Getting Show Ring Ready – Braid that Mane

Creative Commons License photo credit: sara.lauderdale

Ever wonder how those perfect braids happen? You know the ones. Pefect rows all the same size and meticulously spaced? Well if you follow these simple tips you can have a beautiful mane to!

Nothing is so nice as having a horse come into the ring looking like it belongs. And nothing says “I belong” like a perfectly braided mane. It shows off the horse’s neck and can neaten up an otherwise unkempt pony.

Step 1

Plastic mane comb

Pull the horse’s mane. If you are like me and hate to pull manes then hire someone to do it for you. If you are lucky enough to have a breed that doesn’t require braiding or pulling, like Arabian, Andalusian or Fresian then consider your self lucky.

Shorten the mane by pulling it to a length of about 3 or 4 inches. Anything longer will not make nice braids. Shorter

Beautiful braids show off a horse's neck

manes will be more difficult to fold and get into tidy braids.

Step 2
Under no circumstances wash the horses mane prior to braiding it. And NEVER use a silcone spray such as “show sheen” on it! This will render it almost impossible to braid.

Step 3

Usually braids are on the right hand side of the horse’s neck but some people braid on the side that the horse’s mane lies on. What ever your preference, brush out the tangles and separate the strands.

Start at the just behind the horse’s eat and brush out the horse’s mane. As you proceed down the neck toward the withers, dampen the mane to help it lay flat.

Step 4

Starting at the top of the neck divide the mane into equal portions. Each section is approximately 2 inches wide. Section of a 2 inch wide portion and braid it tightly to about half way down to the tip. At thei point add a section of wool into the center strand of hair and contnue to braid the yarn into the braid. Braid the yarn and hair right to the tip and then wrap the yarn around the end of the braided strands to secure it.

Sometimes while braiding, hair gel, hair spray or even egg whites can be added to the strands to stop wisps of hair from escaping from the braids.

Step 5

Once one is done, proceed to the next 3 inch section of hair. Continue down the mane until there are several braids hanging down the horse’s neck.


Beautiful Braids can show off your horse

Step 6

With a rug hook, slip the rug hook through the base of the braid near the crest of the neck and loop the end of the yarn through the end of the rug hook. Pull the rug hook with the yarn attached throught the base of the braid. This will leave two yarn ends on the other side of the horse’s neck. Take these ends of yarn and gently tug the tip of the braid to the base near the neck. Then secure the braid by wrapping each stand of yarn back to the bottom of the braid and secure it with a surgical knot, then again on the top with a surgeons knot and finish with a knot.

About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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8 Responses to Getting Show Ring Ready – Braid that Mane

  1. Hi Laura:

    The braiding tips are very useful. I spent four months in Florida and I financed it by braiding 15-20 horses each evening. I, myself, prefer a washed mane. The three inch sections look sparkling clean and my knuckles are not stained with dirt at the end of the shift. If you wet the mane or your hands as you braid along, the mane is not slippery.


  2. Laura says:

    Thanks for the great tip on mane washing before braiding. I guess thats why my hands were always a grubby mess after braiding.

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  6. Hi Laura,
    Thanks so much for thee great tips! After … too many years of entering shows looking like a scruffbag, I decided it was finally time to perfect my plaiting! This website has gven me lots of tips and inspiration, thanks again!

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you for your comments Eniola. I am glad you have found inspiration in these pages. I am always amazed who reads and repeat visits to my blog. Tahnk you.

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