The purpose of braiding our horse’s mane is to add interest or functionality. Braids not only look good, but can help keep the hair from breaking, thus helping the hair grow longer, and can also help the horse stay cooler in the summer months. Horses with thick manes can sweat a lot under their mane.
There are some really beautiful and fun braids to try and I’m happy to share some of them with you. If you have a horse with a beautiful mane or tail, then you’ll definitely want to keep reading. I think they look especially beautiful if your horse has a variation of color in their mane.
While some disciples require braids or plaints for competition, they aren’t strictly for shows. I think this is a fun and useful way to spend time with your horse because braiding requires the horse to be still and patient. So, don’t discount this as not being a useful training opportunity. If your horse shakes their head or pulls away from you, then your horse will need to be taught to patiently stand while you do the braiding. Especially if you are learning, as it may take you longer.
The tools needed are:
- Bands for tying (try to match the color)
- Stool or mounting block
Let’s jump in and go over a few simple braids.
Crest French Braid
The French braid is a three strand braid that is interweaved together and crossed over each other. Begin by gathering a small section then, separate out three smaller sections. Next, gather a small section to add to your outside section and then cross over the middle. Repeat that on each outside section as you work your way down your horses neck. Tip: you may want to use small sections and keep it fairly tight so it doesn’t come out, but not too tight it’s uncomfortable for the horse.
A running braid is like the French braid, but with one difference. You only gather a section to weave in from the top outside strand, which will help the braid have a cascading look. It’s a little quicker than the French braid and looks really nice.
If you don’t like braiding then this style is for you because the diamond braid technically isn’t a braid, but it has a beautiful look when finished and looks good for events and parades. Begin by taking small sections and tying them off a few inches down. Do that all the way down the neck until you have all the mane in an even amount of sections. Then, take two sections out of each first section and tie them together a few inches down, which will create a diamond look. Do that all the way down.
Three Strand Braids
This is just a basic braid and probably one of the most common way I see to braid. It can be time consuming, but it can help keep the mane from breaking and I think it can help keep the horse cool in the very hot summer months.
Three Strand V Braids
These are small three strand braids that are conjoined to the braid next to it to create a v shape. Similar to the diamond braid, but with this one the hair is actually braided. This creates an interesting and beautiful style to the mane.
This has always been a personal favorite braid of mine. I love the texture and look of a fish tail braid. You can do this is on the forelock or tail. It is a two strand braid rather than a three strand. You will gather a small section at the top, then split it in two smaller sections. Next, you’ll gather a small section to cross over and add to the opposite section. Repeat that on each side as you work your way down.
Tips for Success:
- Try to make your sections as even as possible. This will make your braids look really nice.
- Cut the bands out when removing braids will help prevent breakage of the hair.
- Using bands that are similar in color to the mane looks best. (Unlike what I did, black bands on palomino hair.)
- If your horse walks forward when you’re braiding, try to get them to back up without you having to move your stool. The horse should accommodate you, not vice versa.
Hopefully, you found some new and interesting braids to try on your horse. If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing so you don’t miss a post.