Day 8 activities for slt champ camp

Nowadays, many disciplines utilize mane braiding or banding while in the show ring. Did you know that one of the earliest reasons for braiding a horse's mane was to prevent the hair from tangling in weaponry, farming equipment or riding equipment? That's right - braids were born out of necessity, not vanity!

Braids and bands have evolved into different types, and we will highlight some of the most popular braids today.

All About Braids & Bands

Hunter Braids

Most often used when competing in the hunter ring, or on a fox hunt. A piece of yarn, usually that matches the horse's mane, but sometimes in a contrasting color, is used to tie up the braid. Between 30 and 40 braids are placed, in average, and this look accentuates the length and shape of the neck.

Watch a video here, from AQHA:

Button Braids

Also known as a dressage braid. Like hunter braids, you tie up a single braid, but these are rolled into little balls, or buttons. They can be done with yarn, sewn in with thread, secured with rubber bands or taped. This style also is complementary to a fit, muscled neck.

Watch a video here, from FEI:

Continental Braids

Also called a woven mane, this style is done by tying sections of the mane with rubber bands in a net-like fashion. The mane at the crest is sectioned, and further sections are added below it, by taking half of the sections above, and is repeated to the bottom of the neck.

Watch a video here, from Maddiiee White:

Running Braid

A favorite of long maned horse lovers as a tidy way to present a horse without shortening the mane. It is basically a French braid started at the poll, runs parallel to the crest, collecting the hair as it travels toward the wither.

Watch a video here, from One World Equestrian Center:

Banded Mane

Usually found only in western events, a banded mane lays flat, neat and tidy. Traditionally a shortened and pulled mane is banded in a single row against the crest, but there are more riders that are opting for longer manes, which may be bended in the same manner, or have two or three rows of bands, either straight or in a modified continental style.

Watch a video here, from Baker Training Stable:

So now you know about several styles of braids, and you're ready to practice. What should be in your braiding kit as far as supplies? You have a few different options - buy items individually, buy a kit, or a combination of the two, but you'll need these essentials:

• Pulling Comb, Mane Comb, Taming Product, Seam Ripper or Band Cutter, Scissors, Mane Trimmer. Rubber Bands, Braid Aid, Hair Clip, Pull Through, plus a container to keep it in, (bonus for dual purpose storage and step!).

Happy Braiding!

Activity: Braiding and Banding Crossword

Practice using all your braiding and banding terms!


Activity: Draw your own braids!

Bonus activity! Use your drawing skills to draw different types of braids onto a horse!

Draw Now!


Step-by-step braiding instructional pictures from Practical Horseman: Learn Now

Coordinating or contrasting bands? The debate rages on in this article from Equine Chronicle: Read more Now

Have fun with yarn from Horse Illustrated: Enjoy Now

Grooming tips and using braids to reduce breakage from US Equestrian Foundation: Learn Now

Enjoy looking at different horse hair styles from Cowboy Magic: Discover Now

And even more from Cowgirl Magazine: Discover more Now

Mane and tail care tips from Horse Illustrated: Learn Now

Check out some more braiding tips from Evention: Watch Now

Bonus Activity! If you don't have a horse you can still practice braiding. Grab a doll or some yarn and you can practice all day long!

Remember to spend time reading a great horse book! Check out our reading list ideas here

Have you visited our Kids Corner yet? Check out additional fun activities here

  • Published:
  • Updated: 7/22/2020: 10:59:38 AM ET
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