Feeding the Horse is one of Herring's most celebrated pictures. By the mid-1840s the artist was the well-established master of racehorse portraits, but was tiring of the repetitive subject matter. Inspired by the work of Sir Edwin Landseer and others, Herring sought to broaden his oeuvre. Thus this picture was painted at a critical moment which saw the artist apply all his skill to ensure this development was met with critical and commercial aclaim. The result was so successful, and the picture so popular, that the artist was to return to paint several versions of the composition through the 1850s. The quality of draughtsmanship and the exceptional detail in the present picture, however, mark it apart as being a masterpiece of 19th Century animal painting.