How to Braid Your Horse's Mane for the Show Ring

Five Methods:PreparationBraidingPulling Braids ThroughTying the Braids UpTry The Running Braid

You have put in the time and effort getting your horse ready for a show. Do you want to really catch the judge’s eye at your first show? Braiding your horse’s mane gives an irresistibly favorable first impression. Whether you are gracing the Dixon Oval at Devon or just heading to your local schooling show, braiding always makes you look better than you may already be. These are some helpful hints for braiding your horse's mane.

Method 1
Preparation

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    Make sure your horse is clean. Struggling with a horse, hose, and shampoo is not fun, but it makes it so much easier. You should let the horse dry before you begin to braid. Their mane becomes very frizzy if you start when their mane is wet.
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    Make sure your horse’s mane is pulled so that it is not too thick. The mane should be about 4 inches (10.2 cm) in length.
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    Have your horse in cross ties, or someone to hold your horse. Having someone with you may be beneficial because there is a lot for your hands to do when braiding, without having to hold your horse. An extra set of hands never hurts.
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    Have a bucket or mounting block to stand on. This could save you from having to reach up so much, reducing the risk of hurting your arms.
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    Cut yarn that matches your horse’s mane into pieces that are 8 inches (20.3 cm) long. You will need around 40 pieces.

Method 2
Braiding

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    Spray your horse’s mane with Quick Braid, this makes it tackier and easier to grab. Quic Braid also makes sure that your braids look neat when you are finished.
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    Take a 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) wide section of mane and separate the section into three pieces.
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    Begin braiding and make sure that you pull down on the sections as you braid, and make them tight against the horse’s neck.
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    Once you are halfway down the braid, take a piece of your yarn and find the middle of the yarn piece.
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    With the yarn behind the braid, center the braid in the middle of the piece of yarn.
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    Continue to braid the section of mane, including the yarn into the braid.
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    Tie a square knot around the bottom of the braid. Pull it tight, so your braid does not come loose.
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    Repeat steps 1-7 for the rest of the mane.

Method 3
Pulling Braids Through

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    Slip the latch hook through and behind the braid at the crest of the neck.
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    Grab the end of the braid with the hook.
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    Pull the yarn under the rest of the braid and pull through the braid. The yarn should lie on the opposite side of the neck when you pull the yarn through.
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    This should form a smooth loop, with no twists.
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    Tie the braid up before moving onto the rest of the mane.

Method 4
Tying the Braids Up

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    Pull one piece of yarn on either side of the braid. Take one piece in each hand.
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    Cross the yarn behind the braid, so you now have the other piece in your hand.
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    Tie a square knot around the middle of the loop so that the entire braid lies flat against the horse’s neck.
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    For security, tie another square knot ending on the front of the braid.
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    Cut the excess yarn off the front of the braid.
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    Repeat for the rest of the mane once you have pulled the braids through.

Method 5
Try The Running Braid

If your horse has a longer mane and you would rather not pull it, the running braid is a good choice for you.

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    Take three pieces of the mane from behind the ear and start plaiting tightly.
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    Braid the hair using the French Plait style. When you reach the top (root side), pull in another strand about half the the thickness of the original.
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    Keep it up tight, or let it come down a little.
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    When you get to the end, continue as with a normal plait. Secure it with the band.

Tips

  • If you do choose to practice a lot, people have been known to pay for the braiding of their horse's mane. Braiding is a dying practice and if you learn to braid, you give yourself a very marketable skill!
  • Take your braiding kit to the show, so you can touch up if necessary.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with basic braiding and have plenty of time to practice before your show!
  • If it does not give the results you would like the first time, keep trying! Braiding is very difficult and may take years to perfect.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Latch hook
  • Yarn that matches your horse’s mane
  • A pulling comb
  • Quic Braid (available at many tack shops or online at Stateline Tack, Dover Saddlery and other online Equestrian stores)

Article Info

Categories: Horse Grooming