Braiding or Plaiting a Horses Tail
How to Take care of Your Horse's Tail
Braiding or plaiting your horse's tail gives a clean, professional look, prevents tangling and is often preferred or even required in the show ring. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to braid your horse's tail. It may take a little longer until you become well-practiced, so don't wait until the night before a show to try this the first time.
Things You'll Need:
Horse Mane and tail comb or brush
Spray bottle filled with water
Yarn or string to match horse's tail
Step 1: Brush through your horse's tail with a comb or brush to remove any dirt or tangles. Start at the bottom and work your way up until you can brush the entire length without hitting any snags.
Step 2: Spray the top of the tail with lots water.
Step 3: Take a small amount of hair from the top of the tail into each hand (two 7- to 10-mm-wide bundles, one from each side of the tail).
Step 4: Pull the section of hair from the right over towards the left. Lay the top left section of hair over the top of the right section.
Step 5: Take a second section of hair from the right side (again, 7 to 10 mm) and pull over the section you just pulled from the left. These three strands form the root of the braid. You will continue adding sections of hair to these original three strands.
Step 6: Take a similar size portion of hair from the left side of the tail and add it to the first strand from the right. Pull them together back towards the right.
Step 7: Take a similar size portion of hair from the right side of the tail and add it to the first strand from the left. Pull them together back towards the left.
Step 8: Continue braiding the tail in this fashion, adding segments of hair to the original braid (similar to french-braiding), for the length of the horse's tail bone.
Step 9: Stop adding segments of hair to the braid once you have reached the end of the tailbone.
Finish the braid in one of four ways:
1. Immediately secure braid with a rubber band and brush loose ends to blend with the tail;
2. Continue braiding the strands you have (without adding extra bunches) until you reach the end of the long strands and secure with a rubber band;
3. Continue braiding the strands, secure end with a rubber band, double the long plait back underneath itself and stitch into place;
4. Continue braiding the strands, secure end with a rubber band, carefully push the long plait up inside the braid and stitch into place.
Step 10: Use hair gel to slick down any stray hairs and spray the entire braid generously with hairspray.
Tips & Warnings:
Practice with your horse (and its tail) prior to the horse show. It may take a few tries to get things to go smoothly. Keep firm hold of the strands once you have started the braid. Pull them snugly but not too tightly. Allow the hairs around the horse's dock to grow long prior to braiding. Take the hair segments from the sides of the tail and keep the braid centered. You may wash the horse's tail first, but do not condition the top of the tail. Conditioning will make it too slippery to braid neatly. Don't add hair gel or hairspray prior to braiding, as they make braiding more difficult.