I have two projects getting painted just now, the Napoleonic British for a friend and the 28mm Wars of the Roses stuff. I'll post pictures of British when they have some more paint splashed on them, but for now here are the horses for the Wars of Roses / Lion Rampant forces.
I always start with a white undercoat then apply different shades as something between a wash and a normal paint coat. The idea is to get the paint flowing freely so it settles in the folds and creates it's own highlights and shadows.
I still use the Colour Party horse paints I bought many moons ago as my main paints. Then I just add whatever other browns are on hand. I start with the lightest bay colour, add a little darker bay or chestnut colour and do another horse or two, then add more mid or dark brown and do another horse, and so on. Gradually I work though the horses with each slightly different.
At this point I don't care about the horse furniture as it can be painted over later. My focus here is always to get a good looking finish to the coats.
The next stage is to add the shading to the legs, mane and tail. I used commercial washes this time instead of my usual DIY approach. I had to apply several coats of washes to get a good effect. Umber was a good wash, sepia was not, and black was the best. The idea here is to get the darker hair effect with the wash but to still allow the base colour to show through.
The next stage is to add the leg and face markings. From a Historex catalogue I had years ago, I've always remembered them saying that horses rarely had 1 leg or all 4 with markings. So I tend to do my horses with two or three legs with markings.
And believe it or not, that is essentially it. There are little details to finish off. I have to go over some of the looser strands of manes with a smaller brush to make sure they get painted darker. Then the eyes and then the hooves on the legs with markings will be painted lighter.
I don't know how long all this took because I paint other things and do different bits on different days, but these 11 horses probably took less than an hour to get to this stage.
And I'm only working on 11 horses because I'm going to replace the head on horse number 12. I thought it was smart to have a head with fancy armour and plumes, but then when I came to paint it, I changed my mind and wanted something more simple.