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Costumed Horses.

Updated on March 11, 2019

Not everyone has a horse that will calmly tolerate being costumed, but for those that do the results can be stunning. Here are some of my favorites. I will update the list as I find more wonderful costumed horses. Please let me know if you have some favorites of your own!

Fancy Dress

The most bizarre costumes are novelty fancy dress, such as for Halloween or a costume contest. here are some of my favorites.

My topic pick being the skeleton shown right as it does not require any awkward material and is very effective! But then I discovered it's a whole sub-genre of horse costume! You can see a similar cloth-based skeleton costume here, white skele-horse, and finally a skele-horse with matching rider here!

But there are other costume ideas just as great; here are a few more that I really love:

A Word About Safety

Horse costumes are great fun, but remember to keep them safe. The horse must be of a suitable, calm disposition--and be gradually habituated to the costume so that it does not become startled or stress.Not every horse will tolerate ungainly or heavy costuming.

If your horse won't put up with anything more than a horse-blanket you can still make a costume just with that. For example the horse blanket can be decked up as a hula skirt or crayon box.

Costumes should not bind or restrict movement, by uncomfortable or too hot. If the costume is large or complex, it should not be worn for extended periods.

Elaborate costumes should be made to break apart if placed under stress to avoid the animal becoming trapped or injured if it should startle, bolt or fall.And it is equally important that the rider can easily dismount without becoming entangled.

For more information this articles:How to Make a Safe Horse Costume

Groom on horse -- Nomad Tales

Traditional Costume

Many cultures with an equestrian tradition have methods for dressing them up for special occasions such as ceremonies, festivals and religious processions.Most of these traditional costumes, tack or harness are not unwieldy and not subject to the same precautions as less practical costumes.

For example the horse shown right is dress for a bridegrooms procession to a traditional wedding in some areas of India and Pakistan.The patterns vary but this costume is always in the colors of red, white and gold.

Other wonderful traditional tack includes:

  • In Borneo the native Bajau ponies are often dressed up in ornate, tasseled cloth costumes for cultural festivals.
  • British Draft Horse--The most ornate draft tack you are likely to see in the United States is on the Budweiser Clydesdales, but this is actually quite a basic draft harness and I am somewhat distressed that they show their horses with surgically docked tails--which is, IMHO, so unnecessary.
  • Czech Festival Costume--How many different colors can you get on one costume?
  • Afghanistan Cart Horse
  • Victorian carriage hearse

Where to Get Costumes

Many costumes can be commercially purchased. If you are going to make your own, it is a good idea to acquire a commercially purchased horse blanket, hood or other foundation garment to use as a stable base.

Historical Reinactment

Many people enjoy reenacting costumes and scenes for history--including decking out their horses.

My current favorite is the set of Full Scale Armor. In fact I could do a whole page just on horse armor from different cultures such as this quilted armor from the Sudan.

But I also recommending looking at these examples:

palindrome6996 / Foter / CC BY

Horses of Myth

And there is always a temptation to try to bring to life equids from mythology. For example:

  • Hypogriff--Not a pegasus, note the eagle's beak and from hoof covers.
  • Pegasus (black)--NB: You can actually buy a ready made pegasus costume for a pony from the manufacturer "Wish Pony".

No Trojan horses that I can find. I would have thought that would be an obvious option?

Miniature Horses

It may not be quite as difficult to costume a miniature horse, but the results are extra-adorable. Also they lend themselves to being dressed up as smaller animals like a chicken or kitty cat

But I think this SpongeBob and Gary the snail costume (shown right) is just amazing!

Movies and Television

Horses are also an important part of purely invented cultures portrayed on the large or small screen, such as:

Dressed Up For Work

For equine performers, wearing a costume can be a daily activity. Circus horse costumes tend to be light;y costumed with little cloth but an abundance of bright plumes attached to the head and shoulders.

Sumedang Dancing Horses are another group of performing animals which wear ornate costumes.--Many other cultures (e.g. Egypt) also have dancing horse shows. They often wear beautiful tack but not full costumes.

And other horses wore a mask for function not fashion--such as this WW2 horse gas mask.

Horses in Disguise

In Indian history, horse were sometimes dressed up as elephants so that the enemy's elephants would refuse to attack them.

Horses of the Rainbow

Or, of course, you could keep it simple by using nothing more than non-toxic paint to produce:

p.s.

On a related note, here are some other animals and objects dressed up as horses:

Comments

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    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 

      6 years ago

      Thumbs up and beautiful. Horses are always lovely in or out of costume!

    • profile image

      anoymous, ca 

      7 years ago

      I am in a horse costume class this upcoming sunday with a bunch of other riders from my barn. We all like the idea of being Bed-heads. Any suggestions on how to make this costume a winner?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      The picture of handler and horse dressed as SpongeBob and his pet snail that meows has me laughing out loud. So funny! Hope it's not uncomfortable for the tiny horse.

      Rated Up.

    • psycheskinner profile imageAUTHOR

      Penny Skinner 

      8 years ago

      Yes, I bet that one is for anatomy teaching.

    • profile image

      Tony 

      8 years ago

      Isn't the 'white skele-horse' one of those used to teach anatomy. I know it looks very like the ones used at Hartpury College.

    • psycheskinner profile imageAUTHOR

      Penny Skinner 

      8 years ago

      I think the skeleton idea is nice because it doesn't put a lot of material or other attachments on the horse.

    • RussellLHuey profile image

      RussellLHuey 

      8 years ago

      Hi,

      I love the one which is skeleton costumed. It's very unique. I had fun time reading it. Thanks

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 

      8 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

      Hi psycheskinner,

      I looked at all the costumes on your links, and I gotta tell ya...Bo Peep's Sheep wins! Hilarious! (:

      I have never decorated any of my horses in costumes and I probably never will, but I really enjoyed these pictures. Thanks for sharing!

      peace to you...always,

      Diana

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