Proper Braiding for english - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Proper Braiding for english

I am just getting into showing with my 4yr old that I broke myself. He's a Thoroughbred x Clydesdale gelding and has a very thick, long, wavy mane and tail. I will not under any circumstances be cutting his mane off. but I need to know what is and isn't acceptable.

I am going to be showing in equitation, english pleasure, hunter under saddle and hack classes at a local fair. Since he has so much mane, a frensh braid is about all I can manage with it. Is that acceptable? Or do I have to do it in the little bobbles? (I don't know the proper name for those braids, but you know what I mean). He's got way too much hair for that. Also, is it mandatory that if I braid his mane that I must braid his forelock and put it up in a little bobble too?

Thanks in advance for your help. I can ride and train horses, but when it comes to being pretty I'm clueless.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 09:01 PM
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A french braid is the usual compromise if you don't want to pull his mane.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-10-2009, 12:24 PM
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Depending on the level of show a french braid should be OK. If it were a gold or platinum rated show then you would have to pull it and do proper braids. Another thing is keep the braid close to the crest, otherwise it looks untidy and you usually end up with extra mane that won't fit in the braid.
Always, always, always braid the forelock. It is totally disrespectful to be too lazy to braid the forelock if you're going to do the mane, I don't care what kind of horse you have, how hard it is, "it's a stallion", whatever. Just do it.
And I would also do a french braid on the dock of the tail to make it look "englishy". In higher rated shows, you rarely see a horse w/o a braided dock.
This is good:
This is bad:
This is the kind of tail braiding you'll see at rated shows:
This is acceptable (but not ideal):
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 09-11-2009, 12:57 PM
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If you braid his mane, yes, braid his forelock too. At a fair you do not have to braid his tail.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-13-2009, 07:51 AM
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Yep, the French braid should be fine. Just braid it tight up to the horse's crest, keep it tidy. The forelock should be braided as well. Sort of french braid it down the area where the hair grows from, and finish down the length of forelock, tie it off, then fold the braid under itself and tie off again.

Be aware, though, that Frenched manes pull loose if the horse puts his head down. I braid the forelock and tail the night before, my horse spends the night in leg and tail bandages and a lycra hood, and I braid his mane at the show grounds. After the mane is braided, no grazing, eat only from a hay bag.

I do like to french braid the tail as well. It just completes the picture, and sometimes you can gain a few points in the class for putting in that time when other entries didn't. The "good" tail picture that Anebel posted is what you're shooting for, but instead of the pinwheel you can simply finish the french braid and tuck the "tail" of the braid neatly inside the braiding over the tail bone. I can't keep pinwheels in and looking good all day .

I see a ton of French braids on English horses in the ring, even at some of what we consider in my area to be bigger open shows. I French braid my quarter pony to avoid cutting his mane, he lives a partially outdoor life, and needs the hair.

Happy braiding!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-15-2009, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Scoutrider. My horse lives an outdoor life full time, so that's one of the reasons I don't want to cut his mane either. I undersand you must look neat and tidy and be braided at shows, and I will comply with that. But I will not pull his mane, I don't like the way it looks and I'm simply not ripping my horse's hair out of his crest. I don't care what anyone says, it can't feel good for my horse. If the high end shows want to penalize me for not having the "proper" braiding so be it, I don't care. I'm showing for fun, that's all I care about.
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