Keeping a Mane in Braids: Good, or Bad?

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Keeping a Mane in Braids: Good, or Bad?

This is a discussion on Keeping a Mane in Braids: Good, or Bad? within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Crest braid on a horse
  • Is it better to keep a horses mane unbraided

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    10-29-2012, 12:18 AM
Keeping a Mane in Braids: Good, or Bad?

Question of the day...

My horse has a naturally long mane, and he's also on a nice rounded diet of hay/grain/supplements, so I know he has the genetics and health in check. However, I love long manes and so i've been trying to grow and maintain his as much as possible. At the moment, I'm using MTG and braiding his mane in multiple strands once a week, and then re-doing it all the next.

However, the other day at the barn a girl mentioned that she always thought that braiding a mane would pull out hair, and ultimately be bad for his mane.

So ... thoughts? Should I leave it long and unbraided? Or does braiding it keep it safe and help it grow?

What do you guys do with your ponies manes?
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    10-29-2012, 12:23 AM
Green Broke
As long as your braids are loose- ish and decent sized sections you should be fine. My trainer keeps her two main mares manes braided and they are both long and pretty.
So as long as he isn't rubbing them or yanking them loose you should be fine.
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    10-29-2012, 12:27 AM
Green Broke
I have heard both, even for horses that live in a barn let alone turned out.

From the trainers I worked for that braided manes it was important that the first part of the braid next to the crest was loose enough that when the horse stretch his neck downard that the hair would not pull out. And like you said it was redone every week.

Others I have worked for refused to braid manes but braided tails.(but unbraided when turned out for anymore than a day or two)

The only thing I could conclude was that the ones that had the very long manes were genetically blessed with one anyhow.
    10-29-2012, 12:31 AM
Haha - see, I think it must just be a personal preference.

At a barn I worked at before, all manes were braided and tails were bagged. At the barn i'm at now, tails are braided, manes are left down. My boy is stalled during the night, turned out during the day.

But yes - I do keep his braids loose at the top, to prevent from pulling at the crest.
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    10-29-2012, 02:54 PM
Green Broke
My horse has a naturally long mane and I keep it in a running braid all the time; it turns into dreadlocks very quickly when left down. I re-do the braid weekly and spray with a conditioner/detangler. I also make sure that it's not tight up on his crest so it doesn't pull when he puts his head down.

A lot of people see the amount of hair that sheds out when you take down the braid and think that it's getting pulled out, but a horse whose mane is down sheds hair continuously throughout the week- a hair here, a hair there. But when it's braided the shed hair stays in the braid, so you see it all come out at once. I see the same thing with my own hair if I leave it up in a pony tail all day.
    10-29-2012, 03:32 PM
I kept Indie's mane braided up for about a week and she managed fine. It really depends on how tight they are, for the reasons previously mentioned.
    10-29-2012, 05:50 PM
I train for a gypsy vanner breeder up here. I keep the tangly ones in braids, but most of ours are left loose. My technique is to keep them about thumb length thick, I also add a little MTG or tea tree oil to the roots and the tips just to help growth.
This girl here: is only 2 years old in this picture and her mane has at least doubled!
BrieannaKelly likes this.
    10-29-2012, 05:52 PM
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    10-29-2012, 11:39 PM
Oh my - she is just the cutest thing in the whole world.
I love gypsies.
    10-29-2012, 11:42 PM
I feel like this kind of braid is really nice. It's loose and open on the top (sorry I didn't get that in the picture) and only uses two strands instead of three so it usually remains looser but still manages to keep the hair together really well.

Plus, it's prettier:)

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