painting horses

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painting horses

This is a discussion on painting horses within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Is liquid chalk bad for horses
  • Native american horse paint what does it mean

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    09-16-2012, 05:58 AM
painting horses

So a few of my friends put paint on their horses, like hand prints for indians and such and I was curious does anyone else do this? Have any pictures youd share? Do you use normal paint or something? They look so strange riding past with painted bums. The horses, that is.
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    09-16-2012, 06:12 AM
I am half native American and I was taught how to pray for my horse by my grand father at the age of 12 :) and yes. That involves the paint. I use just plain crayola washable paint when I do it. It's not about the materials used, it's about the energy you put out while doing it.

It sounds a little hokey I know, and yet.. Even today I find myself doing it :) each symbol means something different and so does each pattern. You could paint a horse for war, for hunting, or as a spirit protector/friend.

I will say though--the hands on horses--it should be your LEFT hand. A right hand print on a horse was a symbol to show that warrior would not be returning (usually the print was made in blood). My grandfather was always adamant about this and it gives me the total heebie jeebies when I see a right hand print on a horse now

I could go way into th symbols and what each once means and how placement could affect meaning... But I will try to keep hatever semblance of sanity I still have. Most people are like pfffftttt when you start explaining the logistics of it haha
    09-16-2012, 06:17 AM
Please tell me more!! I'm extremely interested, what other symbols do you use? Ill remember if I decide to paint my mare not to use my right hand now
barrelbeginner likes this.
    09-16-2012, 06:35 AM
Haha ok! Bare with me then :)

First and foremost rule is no hand print on the chest, and the color red is never used. Red=blood. A rider who was critically injured would send his horse home with a sort of "I'm not making it back" notice by getting enough blood on their right hand to leave an impression on the horse's chest. This way when the horse wandered home or what found without his rider, the tribe knew what happened.

A sun goes on the horse's right hip/flank area. It stands for happiness, peace, hope. It is also a prayer for the patching front of you and your horse to be figuratively "well lit".

A bird is drawn on the left flank/hip area. That is for balance.

A circle goes around each eye and around each nostril. These are for better vision and better sense of smell.

A little forward of the horse's croup should be an arrow. The arrow should zig zag before coming into a point facing your horse's head. This is for swiftness. I always drew my arrow backwards (point towards tail) and my grandpa would always tell me that's why the horses I rode ran backwards. Haven't tested that theory out yet, ha!

Arrows pointing up should be painted on all 4 legs. This is for speed. These arrows should be straight (no zig zag)

Arrow head on each hood for sure footedness

A left hand print on the horse's right shoulder meant the horse had been given to you by a special person in your life (such as a good friend, etc and that you and your horse's bond now honor that individiual).

Here is where I've noticed it really gets a little hokey for some people... You have to take a moment with your horse and really think of something that sums up your relationship. It can be a letter in your language, a word, numbers, a Christmas tree... It just has to be something that holds a special significance for you and your horse and you have to feel strongly about it. This is YOUR prayer. And it is specific to THAT paint session/following ride. You do not share the meaning of your prayer.

If you go out on a ride and it's bad. Your prayer didn't work. It means you didn't pick something that was special to both you and your horse . You are still thinking of it as an animal (which it is..don't get me wrong) instead of your means of livelihood, your working partner, your friend.

That is basically your everyday prayer paint. For this it is important to keep the energy low and calm. For a war horse the energy is different. More hyped up and violent. And ther are different symbols that stand for how many men you and your horse have killed, etc. hunting horse's have things like buffalo tracks and fences on their sides :)
    09-16-2012, 06:37 AM
And any scads are always outlined in the paint :) drifter's huge one gets covered every time
    09-16-2012, 07:16 AM
Oh wow I love this, im trying to figure out exactly how the zig zagged arrows would look now. Have you got any photos of these done on any of your horses? I am now intent as ever to buy some paints and paint my mare before we go for a ride and try and do this, but I want to do it right. I've only had my mare for about a month now and im stil trying to forge a bond with her but id really love to do this.
Ill defiently stay away from red, are there any other colours that are best?
    09-16-2012, 10:45 AM
Love this thread!

I baught myself a liquid chalk pen after seeing a demo where a woman painted the bones and muscles etc on her grey pony to demonstrate how horses move. I've always admired the Native Indian horses when they're all painted up, and realised I could use a cheepo liquid chalk pen and get similar effects! I decided to give it a go on Alli!

Drifting shadow, all those symbol meanings are pretty cool. I've always drawn birds and sun shaped and hearts on Alli, and now I can do it with some meaning as well as just creativity! I'l see if can find some photos... :)
Tayz likes this.
    09-16-2012, 11:03 AM
These are a few of the things I have done. The bottom one is a heart on her shoulder with the letter A and a bird shape inside it (Ignore the snazzy fly cap, it was an experiment!)

I try to put meaning into anything I draw on her, it makes it more than just doodling on your horse for the heck of it. I also like to keep it fairly subtle but still noticable if you look. The other week, I was riding Alli out with some paint on her, and I saw a little girl on my way round. I swear she though christmas had come early! A pony with pictures on it! She looked so amazed <3 That kind of made my day too

DriftingShadow, just curious but do other colours represent different things too? Like red is bad news, but blue or green or white or something is good/lucky/peace etc?
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Tayz likes this.
    09-16-2012, 08:48 PM
I THINK THIS IS REALLY COOL! I would love to learn more about the different designs and meanings and maybe some more pictures
barrelbeginner likes this.
    09-16-2012, 11:18 PM
Alli- I was never taught anything involving colors. I use green which is my favorite, because it also shows up on drifter better. I know my uncle prays with his cutting horses every few days, I will ask him if he knows anything about color.
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