Horse Painting: Champion Rider Paints Live Horses For Anatomy Lessons

Champion English rider Gillian Higgins created a rather unusual way to teach horse anatomy to novice riders, caretakers, and veterinary students. Higgins uses water-based hypoallergenic paints to create the muscular and skeletal systems on the horse’s hair so students gain a better understanding of how the bones and muscles work together.

Horses have 700 muscles and 205 bones in their body, so there are a lot of names and functions for newbie riders and veterinary students to grasp. Gillian Higgins’ unusual teaching aids also double as a non-harmful work of art.

Higgins had this to say about her horse painting educational endeavor during an interview with the Daily Mail:

“Painting the skeleton and musculature on the side of the horse really helps to bring the subject to life. You can discover how to get the best out of your horse by seeing exactly what happens as it moves. I realized that many riders and trainers could benefit from a better understanding of how the horse works. With all those bones and muscles with incredibly long names, it can be a bit much to take it all in. I’m trying to show the anatomy and how the horse works in an interesting and easy to understand way.”

The horse riding champion and remedial sports therapist got the idea for Horses Inside Out in 2006 after she finished her degree in equine business management. She knew first-hand how difficult it was for both trainers and riders to learn all the aspects of a horse’s anatomy and recall all the really long names given to bones and muscles.

Gillian Higgins opted to use her artistic skills to create a moving visual aid that not only helps students learn the names of body parts, but can watch how the move as the horse takes a trip around the ring.