You’ve arrived at the competition late. You have 15 minutes to groom, tack-up and mount. Your horse’s mane needs to be plaited. What to do?? The answer is simple – use a running braid.
What Is A Running Braid?
A running braid is a quick and easy way to give your horse’s mane that elegant, plaited look. And by quick I mean just that. 10 minutes, 1 elastic and you’re done. It’s also surprisingly easy – if I can do it, anyone can.
A running braid is basically a single plait that winds it’s way down your horse’s neck. It is similar to a french braid, but there are some subtle differences making the running braid the simpler of the two.
How To Do A Running Braid
The video below shows basically how to do a running braid in your horse’s mane. The individual steps can be minimised when necessary, depending upon the time available and your particular preference.
Steps To Do A Running Braid
1. Comb out your horse’s mane. (If this is not possible, then just remove the mud!).
2. Trim any long straggly bits so the mane is a reasonably uniform length along most of the neck. (Again, not strictly necessary, but does help).
3. Separate a piece of hair at the top of the neck from the rest of the mane. This should be approximately 1.5 inches (4cm) wide. This can be wider or narrower depending on your horse’s mane and the time available. Wider will be quicker, but the braid won’t look quite as good.
4. Divide this swatch of hair into 3 parts, as if you were going to do a plait.
5. Start a plait. Fold over the left bit of hair over the piece in the middle, then do the same with the right piece of hair.
6. The swatch of hair which was in the centre originally is now sitting near the body of the main. Grab another bit of mane and add to this one before folding it over to the centre.
7. Continue “plaiting” but each time you come to fold over the piece of hair closes to the rest of the main simply add in another bit of mane. And keep going …
8. Keep your braiding fairly tight as you move down the neck. If you don’t you may find that your braid point has moved too far down from the crest of the horse’s neck to include any shorter hair.
9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the entire main is a beautifully braided work of art.
10. When you get to the end of the mane, or you get to hair that is too short to inclu
de in the braid, simply plait what’s left to the end and apply an elastic. This will prevent it from unravelling.
11. If you have short little bristly bits sticking up here and there, use some baby oil to smooth
them down. This is best done by pouring a little into your hands, rubbing your hands together and then lightly running them over the flyaway strands. This method prevents excess oil getting on to the mane, which could make it look greasy.
The only downside of a running braid is that it all has to be done in one foul swoop. If you stop half way the entire thing will unravel 🙁
You can also dress up a running braid in your horse’s mane with coloured ribbon or sparkly beads. This is useful and fun for those times when you want to add that “something extra”.
Do you have any thoughts on the use of a running braid? Or any tips on how to make it simpler or better? Please share by leaving a comment below. Good braiding 🙂