, there were vehicles pulling into the market off the highway just because they saw a "Skeleton Horse" as they were driving by. What more publicity could a business ask for? It's a great opportunity to hand out business cards and ask people who were taking their own photos if they wouldn't mind texting or emailing me a copy of their photos.... business tactic 101..... get your business cards out!
I would not do anything I feel would harm my horses. I am a firm believer that the more quality time you send with your horse, not only will you have a better horse but you will have a better relationship with them has well.
It takes about 2.5 hours to hand paint this skeletal structure on Raven. She stands the the entire time. Patience training is one activity that is incorporated in my training program. If all you do is work a horse and unsaddle and put them away then you will get a horse that is not only barn sour but fidgety because they want to get done with the task at hand and get turned out-or fed right away. If you work a horse a short time, allow them to stand then work then stand... your horse soon learns the fidgeting while tied is a waste of energy. They enjoy their tied time as a break. I am not saying just leave your horse stand tied and never offer water... It is a matter of finding the right balance in your work program.
Sometimes I paint Raven while standing in cross ties and other times I will paint her while she eats hay in her stall.
I use Apple Barrel acrylic craft paint I get from Walmart. Apple Barrel will NOT give the o.k. for their product to be used on horses as they do not want liability for any issues. It's no different then companies having to put "Caution, HOT" on fresh HOT cup of coffee..... of course the coffee is HOT! What I can tell you is that I have used this same paint for 4 years now on 7 different horses, none of whom have had any allergic reactions.
To paint, I use a 1/2" paint brush with one of my vet tech books showing the skeletal structure. You can print the skeletal structure from the internet as well. Feel free to use my painting job as a Pattern" if you think it would help.
The painting will last overnight of you need to paint the evening before an event. It's important to have extra paint available and be ready to touch up the next morning before a show or event as some will wear off. It's easy to touch up.
It takes about 16 oz. of paint to do both sides.
First, I braid Raven's mane to get it out of the way then I do the neck so the paint there can be drying. I then move to the shoulder on one side and down the front leg doing the inside of the opposite leg as well. I go back up and do the spine and rib cage, then rear leg. Depending on the flies (pesky pests!), I may tie her tail to one side so I can do one leg until the paint is dry then switch and do the other.
After both sides are finished, I then tie her halter around her neck (or I use a neck collar) so it does not sit on her face while I paint. By this time the neck paint should be dry. Please be very patient with your horse when it comes to painting the face and know the limit threshold your horse has for tolerance.
I want to remind you that if you just go in and start painting, your horse may think you are a fly. So let your horse know it is before you touch the brush to their coat by using the side of your hand to lay against them first, then the brush.... it's no difference then tapping on them before giving them their vaccinations.
As previously stated, the initial process takes about 2.5 hours but touch up takes about 40 minutes.
Unlike dye's, the paint stays on top of the horse's fur and doe not come in contact with the skin. It is a water based paint and once soaked and softened it comes off easily. One drizzly day at the shop we were peeling pain of Raven like peeling skin off a sunburn. A curry comb to brush the loose paint off and then warm soapy water with a bristle brush will remove most of the paint. You may still have some hair follicles that are "frosted" white once paint is removed but will wear off in a few days.
Raven is an incredible horse and I am honored to be a part of her life- to be her partner.
If there are still questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.