Last blog I talked about how the style of your horse’s mane can be a direct reflection of your own personality. This week, I’ll talk about braiding, a timeless, popular style for women, for children and for horses! There’s many different types of braids, examples include cornrows for women, braided pig tails for children and banding for horses. Always there for the grooming needs of both horse and rider, Mane ‘n Tail offers products to both help create and maintain braids.
For the rider, we offer our Braid Sheen Spray that holds braids tighter and longer. For the horse, there’s Spray ‘n Braid, a professional grooming grip for tighter braids, neater banding and easier mane training.
Some people like to keep their horse’s mane loose and free flowing, for a more untamed look. Others, like owners who are showing their horses or using them in competitions, might prefer the more controlled look of braiding or banding.
To braid or band, you have to start by “pulling” the mane – a technique that removes longer strands of hair in order to create a more uniform mane, where the hair is kept just long enough to braid, usually 3-5 inches.
Banding a mane creates the look of an elongated and thinner neck and keeps the hair from having flyaways. Small, rubber bands are used to section the hair and hold it back with a repeating pattern, which, when finished, looks like tiny ponytails in a neat, orderly row down the horse’s back. Some people will take this a step further and use banding tape to cover the rubber bands and emphasize the horse’s neckline. Most often, the rubber bands and tape are the same color as the horse’s mane, although some people will use contrasting colors for a more outspoken look.
If your horse’s mane isn’t too short, you can try a running braid, which is similar to a French braid and created in much the same fashion. Start near the head, braiding and picking up small sections of mane as you continue down the neck. This braid can unravel itself quite easily, so it’s best to do it last minute and only for a short period of time.
If you find you horse’s mane to be longer than the 3-5 inches required for banding, you might want to try out a continental braid, which is used mostly on Arabian horses. Instructions on how do a continental braid can be found on the Raspberry Ridge Farm website. First they suggest to band the mane, then, “split each ponytail into two sections and band each section to the adjacent split sections 3 inches down. Continue across the neck, then repeat the sectioning and banding 3 inches down.” This process creates the look of a net, with the ends hanging loose.
If you’re going to use your horse in a hunter or jumper discipline, a hunter braid will be required. This look is a line of short braids that hang down the crest of the neck. This can be a tricky braid to master and many competitors will hire someone to do the braids for them. The mane is almost “crocheted” using a wide crochet or knitting needle and yarn. A hunter braid helps keep the mane lying flat against the horse’s neck.
Whatever type of braid you’re trying out on your horse, Mane ‘n Tail can help! You’ll find that our Spray ‘n Braid is the ultimate solution for training manes and tails to lay flat. No slip grip for easy braiding and banding, it will eliminate flyaway strands for perfect looking braids. It is also protein enriched for stronger manes with less breakage.
If the look of your horse’s mane is a reflection of your own personality, you should use Mane ‘n Tail products. We’ll make you and your horse look good!