New Life Goal: Be A Professional Horse Braider

Something about working 12 hours with horses in the middle of the night, espresso, nobody to bug me, and doing meticulous work appeals to me. I know it’ll take me about a decade to be awesome, but I’ve been practicing braiding for the past week, and I have to admit, it’s incredibly therapeutic. I don’t even mind the bloody or sore fingers, the horses that won’t stand still or don’t like their ears/tails/anything touched, the late and long hours spent standing, etc. At the end of it, you get a damn good looking horse, and peace and quiet before the show crazies get there. #dreamjob.

Round 1: After watching several videos on youtube, mom and I decided to freelance it and give it a go. I’m not proud of what we did, but hey, we practiced!

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Not even distances, not even knobs at the bottom, not even anything really. But I made braids!
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Just no
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What a cute mini braid that random one is!
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Not even good enough for the locals. Also the braids are going in two different directions. Turns out I only dutch braid. #frenchfailm

Round 2: After a quick demo by our barn trainer, I started to be more strategic and where and how much mane I grabbed. Also got better at getting the braid knots to all lie flat after phase 1.

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Demo braids. Life goal, right there. Within reach, people. Every braid must be identical to this, always and forever.
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The whole shabang. Getting better about distance apart, but not so much on amount of mane or the line at the bottom matching up.
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Ignore 2. 3 ain’t bad. The rest are meh.
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3 little, 3 thick. Gah.
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Someday they’ll look as good as the demo ones….

Round 3: Consistency is key. I’ve started to master getting the braid to knot itself at the end of phase 1 braiding, so now the knobs are more even looking. However, as the mane started to get thick, my braids did too. Lesson learned, folks. Grab less mane. #thingsinstructorsdontsay

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Check out that bottom line all on the same place! Too bad the last 2 were a bit thick.

 

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But now we’re 1 step closer to local status #almostgoodenough

A few notes:

  1. Thank God for Quic Braid. Smells great, is sticky, keeps the flyaways down. #winning
  2. French works better than Dutch.
  3. Get the braid in the knot at the end of phase 1 to make a cuter knob when you pull through and tie them off.
  4. String always goes over the braid.
  5. Don’t use 10 year old string. It breaks more easily.
  6. A pulled, dirty mane is better than a cut, clean mane.
  7. They can always be tighter, and the first few passes you make when you braid set the tone for the rest of it.
  8. When in doubt, less is more. Better to have a bunch of tiny braids than a few big ones.
  9. Long piece of yarn is superior to short piece of yarn.
  10. The higher the stool, the closer to godliness your braids will look.

More to come on this! I’m open to any advice anyone has regarding braiding manes. After I’ve mastered this, I’ll start working on tails. Until then, please please please, bring the advice!

 

 

 

 

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17 comments

  1. The last photo (chestnut), those look great! Braiding is so, so hard. I wish I could do it, and I should practice, just in case, but gaaahh it’s the worst and I’m so bad. It’s mostly the whole part about getting the plaits the same length and width and making them TIGHT part. So basically all of it. Keep at it though, looking good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh thank you!! I’m really working it haha and yeah getting them identical is so hard! Phase 1 where you’re just building the braids is the hardest part though, and once you start to think about where you need to be OCD (how much mane to grab, separating the three pieces perfectly evenly, starting each pass super tight, getting the knot at the end at the same length as the others) then it’s easier to focus on each little thing and just work on that. Eventually they’ll all look the same! *sore fingers crossed* lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Once upon a time I did braids for clients. You already hit on some of the big tricks (quickbraid, tall stool). I didn’t see any of the tools you used? I have a little comb that I use to keep every braid evenly spaced and the parts straight. I use a clip to keep the loose hair out of the way, it helps keep those parts very sharp. I also make sure that every braid is the same length, regardless of the length of the actual mane. The knots at the bottom of the braids should make a straight line. It will make a world of difference in the size of the end braids. Just leave any extra long hair unbraided and hide it in the braids when you tie it off (or I cut it with my personal horses after the braids are tied off). The things people notice are evenness of the spacing, straight parts in the mane between braids, and having every knob at the same height down the neck.

    Also, your braids will never be better than the pull. There are tricks to hiding a bad pull job, but perfect braids come from a perfectly pulled mane.

    It’s good money and I paid for a lot of shows with my sore, bloody fingers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! How long did you braid for? Do you still do it at all? How do you get people to pay you to do it? As for pulling, I would pull the manes, but unfortunately they’re privately owned horses where the owners pay the barn to take care of that, so as a customer I’m not allowed to 😦 But that makes so much sense, and I can definitely pull the mane on the horse I lease once I get good enough to do her mane! Oh also, if the middle of the mane is thick, and then towards the bottom of the mane the hair gets really thin, how do you keep the spacing between braids even? Is the solution pulling the mane more, or is there another trick? Thanks for all your help!

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      • I braided professionally for about two years. I still do it for friends sometimes but I don’t do it for money anymore. I mostly braid my own horse for shows. With customers you’ll have badly pulled manes and you just have to fake it. If it’s a repeat customer, gentle hints on pulling can save you some headaches. Pulling helps with thick in the middle manes, but you can also adjust your spacing. The first couple behind the ears and the last third can be spaced a bit wider than the ones in the middle to help even it out. For example when using a comb to measure out braids, I could use three prongs for the thin parts and two prongs for the thick parts. It’s still deliberate and even so it looks nice but gives you a fighting chance with the thick stuff in the middle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lifesaver, thank you!! I’ll try that on the chestnut next time. That’s the issue I ran into where the middle part got so thick so quickly, and I couldn’t figure out how to perfect it without my braids getting thicker too. I have one of those combs with the three separator sections, so I’ll give that a try!

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