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View Full Version : Button Braids/Cobra Braids for longer mane?



KarenC
Jun. 23, 2011, 01:47 PM
I have an Arab mare that I will be showing at some schooling shows later this summer.

I french braid my Morgan mare, as she has a long, extremely thick mane. Only option for her (short of pulling her mane).

But the Arab's mane isn't nearly as long, nor as thick. It probably comes about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down her neck. She also has a lovely but thinner and longer neck, and I don't think a french braid is going to look that good on her. I may end up doing a lattice braid, but I was wondering if it might work to do the thick button braids/cobra braids since she doesn't have a ton of hair - again, not thick, just longer. Has anyone tried these more conventional braids on a longer mane?

(I have not ruled out pulling her mane, as I do not show at Arab shows - but I'm not going to make the decision until after a few shows).

SamWerner
Jun. 23, 2011, 02:57 PM
I show at Arab shows AND I pull my mares mane. It's such a beautiful classic look, and I had more then one judge tell me before I pulled her mane that I should consider pulling it. Arabians are also supposed to have long flowing tails, and that is certainly not appropriate for the Dressage ring so why not go all the way?

Kyzteke
Jun. 23, 2011, 03:31 PM
What's a "cobra" braid?

HydroPHILE
Jun. 23, 2011, 03:34 PM
What's a "cobra" braid?

Don't know what it looks like on horses, but it's what I use to make survival bracelets. Maybe it has a weave like that?

Lost_at_C
Jun. 23, 2011, 03:36 PM
Long tails are perfectly "appropriate" for dressage. This is dressage, not hunters or saddleseat - not everyone has to follow the fashions, as long as your turnout is neat, legal and respectful. Of course you'll want to consider what shows off your horse's movement and training the best. Button braids might work, but I haven't had tons of luck myself with anything longer than about 4 inches. You either end up with lots more buttons than normal or they're so thick they're hard to keep together - and they bounce. You might be able to make it work though if it's very thin, or perhaps you could just shorten it a bit?

KarenC
Jun. 23, 2011, 04:15 PM
Cobra braids are basically big button braids - the term came up multiple times when I was doing a google search on braiding a long mane:
http://www.boblangrish.com/galleriesimage.php?id=10022

I think they are referred to as "cobra" because they look hooded.

I will not be showing much - dressage is a second sport, I'm primarily an endurance rider. Hence why I'm not gung ho about pulling the mane (and maintaining it that way).

leilatigress
Jun. 23, 2011, 04:23 PM
I like the Cobra Idea... I'll have to try that on the Supermodel. Usually I lattice hers as she has the very elegant refined halter neck and does go to the halter ring on rare occasions so I cannot pull her mane. Try a running braid on it though if it doesn't give a better look or her mane is not thick enough to pull it off I would stick with the lattice.

Sandy M
Jun. 23, 2011, 04:34 PM
How about scallop braids? That's what I used to use on my thin-maned race-bred Appy (who fortunately had a LOVELY tail - see my profile pic). I let it get longish and then did the scallops. I got compliments from judges many times on the appearance of the scallop braids.

cuatx55
Jun. 23, 2011, 04:51 PM
I pull my arabs mane for dressage, but for button braids you can get away with a longer mane. I hated the long mane, it always looked bad on my horse. Pulling isn't really a lot more work then detangling a long mane.

LisaW-B
Jun. 23, 2011, 05:46 PM
Oh, the cobra braids are pretty--hadn't seen those before. I'm both lazy and good at making a quick french braid/bad at making tiny braids, so I just leave my Arab gelding's mane long, and french braid it for shows. I think anything is fine braiding-wise as long as it's neat and not floppy.

bort84
Jun. 23, 2011, 06:17 PM
Try it at home and see how it looks? You should be able to tell after a couple of braids if you can make it work or not = )

I LOVE button/cobra braids (yes, the "cobra" is because the braid is sort of nestled in a hood - people often do less than 10 to get the look). I think they look lovely on almost all horses. A running braid takes a lot less time, but the wider spaced button braids do look great. And since you're only doing a few, they don't really take that long either.

I can understand the resistance to pulling, but once you do it the first time, it's really not much maintenance. Since my boy only does dressage shows right now, a longer pulled mane is totally fine (the mane needs to be longer for good button braids than a tight hunter braid). His stayes neat and tidy looking without much maintenance at all. I usually just touch it up before shows or if I'm in a grooming mood = )

I grew up in saddle seat land (arabs then saddlebreds), so the thought of pulling was very foreign for me at first. I've grown to absolutely love the look, and I would do it on any non traditional dressage breed unless I were doing breed shows too and showing in non-dressage classes.

Do you usually do anything with the mane for endurance? Or do you just leave it down?

lecoeurtriste
Jun. 23, 2011, 08:04 PM
Try a tight french braid directly down the center of the crest (on top) versus a running braid on one side. I have two Georgian Grandes (saddlebred/perch and saddlebred/friesian) who have medium-long/thick manes. If you do it directly on top of the crest, it looks nice and neat in the ring.

If that won't work, good fat buttons always look nice on a refined neck. Good luck! :)

kinnip
Jun. 23, 2011, 08:31 PM
I'd love to know if anyone else has used a lattice braid.

SamWerner
Jun. 23, 2011, 11:15 PM
Long tails are perfectly "appropriate" for dressage. This is dressage, not hunters or saddleseat - not everyone has to follow the fashions, as long as your turnout is neat, legal and respectful. Of course you'll want to consider what shows off your horse's movement and training the best. Button braids might work, but I haven't had tons of luck myself with anything longer than about 4 inches. You either end up with lots more buttons than normal or they're so thick they're hard to keep together - and they bounce. You might be able to make it work though if it's very thin, or perhaps you could just shorten it a bit?

Yea I guess you are right that it is "appropriate". But when I would talk to judges after a show was over they would tell me if I wanted to be "taken seriously" I needed to chop off her mane and tail. I wasn't showing in the main ring anymore so I didn't see the point of keeping it that way if I was just showing Dressage. For the same reason people choose to buy a Dressage show coat instead of showing in a Hunter coat to follow the fashion, I felt that if I was showing Dressage, I didn't want to do it half heartedly and wanted to conform as close as possible to the traditional Dressage breeds since it is hard enough for an Arabian to be taken seriously in a sport horse discipline. That is all I meant...

thatmoody
Jun. 24, 2011, 07:01 AM
I would hope that you wouldn't have to pull the mane to be taken seriously. I have a Friesian, and french braid him right before I go in the ring (my DD, who grooms for me, does it). It looks perfectly neat and he has a LOT of mane. I've always felt that my scores reflected my performance, and have never felt, either at a recognized or schooling show, that I ever got any sort of prejudice because he had a lot of mane and tail. As long as you're neat and well-turned-out, it should be a non-issue. I wouldn't do scallop braids or anything distracting, but a french braid keeps it confined and out of my reins, which is the whole idea.

SamWerner
Jun. 24, 2011, 08:17 AM
I would hope that you wouldn't have to pull the mane to be taken seriously. I have a Friesian, and french braid him right before I go in the ring (my DD, who grooms for me, does it). It looks perfectly neat and he has a LOT of mane. I've always felt that my scores reflected my performance, and have never felt, either at a recognized or schooling show, that I ever got any sort of prejudice because he had a lot of mane and tail. As long as you're neat and well-turned-out, it should be a non-issue. I wouldn't do scallop braids or anything distracting, but a french braid keeps it confined and out of my reins, which is the whole idea.

I agree with you 100%! I was just relaying what was mentioned to me by a few judges!! :)

oldernewbie
Jun. 24, 2011, 08:18 AM
Yea I guess you are right that it is "appropriate". But when I would talk to judges after a show was over they would tell me if I wanted to be "taken seriously" I needed to chop off her mane and tail. I wasn't showing in the main ring anymore so I didn't see the point of keeping it that way if I was just showing Dressage. For the same reason people choose to buy a Dressage show coat instead of showing in a Hunter coat to follow the fashion, I felt that if I was showing Dressage, I didn't want to do it half heartedly and wanted to conform as close as possible to the traditional Dressage breeds since it is hard enough for an Arabian to be taken seriously in a sport horse discipline. That is all I meant...

How long do you mean by long? I've got my Arab's tail banged so that it is right above his fetlocks when he is relaxed and his tail is down. Most of the warmbloods in my barn have their tails about the same length.

I have seen in a couple of places that some dressage horses have their tails trimmed to right above their hocks. This looks only OK to me as I personally like a much longer tail but IMHO does not work well with Arabs because when they have a high tail carriage that shortish tail is going to look silly when they are in motion.

On the other hand, I have seen a few Arab folks riding dressage that still have the dragging on the ground kind of long and now that I've crossed over to the other side, that looks kinda funny to me.

Went to WEG last year and don't recall seeing any horses that had particularly short thin tails. Most were quite long and flowing and complemented the horse nicely.

So when is the tail too long? (Serious question)

As for the mane, I had my Arab's traditionally long. Then his pasturemates started chewing it off so I gritted my teeth and cut it to warmblood length. It looks pretty good on him, I braided him more traditionally at our last show and that looked nice as well. So I guess I'm going to suck it up and keep it short. It helps to have a good friend who is a human stylist who will trim and thin it for me.

SamWerner
Jun. 24, 2011, 10:33 AM
How long do you mean by long? I've got my Arab's tail banged so that it is right above his fetlocks when he is relaxed and his tail is down. Most of the warmbloods in my barn have their tails about the same length.

I have seen in a couple of places that some dressage horses have their tails trimmed to right above their hocks. This looks only OK to me as I personally like a much longer tail but IMHO does not work well with Arabs because when they have a high tail carriage that shortish tail is going to look silly when they are in motion.

On the other hand, I have seen a few Arab folks riding dressage that still have the dragging on the ground kind of long and now that I've crossed over to the other side, that looks kinda funny to me.

Went to WEG last year and don't recall seeing any horses that had particularly short thin tails. Most were quite long and flowing and complemented the horse nicely.

So when is the tail too long? (Serious question)

As for the mane, I had my Arab's traditionally long. Then his pasturemates started chewing it off so I gritted my teeth and cut it to warmblood length. It looks pretty good on him, I braided him more traditionally at our last show and that looked nice as well. So I guess I'm going to suck it up and keep it short. It helps to have a good friend who is a human stylist who will trim and thin it for me.

When I say long I mean dragging on the ground!! Like what you see in Hunter, Country, Western pleasure!! I never said thin :) My mares is nice and thick and right to her fetlock (just like you said like the horses at WEG)!

Long is when it drags on the ground, the horse backs up, and then rips its hair out anyways...

Velvet
Jun. 24, 2011, 10:52 AM
Scallop braids. You can leave the main longer (6") and you don't have to pull much (I don't pull, I thin with a razor comb). You also have less tugging on the horse's neck and less risk of pulling out hairs because they move with their neck better when the horse stretches. :yes:

And they are SUPER simple to put in and take out. I used to do button braids a lot, but found that I prefer scallop braids--and so do my horses.

Sandy M
Jun. 24, 2011, 10:59 AM
Scallop braids. You can leave the main longer (6") and you don't have to pull much (I don't pull, I thin with a razor comb). You also have less tugging on the horse's neck and less risk of pulling out hairs because they move with their neck better when the horse stretches. :yes:

And they are SUPER simple to put in and take out. I used to do button braids a lot, but found that I prefer scallop braids--and so do my horses.

I used scallops for years and years on old Erik. Mark has a THICK mane and HATES having it pulled, so for him button braids work better, but I agree - they are much more comfortable with the scallops and the braids are quick and easy to do. When I braided Erik, who had a chestnut/blond/white mixed mane, I used white yarn and it blended nicely yet looked "showy" with his chestnut/roaning coloring.

InWhyCee Redux
Jun. 24, 2011, 11:11 AM
I'd love to know if anyone else has used a lattice braid.

I never have — but scroll about halfway down this forum (link below) for a very pretty example of one.... I think a lattice can look lovely IF there aren't huge gaps in the "netting."

http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/horse-forums/please-help-me-decide-bachs-showtime-haircut-154012.html

Sonoma City
Jun. 24, 2011, 12:52 PM
I had a horse similar to yours years ago and made up my own type of braid that looked beautiful once I perfected it! I separated it into about 3-4 inch segments and braided it down all the way to the end. If your horse's mane is not thick the braids should be pretty thin. Then I started at the top of the braid and wrapped it around in spirals. Once you get to the end of the braid, tuck the end under the spiral, put a few stitches across it in an X shape, and viola! They're very pretty and look like little rosettes when they're done. I'll see if I can dig up a picture from somewhere!

SillyHorse
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:08 PM
I had a horse similar to yours years ago and made up my own type of braid that looked beautiful once I perfected it! I separated it into about 3-4 inch segments and braided it down all the way to the end. If your horse's mane is not thick the braids should be pretty thin. Then I started at the top of the braid and wrapped it around in spirals. Once you get to the end of the braid, tuck the end under the spiral, put a few stitches across it in an X shape, and viola! They're very pretty and look like little rosettes when they're done. I'll see if I can dig up a picture from somewhere!
That sounds beautiful. Please post the pictures if you find them.

Gloria
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:11 PM
If the tail is dragging on the ground, it is definitely too long for dressage. Think of what will happen when you start to do rein back, or pirouette, or turn on haunches, or...

bort84
Jun. 24, 2011, 03:28 PM
I have to say, I really don't like lattice braids... They always look very 4-H to me (and I even felt that way as a 9 year old girl...) I think they cover up too much of the neck for dressage and can take away from the overall picture.

I have seen some scallop braids that look quite nice, but I like them to be tight to the crest so they aren't all that noticeable.

I also really like a high tight running braid on a horse with a thick mane.

Basically I just like braids that show off a horse's neck, and lattice braids always really distract my eye.

I also think that doing the more standard button braids on a less typical dressage breed, can really make a difference. They just immediately look the part more, and that can be helpful if you're competing against a bunch of typey warmbloods. Judges aren't supposed to be biased, but they often unknowingly are at least a little bit. (This is from a person who rides a little leopard appy in dressage, haha, so I'm no WB snob.)

On the tail, I like it banged right about at the ankles. I read somewhere about a guy who sticks a broom stick or his arm under the dock, and then bangs it at the ankles about there - that's what I like too (can't do it on my appy unfortunately because his tail is so puny). If you have an arab with a super high tail carriage, banging can be tricky (the completely flat bottom looks weird on a very flagged tail). In that case, it's sometimes best to just leave it mostly natural but keep the ends trimmed to where they don't drag on the ground.

Velvet
Jun. 24, 2011, 03:31 PM
No braids. No mane. Just roach it. :lol: :lol:

Sandy M
Jun. 24, 2011, 03:47 PM
There was someone I knew who had a horse that reached FEI levels (not outstanding, but hey, he got there and he was an "off brand" of horse). The horse had poor neck conformation and no amount of dressage work (and I won't comment as to whether his was correct or not) would develop that neck sufficiently to "look good," so he roached the mane and let it grow out into what is called a "Pawnee Roach" (about 4 inches long - so it still stood up) and sculpted that into a vague appearance of a more correct "arched" neck.

bort84
Jun. 24, 2011, 03:55 PM
No braids. No mane. Just roach it. :lol: :lol:

Haha! I had someone recommend that for my appy shortly after I was converting from saddle seat land. I was like, I am JUST getting comfortable pulling his mane, do not scare me with talk of roaching!

I have secretly considered it sometimes though, because he has an annoying cowlick in the middle of his mane that makes him look disheveled no matter how recently it's been pulled, and he has a really lovely neck... He hates clippers though, so it would probably be more trouble than it's worth = ) He'd be the horse with the reverse bridle path, since his clipper issues get worse the closer you get to his ears.

amastrike
Jun. 24, 2011, 04:02 PM
I LOVE button/cobra braids (yes, the "cobra" is because the braid is sort of nestled in a hood - people often do less than 10 to get the look). I think they look lovely on almost all horses.

I thought that's what button braids were supposed to look like :lol:.

Velvet
Jun. 24, 2011, 04:28 PM
BTW, can we not call them "cobra" braids? That's just SO incorrect. Can't stand it when people feel the need to make up terms for something that already exists. Why isn't the term button braid good enough? Too cute?

SillyHorse
Jun. 24, 2011, 07:05 PM
Most button braids don't have the "hood." It's really a different look, and I think the name actually describes it well.

honeylips
Jun. 24, 2011, 08:07 PM
Here are some "cobra" braids on my horse from the other weekend

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x96/melissamulchahey/2011%20Shows/WECJune2011014.jpg

ACP
Jun. 24, 2011, 08:24 PM
When I got my Half Arabian Gelding, Legend, he had been doing Hunter Pleasure, and his tail was kept up in a braid and a tail bag, and his mane was kept in braids. As we were showing in dressage and wanted him to look the part, we banged his tail and pulled his mane. We even thinned and shaped the top of his tail just a bit. It made a real difference in his appearance.

He hates having his mane pulled so we do a tiny bit twice a week or so, because we don't want to make him sour with us right before a show.

Elegante E
Jun. 24, 2011, 09:00 PM
Honeylips: very nice!

I think the term cobra braids is a great description. They are different from button braids so using the same term doesn't make sense. I like using CBs on my guy as he has a really heavy mane and pulling out half of it just to get tiny braids doesn't make sense. This type of braid is also easy and quick to do.

honeylips
Jun. 24, 2011, 09:13 PM
Honeylips: very nice!

I think the term cobra braids is a great description. They are different from button braids so using the same term doesn't make sense. I like using CBs on my guy as he has a really heavy mane and pulling out half of it just to get tiny braids doesn't make sense. This type of braid is also easy and quick to do.

That's big Freddy - my monster sized 4yo.
Button braids are totally different and I like the term Cobra braids or Scallop braids.
The secret is to only braid down as far as you can keep the braid the same width. If it starts to narrow, then stop, rubber band it off and tuck the extra up the back of the braid. Then sew in back and forth about 4 times with yarn and you are done. Takes 15 minutes max.

honeylips
Jun. 24, 2011, 09:18 PM
Here's some video - showing those braids in action

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fLZg70cYL4

amastrike
Jun. 24, 2011, 09:33 PM
Here are my attempt at button/cobra braids:
Closeup (https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/254325_995221770588_15700421_45327456_1089708_n.jp g)
Whole neck (https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/247380_995220243648_15700421_45327425_6999488_n.jp g)

dudleyc
Jun. 24, 2011, 10:10 PM
how do you do the cobra braids? And how would they look on a wb with a nice but thick neck?

slp2
Jun. 24, 2011, 10:51 PM
OK-so what are scallop braids? Does anyone have a pic? I'd appreciate any tips for faster, neat-looking braids. My young mare has a mane that looks like she could star in Ben Hur as a chariot horse. Sticks straight up like a zebra mane! I have been pulling it regularly, so now it is thinner, about 5 inches long. I think I could wrestle it into braids now, but the "cobra" might work since I can't get it to lie down to one side.

Velvet
Jun. 25, 2011, 01:04 AM
Um, well, "cobra" braids appear to be oversized button braids. So I still say the technique is the same, so the name should be the same.

As for scallop, I don't have any pics handy. To create scallop braids, pull (or trim) the mane to about 6" long. Take the mane in one inch sections to braid. Do a normal braid, braiding in the yarn when you get to about the last one third to one quarter of the braid (depends on how you like to "sew/braid" in the yarn). Tie off the ends and braid the entire mane this way. Then, when you have it all braided, take the braid closest to the poll, bring it under the second braid and tie the ends to the base (base of the mane) on the third braid. You do this by pulling it through with a rug hooking tool and then separating the two yarn ends from the first braid and bringing them back around and under the third braid to tie them off and not have the ends show on the top.

Next, you take the second braid and tie it to the fourth braid following the same pattern as the first to the third. You repeat this all the way down the mane. At the end, you take the third from last and tie it to the last, then you take the second from last and tie that to the last. The last braid you do tie up as a modified button. Voila! Scalloped braids! They look gorgeous. People always comment on how they look on your horse. :yes: They are very pretty. I have never understood why more people don't embrace them. Well, those who like to only do rubber bands could never do them, but for those who use yarn, these are the easiest and I think they're the prettiest and most flattering to the majority of horses.

Fancy That
Jun. 27, 2011, 12:22 AM
To see examples of all the braids discussed, go here:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Show-Horses-and-their-Beautiful-Braids

I refer to the Continental Braid (not Lattice) and I agree that the Cobra is just bigger sections of doing a Button Braid.

I also prefer the inverted French Braid (also known as Running Braid) Inverted means it looks like the braid is "sticking out" on the outside. (if you peek underneath a normal running braid, you see the inverted braid :)

I have a Morgan with a very long mane so I do a French/Running braid on her.....

I've also done Scallops, but it's really hard when they have a super long mane. I think it looks better for shortish manes.

dudleyc
Jun. 27, 2011, 07:39 AM
To see examples of all the braids discussed, go here:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Show-Horses-and-their-Beautiful-Braids

I refer to the Continental Braid (not Lattice) and I agree that the Cobra is just bigger sections of doing a Button Braid.
.

I think there is more to it. The cobras appear to be tied off on top of the crest and lie in a hood of loose mane where the buttons lie flat on the neck. There is a really good close up of cobras on eurodressage.com. I think the cobras start the braid straight up towards the sky and tie the button off in such a way that its nested. Its a cool look and I'd love advice from someone that actually braids this way. It does seem a little messy with the loose short hairs sticking out