How do you get into this? What does it require? Are you self taught? How'd you learn?
My friend and I were tossing around the idea of braiding manes and tails for shows. It seems like a fun part-time job, and I've heard the money isn't bad if you're good enough. I just want to know more about it before I start thinking about it more seriously.
I have braided drafts being sold at auction. I charged $25 a horse for mane and tail. I did wait till after they sold to collect my bunting, rosetts, and ribbon, so I could use it again. I was even flown to the Tulsa state fair to braid for someone with a a six hitch of Belgians, of course I did other groom duties as well. I could do a mane and tail in less than 25 min.
If we had a pro braider/bander here, I would hire them. $25, no problem, well worth the hassle.
That price was about 14 years ago, and for drafts. For a hunter it would have to be more, while I can braid a tail very fast, to plait a mane I am slow unless the mane is perfectly thinned already, which they rarely are. And some of those hunter necks seem to go on f-o-r-e-v-e----r.
I'm not a braider myself, but I show around the hunter circuit a bit. Our braiders are usually $40-60 for mane & $20-30 for tail. I was recently talking to one of our braiders & she said she made enough for her family(although she has a working husband too) to live off of & then some, and actually made more than she would doing her office job. Her only problem with it, is that she's gone from her family so much traveling to all the shows, and that the hours are crazy, since they're generally there from about midnight-midday. She said it generally takes her 30-45 minutes for mane & tail, and she did a nice job.
Taffy do you have any pictures of the mane tail braiding you did? I would love to see what you did!!
I know two people who paid their or their horse's way on the A circuit by braiding - and I mean entry fees, coaching, board and hauling, and their own expenses and other people who have had a side job doing it. It's very good money if you're good and reliable. The disadvantages are of course the travel and the hours. You're also self-employed, so no worker's comp, no paid days off etc. Most of the pay is in cash, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your situation.
If you expect to make good money at it, you better be able to turn out an A show ring quality mane in 40 minutes or less. I've seen one guy braid standing at the ingate, talking a mile a minute the whole time, in under 30 minutes, and the pony could have gone into a strip class when he was done.
I am not a "professional" but I do braid. I charge $50 per mane, which is the average rate. I was taught by a pro who can braid 30+ horses a night at $75 each. Entire barns book her! In order to do that many and really rake in the cash, you have to be fast and efficient. I know our local braider always has people helping her at the larger shows, but I get my clients from word of mouth or Facebook. Always a great business :) good luck!
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Sugarplum: This is one photo of Sam or Seamus I am not sure. It was at a charity golf tournament, every foresome that went by got there photo taken with the clyde.
Once a draft horse's mane is braided you are not to let him put his head down or it will pull the braid out, and make it all squigly down the crest of his neck. I am not good at following that rule with my horses.
The braid is a 4 strand braid down the crest of the neck, 2 strands hair and 2 strands bunting or material, usually colored.
Maura that's the only way I was able to show A's.
Best way to get started is locally. If you ride at a barn that shows, let them know you are braiding, they'll be your first clients and then usually it's word of mouth. Work something out with your trainer, friends, whomever you ride with. Plan to add at least 3 horses to your list at a show once you get good. I usually had at least that amount that would approach me at an event, sometimes more. When you start out 25/mane is probably average, as you get cleaner and quicker, you can go up from there. I charged 70.
My best advice is practice pulling and braiding manes on a variety of horses so you get accustom to fixing other people's oopses (none of the manes are ever perfect) and working with unruly horses.
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