Here is a new horse sculpture I am working on using Terra cotta clay.
I started with a 25 pound block of clay and have carved and shaped to create the form. When the clay becomes medium hard I hollow out the inside which eliminates a lot of the weight and in this case keeps the horses heavy body from collapsing and the legs from disconnecting from the body. I do not use an armature. I support the piece with struts under the belly and near the front legs. In this case the tail helps support the back legs. When I am finished I will use a wire cutter to create a line of separation on the struts and actual sculpture.
After the piece is fired I will be able to easily remove the struts.