May 12, 2022
Many riders braid the mane of their horses for fun or during a competition. If you want to start braiding, and secure the braid technique, this article is for you.
The mane is the section of hair that grows from the top of the neck to the withers. This is made out of thick, long, coarse hair that is meant to keep the horse’s neck warm and potentially aid in water runoff as well. It also provides fly protection.
Left on its own, it can become tangled and knotted, and as a result it can get damaged. Also, the mane can get into the horse’s eyes, affecting their vision. This is why many riders decide to style the mane and braid it for certain events.
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From HorseTV we want to share with you 4 different ways to braid and style your horse’s mane so they look incredible on your next competition!
Traditionally used by hunters, hunter braids prevented horse’s hair from getting tangled while hunting in the forest. It is a functional braid that has evolved throughout the years to become more visually appealing.
Riders use yarn and commonly will choose a color that matches the horse’s hair. Typically, the horse will end up with more than 30 individual braids down the horse’s neck, resulting in an elegant design that shows off the horse’s neckline.
Heather from McQuay Stables shows in this video by SmartPak barns the correct way to style a hunter braid as well as some braiding tips and tricks she has learned along the way:
This is an elegant and intricate design that can be done either from the top of the neck downwards or as the reverse scallop braid variant. The scallop braid is increasing in popularity in dressage, jumping and hunter competitions as these braids showcase the horse’s neck while standing out from the crowd.
This technique can be used for those with baroque breeds, Friesians or horses who keep a natural, long mane. Ashley Donadt has shared a YouTube video showing how to braid your horse using this style:
This type of braid is normally a typical French braid that runs down the entire length of the horse’s neck. It is popular amongst breeds of horses with a long mane and commonly used during shows where long-maned horses are common.
As in a French braid, if you know how to plait hair you can create a good-looking running braid. As a tip you can apply some hairspray to the braid to help it hold in place for longer.
Kaitlin Natoli has shared a video on how to perform a running braid on your horse:
These are also referred to as rosette braids, and are very popular in dressage. They are very durable and require the use of a needle and a piece of yarn. With practice, you can get them right, but if you are still learning, you can try some rubber bands instead of the needle.
It is a common practice to give your horse an odd number of Dressage Braids, typically between 9 and 17 braids. The result is a very clean finish, but when done incorrectly, they can look worse than when having no braid at all.
Professional Equine Grooms have shared on their YouTube channel the correct way to do Dressage Button Braids with yarn: