A braided (plaited mane and tail show off your horse to its best advantage and are regarded as part of a neat turn-out. Although you will not need to braid every day it is a good idea to get your horse used to it by practicing regularly. It is usual to braid your horse for the show ring, when entering large competitions, and for hunting.

It takes a lot of practice to achieve perfect-looking braids, so don't be disheartened if your first attempts are a disaster! The starting point is a well-pulled mane - if it's too thick, it will not braid well. Similarly, the tail needs to be full and not rubbed. Do not shampoo the mane and tail beforehand - it will make the hair too slippery and flyaway.


Study your horse's neck to see how to present the mane at its best. A thick cresty neck will look finer with neat braids pulled down into the crest. A rather weak neck will enhanced with larger braids placed on top. There is no limit to how many braids you can do in the mane, as long as they are evenly spaced. You can finish off with the English method, which is a "button" effect, or the continental style of a long fold of braid usually taped in white. The forelock is done separately in the same style as the mane. The braids can be secured with thread, which should match the color of the mane, of rubber bands.

This running or Arabian braid is also known as Gypsy braid and is used on horses with unusually long flowing manes.


Braiding is an art that needs plenty of practice to achieve really good results. The secret is to separate the sections of mane to be braided into even sections, dampen these well, and make each braid firm and secure. In the English method, the braid is folded once or twice, depending on the length of the mane, and secured with thread, which looks best, or tightly-twisted rubber bands.

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1.  Start by separating a section of mane and braiding it firmly down to the end. It is best to start at the top.

2.  After securing the end with thread or rubber bands, fold up once or twice and secure with the same method on top of the neck.

3.  After completing all the braids down the neck, finish off by braiding the forelock, taking care to keep it straight.

4.  If there are any wisps of hair left they can be gently plucked out to leave a neat and tidy head and neck.



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1.  The start is exactly the same with the mane divided into even sections. Braid tightly and loop the mane up once.

2.  Leave approximately 1-1 1/2 in. (2-3cm) of mane as a loop and secure with thread or rubber bands.

3.  Take white tape and wind around the braid, leaving a neat bud of mane showing at the end.

4.  Keep the white tape at the same width up the neck to give a really good, even effect.



To achieve the best results you need a full, untrimmed tail with plenty of length to the hairs at the top of the tail. The secret of success is to keep the hairs evenly spaced. Try to include an even amount of hair from each side, all the way down the length of the dock. The braid formed down the center of the tail must be kept straight and tidy for maximum effect.


                                   Take sections from both sides.             Braid down center for two thirds of dock.


The finished tail looks neat and tidy with the actual braid kept centrally spaced down the tail.

This is a great book with lot's of detailed information!

Grooming to Win : How to Groom, Trim, Braid, and Prepare Your Horse for Show

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