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To braid or not to braid? [tails!]

This is a discussion on To braid or not to braid? [tails!] within the Horse Shows forums, part of the Showing Horses category
  • Is there any reason not how to braid horse tails
  • Why not to braid a horses tail

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    10-29-2013, 01:30 AM
Why don't you just wrap the dock after bathing so the hair dries flat? I think a neat natural tail could be just fine, although I show at Arab breed shows or dressage where a natural tail is either common or required!

Braiding is a good skill to learn, for sure, but that's just my two cents!

ETA... obviously, there are special wraps for this purpose! You don't want to harm your horse by cutting off circulation at the dock. :)
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    10-30-2013, 07:52 AM
There's an idea, the look of a pulled tail without the effort lol! Unfortunately I haven't got a tail wrap though so I'm just going to have to braid.

I forgot today but will practice tomorrow... may wash/plait on the morning of because she is a MASSIVE grot and won't stay clean overnight, but that WILL mean camping out at the paddock because I'm sure Mum doesn't want to get up at 4 in the morning to drive me out there!
    10-30-2013, 08:25 AM
For braiding, it's better to do it in the morning. Less chance for rubbing tails and manes or stretching out and loosening braids before your class(es).
    10-30-2013, 08:36 AM
If they're in properly [ie not too tight] they don't stretch and depending on the horse shouldn't rub out either. I'm really good at manes!! I usually braid the mane on the night before but my old horse had a clipped tail so I never had to bother with his tail. Unfortunately Magic isn't clipper-trained and I have absolutely no interest in copping one of THOSE back feet! She's very fast with them.

That being said I highly doubt a tail braid would stay in well overnight, manes do but I can always tell which horses at a show have been plaited up the morning of because they're the ones with the neat tails.
    10-30-2013, 08:49 AM
Green Broke
I used to suck at tails too and then one of my trainers give me a tip that I found really helps. When you braid the tail, don't go at it like you are french braiding a human head by taking thick cross sections of chunks. Instead you take very small amounts from behind the tail and then pull them in front over the rest of the hair into your braid. Always pull from behind and always smaller amounts with each weave. Go down to where it looks good on your horse. You can just braid down to the end of the part you did (stick style) and leave it, or you can loop it back up and secure either by sewing or banding, whichever method you use. Then spray spray spray spray with hairspray. If the hairs at the top try to stick out all bushy (my horse has the same kind of tail yours does) then use a good amount of Dep before you start.
    10-30-2013, 09:41 AM
Thanks :) That's what I do, I think I'm just not getting the tension right or something.
    10-30-2013, 10:58 AM
Green Broke
It takes practice. And it sounds odd but it helps if you don't have the dock completely scrubbed clean when you bath your horse. The oils help you grab and get tension, and makes the top of the hairs less slippery and prone to coming out. I usually take a small bucket (like the 1 gallon grain buckets) put a few drops of shampoo in and fill the rest with water and then dunk the whole tail up to the dock in it. Use a sponge to get the top hairs of the tail, but I don't really wet the tailbone at all. Then I rinse clean with a hose. It rinses easy, makes the tail hairs clean and shiny, but leaves the part you work with to braid still slightly oily and easy to work.
    10-31-2013, 04:44 PM
Thanks :)

Well it turns out Witch is in season, so it's safer not to bother. This is her first show and she will be otherwise turned out beautifully [apart from her tail and a conspicuous lack of hoof black, it turns out I haven't got any so I'm screwed unless someone will let me nick some of theirs]. We're not going for the placings and I plan to apologize to the judge for our presentation regardless, but I doubt we'll be the only ones with an unplaited tail... and an unplaited tail looks WAY better than a bad braid which is very common at this show. It's only a local thing. There's usually someone who's presented way better than anyone else and they tend to take all the ribbons but I'm not going for ribbons, I'm going so my horse gets exposure.

But, I will take all the tips in this thread and use them for the next show :)
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    10-31-2013, 05:13 PM
Don't even apologize! Put effort into your appearance and I bet the judge will be much more focused on your performance than the subtleties of your turnout. :) Some people intentionally don't plait the tail because it has potential to affect the horse's movement and relaxation!
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    10-31-2013, 08:11 PM
No, don't apologize!! And don't make faces if she does something wrong! Just continue making the class the best you can, smile, and ACT like you are having a GREAT ride.

And, I think the horses look BETTER without hoof black!

Good Luck!!


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