Banding for the Western Horse

What You Need:

  • NRG Proplaits / No-Nots
  • Bands the same colour as horse’s mane
  • Fine tooth comb
  • Small butterfly hair clip
  • Thinning scissors
  • Skinny hood (optional)

Some Points to Consider

  • Make sure that mane is washed and clean. Do not condition as it makes the mane slippery whilst banding.
  • If your horse has an extremely long mane, it is an idea to cut it to at least half of the eventual length as this makes it much easier to pull through. NRG No-Nots can assist with de-tangling.

Banding the Western Horse

  1. Starting near the trimmed bridle path, use your comb to divide the hair one centimetre from the bridle path with a straight line.
  2. Using the hair clip, hold the loose hair back from your first band. Note: Use NRG Proplaits to dampen the mane as this makes the hair easier to pull through the band and stops any fly away hairs.
  3. Comb the piece of hair straight making sure all the underneath hair is lying flat and there are no tangles.
  4. When applying the band, hold the piece of mane still and run the band to the top of the hair, making sure you keep the piece you are banding still and tight and pulled down with your fingers.
  5. While holding the hair, cross the band over and over running it up the hair approximately 8 times. Note: Crossing the band repeatedly makes it less likely to pull hairs which can result in rubbing or sores in the mane. Do not move the hair, but move the band around the hair. This way the finished band will lie flat against the neck. If you move the hair around the band, ie: lift the band up and down whilst applying the band, your mane is less likely to lie flat against the neck.
  6. Take the underneath hair of the band and pull it tight. Note: You may notice that the band will be pulled closer to the neck.
  7. Repeat this process to the end of your horse’s neck.
  8. Trim the band to the desired length. Note: If you trim your bands quite short, it enhances the look and line of your horse’s neck.
  9. Using your thinning scissors, start at the wither and trim your horse’s mane to your desired length. Note: Our preference for length is approx 2 inches. When using the thinning scissors, make sure you have the flat blade resting on the neck of the horse. Also, if you are trimming your horse’s bands and he has a winter coat, be careful not to snip his coat when trimming his mane.
  10. To thin the ends of your horses bands, angle the thinning scissors pointing up into the mane approx 45 degrees and snip the ends of the bands. Make sure to thin any bands that are thicker. Note: Using the thinning scissors instead of sharp scissors gives a more natural cut line and hides any mistakes made.
  11. For the forelock, use the comb to separate a section of hair at the base of the fringe at the poll. Apply a rubber band the same way as banding the mane and pull it tight towards the base.
  12. While holding the first band of hair, gather another section of hair approx 1 inch below the first rubber band. Apply another band to create two bands joined together.
  13. Repeat this process until you have reached the end of the fringe hair. The result should be 4-5 bands joined into one fringe.
  14. Comb the loose hair across the forehead and separate into 3 sections between the eyes to create a leaf effect. You have finished your Western Banding.NRG TIPS:
    • Once you have completed your banding, it is always a good idea to cover them with a skinny hood. This helps the bands to sit down overnight and also alleviates temptations for your horse to rub them out.
    • Band your horse the night before so it sits down flat with the skinny hood. In the morning you may see some wayward hairs that can be easily trimmed before your class.
    • You may wish to spray NRG Proplaits at this point to secure the bands overnight
    • Bands may be left in for a couple of days if you have a few days showing. Be mindful to always have them covered with a skinny hood to preserve their neatness

"NRG Proplaits and No-Nots cuts my grooming time in half during the show season. You can't put a price on that."

Liz Keating - Western Performance Trainer and NRG Team Ambassador

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