Spanish, or running, braids are used on horse breeds where the manes are left long. This includes Baroque horses like Andalusians and Fresians, and breeds such as Arabians and Morgans who need to keep their manes long for breed shows but might also compete in hunters or dressage.
Whatever the reason, it is a lovely technique for keeping those flowing manes under control!
- Start with a clean mane that has been combed until it’s knot free.
- Dampen the mane to help with the braiding. Sometimes it’s helpful to use a spray on solution such as QuicBraid to help the braids hold better.
- Begin your braid at the top of the horse’s mane near the poll or right behind the bridlepath.
- Take three pieces of mane about 1/2″ wide. The first two passes are like a normal braid.
- When you start to braid in the third strand, add more hair (another 1/2″) to the existing strand and braid it in.
- Continue to add mane ONLY to the left hand strand and you will start to see the braid emerge at the bottom of the mane.
- When you get to the end of your horse’s neck, continue braiding the mane into a “pigtail.”
- Add some yarn into the braid and continue until the hair is too think to hold a secure braid.
- Tie off braid and then fold the braided pigtail under the braid.
- Tie off the braid by bringing one part of the string up through the braid and making a square knot with the bottom string.
- If you braid too tightly, the braid will stretch when your horse lowers his head. Make the braid a bit loose but still secure.
- Keep your hands close to the horse’s crest and directly below the part of the mane from which you are taking hair. This keeps the braid from stretching out.
- If your horse has a really thick mane you can braid it down both sides.