easy to Carve Horse Caricature

Sample a Wood Carving Project by Desiree Hajny, Author of Carving & Painting Adorable Animals in Wood

I believe you should carve what you’re passionate about. For me, that has been wildlife. I did caricature carving for a while, and I have applied what I’ve learned through caricature carving to the carvings I produce now. I often slightly exaggerate each animal in some way. It may be in the face, a particular area of the body, or the feet. If I’m doing a baby cougar, maybe I will slightly exaggerate the size of its feet.

The below lovable horse wood carving is a great way to introduce others to carving. My rolling caricature carving patterns make great conversation starters. People can’t resist picking it up once they see them rolling down the table. They’re surprisingly easy to carve and after you get a feel for the technique, you’ll be able to create a whole herd in no time. 

Below you will find a free wood carving pattern and tutorial by Desiree Hajny. If you like her work, check out her new book, Carving & Painting Adorable Animals in Wood. 


• 2″ x 3″ x 3½ ” basswood
• Acrylic paint: black, white, and red
• Paintbrushes of choice
• 13mm #5 fishtail gouge
• 22mm #5 gouge
• 6mm #11 veiner
• 10mm 45º V-tool
• Detail knife
• Woodburner with fine tip (optional)

Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

Carving & Painting Adorable Animals in Wood

Carve adorable animal figurines that sit up on their own!

  • 12 wood carving projects for a variety of playful animal figures that sit sturdily on a shelf
  • Complete step-by-step wolf project, followed by 11 more animal designs that you can try on your own
  • Realistic yet playful style captures the essence of an otter, panda, fox, raccoon, elephant, and more
  • Hair tracts included for each project, along with the carving patterns and a color guide for painting
  • Study boards for each project, with texturing, woodburning, and painting techniques you can practice
  • Helpful tips and notes are provided throughout by author Desiree Hajny, plus a gallery of advanced works

Wood Carving a Horse Caricature: Roughing Out

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 01

1. CUT out the side view. 

Transfer the side-view pattern to the blank. Then cut the side view with a bandsaw or coping saw. Transfer the top and bottom view patterns to the blank. Mark the areas to be removed.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 02

2. Begin rough-shaping the piece.

Remove the marked areas with a 13mm #5 fishtail gouge. Then draw in the saddle details, and mark the parts to be removed. Work on both sides for a symmetrical result.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

3. Outline the details.

Draw in any detail lines that have been carved off using the pattern for reference. Follow the sketched lines to outline the details with a 10mm 45º V-tool.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

4. Continue shaping the horse. 

Relieve the saddle and neck areas up to the V-cuts. Use a fi shtail gouge to continue roughing out the horse. Redraw your reference lines as often as necessary.

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Wood Carving a Horse Caricature: SHAPING

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03


Sketch on the bottom hoof details. Use a 6mm #11 veiner to separate the legs

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04


Mark the hoof details. Use a V-tool to cut along your lines. Then round the legs with a detail knife.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03


Use a detail knife to round each hoof and taper them to the legs.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

8. Rough Out the Face

Mark the bridle details. Cut off the corners of the nostrils with a detail knife and cut along the bridle lines with a V-tool.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How long does it take to do a carving?” After much consideration, my answer to that question is obvious: “A lifetime.”

Desiree Hajny

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03


Cut up to the saddle, using a 22mm #5 gouge. Round and shape the area evenly on both sides.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

10. Draw in the eyes and mouth.

Make a V-cut along the top portion of the eyeball and along the mouth line.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03


Make a stop cut along the bottom part of the eye with a detail knife. Then round the eye with a detail knife.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

12. Make stop cuts between the front legs and belly. 

Use a 13mm #5 fishtail gouge to undercut the eyeball in the eye socket and the bridle.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03


Draw on the nose details. Undercut the bridle with a fi shtail gouge and carve in the nostrils with a V-tool.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

14. Add the blanket details.

Draw the blanket on. Then define those lines with a V-tool.

Wood Carving a Horse Caricature: ADDING DETAILS

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

15. Round and shape the shoulders.

Use a 22mm #5 gouge and work on both sides to achieve a symmetrical appearance

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

16. Add Texture to the mane and tail.

Draw the texture details in. Then use a V-tool to add the texture.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 03

17. Detail the bottom of the hooves.

Draw in the details and cut them with a V-tool. Examine the horse from different angles and touch up any necessary areas.

Wood Carving a Fish - Step 04

18. Burn in the final details.

Use a fine woodburning tip to burn in the eye and outline the bridle.

When you’re done, don’t forget to share your carving with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @foxchapelpublishing.

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About the Author

Robert Triplett has been carving for most of his life. He retired from the U.S. Army after twenty-five years of service and later worked as a safety engineer at electrical power plants. Born and raised in Bedford County, Pa., Robert lives in Hummelstown, Pa.