equiniphile, is it common to do the running braid on both sides of the neck like that? I never would have thought!
Many people braid on both sides of the neck, regardless of type of braid. I doubt anyone would voluntarily do it with hunter braids :P But I see it done a lot with running braids and the chunky dressage braids. Spanish horses have a lot of mane - as do some warmbloods - and it is way easier to just part the mane and do both sides than pull the bejeesus out of the mane.
For normal plaiting (the little balls), always plait with thread, bands make things look messy no matter how good you are.
Quickbraid is your friend, gives you the grip you need but keeps the plaits neat and prevents tidying.
If you can't find Quickbraid then eggwhites do a similar job.
Always start with a well pulled mane. Never cut the mane as it makes it hard to plait neatly and you get little ends sticking out all over the place, same with the solo comb.
Roll them don't fold them.
Fewer, big braids pushed up into the hood (called a cora plait) will create the illusion of better topline.
Lots of small braids give an illusion of length in the neck.
Playing around with a comination of these plaits can completely change the appearance of the front end of oyur horse.
Use a stitch unpicker to undo thread as it means you don't run the risk of cutting the mane.
Never plait the night before, always do it the morning of otherwise braids look tired and hairs start escaping or breaking!
Have a belt on with enough threaded needles for all your plaits, there is nothing worse then getting into the rhythem and then having to stop to thread needles.