Top tips for plaiting your horses mane
1. Get everything you need ready first and available to hand. This means when you’re attempting your plaits you’re not scurrying around and that the thread you need to finish off the plait is miles away from you.
Using an open tack tray or an accessories belt means you can have everything organised and to hand.
2. Apply a plaiting gel or if you prefer dampen the hair to make it easier to plait. We love Supreme Product’s easy plait spray. It’s easy to apply and give the hair a tackiness which makes plaiting the hair easier and reducing stray hairs escaping.
3. Divide the horse’s mane into even sections of hair ready to make nice even plaits. There are some great plaiting aids on the market which can help ensure you get an even amount of hair per plait.
Top Tip: You can use a regular plaiting comb to get even sections of hair. Place an elastic band on the comb at the desired width for the section of hair. This will then act as a guide for the width of each section of hair.
4. Once you have your first section of hair to plait, divide the section of hair to be plaited into 3 equal sections and start plaiting keeping your thumbs on top. Ensure you keep the plait firm and try to maintain an even tension along the plait. Plait right down to the bottom of the hair.
5. Grab the needle and thread and sew around the plait twice at the bottom, fold under any loose ends and sew around again to secure the bottom. If you prefer you can use an elastic band to secure the hair at this point.
6. Roll the plait underneath itself to create a ‘ball’. If you are happy with the shape of the rolled plait against the neck, then you can either secure in place using an elastic band or sew it in place. When sewing keep hold of the plait ball until you are happy it has been secured by the thread. Knot the thread underneath the plait and cut the loose thread off.
7. After doing the first few take a step back to check the progress. If you are unhappy with any it is better to start again at this point than getting right to your last plait.
8. Always start your plaits at the horse’s poll. It is much easier to plait near the horses withers when they start to get restless, than it is near their head.
9. Make sure your plaits make the most of your horse - a short neck can be made to look longer by using more plaits, whilst making the plaits sit higher on the horses neck will give the appearance of a bigger crest (great for horses with weak necks). Equally for horses with large necks dropping the plaits slightly will make the neck appear smaller.
10. Practice, practice, practice! Make sure you can plait and sew in the plaits to a standard you are happy with before a show. Getting someone on the yard to show you initially can be really helpful to help you visualise exactly what needs to be done. Then you can have a go and get them them to check your efforts.