[ Halloween horses ]

6 Tips: How To Paint A Skeleton On Your Horse For Halloween

Horse skeleton painted on a live horse

You can do this!

horse skeleton bones

Tips, Tricks and Techniques for painting on your horse for Halloween

Have you ever thought about how to paint your horse for Halloween?

October is nearly upon us and so are the Halloween Costume Classes at horse shows! So many people love dressing up their horses in costumes for Halloween. I think it’s great and love the creativity of horse people. They really go all out!

🎨 So this year, I wanted to try my hand at painting a skeleton on my own horse.

 It was a lot of fun to do, but also harder than I expected.

So that inspired me to do a little post about it, and share with you the tips, tricks and techniques that I discovered! 


Horse skeleton designs are so much fun! 

People love them whether they are anatomy and locomotion enthusiasts, or just into good old Halloween fun.

Tip/Technique # 1: Paint

Which kind of paint is safe to paint on a horse?

This is really important.

We want to have fun this Halloween and we don’t want to make our horse sick!

Tempera paint is really safe and the majority of options are non-toxic.

You can apply with your fingers or with a brush.

You should ALWAYS check the label and make sure it says NON-Toxic and Washable.

There is a nice line of paint made by Tail Tamer, called Pony Paints just for painting on horses.

You can find it on the Amazon link here

Stay away from any other kind of spray paint, or acrylics, as they are toxic to horses.

  • For my horse, I used “Arti-san” paints available at Hobby Lobby
  • They have a wide variety of colors.
  • Go with classic black and white or monstrous greens and devilish reds!

I used a total of 32 fl oz to paint the skeleton on a 14.3 h, 1000# horse.

Tip/Technique #2 Paint Brushes:

What kind of brushes should you use to paint on your horse?

This matters!

Through many trials of different brushes, I found a combination that I like.

Be sure to do an outline first with something like # 12 round watercolor brush. I used a Windsor and Newton Cotman round brush in the #12 size here 

Then fill in the outline with something wider, like a standard 1″ paintbrush from any craft store or hardware store.

Tip/Technique #3 : Preparation of the horse.

Getting your horse ready to paint the skeleton…

Lean horses ( like thoroughbreds) are easier to feel the bones to follow, as opposed to chunky or fat horses.

The shorter the hair coat, the easier it will be to paint on them.

If your horse has a full winter coat, it will be harder to get crisp lines, but you can still do it!

2. Getting them to stand still.

If you have a lot of flies in your barn, chances are your horse will twitch their skin. This is ok, but it does make getting crisp lines harder.

Be sure your work area is really clean.

Spray the floor with fly spray but don’t spray the horse!

3. It is not necessary to give the horse a bath first, but if your horse is really dirty, it would be a good idea.

The paint will be more likely to stick to the dirt and not your horse.

4. Braid up the mane and tail to keep them out of the wet paint!

Tip/Technique #4 : Applying the paint to your horse.

Finally, painting the skeleton onto your horse!

horse skeleton bones

So, where can you find reference photos for the horse skeleton?

Try to find a good picture of a horse skeleton that you can print, put in a plastic page saver, and bring out to the barn with you for reference.

You can find people who sell vintage horse skeleton prints  on Etsy, Amazon, and eBay. You can also look in an equine anatomy book.

Take your time, a horse is a big animal, and it will probably take you 2 hours to paint the whole skeleton.


*** I found that on a grey horse, it is better to outline in black and then fill in with grey or white. This results in a cleaner, more dramatic effect. Do the reverse on darker coats, like black and chestnut ***

Painting a horse skeleton
Horse skeleton painted on a live horse

And… if you plan to turn your horse out so that you can get pictures ‘in the wild’ get ready because they are guaranteed to try to roll immediately!!!

Tip/Technique # 5 : Clean Up.

How to wash and clean the paint off your horse:

Washing your Halloween Costume off the horse is simple.

The paint I used, came right off with a water bath.

There was some residue left by the black paint on my grey horse.

So I used a little soap and a light scrub and it all washed off nice and clean!

Be sure you are really careful and avoid getting any soap or paint into your horses’ eyes!

Happy Halloween!

Tip #6 : A treat just for you!

Become a RemiLee Insider!

Add yourself to our herd to stay up to date on all the latest original art collection releases and upcoming art show adventures. Plus receive a code for  a very special offer, sent directly to your inbox.

You can use it right away to get your own skeleton horse gear like FUN Skeleton Horse Belts  and our cool horse skeleton embroidered caps and fantastic tote bags!

You will really stand out at the next Costume Class.

skeleton horse belt with shoes
Skelli Belt
Halloween horse skeleton on a tote bag with a real horse peeking inside
Cool Horse Skeleton tote bag for trick or treating at the barn!
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