How to plait a horse’s tail and mane
Plaiting a horse’s tail and mane is a skill that can make your horse look more elegant and professional for competitions, shows, or special occasions. Plaiting involves braiding sections of hair along the tailbone and the crest of the neck, and securing them with thread, bands, or clips. Plaiting can also protect the horse’s hair from dirt, tangles, and damage. In this article, I will explain the steps to plait a horse’s tail and mane, using some tips from my friends.
To plait a horse’s tail, you will need a soft body brush or a tail brush, a mane comb, water or egg white or hair gel for horses, thread or bands, scissors, and a needle. Before you start, you should tie up your horse on a hard flat surface, and make sure he is calm and comfortable. You should also brush the tail thoroughly to remove any dirt or knots. If the tail is thin or uneven, you can use a pulling technique to make it look neater.
To begin the plait, you should take two small sections of hair from either side of the base of the tailbone (dock), and cross them over each other. Then, you should take a third section of hair from either side, and cross it over the middle section. This is similar to a French braid, where you add new hair to each section as you cross it over. You should continue this process until you reach the end of the dock, keeping the plait tight and even.
To finish the plait, you should secure it with thread or bands at the bottom. You can either leave the long hairs below the dock loose, or braid them into a single plait and stitch it to the dock plait. You can also fold the dock plait in half and stitch it down the center to make it shorter and neater.
To plait a horse’s mane, you will need similar tools as for the tail, plus some clips to divide the mane into sections. You should also wash and dry the mane before you start, and pull it if needed to make it thinner and more uniform. You should plait from the right hand side of the horse, as this is the traditional way.
To begin the plait, you should brush the mane to one side, and use clips to divide it into equal sections along the crest of the neck. The number and size of sections depend on your preference and your horse’s mane length. You should start with one section at the top of the neck, near the ears.
To plait each section, you should take three strands of hair from the middle of the section, and cross them over each other like a normal braid. You should add new hair from both sides of the section as you go down, making sure to keep the plait close to the neck and parallel to it. You should continue until you reach the end of the section, and secure it with thread or bands.
To finish each plait, you should fold it in half upwards, then fold it in half again downwards. This will create a neat button shape that lies flat against the neck. You should stitch through the center of the button with thread or needle to hold it in place. You should repeat this process for all sections of the mane.
Plaiting a horse’s tail and mane can be challenging at first, but with practice and patience, you can master this skill and make your horse look more beautiful and stylish. Plaiting can also show off your horse’s conformation and movement, and impress judges and spectators at events. Plaiting is not only a practical way to groom your horse, but also a fun way to bond with him.