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Eventers: To Braid or not to braid

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  • Eventers: To Braid or not to braid

    Do you braid for all levels including the lower levels? Do you braid only for Prelim and above? Championships only? Have you heard anything from dressage judges? What does the rule book say?

  • #2
    Braid. Always. No matter what.

    One time, I didn't braid. And I felt like a total schmuk. It was 2 weeks ago. I'll never not braid again.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    • #3
      Ditto. Braid ALWAYS for all levels! No questions.


      • #4
        1. The rule book says NOTHING about braiding. NOTHING.

        2. I don't braid unless it's champs or Prelim +.

        3. When I ride a good test, I get a good score. Even when I'm not braided.

        4. [Exception to #3] In 4 years of competing at BN-T unbraided, ONCE, I got a comment on a dressage test -- judge wrote something about looking untidy (which I took to be code for unbraided since I looked exactly the same as I always do), then wrote "(not brai...)" -- and crossed that out...because...YOU CAN'T TAKE POINTS OFF FOR THIS...but it clearly bugged her...but for what it's worth, I got what I thought was an entirely fair score for that test anyway.

        5. The reality on the ground? You will see unbraided horses, lots of them, at BN and N. Some at Training. Hardly any at Prelim.

        6. At AEC's the year I competed at Training, we did ALL braid for dressage. I was in the top ten in SJ, and about 75% of us were unbraided.
        The big man -- my lost prince

        The little brother, now my main man


        • #5
          Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
          Braid. Always. No matter what.

          I figure with the amount of time and effort I've put into training, the least I can do is put a bit of extra elbow grease and time into making my horse as tidy and well turned out as possible.

          I also think it shows respect to the judge.


          • #6
            always braid for dressage.
            I love the look of perfect button braids.

            I braid for SJ if I'm in the top 10 at championships.
            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


            • #7
              I do. I think it's a sign of respect. Plus it makes ME feel more professional. I might not re-braid for Stadium if XC is second, but I always braid for dressage. Or I pay someone to braid for me if my hands hurt too much (which is most of the time now, alas).
              --Becky in TX
              Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
              She who throws dirt is losing ground.


              • #8
                I braid for all levels and all shows.


                • #9
                  I always braid. Most events up here are 1 day, so I braid for dressage and then leave em in until I'm done. I like to have the mane out of the way for xc or else I get my rubber reins all messed up in mane when I go from a bridge to a "WHOA YOU **** **** ****"

                  If I do a multi-day I braid for dressage then pull out, regardless of the event. The mane also gets wet down so it's not curly. lol.

                  For a championships or FEI I braid for sj regardless of my placing.

                  But to be fair, my horse takes MAYBE ten braids and I can usually do them really well in 15 minutes, if that.


                  • #10
                    rarely braid for novice...sometimes braid for Training...usually braid for Prelim.

                    I think it is a dumb tradition. Respect for me is having a healthy prepared horse....braids are just window dressing.

                    My horses hate having their manes braided too
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #11
                      Yes - she does!

                      Originally posted by Kairoshorses View Post
                      I do. I think it's a sign of respect. Plus it makes ME feel more professional. I might not re-braid for Stadium if XC is second, but I always braid for dressage. Or I pay someone to braid for me if my hands hurt too much (which is most of the time now, alas).
                      And I am so lucky that she allows me to braid her wonderful ponies! And they do look very professional in their turn out - and I do boots! And greet them with peppermints in the Start Box! That is what a good Full Service Wench does for her fellow Adult Riders!


                      • #12
                        I always braid, but only because I like the way they look, and because I feel really really strange if I don't. I haven't braided exactly twice. The first time was my very last Novice, and I felt very very strange and like I wasn't competing. The second time was two weeks ago at the Texas Rose Horse Park. I originally was going to braid, but after walking the XC course, my friend and I decided to WD. It was also about 45 degrees and raining all day. I was not about to braid for a CT at that point, so I didn't. And it still felt strange to be unbraided in the ring.

                        If it bothers you to be unbraided, then BRAID! Otherwise, do it if you feel like it, don't if you don't want to. Unless it's championships or FEI.


                        • #13
                          My mares have thick manes that grow like weeds. The pulling process takes many long sessions just to keep the mane under control.

                          I can do a lovely set of braids in less than 20 minutes.

                          So it's often much easier to braid.


                          • #14
                            I like to braid because it makes me feel more polished and professional, lets them focus on my horse more than their mane flopping to both sides. But only for dressage.


                            • #15
                              Theres a few shows around here that STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to NOT braid "Save your time for something else" is what they say! I love it!!

                              Of course I also have a very thin maned poor Appy, so... his braids are usually awful. I used to mohawk/roach him, and I swear... that looked so much better than his thin little pathetic braids. And looked better than not braiding....

                              Oh well...


                              • #16
                                Another perspective

                                I have to say this again:

                                Braiding is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

                                It's not in the rule book. It's not on the score sheet. It does not contribute to safety in any way. Some organizers tell competitors to spend the time walking the cross-country course again instead of braiding.

                                As somebody who has helped run many horse trials I find this phrase "showing respect" as pure unadulterated bovine defecation.

                                Take pity on the braiders; they can't help themselves.
                                But all the finest horsemen out—the men to Beat the Band—
                                You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand


                                • #17

                                  When I was eventing, (N-P) I always braided. I did beautiful braids, and also groomed at the 1, 2 & 3 star levels.

                                  I personally liked the polish and professionalism, and always got my courses walked plenty of times.
                                  I guess it's personal...I just loved the look of a perfectly braided mane, well pulled and banged tail. I felt soooo.....British.
                                  What would you try if you knew you would not fail?


                                  • #18
                                    I rarely braid as I almost always show alone, have at least a 4 hr drive to any show I go to, and I have enough to do and think about that is more important to my horse's well being and safety than braiding.

                                    What I DO do though is to pull his mane very short, his is fine and well behaved so it lies neatly on one side of his neck, and being very (unbraidably) short means that it doesn't flap everywhere and isn't distracting.

                                    It actually looks tidier than the couple times I did braid, had him try to rub them out 10 min before I had to be on and warming up, and went in the ring with wonky half repaired braids. My guy is a princess about braids too. If they aren't just right and one pulls a little bit he gets so irritated that he can be almost unrideable. It's not worth it, IMO.


                                    • #19
                                      I only braid for Training and Championships. I make sure my horse's manes are neat and pulled and everything else is clean and looking good. It has never affected my scores at Novice or BN. My horse's hate having their manes braided and it becomes a not fun chore for me and them, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.


                                      • #20
                                        I like braiding because it gives me something to do when its too dark to walk xc anymore ( or at least too dark to walk without freaking me out!) and I cant sleep yet. Im lucky Charlie doesnt rub them out at night though... I might not braid as often if she did
                                        RIP Charlie and Toby