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Learning To Braid?

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  • Learning To Braid?

    After finding out the very large amounts of money that braiding can make one - I am thinking of trying it.

    As of right now, the Lucky Braids video is out of the question. It'll be on my Christmas list, but I cannot swing $75 right now on something I cannot put to use right away.

    I am planning to practice at home first - with yarn? Ribbon? What can I use?

    Will Youtube videos serve until I can buy the Lucky Braids video? I found one from Greenhawk that seems good.

    Since I do not have my own horse, could I ask my trainer to borrow a patient schoolie to practice on once my at-home technique is perfected?

    Also, if I was to go along with the barn to braid - would I just get my own hotel room or something? How would the transport work if I was by myself, sans parents?

    Thanks! sorry this is so jumbled
    Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!

  • #2
    That Greenhawk video is very good. Excellent place to start.

    The shorter the horse the better for your first forays into braiding -- it'll be easier on your arms!

    Yarn in a contrasting color to start with -- pick something like white for a black mane and dark blue for a lighter mane. That way you can step back and evaluate your braids for uniformity.

    Comment


    • #3
      You can take a belt and put it around your thigh and loop yarn through it to practice braiding. This will help in terms of getting your form down and is great because you can sit in front of your computer and practice, but nothing really replaces working on a real horse

      Get yourself a good ladder, like a three step one...then horsie size isnt so much of an issue, but you definitely shouldnt be reaching up much to braid no matter what horse you are working on.

      Practice all the time. A few braids each time you are done riding will give you exposure without becoming frustrating. Borrowing a horse to do a full mane to see what your timing looks like is a good idea once you have practiced a bit.

      Practice as much as you can....it's not hard per se, but it does take a lot of practice to be good!

      Comment


      • #4
        Products for braiding like Quicbraid really help. One of the things she emphasizes in the Lucky Braid DVD is making each braid the same width, I use the comb as my guide, and that all the knots at the ends are even with each other.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PonyPeep View Post
          After finding out the very large amounts of money that braiding can make one - I am thinking of trying it.

          As of right now, the Lucky Braids video is out of the question. It'll be on my Christmas list, but I cannot swing $75 right now on something I cannot put to use right away.

          I am planning to practice at home first - with yarn? Ribbon? What can I use?

          Will Youtube videos serve until I can buy the Lucky Braids video? I found one from Greenhawk that seems good.

          Since I do not have my own horse, could I ask my trainer to borrow a patient schoolie to practice on once my at-home technique is perfected?

          Also, if I was to go along with the barn to braid - would I just get my own hotel room or something? How would the transport work if I was by myself, sans parents?

          Thanks! sorry this is so jumbled
          Practice makes perfect! And yes, the Greenhawk video is a good place to start. Start your practicing with light yarn on a dark horse or dark yarn on a light horse. You need to be able to see what you're doing. You also need a well-pulled mane to practice with. Nothing worse than trying to work with too much or too little hair! In time you will learn exactly what thickness of mane you prefer to work with.

          Each braid should have the same amount of hair in it and should be the same length. You also need to start the yarn into the braid and tie it off at the same point on each braid. Consistency is what makes a mane look polished.

          As far as going with the barn (I assume this is the barn you ride with?), most barns split hotel rooms in groups, so it's likely you could share with someone. The major problem is not having a ride. Braiders generally work between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Someone might be able to drop you off at the barn at night check, but you would be stuck there all night and probably wouldn't be able to get a ride back to the hotel in the morning (or if you did get a ride you would then be stuck at the hotel for the rest of the day). Your parents might not love the idea of you being left there alone overnight, either.

          Don't let the logistics of actually going to a show and making money scare you off of learning how to braid, though. It takes lots of practice to get really polished and efficient, and by the time you would be practiced enough and have enough stamina to actually braid all night, you'll probably have a driver's license.

          To clarify--it's the people who braid all night that make the "big" money. You could still make a bit of cash by braiding at local shows and picking up a couple manes here and there.

          Also, don't forget to learn how to braid tails! Professional braiders are expected to do both (and know how to tie in a fake tail).
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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by klmck63 View Post
            As far as going with the barn (I assume this is the barn you ride with?), most barns split hotel rooms in groups, so it's likely you could share with someone. The major problem is not having a ride. Braiders generally work between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Someone might be able to drop you off at the barn at night check, but you would be stuck there all night and probably wouldn't be able to get a ride back to the hotel in the morning (or if you did get a ride you would then be stuck at the hotel for the rest of the day). Your parents might not love the idea of you being left there alone overnight, either.
            You're very right, I was thinking about this as well. This March I'll be old enough to get my permit, and the year after that, my license. Hopefully in two-ish years I'll be good enough to go to the bigger shows! It's my dream to go to WEF for a month and braid all night, honestly

            Thanks for the replies so far, everyone!
            Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by littlecreek View Post
              Products for braiding like Quicbraid really help. One of the things she emphasizes in the Lucky Braid DVD is making each braid the same width, I use the comb as my guide, and that all the knots at the ends are even with each other.
              Quic Braid is great. OP, if you can't afford cans and cans of Quic Braid, you can make it homemade from super-cheap drugstore hair gel + water. I do recommend buying a real can of Quic Braid so you can learn to make homemade that's the exact same texture/hold.

              If you don't already know how to pull manes, make sure you perfect the art of doing it well and very quickly. A good braiding client will have pulled the mane before you get there, but many won't--or they won't have pulled it to the correct length for braiding, so you'll have to touch it up.

              Once you get good, be sure to get pictures of your work. The best braiders can work via word of mouth, but if you're the new kid on the block, picture evidence can help you get rolling.
              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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              • #8
                The Lucky Braids DVD is very, very useful. Just be aware that it covers manes only, not tails. It's definitely a good idea to learn to do tails, too.

                Practice makes perfect, even if you only put in 10 braids every day. It's also helpful to practice on different horses so you can cope with different manes. They are not all the same. Not even close.

                Once you get the basic system down, practice going faster while still doing a good job. The faster you can go, the better.

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                • #9
                  OT, but what length SHOULD the mane be?
                  COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                  "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by VaqueroToro View Post
                    Yarn in a contrasting color to start with -- pick something like white for a black mane and dark blue for a lighter mane. That way you can step back and evaluate your braids for uniformity.
                    Honestly, if you've already got any kind of yarn around, find the most obnoxious color you have, and just use it to practice. I crochet, so when I started learning to braid my (chestnut) mare, I just grabbed a little remnant ball of bright purple. Looked hideous, but showed up well and was great to learn with, even if it did make you

                    I've never used any "product" in the mane, just done it while the mane's still wet from the bath. I find that helps a lot in braiding. (Then again, I'm frequently braiding for events/dressage, and while I do hunter-style braids, I tend to put in about half as many as you'd do for a regular A circuit hunter.)

                    Maybe it's time for me to start braiding the forelock every time I ride, so it looks as decent as my regular braids do.
                    A Year In the Saddle

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While the Lucky Braids DVD is worthwhile, as someone already mentioned, it doesn't show you how to do tails. There is a Braiding Techniques DVD that used to be available from Dover for about $20, I would highly recommend it, and it has an excellent section on tail braiding as well.

                      Once you develop a good technique, practice, practice, practice, the more you practice the more proficient, and faster, you will become. The faster you are the more horses you can braid, and the more $ you can make.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                        OT, but what length SHOULD the mane be?
                        I was taught that it should be the length of the pulling comb when the mane is flat on the neck.
                        "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

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                        • #13
                          Practice! I know my biggest problem is halfway through my hands start to cramp.

                          I learned to count your turns so all the braids end up the same length. That helps with the consistency of the size of the finished braids.

                          I wish I had the patience to do my own horse. He is still young and doesn't stand still so I get frustrated!

                          But once he gets better with it, I am really going to start doing it.

                          Now if I could only figure out the tails.....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BAC View Post
                            There is a Braiding Techniques DVD available from Dover, I would highly recommend it, and it has an excellent section on tail braiding as well.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                              OT, but what length SHOULD the mane be?
                              I preferred 3" - 3 1/2" when I was braiding and definitely not longer than 4" max.

                              Samotis, tails are easy, watch the DVD I mentioned, Braiding Techniques, and I'll bet you will be able to learn easily. They also take less time than manes.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                                OT, but what length SHOULD the mane be?
                                Strictly a matter of preference. Some braiders prefer longer. I like about 4". But all braiders can deal with hiding the ends of a longer mane. 4-6" is pretty standard.
                                Laurie

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Ruthann's video is the only one that emphasizes " the bottom line" of the braids being where the eye goes, and so it is important to get that even. Once I got that right, my braids became Devon - worthy.
                                  Laurie

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Oh, and OP, this is NOT a fun job, no matter how much you make. I don't know of a single braider who doesn't wish they could do something else. The hours are horrible, no life other than braiding, it is extremely hard on your body, especially your back, legs, feet and hands, and you have to pay ALL your own expenses. Barns don't typically have their own braider. They contract it out. So your hotel, meals, car, gas, insurance, equipment and supplies, all come off the top of anything you earn. That is IF. You can break into the business. The A circuit braiders are pretty protective of their customers. Your best bet would be to get to know one and when you are good enough, pick up some of their overflow to get you started.

                                    I mainly just do our horses, but occasionally, I pick up some outside jobs from my braider pals. This has ranged from a couple of all nighters, which I hated, to fitting in a couple manes and tails last weekend. Easy schedule, quick money.
                                    Laurie

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by lauriep View Post
                                      Ruthann's video is the only one that emphasizes " the bottom line" of the braids being where the eye goes, and so it is important to get that even. Once I got that right, my braids became Devon - worthy.
                                      I was JUST thinking of that when I braided the other day. "Keep an eye on the bottom line!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        One of my former trainers taught me how to braid - she braided for many other people, taught many people, and also makes fake tails (was one of the original people to make them). All that said, here is a link to a 30 minute video on the AQHA website with one of her former youth who is now a trainer doing a demo on how to braid a mane. It is very good, lasts about 30 minutes. There is one big thing I would change (Stacy does it differently than how we were originally taught, and with how USEF riders rebraid daily, instead of leaving them in for the entire week like AQHA people), is do NOT "razor" the ends of the braids off, and after you pull the braids through, do not pull the tails through. Instead, capture the ends in the actual braid and when you tie the braid down, the ends will be tucked in and hidden. I know that doesn't explain it very well, but I hope you can get an idea.

                                        http://aqha.com/Video/How-To.aspx

                                        Go down to the bottom where it has the braiding video.

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