Hints for making your braid job the BEST it can be!
- DON'T cut the mane too short! When in doubt, leave it long! Mane can always be trimmed, but it's really tough to glue those pesky pieces of hair back on the neck! For the best braiding job, leave the mane 3 1/2 - 4 inches long (or longer) and let your braider trim the edges after she finished the braids.
- DON'T wash the mane unless your horse found a rogue mud hole at the show and rolled his neck into it! Absolutely do not put any sort of conditioner, detangler, or any other hair product on the mane. This can result in slippery or slick hair that will not braid tight and will not hold the braids flat for very long. If you want a flat, neat braid job that stays in for days and days, leave the mane naturally dirty (sounds icky, I know, but trust me...this is important!).
- DO thin the mane by pulling if the mane is very thick. Nope, I don't pull manes! OK, maybe I will pull your horse's unruly thick mane for you but only for an additional $500. Yes, that is exactly how much we braiders HATE pulling manes! I will braid the mane as it is, so if the mane is too thick, the braids will be on top of each other and will not lay flat. Overly thick manes also take twice as long, and often braiders will charge extra for thick manes because of this (yep, we gotta make up for the time lost!).
- DO carry your own supply of yarn IF your horse has a very odd color of mane. Most braiders carry black, brown, and sometimes grey or white yarn colors. If you aren't sure, check with your braider at the time of booking to see if she has your color. It's safe to bring your own skein of perfectly-matching yarn if your horse has one of those unique and eye-catching colored manes!
- DO tell your braider if your horse is a puller, a head-shaker, a spooker, head shy, or just a plain old ornery beast! I've done some very badly behaved horses in my days, and have been badly injured a few times also when I was not informed of the horse's issues. If you know your horse won't stand well for braiding, please plan on being there during the time of braiding to hold his head. It's really tough to braid a moving target, and the braids will not look very good if no one is there to help tame the beast.
- DON'T hire a braider that braids with rubber bands! NO! Don't do it! You'll regret it (trust me!!!)
- DO have a neck sleazy hood to put on your horse after the braids are done. If you are not there, make sure one is hanging on the stall door. The nicest braid job in the world can look like bad dreadlocks in minutes when a horse turned loose with his mane uncovered. Even tied horses can find a way to rub. If your horse rubs his mane, consider buying two sleazy hoods and double-hood him (with the tightest one on top). Nothing makes me sadder than to spend hours braiding a horse for someone and making him look incredible, and then seeing him in the show ring the next day looking frizzled because he rubbed out his mane. However, some horses are just bad bad mane rubbers and there is nothing you can do about it aside from babysitting him all night. Most braiders will do their best when called to fix braids in an emergency, but please be understanding of their time and costs!
Remember - the braiding costs, but the conversation is always free! Stick around to chat if you have the time. I love talking with horsepeople!