Welcome to the second part of the braiding series! Dressage braids are one of the many types of braids done at horse shows. As the name implies, dressage braids are usually used for rated dressage shows and the dressage phase of eventing. Dressage braids are one of the simpler types of braids in the showing world, but they do take some time to master. There are dozens of different ways to do these braids, but today I will show you exactly how I do it on my horse! Done correctly, these braids can last you all weekend without budging.
Supplies I use:
A mane brush --> you can buy my favorite one here
A sewing needle --> You can get this at your local craft store or click here
Yarn the color of your horse's mane--> You can get this at your local craft store
Braiding bands--> You can buy the ones I use here
Braiding spray --> This is a necessity
2 clips--> I have some like these
If you are just starting out, I recommend the JT International Braiding Kit to get the bare necessities, you will still need yarn and braiding bands.
How long should the mane be?
I like my horse's mane to be around 3-4 inches for dressage braids, but the longer the mane the bigger the braids can be. The bigger the braids, the fewer you will have to do, but sometimes the bigger braids can get wobbly.
How many should you do?
I usually do between 18 and 22, but I personally like small braids. The general rule of thumb is between 10 and 20 braids.
Step 1: Separate the mane
The first thing I do is divide the mane into the parts that I will braid. I use my three middle fingers to separate the mane into parts. Doing this extra step will help the braids be the same size and make the mane easier to braid.
I apologize for my drawing skills.
Step 2: Setting up the braid
The next part is separating the part that you want to braid. This is where I use the clips to clip back the surrounding hair to make the actual braiding easier. This is also when I spray the section that I am about to braid with Quic Braid.
Step 3: Braid
After rubbing in the Quic Braid into the section of mane that I am about to braid, I start the actual braid! The key to this step is to make the braid nice and tight.
Step 4: Sew it Up
As the name implies, I cut out a string of yarn and loop it through the top of the needle and sew the braid up. This is when you can shape the braid by going over and under the braid with your sewing. This part is difficult to draw, so here is a video that helped me learn how to braid:
5:22- 7:35 shows the "sew it up" step. This video also includes 2 other ways to do dressage braids.
I hope this post is able to help you if you are learning how to master dressage braids! The first time I braided my horse's mane for a show it took me over 2 hours to do, and now after a few years of practice, I can get it done in 45 minutes or less. Remember, the longer the mane the less time braiding will take because the braids will be bigger.