To celebrate this very special year for Britain, which includes both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games, the organisers of the forthcoming Barbury International Horse Trials (28 June – 1 July) organised a unique photoshoot.

Former racehorse Natterjack spent some five hours being ‘painted’ with the Union flag using liquid chalk pens. He was then joined by British eventer Laura Collett wearing some rather unusual riding gear for the iconic photos, which feature Barbury’s signature ‘Stonehenge’ fence in the background.

If you would like to recreate this with your own horse or pony, the organisers of Barbury International Horse Trials offer the following guide.

You will need:

  • A calm, obedient and well-mannered horse or pony (children should be assisted by a responsible adult)

  • Red, white and blue liquid chalk pens (3 or 4 of each, depending on the size of your horse, with more blue). Only use liquid chalk pens as they contains no hazardous substances, are harmless to horses and humans and wash off
  • 1 large haynet
  • Overalls or old clothes
  • About 4-5 hours of spare time!

The process

  1. On paper draw a diagram of the union flag and how it will fit onto the horse

  2. The horse needs to be squeaky clean and have a short coat, which will help the liquid chalk pens go on
  3. Mark out on the horse the central cross area of the union jack with tape
  4. Paint this area in red using the liquid chalk pens
  5. Mark out the diagonal elements of the cross which will feature white and red, then begin to fill these areas in accordingly, red first
  6. With blue fill in the main areas, including the neck and head, taking care around the eyes
  7. Include a red and white strip on the bottom half of the head, to break up the blue
  8. For a more intense colour, add a second coat of chalk
  9. Don’t expect your horse to stand throughout the painting without breaks to stretch their legs and the odd treat
  10. Stand back and admire your handy work

NB: Horse & Hound and Barbury Horse Trials accept no responsibility for any outcomes of painting a horse or pony!