Marlea, I think Gallop On was posting their picture to try and illustrate the point they were making, and to help Phantom. I actually think it was some very good advice, and Phantom may well be able to learn from it. I don't think Gallop on was trying to hijack the thread or show off.
Phantomstallion, I think you have gotten some very good advice so far. I think your drawings are good for your age, and practise is always the key. I am very confident that you will improve.
I think putting the picture in black and white when you do the shading is a very good idea, I do that myself sometimes if i'm struggling with shading. Gallop on also has a good point about breaking the image up into shapes, it will help you to give a sense of shape without focusing too much on the outline.
A couple of other things you can try are to try turning your refernce image upside down. I used to do that because then you have to draw what you see, not what your brain thinks a horse looks like.
Another very good technique I used to use is griding. If you can print a picture off and draw a grid over it (I think i used to do square inches) then grid up your paper you can draw each square individually. I don't know if I explained that well, if you want I can post a picture to show you what I mean.
other than that, focus on shading in the direction that the hair would sit as Kayty said, and Gallop On had a good point about trying to create movement. Practise, practise, practise!
You will get better, I know it. Good luck. Hope this helped.
~The most important lesson my horse ever taught me is how much I have left to learn~