Jean Abernethy Brings Horses to Life


Jean Abernethy may not be a household name in the horse world, but she’s definitely becoming a “go to” person when editors and writers need a horse savvy artist to illustrate their projects. Although she’s put pen or pencil to paper and drawn horses since she was a child, Abernethy got her first big break as a freelancer when Monty Roberts commissioned her to illustrate his training methods for his book, From My Hands to Yours, in 2000. Beyond her continuing assignments for Horse Illustrated magazine and various other equine publications, Abernethy also illustrates books. Her most recent is adding her artwork to Cindy Hale’s humorous text in Horse Sense and Nonsense: A Survival Guide for Horse Lovers. She also sketches, paints and works in bronze sculptures. And then there’s Fergus. He’s a sort of googly-eyed, fuzzy horse at the center of Abernethy’s hilarious yet insightful comics. So much creative output, however, doesn’t drain the earnest horsewoman. Though she has a single-minded devotion to her work, she loves her job.
“When I work on assignments, I find myself privileged to work with very knowledgeable horse people,” Abernethy says.

Perhaps because she’s a dedicated student of equine anatomy, she’s able to combine reality with humor in her illustrations. That can be a difficult objective for many artists.

Abernethy explains, “I love it when experienced horse people ask for something very specific in a drawing, and I am able to nail it for them because I’ve done my homework.  I love horses, and I love drawing and painting. So, when I can continue my studies in both of these fields, to expand my knowledge, and sharpen my skills–well that’s more than a job, it’s a blessing.”

To read more about Jean Abernethy and her life as an equine illustrator, visit her website at And for some Fergus fun, go to




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