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I need some serious braiding help...

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  • I need some serious braiding help...

    I have come to the conclusion that my horse's mane is impossible to braid. I know that I don't have to braid, and for some shows I haven't, but when I see everybody else braided (some aren't, most are around here), I just feel sloppy and like we didn't care enough to put the work in.

    I have tried every single braid out there and they either look terrible or fall out, or both. My horse is a braid killer too so that doesn't help at all. However, I have also tried braiding the morning of and it still happens so I don't think him rubbing is the main reason. I am sure it is something I am doing wrong

    His mane is ridiculously thick and he doesn't let me pull it so I just use a SoloComb which does not thin it well at all. I hate to sedate him just to pull his mane. I bought a pair of thinning shears which are really easy to use, but they take forever to make even a little bit of a difference. I've heard of using liniment along their crest to numb it for pulling and I think I'm going to give that a try today, but I have an event this weekend and all I ask is that my horse looks nice! I don't mind braiding in the morning and I don't care how long it takes me, I just want to be able to make him look nice!

    So when I say I have tried everything, I have tried everything, from different sized braids, sewn-in button braids, braiding with elastics, hunter braids, dressage braids, scalloped braids (not just the loops, they were pulled tight against his crest and looked so good, but they fell out ), and the list goes on. I've used water, QuicBraid, gel, hairspray, etc.

    So I know that if I get the pulling done and his mane thinned, it will be plenty easy. But if I can't get it all done by this weekend, anybody have any ideas? Seriously, I'm willing to try anything! Sorry for the novel, and thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Roache(sp) it and be done. Make sure you leave enough to have a hand hold if needed. Lovely haffie mare came in last week and her owner spent HOURS trying to figure out how to thin the mane enough to braid it. I was clipping a few other horses and offered to shave it for her. Mare looks fabulous without the mane and it grows out between shows. Come show time or if it's annoying enough shave it down again. I cannot braid that well anymore and will either have to pay for it, be an arab, or I'll shave it. Sides when it's 100+ degrees outside I am sure mare will appreciate not having what equates to a sweater on her neck.

    Other possibility is a running braid which is far easier once you get the hang of it.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

    Comment


    • #3
      You could roach it. Looks great on many horses.

      You could tranq him, it's not the end of the world, although this close to a show you might not want to. Dormosedan gel is great, and you can administer it youself.

      Or he could learn to man up and have his mane pulled. It's not torture, and most horses can learn to deal with it if you are persistent, patient, and give it a chance.

      For wussy horses it helps to pull the mane when they're warm, even sweaty. I start in the middle where most of them are the least sensitive (and where
      the mane is thickest) and just go at it, a few hairs at a time. They do not get pats, or treats, or rewards unless they are good. If they fuss and fling their heads, I just quietly keep going, a few hairs at a time. When they stand and cope, I'm done for that session. Dramatics are ignored. It helps to have children.

      This CAN be taught, although probably not before this weekend. But if you commit yourself to making him a good citizen about mane pulling, it can happen. The best way to keep up with a thick mane is to pull a little bit literally every day, just keep up with it. That spares you and the horse from marathon pulling sessions, which nobody enjoys.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Have you tried a twitch? The new OTTB I got is horribly sensitive about her mane. I wait until after a good ride when she's hot and sweaty, stick a twitch on, and she's dead quiet. I have worked up to the point where I can do a little bit of her lower mane without now, but still need to twitch for the top. I had never seen one as bad as she was when I got her!

        Comment


        • #5
          I've never been able to pull my mare's mane. She wants nothing to do with it AT ALL. The last time I tried an old fashioned mane pulling she body slammed me into the wall and took a chunk out of the cinder block wash stall. Prior to the invention of the SoloComb we just knocked her out and pulled it as short and thin as we could get it and still be able to braid.

          I used to braid a very thick maned pony for a friend and I will say that it was quite a pain. I had to do very small hunter braids in order to get them to stay in (if you try to put to few in they would get too thick and it was hard to get the braid tight enough to stay in). I would say easily we were putting 30-35 braids in in order to get them small and tight.
          http://community.webshots.com/user/sophiegirl23

          Comment


          • #6
            The thinning scissors might also be what's killing your plaits. Those things kill manes. You tend to end up with a mane that maybe looks ok loose (although the ones I have seen done like that seem to stick up horribly), but with plaits that have hairs sticking out everywhere due to all of the mane hairs being different lengths.

            Also, if your plaits are falling out you need to plait much tighter. When I am plaiting I don't make the first one or two turns too tight, but working down along the plait I make them tighter and tighter. That way, they aren't excruciatingly tight at his neck, but the actual plait itself is very firm.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm waiting for the "anti-braiding contingent" to weigh in, here. (You ladies know who you are ) It is not mandatory to braid (even at recognized HTs), though of course the majority will tell you that it "shows respect for the judge." (And overall turnout is important, though that includes many more things than the mane...)

              What level are you competing? It sounds like you have literally tried everything, and are now bashing your head against the wall. (I think we all feel for you!) How messy does this horse's mane look unbraided? If it sticks straight up like a Mohawk (and is even all along the crest), you should be okay with not braiding, judges *really* don't care as long as the look is "pulled together" and neat. If it's messy, long, and falls on both sides of the neck, that's another thing.

              Could you post some pix?

              Could you roach the mane, or does your horse not have the neck that would look good with a roached mane? (Like Fjords, Haffies, Drafts, etc.) Do you like to keep some mane to grab on x-country?

              I have a stubborn student who REFUSES to allow her mare's looooong mane to be pulled, even though she leases her out (and half of the lease is to a Pony Clubber who will be taking her to camp soon, I am going to start a spin off of this thread to get some input on this dilemma.)

              Good luck to you, that must be frustrating!
              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

              Comment


              • #8
                Roach! We have a couple of drafty-crosses that have stupid amounts of mane, and they both look terrific roached.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would agree that a neat, clean unbraided mane is probably nicer than really bad braids.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
                    I'm waiting for the "anti-braiding contingent" to weigh in, here. (You ladies know who you are )
                    I heard someone calling my name

                    I am ridiculously braiding-challenged and so often running behind schedule that I have given up on the whole thing. Plus my horses live out in a HUGE field so braiding the day before is pretty hopeless.

                    I shoot for neat and tidy. I am a bit at a loss with my draft cross as he does the mohawk look very nicely and I've discovered he actually gets tight through his neck when I braid-- I am thinking about roaching his mane.

                    But, seriously, if you are going T and below, and not at the AECs, you can get away without braiding at all. Just be neat.
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by asterix View Post
                      I heard someone calling my name

                      I am ridiculously braiding-challenged and so often running behind schedule that I have given up on the whole thing. Plus my horses live out in a HUGE field so braiding the day before is pretty hopeless.

                      I shoot for neat and tidy. I am a bit at a loss with my draft cross as he does the mohawk look very nicely and I've discovered he actually gets tight through his neck when I braid-- I am thinking about roaching his mane.

                      But, seriously, if you are going T and below, and not at the AECs, you can get away without braiding at all. Just be neat.


                      And here I thought I was being all sneaky by *not* naming you!

                      asterix's draft cross is WICKED cute with his Mohawk, really eye-catching (and the judges seem to love him); she *never* braids his mane!
                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Roach the sucker. If you shape it to their neck, it looks good on most. I will never braid another mane EVER again.
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Two thoughts

                          There was a thread last year about using NAIR to thin mane, no pulling, done quickly. You might consider that.

                          2. Get some professional help. After step 1, get a braider to help you. There are probably some tricks that would improve your braids.

                          Then you'll be all ready for next time.

                          PKN

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Solo Combs are hell on manes, at least when they're in my hands. I have a 17hh+ OTTB who HATES to have his mane pulled. He puts his shoulder into me and walks right over me & my step stool when he isn't backing up or swinging around. I finally broke down & bought a Solo Comb after a couple of years of fighting him and was extatic at the outcome... until I tried to braid his mane a few weeks later. It looked like my 5 year old son had done it (really, I'm a good braider, I swear!). I threw away the Solo Comb. Now I use Ace and a twitch and do it when I'm not rushed, PMSing, grumpy, etc. and manage to get it done. No way I want to roach it. His neck is long and elegant and somtimes I need a handle

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JFCeventer View Post
                              I have come to the conclusion that my horse's mane is impossible to braid. I know that I don't have to braid, and for some shows I haven't, but when I see everybody else braided (some aren't, most are around here), I just feel sloppy and like we didn't care enough to put the work in.

                              I have tried every single braid out there and they either look terrible or fall out, or both. My horse is a braid killer too so that doesn't help at all. However, I have also tried braiding the morning of and it still happens so I don't think him rubbing is the main reason. I am sure it is something I am doing wrong

                              His mane is ridiculously thick and he doesn't let me pull it so I just use a SoloComb which does not thin it well at all. I hate to sedate him just to pull his mane. I bought a pair of thinning shears which are really easy to use, but they take forever to make even a little bit of a difference. I've heard of using liniment along their crest to numb it for pulling and I think I'm going to give that a try today, but I have an event this weekend and all I ask is that my horse looks nice! I don't mind braiding in the morning and I don't care how long it takes me, I just want to be able to make him look nice!

                              So when I say I have tried everything, I have tried everything, from different sized braids, sewn-in button braids, braiding with elastics, hunter braids, dressage braids, scalloped braids (not just the loops, they were pulled tight against his crest and looked so good, but they fell out ), and the list goes on. I've used water, QuicBraid, gel, hairspray, etc.

                              So I know that if I get the pulling done and his mane thinned, it will be plenty easy. But if I can't get it all done by this weekend, anybody have any ideas? Seriously, I'm willing to try anything! Sorry for the novel, and thanks in advance!
                              You probably won't have monumental success before this weekend but I echo (actually, I shout it from rooftops) that if you want to be able to braid your horse's mane DO NOT USE A SOLO-COMB OR ANY OTHER "TRICK!" You are going to need to pull. Think of it as waxing your eyebrows (or other parts). The first few times are Hell, but eventually it gets bearable. If your horse is naturally sensitive to pulling, it can get better over time with routine work. I typically pull(ed) a little every time I rode, and that kept things nicely in check. The trick is, I've learned, don't do the backcomb/wrap around method. Wear a pair of leather or rubber gloves (yellow dishwashing are best, but now they have grippy rubber garden gloves that I think would also be ideal) then, push back once, and then pull up at about a 45 degree angle from the horse's crest. A few hairs at a time will usually get the job done. Wash your horse's mane and make sure he doesn't have a buildup of dandruff (very common on non-pulled thick manes) or other scurf. I also use a human hairbrush on the mane daily - the kind with the ball covered wire tines - brushing the mane from the roots to the end.

                              Also, regarding the twitch, I've recently been introduced to using the large triangular clamps as a no-hands twitch solution. You can get them in the automotive section of a large box store, or at any hardware store. I buy the ones with the rubber tips - or will wrap them well with VetRap - and make sure you have really large ones. Just pull the muzzle down like you were going to twitch, but clamp instead. It REALLY works well. I do not use these for long periods of time, I will say, but I also don't like to leave a horse twitched for an extended period of time either - just enough to get those otherwise non-negotiable tasks out of the way.
                              When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm voting for roaching it.

                                But if it will help here's a pony trick I learned from the hunter world:
                                1. part the mane in half all the way up the neck
                                2. clip a 1/2" strip down the middle working in small portions from poll to withers
                                3. wet the mane and comb like normal then trim it to about 4" with scissors and a small toothed straight comb
                                4. the end result should be a normal looking thinned mane that braids nicely


                                Still - I'd roach it
                                Camels spit, Mary, camels - Catherine Haddad "Dressage Critic

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've never been able to pull my mare's mane. She wants nothing to do with it AT ALL. The last time I tried an old fashioned mane pulling she body slammed me into the wall and took a chunk out of the cinder block wash stall.
                                  sounds like my old mare. She was the devil in a horse's body.
                                  It was quite an ordeal to pull her mane.

                                  We had to use a chain as a war bridle to load her.
                                  So one day I tried that for pulling.
                                  I put the chain on as a war bridle and then dropped the lead rope and stood on it! (so the rope was tight).

                                  She tried to throw her head up in the air and be rude several times before getting over it. I'm pretty big though (6') and she was only 15.2h so it worked.

                                  Eventually (within 2 years or so) she would stand still for me with just a chain over her gum and the rope across her neck (no tension and chain loose).

                                  So, it can be done. Once the mane is under contorl it's much easier. You'll have some months (12 or so) of work to do before the damage of thinning combs is gone.

                                  If you don't care about braids, just roach it. ; )
                                  http://kaboomeventing.com/
                                  http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by FoxChaser View Post
                                    Solo Combs are hell on manes, at least when they're in my hands. I have a 17hh+ OTTB who HATES to have his mane pulled. He puts his shoulder into me and walks right over me & my step stool when he isn't backing up or swinging around. I finally broke down & bought a Solo Comb after a couple of years of fighting him and was extatic at the outcome... until I tried to braid his mane a few weeks later. It looked like my 5 year old son had done it (really, I'm a good braider, I swear!). I threw away the Solo Comb. Now I use Ace and a twitch and do it when I'm not rushed, PMSing, grumpy, etc. and manage to get it done. No way I want to roach it. His neck is long and elegant and somtimes I need a handle
                                    Ahh the exact same thing happened to my dad last summer! His horse has a very thick and hard to pull mane, he got a solo comb, it appeared to work wonders... and then we got to the first show of the year and realized it was basically unbraidable!

                                    I'm a little better at braiding than he is (more years of practice, nimbler fingers - though he can really hold his own in the right conditions!) and so I got saddled with the recovery mission for the rest of the summer... It's ok though, very worth it to get to show with my dad! But the solo comb most definitely was unceremoniously tossed after that discovery.
                                    http://greybrookeventing.blogspot.com/
                                    http://kerickso.tumblr.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Another one with the mane from hell. Or maybe just Cousin It in horse form.

                                      She is OK about it being pulled - it comes out easily, and I think that makes a difference for them - some of them have very tight manes and I think they hurt.

                                      BUT, I have to pull her mane ALL THE TIME. Every day a few hairs. And then once a week or so I pull it for 15-20 minutes and have a giant pile of hair on the floor with no discernable result on her neck.

                                      If I start this in March come July I've whacked it down to a decent mane - I leave it longer and sew in about 12-14 fat "english hunter" braids. I don't know what they are really called. They look the best of all the various things I've tried. I don't have the time or patience to get her mane to hunter pretty length and thin-ness. I remind myself the mane is the price to pay for that gorgeous tail.

                                      Does he object when you pull out 2-3 hairs at a time? When I had a horse who found mane pulling painful I tranqu'd her and just got it done. She fortunately had a short thin mane.

                                      I tried Anbesol and it just made her sticky and pink.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I do twitch as necessary (Jack's makes a great clip on twitch you can use by yourself!) and try to pull only a little bit at a time every day.

                                        I am by no means a great braider, but what works for me: after I ride and hose my horse off the day before an event, while he is soaking wet, I rubber band mane firmly into braid-width sections and turn him out with it banded over. Then at 4 in the morning, at least it is lying on the right side and comparatively tidy. I hose the horse off again (almost always a requirement anyway) and tighten the bands as necessary--like tightening a ponytail. Then I braid each section and twist the end into the rubber band, then double it up and secure it with a third rubber band. That way it STAYS. And once it's on the right side and banded, the day-of braiding takes ~20 minutes.

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