Classical Braiding! There are several ways to braid. The most common for long maned horses are the French braid and Macrame Braid. For short maned horses the more common braid used is the high plait, tight plait or the plaited loop. Tails are also braided as are forelocks. Hunt classes usually see horses tails, manes and forelocks braided while Show Hack class generally has the mane and forelock braided while the tail remains natural. Dressage requires braiding with the exception of very long haired horses who are not required to braid but generally do use at least one of these techniques. Braiding The Tail! 1. Make sure your horses tail is clean and free of tangles. If you have ever french braided a persons hair, this is very similar except you use two strands of hair instead of three. Take a small strand of hair from the left side of the tail and one from the right, cross the right lock of hair over the left lock. Now introduce another lock of hair from the left side of the tail, cross it over the lock in your right hand. 2. Continue this method, right.... left.... right.... left. The secret here is not to take too much hair for each lock. 3. When you reach the bottom of the dock (the bottom of the hard part of the horses tail) continue to braid using 3 equal strands as you would do making a normal braid. 4. Use strands from the top part of the tail only and continue to braid until you come to the end of the tail. 5. Fold the bottom of the finished braid under, about 8 inches, and using cotton, thread, or yarn sew it together so that it lays flat. Once you have finished this the tail braiding is complete! 6. And here is the finished product! This picture shows the tail when you are done with the braiding. Notice how flat the tail lies after the folded braid is tacked down ================================= DO'S & DON'TS for MANE and TAIL CARE If you'd like your horse to be "bright-eyed and bushy tailed" this Spring, mane and tail care is a top priority. Here are some do's and don'ts to promote a clean, healthy, attractive mane and tail. DO'S Do treat your horse's mane and tail just like you would your own head of hair. You wouldn't wash your own hair every day. Nor would you only wash it once a month. Weekly shampooing is a general rule, even if you don't wash the whole horse at that time. DO thoroughly wet the mane and tail before applying a good pH balanced shampoo specifically geared for horses. Leave the shampoo on 3-4 minutes before rinsing COMPLETELY. If the mane and tail show heavy dandruff, use a medicated shampoo first such as Betadine Surgical Scrub. Thoroughly massage it into the roots of the mane and head and dock of the tail. Leave it on the skin for 3-4 minutes before COMPLETELY rinsing it. Water should run clear after rinsing. Such dandruff may be the result of inadequate rinsing of shampoo and conditioner in the past. DO separate the hair when wet with your fingers, instead of combing it. Separate from the bottom up, not the top down, so that you have less hair damage and breakage. DO apply a deep conditioner to the mane and tail once the tangles are gone. Some conditioners can be left in, some must be rinsed outóread the label carefully. DO train the mane to one side. When the hair is wet, use your fingers to comb it to one side, then tie it down with rubber bands. Braiding is optional. DO trim and clip your horse's tail according to the etiquette of your riding style: Dressage riders prefer clipping the top of the tail 3-4" on each side so you see a nice clear line when the horse is in motion. The length of the tail can be as long as you like. Traditionally, it is 4" below the hock. The end of the tail is "banged." This is how to bang a tail: After the tail is washed, detangled and dried, hold the tail up and drape it over one hand. Blunt cut it with very sharp scissors so that it is level across. It must hang level when the horse is in motion to look good. In dressage, a really nice tail will hit the hocks as the horse swings at the trot and draw attention to the hind end. Hunter riders keep the tail long and braid it down the top 3/4 of the tailbone. The end is not banged but left pointed for a natural flow. Jumper riders bang their horses' tails. DO be careful with some of these horse shampoos because they are concentrated they sudse up more than they appear to. Rinse, rinse, rinse! DONT'S DON'T completely brush through the horse's tail every day, especially if the horse has fragile hair. The more you brush, the more hair you lose. Also, hold the bulk of the hair in one hand and gradually brush from the bottom to the top. Never start at the top and yank down. DON'T use Show Sheen on the tail on a regular basis. Since it is a silicone based product, using it every day will dry out the hair. DON'T comb a wet tail or mane. DON'T pull your horse's mane if he tries to rear over backwards because of it! Pulling is more painful for some horses than others. Instead, use a tool like Grooma's "The Mane Master" ($49.95, lifetime guarantee). DON'T think you must have clippers to clip a bridle path. Blunt end scissors can do a find job. It just takes longer. If you prefer clippers, Wahls and Oster have handheld, cordless clippers. DON'T braid the tail to keep it clean, as this will break off fragile hairs faster and cause stress to the hair follicles. DON'T think you can get away without paying attention to the mane and tail. Especially as the weather warms up during spring, the mane and tail are the perfect breeding ground for fungus and other skin problems. Weekly cleansing just makes good preventive sense. AND DO REMEMBER...Take Care of Your Horses Manes and Tails and Have a Happy Horse! ==================================== Techniques & Timely Tips for Taming Those Tresses 1) † After bathing, apply detangler/leave-in conditioner to the mane and tail. Work product in good with your hands, making sure to cover all areas. Begin brushing with the Tail Tamer Deluxe Paddle Brush. If the mane and tail are still wet, you may choose to begin with the Tail Tamer Jumbo Rake Comb. Always remember: To avoid excess hair tear out and breakage, start brushing at the bottom and work your way up gradually in small sections. This technique will help keep your horse's mane and tail growing strong and healthy! ††2) † Important tail tip: After conditioning and brushing through the tail completely, we recommend using one of the Tail Tamer Tail Bags to help keep the tail sparkling clean and tangle-free. This tip will also help you shorten your next grooming time. Tail Tamer Products has three styles and assorted colors of tail bags to choose from. See page two for more tail bag details. 3) † Old clipper blades make wonderful tools to thin manes for that natural look. 4) † A rinse of one cup of apple cider vinegar in five gallons of water sponged onto your horse's body after bathing will cut any missed shampoo film and help in repelling flies. 5) † Banding or braiding hair while it is still damp will help in controlling "fly-aways," and a light misting of hair spray followed by layering a towel over the "mane-do" until dry, will guarantee flat, neat braids. Or use setting gel to tame those stray or short wisps. 6) † Keeping static to a minimum is a cinch -- just wipe through that mane once with a dryer sheet. Cut into strips and tied in manes and tails, dryer sheets will discourage even the most persistent flies and other "nagging" insects from your steed. 7) † Stroke away that ringside dust with inexpensive, soft cotton gloves, available at most hardware stores. Toss them in the wash with the rest of your horse towels and they're ready for the next show. 8) † Towels swirled around in a mixture of baby oil and water and then rung out and dried make great polishing cloths, and they will bring up the shine of a healthy coat. Baby oil is also good for rubbing inside ears that have become chapped or irritated from clipping. 9) † Listerine worked into the base of the mane will help take the "ouch" out if your horse is sensitive to having his mane pulled. Massaged full strength into the base of the tail, Listerine will help those horses who insist upon doing their own tail styling by rubbing on fences, posts, and the stable walls. . Mane Attractions ††Mane styles are important for halter and breed classes, and the extra time and care in preparing your horse's locks will certainly attract that second important glance from the judge. Special clips will not only enhance your horse's appearance but can be used to highlight specific conformation. Banding is fashionable for Quarter Horses, stock horses, Paints and Appaloosas. Roaching, seen often on the three-gaited Saddlebred, emphasizes the long, slender neck characteristic of the breed. Working stock horses often sport roached manes as prevention against burrs, sticks, and other debris they are exposed to daily. Roaching is also a fool-proof cure for that unruly mane when all else fails. Braiding is traditional for hunters, and the more braids that can be fitted in, the longer the neck will appear. Allow extra time in your grooming schedule for perfect braiding. Arabians, Morgans, Walking Horses, and many of the pony breeds favor natural, full manes. Ribbons, bows, and other accessories are added for special events, such as costume classes and parades. Custom coiffures are specially designed for the draft breeds, and each requires its own styling technique. Manes are certainly important to the equine species -- just look at the Norwegian Fjord, always a stand-out with its crescent-shaped mohawk style, and the long flowing tresses of the Andalusian -- hair a fashion model would die for.