From Endurance to Dressage
Over the past week, a few friends have asked me about Speedy's braid from Sunday's show. I thought I'd give you an update.
I just don't have the heart to pull Speedy's mane. He's a bit like Samson without a Delilah; cutting his hair would just take some of the wind out of his sails. So I leave it long.
Until this past winter, I was just doing a French braid that looked really nice for about 15 minutes. After that, it slowly loosened up until it was just a mess. In December, I stumbled on this braiding video.
I've used the braid with mixed success. Sometimes it holds really well, and other times, not so much. At a show in May, a braid near the top popped out during my warm up. Fortunately, the judge just laughed about it. I mashed it into a lump and rubber banded it for the second test, but it was a hot mess.
For this show, I re-watched the video and took extra time braiding. I wet Speedy's mane for each braid, and I did them tightly. I also did them in smaller chunks. Unless you have a horse with a really thick mane, like thicker than Speedy's, the tail end that you stick through the braid won't be enough to be a third on it's own.
I found that I had to add extra hair to that piece and then choose two more sections of equal weight. I also discovered that as the mane gets thinner near the base, it's important to keep the braids smaller. You can see that the rosettes in the middle are larger than those at the bottom.
If the rosettes are too widely spaced, the tail end that you poked through the rosette wants to pull out. I am also going to buy white rubber bands; no one can see the bands, but I can see them from the saddle.
Even taking my time, the braid took no more than 30 minutes. Now that I have figured out how to make the braid stay in (damp mane, tight braid, thinner pieces), I think I can get it cleaner and neater. If your horse has a long mane, this is definitely an easy way to braid for shows.
6/30/2017 07:18:51 am
Thank you for re-posting this! I tried to find it & wasn't able.. :/
7/4/2017 05:21:48 am
Hope it works for you. :0)
6/30/2017 08:32:20 am
I have tried this braid a few times on various horses and have not managed to make it look as nice as it does in the video. Yours look amazing in your show photos. I'm secretly relieved to see they're not completely perfect up close.
7/4/2017 05:24:07 am
Like I said, I've had mixed results with it. Even though it looks messy up close, I had several people ooh and aw over it so it must not have looked too messy. I really think that it works best when it's wet and when you keep the braids narrow. Hopefully you'll get it looking good on at least one horse. :0)
7/4/2017 05:26:10 am
Yeah ... not into pulling either. Izzy's mane is short, but I use scissors and a thinning blade I bought from Germany. I am not showing him this summer so I don't really care about his mane. I had to google an image of a double french braid. WOW! That's a lot of hair. :0)
7/4/2017 05:27:10 am
I would think it would work better with thicker mane. I can french braid quickly, but it sags. Maybe Speedy's mane is not thick enough to hold the french braid?
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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