Thanks. I had a Gymkarna today and I had to plait up for that. So I braided his tail the way use suggested and it looked really good. BTW Pictures of the Gymkarna are in the picture section. Posted via Mobile Device
Everything else has been answered I think so just re:tail braiding, urgh don't braid for an event. I hate braiding, IMO it's a very hacky thing to do. Plus braiding can make them tense over the back as the dock is the end of the horse's spine. I prefer to just trim the sides of the tail, either clip or use a pair of good scissors (sharp but with blunted ends) to neaten the top of the tail up.
I really wouldn't worry about braiding, hounestly, VERY few people round here braid tails unless you're hacking. And usually those who braid are the little kids, a trimmed tail is classier in dressage/eventing IMO.
I've been known to avoid plaiting for official dressage competitions from time to time. Sometimes you just couldn't be bothered. Have never been penalised for it, horse is always clean and well presented just minus the plaiting if it's mane is nicely pulled. And I don't think I have ever EVER plaited a tail for dressage, and never seen any of my eventer friends who are into official eventing plait a tail either... they only plait manes for the dressage and showjumping for the big comps
Ditto - I Actually don't braid tails for show riding either (PC show riding, I don't do open shows apart from ASH classes) and have never been penalised, and have won many classes, including show riding champion at our last jamboree - I did braid his forelock though because it is ridiculously poofy :]