As with all things, practice makes perfect, and who better to offer their advice on how to create perfect plaits other riders will envy than showing star Katie Jerram-Hunnable.

Her easy-to-follow guide will give you all the help you need, and in no time you’ll be able to create plaits worthy of a champion.

The kit

  • A brush
  • A wet sponge
  • A comb
  • Hairdresser’s hair clip
  • Needle and plaiting thread/elastic bands

Preparing for plaiting

Before you start plaiting, take a few moments to assess your horse’s neck conformation. How many plaits you have and how you position them can enhance the appearance of his neck and topline.

If he has a weak topline, position the plaits so they sit on top of his neck, rather than flat to his neck, to give the illusion of more topline.

Horses with a well-developed topline suit plaits sitting neatly, flat to the neck.

Traditionally, the total number of plaits is kept to an even number (including the forelock). Once you’ve decided how many plaits you’re going to do, brush the mane to ensure it’s tangle free and then dampen the hair on the top and underside.

Comb it through and you’re ready to start dividing the mane up for plaiting.

1. Use the comb to accurately measure the width of each plait. This will help to ensure that all of your plaits are equally spaced out.

2. Comb through the section of mane that will form your first plait.

3. Use a hairdresser’s clip to keep loose mane hair out of your way.

4. Divide the section into three equal parts and start plaiting.

5. For a professional look and finish, sewing plaits is best, although elastic bands are acceptable at lower levels.

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