Can’t bear cutting your horse’s luscious long locks for traditional button braids in the show ring? Here is a great tutorial on how to get your long maned equine partners into coiffed dancing dressage beauties! This is a great alternative for the baroque breeds that require long manes. Braiding your own horse doesn’t have to be a daunting task, just follow these step-by-step tips and practice, practice, practice!
To start you will need to gather some tools:
- mane brush
- pulling comb
- yarn cut to 12-16” lengths; 10-15 pieces
- hair clips
- spray bottle with water or braiding spray
- step stool
- large yarn needle (metal is best)
- apron, or tool belt like I have pictured here
Step 1: Use your pulling comb to measure the width of your braids, and clip the excess hair off to the side. You can start at the poll or withers; typically, with horses that are not experienced being braided or a little head shy I will start at the withers and work my up to the poll. For long manes I keep the braid widths very even; about the width of my comb. For very thick manes you will have to make them a bit thinner than the width of the comb so that you will not have braids the size of softballs hanging off the horse’s neck.
Step 2: Wet the hair with spray of choice and braid the hair down placing the yarn folded in half into your braid about ¾ of the way down braid as far down as possible and tie the braid off using the yarn with a knot. You can continue to do this process to the entire mane.
Step 3: This is where things start getting serious! This is where you will take the long braid and tie it into a knot around itself. Snug the knot up to the crest of the neck. You will then wrap the tail around the knot several times (almost like making a cinnamon roll shape) until you have about an inch of braid left.
Step 4: Thread needle onto yarn and sew through the braid from the back on each side, pulling the needling and yarn down through the bottom.
Step 5: After sewing around the knot several times each way, remove needle and tie the two yarn tails into 2-3 knots on top of either to secure. Cut off tails, making sure you do not cut the knot you just tied!
These knots really hold up well. This is Hamlet after 4 days of competing!
There you have it! Stay tuned for forelock braids, running buttons, and Dutch fluffies!