The background was not quilted first but I'll address it now. A light gray background was painted so the horse would look "more white" and more important. In the quilting... I was thinking about the air moving about as this giant animal ran forward. Before loading the quilt for quilting, I had premarked a repeated 'wave' pattern. The wave itself was not quilted (i.e. left to be more prominent) as the area between each curvy wave was quilted in a back and forth curvy meander I call 'bumpy ride.' A peak at the background is seen below and to the right of the horses head.
Now... to work on my horse
I always WANT to leave some softer areas unquilted IF I can get away with it. I like the softest possible look around eyes... I quilted most all the body in white but as I got closer to the eyes... I stopped and left them to decide what else if any 'til the very end when ....
As I worked on the jaw line of my Knight, I realized I needed lots of change in direction in quilting patterns. That said, I first used a purple ink ( disappearing) to section off small areas before quilting. CLICK on photos for enlarged view.
The body of the horse was done almost exclusively in white but for areas ( e.g. horses underbelly) which was a good bit darker ( dark being relative ofcourse). I used the same disappearing purple marker to section small areas before quilting.
The mane was the greatest challenge... LONG (controlled) sweeping movements on the longarm were a serious challenge of for me. The challenge got bigger as the mane got longer.