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Not Braiding for a Rated Event...thoughts?

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  • Not Braiding for a Rated Event...thoughts?

    Ok, I'm embarrassed to admit this because I'm a huge proponent of looking your best at a show, regardless of the caliber of the show. However, I recently got a new horse, and she HATES being braided. I mean HATES. I've accomplished a fully-braided mane and forelock once with her. That ordeal took two hours for two braiders armed with lots of hay, a twitch, and a chain lead rope. Both of us are seasoned braiders, with a typical time of 30 minutes per mane, individually. It was only sheer luck that we were able to braid her forelock. We each could easily have come away severely injured.

    In my hunter/jumper days, I never would have considered not braiding for an "A" show. But, now, I'm wondering if it's worth all the trouble. At our last rated event, I noticed there were some entries that weren't braided. What are your thoughts? We are currently competing at Training and looking to move up to Prelim in the fall.

  • #2
    Personally I feel like it is really tacky not to be braided at that level. For BN/N I would maybe let it slide. But even that aside there comes a point where braids are required. It seems you might as well just start practicing now bc the horse is just going to have to learn to deal with it.. and you could try to leave the forelock undone...

    Comment


    • #3
      If the horse is that bad about it, I say don't braid.

      I stopped doing hunter braids for events 2-3 years ago. I let my TB's mane grow and do a single French braid. Takes a lot less time to do, though it usually doesn't last too well.
      That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by sarah88 View Post
        Personally I feel like it is really tacky not to be braided at that level. For BN/N I would maybe let it slide. But even that aside there comes a point where braids are required. It seems you might as well just start practicing now bc the horse is just going to have to learn to deal with it.. and you could try to leave the forelock undone...
        I agree - I think it's tacky, too. But, I'm wondering whether it has any affect on dressage scores. I mean, if everything else is neat and tidy, does it really matter? I'm not too concerned with other riders thinking I'm tacky. They can think what they please, and those who know me will know that my other horses are always braided perfectly.

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        • #5
          Roach the mane.

          Over the years I have run into a couple of eventers that have done this.

          I would not go unbraided at prelim unless disaster struck.

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          • #6
            reallly should but,...

            try button braids, they are bigger; don't need to be so tight; then, work on conditioning your horse to
            feel differently about braiding If you have use of a laser , use it on the three acupressure points on the head for calm; it works very well for horses who, are reactive like this; how is your horse once braided?You really should braid at this level, but, if your horse gets too upset, skip it. have the mane a neat length and lieing flat
            breeder of Mercury!

            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Carol Ames View Post
              try button braids, they are bigger; don't need to be so tight; then, work on conditioning your horse to
              feel differently about braiding If you have use of a laser , use it on the three acupressure points on the head for calm; it works very well for horses who, are reactive like this; how is your horse once braided?You really should braid at this level, but, if your horse gets too upset, skip it. have the mane a neat length and lieing flat
              Carol - talk to me about this laser. I've never heard of this!

              Also - I have been doing button braids (there's no way she would stand for hunter braids), but she's super-sensitive near her ears and forelock. Once braided, she's fine.

              Comment


              • #8
                I second the roaching idea...much neater than and unbraided mane, especially at Prelim.

                I wouldn't be caught dead with an unbraided mane above BN, and a lot of dressage judges are very traditional so it could definitely affect your score negatively.
                No Trouble
                2/2/05 - 7/29/13
                Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PrinceSheik325 View Post
                  I agree - I think it's tacky, too. But, I'm wondering whether it has any affect on dressage scores. I mean, if everything else is neat and tidy, does it really matter? I'm not too concerned with other riders thinking I'm tacky. They can think what they please, and those who know me will know that my other horses are always braided perfectly.

                  It will have no effect and isn't even tacky.

                  Pull her mane short. Keep it neat---and make everything else shine (tack very clean).

                  I rarely braid for Novice. And have even not braided for Training and Prelim when I had early times and worked the day before. I never saw a change in my score at all. I do typically braid at those levels but if I had a horse that truly hated it....I'd go without as my score would be MORE likely to be negatively affected by riding a pi$$ off mare because she is braided than because I didn't braid.

                  A judge isn't looking at your braids. But I would work on getting her more comfortable with the braiding if I could.
                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I competed my guy up to training level and never braided him. He hated it! If he was braided he was so grumpy and unenthusiastic that my dressage scores were always a couple points lower than when I left him unbraided. His mane laid nicely to the side and was always neat. I did get a lot of remarks from friends but he did better without, so I really didn't care. I never got any comments from judges and tended to get very good scores for this horse as dressage was NOT his favorite anyways. I competed him at rated shows and some were the bigger ones like at Ky. horse park and Lamplight.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting thread to me as an eventing newbie. I am going to schooling show in May doing below BN (tadpole) I would braid if I could but the pony I am riding has an huge kinky mane I can't braid, roaching would be an option but I love her darling crazy mane. For this show don't care but if we ever did do rated I don't know what I would do, I can braid the mess but looks much worse than not braided. Then there is my Haffie, his mane is huge and gorgeous and I don't know how to do anything than regular hunter braids, guess I would have to hire someone on this one

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carried Away View Post
                        a lot of dressage judges are very traditional so it could definitely affect your score negatively.
                        Please tell me where on the score sheet there is a spot for grading the mane appearance?

                        Oh, there's not.

                        Judges. Don't. Care. Seriously. It's true. It's not tacky to leave it unbraided, your poor horse can't tolerate it and there's no reason to cause her pain just so that she has braids. Roach it if you need it super neat, otherwise just keep it short and tidy, and it won't be a big deal. Any judge who lets the appearance of the mane effect scores should no longer have their judges card.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Personally, I braid all the time for everything. I think it is tacky not to, especially above Novice. However, that being said, I don't really stare at unbraided people at events and say "Oh, that person is really tacky because they didn't braid." I just do it for myself and I feel like it is paying respect to the judge. Plus, it doesn't really matter if other people don't like the fact that you are unbraided.

                          On the other hand, I honestly do think a judge may be slightly more inclined to not give you as good scores, not because they will particularly notice that you are unbraided, but mainly because being braided is a part of the whole "picture." And like it or not, I truly feel like a horse looks less fancy when they are unbraided and makes the movements look just average, where a nicely braided mane makes the test. If this makes any sense at all, I am not saying that judges will purposely knock you for not being braided, they are technically not even allowed to do that, I just think braiding takes your test the extra mile and adds polish and may be that extra bump the judge needs to give you an 8 instead of a 7 without even realizing it. And just to add one last time so people are absolutely clear, I am not saying that the judge will change your score for better or worse based on whether you are braided or not.

                          But since it seems like you want to be braided and look nice, I would suggest a few things. One, as others have said, you could roach it. I know it seems like you could never do it, but most horses actually look really nice with roached manes. If that won't cut it, you could try starting at her withers and work your way up if she is that sensitive around her ears/head. You may have already tried that, but if not, its worth a shot, that's what I have to do with my guy because he's super headshy. What exactly is it that she does to avoid being braided? Kick, bite, rear, spook? I'm just trying to get a picture of what it that she is doing. Other than that, just spending some time everyday when you groom her fussing with her mane/forelock/head/ears would be my best suggestion.

                          Does she tolerate having her mane pulled? Is she okay once she is braided? If she is not fine even when she is done being braided, I really would roach it because forcing the issue is going to do terrible things to your dressage score. If she is fine once braided, teaching her to deal with it is probably the way to go.

                          Sorry for the length of this, just trying to help Good luck!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I usually braid, but it's certainly not the end of the world. I've also done roached, which looks fabulous on a horse with a good neck. You can also braid her mane, but give her a slightly long bridlepath and leave her forelock unbraided-- I've seen this done and it looks ok and may be enough to reduce the trauma. Don't get killed for it, is what I'm saying.

                            Roached pic (taken at recognized T): http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Or...001&po=1&pc=48

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carried Away View Post
                              I second the roaching idea...much neater than and unbraided mane, especially at Prelim.

                              I wouldn't be caught dead with an unbraided mane above BN, and a lot of dressage judges are very traditional so it could definitely affect your score negatively.
                              The mane is there so you can grab it over fences. Don't roach it.

                              If a dressage judge incorporates braiding into your score, that judge is not following the rules and USEF should be notified.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have scribed sooooo many times, and I have my standard questions I ask, just for education. Not ONE judge cares. Most said they dont even notice. Scribing, I can tell ya, most dont notice. Half have said they notice helmet vs. top hat, and of those less then half care, and none admitted to scoring differently.
                                May the sun shine on you daily, and your worries be gone with the wind.
                                www.mmceventing.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If it's making the horse miserable, skip it. But keep working on it at home in case you want to have the option at other venues. A horse has to get used to the demands of its job, and one of them may be braiding. Better to give them a chance to get used to it and have them tolerate it down the road, IMO.

                                  I have roached Bonnie this year since she took the winter off and her mane is GOD-AWFUL if I don't pull and trim it constantly. It looks just fine on her but I'd hate to not have some mane to grab if I were jumping!
                                  Click here before you buy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sarah88 View Post
                                    But even that aside there comes a point where braids are required. It seems you might as well just start practicing now bc the horse is just going to have to learn to deal with it.. and you could try to leave the forelock undone...
                                    Please show me where it says this in the rulebook.

                                    OP, I've shown through Training without braiding. Nobody even looked crossways at me.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wasn't it Walter Zeitel (sp?) who said he'd rather see a rider spend 30 minutes on a good warm-up than on a good braid job?

                                      Braids look good, they show off the horse's crest and they complete the formalwear look. But, if your horse just won't tolerate it, I would can it. Pull it short, use some hairspray to lay it nice and flat and put in a good test.

                                      I agree with JER on this one. You might get a comment at the bottom of your test, but it really shouldn't affect your score.
                                      Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                      The Grove at Five Points

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ACMEeventing View Post
                                        Pull it short, use some hairspray to lay it nice and flat and put in a good test.
                                        Tip from an old jumper groom. Wet the mane--add some hair gel and comb over. It doesn't take much gel. Let it dry then comb it out. Generally works really well....but try it at home a few times before at a show
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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