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Desperate Need of Braiding Help

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  • Desperate Need of Braiding Help

    As a dressage rider I am woefully unprepared for the hunter-style braid--in my mind, the most tedious, daunting (but when done right, gorrrrgeous) braids out there.

    I have always done big, round dressage braids for myself, but I've got some girls going to a schooling show tomorrow and those just won't do in eq classes with their ponies. I was practicing halfheartedly today (how hard could it be?) and was stunningly unprepared at how awful I would be.

    Any good videos/guides out there? I looked around on youtube but I could only find two PHENOMENAL looking braid jobs with very short videos.

    I can braid TIGHT and down to the last three hairs, but I just can't seem to get the 'bump' on the top to look round...they always end up looking like two halves of a bow, both long and flat. Are you using a crochet hook/yarn or a needle/waxed thread? I've got both. If anyone had close-ups of their own braids, it would too be much appreciated.

    At the very least, jingles for my poor girls tomorrow when they look back on their first show photos and shake their heads at the braid job

  • #2


    • Original Poster

      Thanks a bunch. I suppose mine look about like that now, but I had visions of them being the CLOSE, TIGHT little brick braids that I see at A shows...suppose that doesn't happen overnight If mine look like that and theyre good enoguh for her, I suppose theyre good enough for the girls.


      • #4
        The trick to getting a nice little "bump" is to go down 2 or 3 "links" on the right side & tie with the grain of the braid, so as you tie, the yarn will be at abou a 45 degree angle - you kinda just push the braid up a bit with your thumb, but you let the yarn & the tightness of your pull actually create the "bump". It is hard to explain, but it made a huge difference in my own braiding (which isn't great, but is improving with practice).

        Good luck to your girls!


        • #5


          • #6
            yes, the bump is all about the tie up, the quality of braid in general is all about them being the same length from crest to knot.

            The key to getting things the same length is to have the same # of crosses on identical amounts of mane. This mean the amount of mane you select varies a tiny bit from braid to braid since the mane is more dense in the center and usually sparse at the top and bottom and it is a thick mane that creates that dense look of braids more than anything.

            Since you are going for the same length, you are NOT braiding down to the bottom and you will see most braiders with "whispies" left. These actually help lock in the braid and a good braider and a horse with a halfway decent crest can easily make more than 1" of leftovers disappear. It's actually more painful to braid a horse with a super short mane that makes you braid to the bottom to get the right length. I think it's just about perfect when 3/4" is leftover, so to speak.

            After a while you get a feel for how much mane is in your hand and you can eyeball the crosses and end up with your magic number without counting. Those of us NOT braiding regularly find ourselves counting crosses and occasionally picking up the next section and adjusting the amount of hair until we get in the swing of things, but we have never hit the place where we can carry on two conversations at once and not screw up a braid.
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks thanks thanks for the tips and pep talks everyone. Decided I"m just going to go do it now, while the ponies are all quiet and munching and just do it at my leisure than feeling that 6 AM pressure...I think I was just flustered this afternoon with 20 kids running around, screaming, with half sudsy horses and dirty socks and let it get to me And yes, I was also trying to braid all the way down to the bottom, and it didn't occur to me to count down to keep them uniform. Hopefully Braiding 2.0 goes easier. A thousand thanks again.


              • #8
                This may help as well....



                • #9
                  At many if not most schooling shows, most people don't braid. And it's better to not be braided as opposed to not having a good braid job. Just something to consider.


                  • #10
                    The June 2, 2006 CHRONICLE has the ultimate article on producing hunter braids (and dressage "knots" and hunter tails). Finally, after four years, I'm getting the hang of it and do my own for HB shows (except for Devon, Upperville, and Warrenton where I have a braider). I always do my own tails and also do my own braids for DSHB and dressage shows. This is such a great article and I continue to bless the Chronicle for providing the recipe! And, yes, I still have the article.............! And yes, it takes practice!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dianehalpin View Post
                      The June 2, 2006 CHRONICLE has the ultimate article on producing hunter braids (and dressage "knots" and hunter tails). Finally, after four years, I'm getting the hang of it and do my own for HB shows (except for Devon, Upperville, and Warrenton where I have a braider). I always do my own tails and also do my own braids for DSHB and dressage shows. This is such a great article and I continue to bless the Chronicle for providing the recipe! And, yes, I still have the article.............! And yes, it takes practice!
                      That's the one I linked above Great article!


                      • #12
                        Yes, a GREAT article! I hope it lives forever! LOL!