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Plaiting for a Competition
|Preparation - Ensure that the mane is pulled to an adequate length and thickness before plaiting. (See article by Janet Mansley on pulling manes) The thickness and length is a personal preference however a mane that is 10-12 cm long is a good start. |
Some people like to wash the mane before plaiting, but my preference is to plait dry.
Divide the mane with a comb or a mane divider in even sections. Hold sections in place with an elastic plaiting band. This can vary between 7 to 13 plaits depending on the length of the neck and the thickness of the mane. Generally an odd number is preferable.
As you commence plaiting, remove band and spray divided section with Proplaits.
The key to a perfect plait is having the top of the plait tight so that as you plait down and lose the thickness, the plait will hold it’s shape especially when rolled up.
Plait as far down as you can, when you get to the bottom, roll the end of the plait back on itself and fasten with an elastic plaiting band. (Some chose to cut the excess mane, but this reduces the length of the mane making it harder each time.)
Repeat this process until all sections have been completed.
Once you have completed the plaiting stage, stand back and take a look before you roll to ensure that the plaits suit your horse.
When happy take a long blunt sewing needle and thread with a colour to suit your horse and knot at the end of the thread.
There is a number of ways to sew a plait, it comes down to personal preference, in my case the easiest way I have found is to fold the plait in half and then roll the remaining half under the plait until it can not be rolled any further. (This will take practise as it is all about the pressure whilst you are rolling the plait and the tightness of the initial plait.)
Once rolled keep hold of the rolled plait in one hand and take the needle and thread, push the needle upwards from the underside of the plait through the centre. Go back through the same way sewing up and down until the plait is firm and held in place. Finish the sewing of the plait on the top of the plait and snip the thread, as close to the plait so there is no excess thread showing.
Repeat this process down the mane.
Once you have completed plaiting, spray with NRG Pro Plaits and place a firm-fitting hood on your horse.
Plaiting can be done the night before a competition or on the morning of.