Braid and Band Your Horse's Mane Like a Professional
By Lindsay Grice
Q: I show in both English and Western events. I would like to have a professional looking braiding and banding job but my efforts always look a little amateurish. Any hints?
A: Following are some ideas that have helped me in my struggle over the years to braid and band with some success:
- Don’t braid a freshly washed mane!
- Separate equal segments of hair with a comb for a neat part and hold back the excess hair with an alligator clip.
- Keep the braid as tight as you can in the first inch. Doing so keeps your braid from twisting and requires mighty thumb strength!
- Braid close to the neck. Don’t pull the braid toward you as you go.
- Use cotton string, waxed thread, or wool in a colour that matches the mane. I prefer string which doesn’t stretch as much as wool, and has enough thickness to grasp easily.
- Use water or “Quick Braid” spray.
- Keep the mane short. Longer braids tend to twist more easily.
- Part, clip, and dampen the mane as in braiding above.
- Keep your fingers pressed against the neck as you are twisting the elastic. This holds the ponytail against the neck. Don’t pull out toward you.
- Wrap the band around as many times as you can without causing it to break. Loose bands cause the band to twist.
- Resist the temptation to form bigger and bigger bands as you or your horse becomes impatient.
- Even the finished mane with scissors.
As with anything, practice is the key. Use the off season to practice when you’re not under the pressure of time. And don’t dismiss the idea of hiring a professional for that true professional look. What you spend may be worth the anxiety you avoid!
This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Pacific & Prairie Horse Journal.