Right now I'm in the smack center of a 'to clip the bridal path/to not clip the bridal path' dilemma. I would like to show my 9yr gelding, Loki, in halter and showmanship classes but am really quite unsure of the grooming required.
Does the bridal path have to be clipped...? Loki has one of those long manes and I hate the thought of having to clip it, even though that hair does become a pain.
For a halter class, you definetely need a bridle path. And make sure it's very short. I got marked down in a halter class for my bridle path being 1/2 inch long! The manes also has to be banded, regardless of length. I'll write more later, I'm rushing out the door, but google image pictures of long, banded manes to get an idea.
Yeah, bridle paths are required for shows. And it depends on the breed and discipline for the style of the mane. Western horses have trimmed and pulled manes that are banded. English type horses have pulled manes and are usually put in buds.
I think gaited and saddle-type horses have long bridle paths and long manes, though. I know Saddlebreds, Walkers, Morgans, and Arabs do.
Here are a couple Fox Trotters:
And a Walker:
I'm not sure of the exact length. You could probably find it on google. You could look up the breed rule book, too.
However, the bands should be the same color as the mane, and be a little more even, but that's the general idea. You can do two or three rows of bands, it's just matter of preference. I personally think two rows looks better, any more and you start to get an Arabian / Saddlebred look. Although it's common for western halter horse's manes to be short and pulled, many people who compete in horsemanship or reining like the look of the long mane for those events and just double band for halter. All the classes I've been in wont mark you down for having a long mane as long as it's neatly banded. I've also seen manes where they braid to about an inch down, then put a band in and let the rest of the mane hang. It's hard to explain but really pretty. I'll look for a picture. Also, notice how short the bridle path is in that photo? That's a well trimmed bridle path.
*Here it is! I like this look, but prefer for there to be more, thin braids than a few thick ones. Thank God for Google Image!