If you’re not braiding your horse’s mane properly, it’s likely that you are causing irritation to your horse’s neck and hair roots. This is bad, like really bad, as it causes your horse to want to rub against anything it can find to relieve the tension caused by your poor braids.
Your horse will never grow a longer, fuller, or healthier mane if it is constantly rubbing on it. Plus you won’t see the awesome results that come from feeding your horse BioMane Equine Pellets!
Have no fear! You can be braiding your horse’s mane properly in no time and begin growing a longer, fuller, and healthier mane. As part of the “BioMane How To Series,” we want to share with you our 9 most valuable tips for braiding (and saving) your horse’s mane.
1. Wash Your Horse’s Mane Prior to Brushing and BraidingIt’s important that your horse’s mane be free of debris and dirt prior to braiding. If your horse’s mane looks more like a dust and debris graveyard than a beautiful mane, we highly recommend washing it. Thoroughly wash your horse’s mane and allow it to dry completely before you begin brushing or braiding.
brush your horse’s mane before you begin braiding. Use the BioMane Mane and Tail Brush and the BioMane Brushing Technique to make sure your brushing is properly done. (CLICK HERE for more information about brushing the mane)
3. Braid Only Small Sections at a TimeYour horse has a long neck. The top of that neck stretches out even longer when your horse stoops down to eat, drink, etc. It’s important that you only braid small sections of the mane at a time. Doing so will ensure that you are not causing too much tension on the mane as your horse moves its head throughout the day.
Start at the top of the mane, near your horse’s head, and begin braiding sections that consist of just a few inches of your horse’s mane. This may seem like a lot more braids than you are used to. That’s okay! Taking the time to braid this way is well worth it, and it will go a long way in protecting your horse’s mane.
4. Loosely Braid the First 4 to 5 Crosses of the BraidBraiding the mane is very similar to braiding the tail. If you make the first few crosses of your mane braids too tight, you will cause more irritation to your horse’s neck and mane roots. Imagine some constantly tugging and pulling on a section of your hair all day! Don’t make your horse endure that!
Obviously, you will need some level of tension to keep the braids in place. However, it’s important that these braids are loose enough as to not cause unnecessary irritation to your horse.
5. Make the Rest of Your Braid Clean and TightAfter you complete the first 4 to 5 crosses loosely, begin braiding the rest of each mane section cleanly and tightly. There’s no need to go overboard on the tightness of the braids, but be sure that your braids are tight enough and clean enough to keep the full braid in.
6. Don’t Be a Lazy Braider!You may think it’s pointless, but get over it! Braid down to the end of your horse’s mane. Usually you should not leave more than 3 to 4 inches of your horse’s mane outside of the bottom of your braid. Doing this will greatly help protect the ends of your horse’s mane, and it’s totally worth it. We promise.
7. Use Black Electrical Tape to Secure Your BraidsAfter you have braided your horse’s mane, we recommend using black electrical tape to secure the braids. Electrical tape is stretchy and pliable, and it will allow you to get a tight, secure hold on the end of your braid. Additionally, this kind of tape won’t leave excess gunk on your horse’s mane. We strongly discourage the use of other types of tape on your horse’s mane.
We implore you to not use thin rubber bands for a long period of time. While these bands may be required for certain events or shows, they can do some major damage to your horse’s mane if left in too long. Don’t let these little bands cut off the bottom four inches of your horse’s mane!
Whatever you decide to use to secure your horse’s mane, we recommend only leaving braids in for about 7 to 10 days. If needed, and the mane looks good, you can tentatively leave braids in longer.
8. Tuck Braids if Your Horse’s Mane is LongIf your horse has an awesomely long mane, we recommend tucking the braids up to shorten how low they hang. Doing this will keep those braids even safer when your horse is eating, drinking, etc. Tucking the braids can be done be following these steps:
1. Take a single braid
2. Separate the top of the braid into two sections to create a small opening
3. Run the end of the braid through the opening you just created until the looped braid is about 6 inches in length
4. If the tucked braid still significantly exceeds 6 inches, you may want to pull the end of the braid through the small opening once more
5. Finally, secure the tucked braid by taping around it with black electrical tape
9. Do NOT Braid Near Your Horse’s WithersIt’s important to note that you should leave the section of the mane nearest to the withers unbraided. This section receives perhaps the most tension throughout your horse’s activities, and it’s important that it is tension free. Any braids, even if they are loose, can cause too much tension on this section of the mane.
Your horse is one of your most prized possessions. We get that. You want them to look good, feel great, and perform even better. Following these simple steps and our other techniques will make sure your taking great care of your horse’s mane. By feeding BioMane Equine Pellets and taking care of your horse’s mane and tail properly, you will make sure your horse looks like a million bucks.
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