Braiding your horse’s mane can be a great way to keep your horse’s hair from getting dirty and tangled. Braiding of the horse’s mane is also done when entering into the showing circuit for English riding events. Braiding the mane also brings elegance and a clean-cut look when entering the show ring, and It helps to show the curve of the horse’s neck and keeps it out of his face while jumping. Before braiding your horse’s mane, you should always make sure that it is clean and not tangled. You can do this by brushing through your horse’s mane before you start the braiding process. Another way to make sure it is clean, is to wash the mane with shampoo and conditioner. This will result in clean, damp hair which is great for braiding.
The Hunter Braid:
The hunter braid is most often used when competing as a Hunter Jumper in the ring or in an actual fox hunt. The riders use a piece of yarn, which is the same color as the horse’s mane, to tie up the braid and give it a look a sophistication. The hunter braid originated from the tradition of the Fox Hunt and how the horses’ manes kept getting tangled during the hunt. The hunter braid consists of about 45+ braids along the horse’s mane line, and the horse’s mane is usually pulled before braided. Pulling a horse’s mane helps to shorten and thin out the horse’s hair, making it easier to braid. Once the Hunter braids are complete, the horse’s neck line is elegantly shown and presents a cut-clean look for any show ring or hunt.
The Button Braid:
The Button braid, also called the dressage braid, is the most common braid in the Dressage ring. Much like the Hunter braid, the Button braid consists of tying up singular braids, into little “button” balls, along the horse’s neck line. Unlike the Hunter braid, the Button braids are tied with a colored band to make the braids stand out. This gives the braids a highlighted pop, and gives a bolder statement in the show ring.
The Continental Braid:
The continental braid, also called a Woven Mane, is where the mane is “woven” together along the neck line. This style is often used for horses who have long manes and is done my tying sections of the mane together. The top of the mane is sectioned off with rubber bands and then each section is split off and tied to another section. This procedure go down all the way to the bottom of the mane. The end result leaves the horse’s mane looking like a woven net.
The French/ Running Braid:
The running braid is a long French braid that goes along the horse’s neck at an angle. This type of braid is easy to do and results in an elegant mane-style that shows off the curve of the neck. This style of braid is usually done to horses who have long manes, with a lot of hair. It is an easy solution to keeping the horse’s mane from getting ratted and tangled. The running braid is not as tight as the other braids and my fall out a little easier. To help the braid stay in place, apply some gel or hairspray over the braid to help keep it secure. Because this braid isn’t as tight as some of the others, the running braid is able to stay in the horse’s mane for a long time and won’t cause the horse to nag at it. After leaving the running braid in your horse’s mane for a while, taking it out will result in a gorgeous wavy mane that will flow as your horse moves.
Braiding is a great way to showcase your horse in the show ring and is also a great way to have fun with your horse! Grooming your horse aids in spending quality time and is a great way to stay connected. It also helps to keep the mane from getting mangy, tangled, and also keeps the burs away! The hunter, button, continental, and running braids are just a couple different styles among the many! Leave a comment and tell me what kind of braid is your favorite.